Most Difficult Strategy

I think that the main roles a robot will fit into are:

herder
multiplier
hanger
or a combination of the above.

So, which role do you think was the most difficult to pull off in the following categories:

design
building (machining, etc.)
execution (during a match)

Explain why you think so, and if you’re team fulfilled one of the above role(s), explain what you did to overcome that difficulty.

I think probably the one aspect of our robot that took the most amount of time to get perfect was our small ball roller system. It was a simple design, but it took a lot of tweaking to get it just perfect.

I think the longest spent time was on the ham radio tower.

If you don’t know what I mean check-out: My unofficial 1108 website

The fastest part was our hybrid trashcan lid vacuum followed by the hook and winch system. Built both in: one afternoon and one night(finished at 2:30 am) plus hook improvements.

Execution would be small balls since if wasn’t specifically designed for that purpose.

Design? Sometimes we design as we create so I’d say the ham radio tower.

I would say that the hardest thing to design was the ball lifter. We spent a week or so with many different designs and not getting anywhere, until we just decided to pick one and get on with it.

In our team’s experience this year, we found the challenge (design, execution) of lifting a 2x ball to be the greatest, for the following reasons:

  1. We found it difficult to grip the ball tightly, mainly because we had used a design with only two arms to grab the ball, and poorly designed ones at that. The teams that managed to get away with two grabbers used either:
    a- cups that clamped down with a large surface area
    b- arms that contacted the ball along a long surface
    Ours had neither, and worse, they clapped together when they opened and closed. What a mess.

  2. We also found it difficult to lift the ball, perhaps due to our own incompetence, but also because of the weight of the ball.
    The ball is 5lbs, and holding that at about 2 yards moment arm is a good 30 foot pounds of torque needed to lift the ball. This converts to roughly 50 (correct me if I’m wrong) newton meters, and remember that the Van Door provides in the area of 30-34 Nm of torque, depending on the direction it is turning. The window motor is even weaker, providing less than 6 Nm. Clearly, some amount of gearing is needed, and we used 4:1 sprocket ratio to acheive this. Sadly, we made the mistake of mounting the heavy motor on the moving part of the arm, as well as a heavy cylinder that was the wrong size anyways, and some other stuff we shouldn’t have needed. End result: our arm had insufficient torque to lift the 5 lb ball past the 90 degree point without great strain.

  3. We would tip over when we had our ball held out in front of us. This was not unexpected, but it still makes the job difficult.

Would you like to hear this story’s happy ending? We offered the 2x ball grabber a quick and painless death at the hands of a hacksaw. It took just a minute and we lost about 25 pounds. In its place we built a hanging device.

Moral of the story: Go hang yourself. :wink: