K3 ... teaching an old K-9 new tricks...

Well, our robot is done… …at least my part of it…

As many of you know already, this is my year off from FIRST.

But… …being a FIRST-o-holic-for-Life (a charter member in fact), my years off are somewhat of a misnomer.

This year, I am leading the design phase, period.

And, as of today, the design phase is over and the building has begun.

As hard as it is even for me to believe, this year, the Chief Delphi team has built NOTHING for our robot until today, 3 weeks into the 6 week design and build time.

For all that, I am sure that this year we will be farther ahead of the game in the end.

We have designed a robot that [list=1]

[li]Has a high chance of doing what it is designed to do,
[/li][li]Will make weight (as of last night our spread sheet had us about 20lbs under),
[/li][li]Will be able to be built by us in time to get our drivers & programmers time to learn and program,
[/li][li]Will make the $3,500 cost from rule K3,
[/li][li]Will be a BLAST to see in action, and
[/li][li]Last but not least, We are very proud of.[/list=1]
From my personal perspective, I have had more fun this year than in any other (this is my 8th year). Part of it has to do with my belief that this year’s game is going to be a real treat to watch but part of it is that I have only been on the hook for the design this year, not the day to day running of the team (Special and personal thanks to Mike A. and Mike M. for that support).

Designing it all before we built anything was difficult but fun too. I cannot recommend it strongly enough.

One of the best things about doing it that way is that it allowed us to find our packaging and functional errors without having to realize in horror that we had already built too much of the problem to fix it properly. For example, last year, none of our internal structural decks hit the goal decks as intended due to a simple calculation error we caught after we had built too much to make it right – ah well…

Back to the topic I intended with this message, the K3 rule has really invigorated our team.

To be honest, the Chief Delphi team has never bothered much with “How are WE going to make this?” problems – We knew we could design what we needed and then pretty much assume that our shops could make whatever sub-assemblies we needed. If we were late (which was almost always) so that our internal shops could not finish our stuff in time, No worries. We always felt we could break the job up into enough smaller jobs so that we could find enough shops around town to get us our stuff in time.

In short, DESIGN and INTEGRATION were our focus, MANUFACTURING was a problem we could farm out as needed.

But… K3 has changed all that. We have had to really think about what we can make in a shop with not much more than a band saw and a drill press.

Once we got over the shock, it was as fun of a challenge as ever.

In the end, I am very happy with the K3 rule. I believe that even though it may have disadvantaged our team somewhat (vs. our historical design and build methods), on balance, it will be good for our team and good for FIRST as well.

For all my worry about K3, in the end, I believe CD8 may be one of the best looking, best performing, most dominating FIRST robots we have ever set on the carpet.

Time will tell…

Joe J.

P.S. While I am dying to post some CAD views of CD8, it will have to wait. Taking a year off, does not mean I am not as competitive as ever. I see no reason to give all you clever sheep out there a sneak peak while there is still time to design in countermeasures :wink: Closer to ship date you may see a JPEG or two.

That’s the way our team has always done it with the exception of our team’s rookie year. Design first then build. In fact we very recently just started pumping out parts. I didn’t think that doing it this way is all that rare. Is it?

Yah, our team’s main parts aren’t that built yet. We just spent 7 hours making drive plate things… lots of drilling and boring… and then some lathe-ing. But after the fabricating, it should go together pretty well and be ready to practice before week 6 (hopefully :D)

I must say, though, that it surprised me how much time it took to design the translational drive - we’ve never done it before. Usually we’ve got a drive system built and tested by now, and it’s kind of scary. But we’ve got TONS of freshman on our team this year and they all want a part of machining, so labor is not a big problem. I was amazed at how quickly the plates were churned out by the 10 people bandsawing, drilling, more bandsawing, grinding and wirebrushing. and you can’t ever forget the filing!!!
it was nifty


Of course we have always had to design our robots before we built them.

The problem for us has always been that we get 80-90% of the way designed and then start building.

Often we find out that that last 10-20% drives us nuts.

Little changes like moving a plate up 2 inches can become a huge problem if you have too much built depending on that the plate staying where it is.

What is even more strange for us this year is that beyond having the design “done” before we have built anything, we also have put in the time to complete our bill of materials.

Having a more or less complete BOM has allowed us to KNOW we are going to make weight and make our K3 $3,500 limit.

Another advantage of a complete BOM is that we have been able to do various strength and CG calculations.

How hard of a hit can our robot take? It’s in the spreadsheet.
How many crates can we pick up in this or that configuration? It’s in the spreadsheet.

I am anxious to see how our calculations match reality.

Time will tell…

Joe J.

*Originally posted by Joe Johnson *
How many crates can we pick up in this or that configuration? It’s in the spreadsheet.

Everyone taking notes? Cmon kiddies, mark this down in your notebooks. Joe Johnson releases a hint?

A modular stacking CD8?]

Joe, Are you going to competition this year? Or is that part of your taking a year off? Surely you wanna see this marvel in action?