Lonestar Regional/Others? Ramp Problems

Posted by Mike Sklar at 03/18/2001 10:10 AM EST

Engineer on team #21, ComBBAT , from Astronaut H.S. and Titusville H.S. and Brevard Community College and Boeing Company and NASA-KSC.

Have there been any ramp problems around the country? My team, along with 44 others competed 2 weeks ago at KSC and the ramp acted totally as expected and just like the one we buil ourselves.

However in Houston the ramp had some very strange behaviour. Numerous times (I’m aware of about 3) the ramp bounced up off the 4x4 and one of the lower angles sat on top of the 4x4 and the ramp could not be lowered. All this just from running over it. Some teams said we were too fast and if you go over too fast it does that. I say bull! It did not at KSC.

Also for about 2 hours on Friday in Houston the ramp became very sticky and noone could move it well or balance. And here is the real kicker, numberous time late Friday and Sat at Houston teams balanced the ramp with a single goal with the heavy side of the ramp being 1 inch off the floor (ie was not even clost to level).

This makes for a very inconsistent competition. Any comments or similar problems elsewhere.

Posted by Don Nguyen at 03/18/2001 10:26 AM EST

Student on team #288, the RoboDawgs, from Grandville High School and Delphi/X-Rite.

In Reply to: Lonestar Regional/Others? Ramp Problems
Posted by Mike Sklar on 03/18/2001 10:10 AM EST:

At the West Michigan regional there were numerous times when the ramp bounced off the floor. Someone told me that they think it was because it was a concrete floor and that made it bounce more.

Posted by lucia Sevcik at 03/18/2001 10:27 AM EST

Other on team Leopards from Booker T. Washington sponsored by ExxonMobil.

In Reply to: Lonestar Regional/Others? Ramp Problems
Posted by Mike Sklar on 03/18/2001 10:10 AM EST:

: Have there been any ramp problems around the country? My team, along with 44 others competed 2 weeks ago at KSC and the ramp acted totally as expected and just like the one we buil ourselves.

: However in Houston the ramp had some very strange behaviour. Numerous times (I’m aware of about 3) the ramp bounced up off the 4x4 and one of the lower angles sat on top of the 4x4 and the ramp could not be lowered. All this just from running over it. Some teams said we were too fast and if you go over too fast it does that. I say bull! It did not at KSC.

: Also for about 2 hours on Friday in Houston the ramp became very sticky and noone could move it well or balance. And here is the real kicker, numberous time late Friday and Sat at Houston teams balanced the ramp with a single goal with the heavy side of the ramp being 1 inch off the floor (ie was not even clost to level).

: This makes for a very inconsistent competition. Any comments or similar problems elsewhere.

Mike, could you gather the feedback on this and email it to me. I will take it from there.

Posted by lucia Sevcik at 03/18/2001 10:27 AM EST

Other on team Leopards from Booker T. Washington sponsored by ExxonMobil.

In Reply to: Lonestar Regional/Others? Ramp Problems
Posted by Mike Sklar on 03/18/2001 10:10 AM EST:

: Have there been any ramp problems around the country? My team, along with 44 others competed 2 weeks ago at KSC and the ramp acted totally as expected and just like the one we buil ourselves.

: However in Houston the ramp had some very strange behaviour. Numerous times (I’m aware of about 3) the ramp bounced up off the 4x4 and one of the lower angles sat on top of the 4x4 and the ramp could not be lowered. All this just from running over it. Some teams said we were too fast and if you go over too fast it does that. I say bull! It did not at KSC.

: Also for about 2 hours on Friday in Houston the ramp became very sticky and noone could move it well or balance. And here is the real kicker, numberous time late Friday and Sat at Houston teams balanced the ramp with a single goal with the heavy side of the ramp being 1 inch off the floor (ie was not even clost to level).

: This makes for a very inconsistent competition. Any comments or similar problems elsewhere.

Mike, could you gather the feedback on this and email it to me. I will take it from there.

Posted by Adrian Wong at 03/18/2001 10:30 AM EST

Student on team #596, Hopkinton Hillers, from Hopkinton High School and Zymark & Computer Associates.

In Reply to: Lonestar Regional/Others? Ramp Problems
Posted by Mike Sklar on 03/18/2001 10:10 AM EST:

: Have there been any ramp problems around the country? My team, along with 44 others competed 2 weeks ago at KSC and the ramp acted totally as expected and just like the one we buil ourselves.

I think this happened at VCU as well. Teams were “balancing” the bridge an inch off the ground.

I saw it on the webcast, but can anyone that was there give more details on this? (I remember seeing a few irate posts a few days earlier.)

Posted by Stephen at 03/18/2001 11:51 AM EST

Student on team #122, NASA Knights, from Grafton High School (Robotics team is at NHGS) and NASA.

In Reply to: Lonestar Regional/Others? Ramp Problems
Posted by Mike Sklar on 03/18/2001 10:10 AM EST:

There were definately problems at VCU. The ramp “balanced” about an inch off the ground, also, it did jump off when teams went a little fast over the ramp. But, all of these problems are because the ramps are being re-used, and that’s what happens when you have metal on metal. Also, I don’t think FIRST will do anything about it, so we’ll just have to learn to live with it.

Posted by Justin Stiltner at 03/18/2001 10:30 PM EST

Student on team #388, Epsilon, from Grundy High School and NASA, American Electric Power, Town of Grundy.

In Reply to: Re: Lonestar Regional/Others? Ramp Problems
Posted by Stephen on 03/18/2001 11:51 AM EST:

: There were definately problems at VCU. The ramp “balanced” about an inch off the ground, also, it did jump off when teams went a little fast over the ramp. But, all of these problems are because the ramps are being re-used, and that’s what happens when you have metal on metal. Also, I don’t think FIRST will do anything about it, so we’ll just have to learn to live with it.

I agree about the ramp at VCU we pushed the ramp down with the arm and actually pressed it aginst the floor and when we lifted our arm the ramp came up and balanced!!! Then the october sky team did their “poor man’s balance” thing and I was really ticked.

On a lighter side I am glad to see someone from the VCU regional on the boards (I thought I was the only one)

Justin Stiltner
Team #388
Epsilon
Grundy Va,

Posted by Jake at 03/18/2001 1:31 PM EST

Student on team #365, Miracle Workerz, from Avon Grove High School and DuPont Engineering.

In Reply to: Lonestar Regional/Others? Ramp Problems
Posted by Mike Sklar on 03/18/2001 10:10 AM EST:

The ramp built for the J&J Mid-Atlantic Reagional was well built. Only once was our match foiled by the ramp. It had a habbit of comming off the 4"x6" beam. That was an annoyance, but once you knew to check for it before each of your matches, it wasn’t bad. In our favor, though, we were able to banace 2 goals with one end of the ramp 1/4" off the ground. That was a crowd pleaser.

~ Captain Jake
The Miracle Workerz
Team 365
Go Li’l M.O.E.!

Posted by Wayne Cokeley at 03/18/2001 8:09 PM EST

Coach on team #25, Raider Robotix, from North Brunswick Twp. H.S. and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

In Reply to: J&J Mid-Atlantic Reagional
Posted by Jake on 03/18/2001 1:31 PM EST:

: The ramp built for the J&J Mid-Atlantic Reagional was well built. Only once was our match foiled by the ramp. It had a habbit of comming off the 4"x6" beam. That was an annoyance, but once you knew to check for it before each of your matches, it wasn’t bad. In our favor, though, we were able to banace 2 goals with one end of the ramp 1/4" off the ground. That was a crowd pleaser.

: ~ Captain Jake
: The Miracle Workerz
: Team 365
: Go Li’l M.O.E.!

We had a similar problem with it Jake. In one round the first robot went over and the ramp was tilted sideways on the beam so that the bottom corners weren’t flush with the floor. From then on it wouldn’t tip properly and it was hard to drive a robot over the lip. We couldnt even hold it down with the jumping arm. It looked like it was never quite right from the previous round and the first robot pivoted it a little on the beam. Oh well, no replay and we managed to pull a 90 pt round out anyway. They warned us that the ramp would be unpredictable at the kickoff…Now we know to inspect it before each round.

Posted by Wayne Cokeley at 03/18/2001 8:09 PM EST

Coach on team #25, Raider Robotix, from North Brunswick Twp. H.S. and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

In Reply to: J&J Mid-Atlantic Reagional
Posted by Jake on 03/18/2001 1:31 PM EST:

: The ramp built for the J&J Mid-Atlantic Reagional was well built. Only once was our match foiled by the ramp. It had a habbit of comming off the 4"x6" beam. That was an annoyance, but once you knew to check for it before each of your matches, it wasn’t bad. In our favor, though, we were able to banace 2 goals with one end of the ramp 1/4" off the ground. That was a crowd pleaser.

: ~ Captain Jake
: The Miracle Workerz
: Team 365
: Go Li’l M.O.E.!

We had a similar problem with it Jake. In one round the first robot went over and the ramp was tilted sideways on the beam so that the bottom corners weren’t flush with the floor. From then on it wouldn’t tip properly and it was hard to drive a robot over the lip. We couldnt even hold it down with the jumping arm. It looked like it was never quite right from the previous round and the first robot pivoted it a little on the beam. Oh well, no replay and we managed to pull a 90 pt round out anyway. They warned us that the ramp would be unpredictable at the kickoff…Now we know to inspect it before each round.

Posted by Andrew wyatt at 03/18/2001 4:03 PM EST

Other on team #524, Alpha Omega Robotics, from South High School.

In Reply to: Lonestar Regional/Others? Ramp Problems
Posted by Mike Sklar on 03/18/2001 10:10 AM EST:

We encountered this problem at the los angeles regional. the ramp popped off the base twice during the practice rounds alone, and it was actually EASIER to balance than the bridge we made up for our team.
(we couldn’t get any aluminum diamond place donated, so we used wood) I’m not sure, but i think we had the same ramp you all used.

Posted by Andy Baker at 03/18/2001 11:55 PM EST

Engineer on team #45, TechnoKats, from Kokomo High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

In Reply to: Re: Lonestar Regional/Others? Ramp Problems
Posted by Andrew wyatt on 03/18/2001 4:03 PM EST:

According to the FIRST folks, the bridge at SoCal came from W. Mich.

We tried to get it to be straight… and there was some slight mods to make it better for Sat. competition.

BUT, FIRST could not do too much to change it without making major changes. At least not at the time that we were trying to fix it.

Andy B.

Posted by Bill Beatty at 03/19/2001 11:38 PM EST

Other on team #71, Team Hammond, from Team Hammond.

In Reply to: SoCal ramp was in W. Mich.
Posted by Andy Baker on 03/18/2001 11:55 PM EST:

Andy

The bridge at WMR was broken during the photo sessions afterwards. It was my understanding that one angle was completely broken off the bottom and had to be replaced. I didn’t look under it, but a floor person from the tournament mentioned it.

See you in Chi

Bill Beatty

Posted by Andy Baker at 03/19/2001 11:56 PM EST

Engineer on team #45, TechnoKats, from Kokomo High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

In Reply to: Broken Bridge
Posted by Bill Beatty on 03/19/2001 11:38 PM EST:

Bill,

Wow! I didn’t realize that an angle was broken off. FIRST must’ve put it back on fairly well… it stayed on at SoCal… until we took it off again.

The guys out at the SoCal Regional (myself, some really cool guys from the Vintage-232 team, Glen from team 60, and Brian Farmer from FIRST) made a bit of an improvement to the bridge.

We noticed that it was a bit warped after Friday’s comp. With the bridge in the up position, it was 24 5/8" on one edge of the up side and 25 1/4" on the other edge. The down side had one corner that touched the ground and the other was about 3/4" off of the ground.

First we loosened the bolts, slightly jumped up and down on it, trying to warp it the other way, and then tightened the bolts… but no change.

Next, we took it off and turned it over. Looking down the length of the angle iron on the bridge, we noticed that one of the 2"x12"s was sticking up 3/32" higher than the other 2"x12"s. We took off the angle, and then sanded down the offending 2x12 to be even with the other boards.

This seemed to help some, but it was still a bit wobbly. It worked better on Saturday, and the competitors seemed happy, so the simple fix did the trick for the time being.

We wanted to do more, but Brian decided that we better not. He mentioned that FIRST will discuss making the bridges more sturdy… but they gotta figure out how to do this without messing up anyone’s bridge manipulation strategy.

One suggestion that we came up with as a group was to attach thin plywood, polycarbonate, or sheet metal across the bottom of the 2x12s, immediately outside of the 2 angles, on either side. These two sheets would be about 12"x48". I don’t think that this would affect anyone’s strategy out there… but who knows if FIRST will add this.

We shall see.

Andy B.

Posted by Ken Leung at 03/18/2001 7:52 PM EST

Student on team #192, Gunn Robotics Team, from Henry M. Gunn Senior High School.

In Reply to: Lonestar Regional/Others? Ramp Problems
Posted by Mike Sklar on 03/18/2001 10:10 AM EST:

In the SoCal regional, there was couple of matches when the bridge was balanced when one side is about 1" off the ground…

But as the day went on, the bridge got smoother as more matches were played.

However, there was this one match when we use our arm to lower the bridge, the edge touched the ground, and lift back up to couple inches off the ground by itself. And that blocked our robot from going on the bridge quickly…

Fortunatly the FIRST people worked on the bridge Friday night, as was able to fix it up for the elimination rounds the next day.