So I just got back from the WPI Regional and I’ve got a story to tell. As I was preparing this thread, I saw 237’s awesome transmission repair and knew there had to be a ton more of these kinds of clever, dirty repairs in FIRST. So I thought I’d wrap our little story into a general thread so that the whole CD community can hear about different teams’ ingenuity under pressure.
So in our last qualifying match, after we had secured the number 1 seed, we went to hang for 10 and then suddenly our arm snapped all the way back. We had sheared a 20 tooth pinion on the arm. We swapped for our spare so we’d be ready for the first quarterfinal, and what do you know, it happens again. Perhaps we should have decided not to hang, but since the gear lasted through a regional and a half we thought we were safe…
At this point, panic starts to set in. We were out of 20 tooth gears, so a lot of the team thought we were done. Out of utter desperation, a few students and I dig through the pits trying to find ANYTHING that works. We ask any team we can find if they even used Vex gears. No dice. We dig through our own supply just trying to find anything that can work.
One of our mechanical students finds the 19 tooth, 3/8 Hex drivetrain gears, hands them to me, and asks if they will work. We have to try. I sprint the gears down to the machine shop for secondary operations while I tell another student to let the drive team and repair crew know that a spare is on the way. I run it down the street to the machine shop (it’s in another building) and then ask if they can broach it. They say yes, if they can get a hex broach. I ask them to bore it out to 1/2" while I go find one.
Scrambling through the pits, I explain to the students the situation and they quickly find our hex broach. Since I’m out of shape, it’s their turn to sprint to the machine shop with a part while I go explain more about the repair to the pit crew. I vaguely remember a member of the repair crew looking at me like I was crazy, but it was our only shot.
The gear makes it to the field with one match to spare and… it’s too thick. They hand it to me and I sprint right back to the machine shop, asking them to take 1/8" off the gear. Fortunately, the 8th alliance called a timeout for an unrelated reason, which was just enough time for me to run back with the gear and for our wonderful pit crew to get it back onto the robot. We decide to line up for the 2 point goal, because frankly we have no idea what will happen to our robot in autonomous mode, and we all cross our fingers and hope this modification does the trick.
It does. We scored in autonomous that match, and while we were done trying to hang, our teleop performance looked completely unaffected. Just one change in code and we had our 3/3 top goal autonomous working every single match after this one. If we hadn’t stopped hanging at this point, it would have looked like nothing had ever happened. This is one of my team’s (and my own!) proudest moments in robotics. We didn’t give up, we scrambled and improvised under pressure and it totally paid off.
So there’s our story. How about yours?