Off Season Projects: The Parade-Mobile

Hello all, I figured I’d start a thread to document what my offseason project is likely to be this year. Which of course means throwing questions at you all to see what might even work :rolleyes:

Anyway, so my overall idea is this: Create a do-everything parade bot. Large non-FRC-legal battery capacity, (fairly) high ground clearance, capable of keeping up with a parade speed of ~5MPH (at least 8FPS ground speed).
Once we’ve got those covered, I’ll go into the external crap, like manipulators for old game pieces as a demo. if it’s feasible, I thought of putting a chair on it for the driver to sit in, and perhaps a small hitch to pull a garden cart with small kids on it. That might be a bit much to ask from the venerable CIM, though…

I’d use our existing cRIO system, which I’m pretty sure still has all the needed components. We’ve got plenty of Victor 888’s as well. This bot would also probably end up doubling as a practice bot, so most everything I make will be modular. Don’t need a chair for driving around an empty room.

My initial plans are to use our 2014 Aerial Assist bot, as it already has the control system and a 2-cim-per-side drivetrain built in. However, long term it likely will have to be replaced if I want to do everything I plan to.

Following along with the chair and trailer hitch idea, a 3-cim per side drivetrain might be necessary to avoid overheating when it’s got a lot of weight on it. Couple that with a two-speed shifting gearbox for high speeds unloaded, low speeds fully loaded or on inclines should be more than enough. Our team has zero funds and can barely stay afloat as it is, so any new gearboxes will probably have to be custom fabbed (something I hope to avoid using chain/belt drives)

Anyway, enough of my train-of-thought writing. Doable or no, and thoughts on all?

I would recommend making the robot much larger than allowed in the FRC to allow you to create a larger and higher power drive train to be able to pull a small trailer to hold a few people and the driver, you could make the robot able to shoot out candy on two sides either on the robot itself or on the trailer. I would keep the robots functions relatively limited to conserve power and space. I would add a ton of very powerful motors to allow you to pull the trailer and a thermal regulator in case of overheating. You could create a regular parade float and just have a robot on top of it to protect the robot and allow for complex demos such as scaling of a tower as well as shooting candy into the crowd.

Forget passengers; there is a legal liability thing you want to steer clear of.

Bots that shoot friendly things (think foam basketballs) are crowd-pleasers; have freshmen in front of the bot to shag them. Don’t shoot into the crowd. Bots picking things up is bo-ring.

Make a dual-anderson battery connector, so ‘old’ and ‘new’ can be connected at the same time. Battery swaps on-the-go.

Control person walks behind, with a shelf on a neck strap like the drum kids in band use.

Use wheels that will wear well. No plaction here.

A well-decorated robot, using single-CIM drive (do you expect a pushing match?) much faster than 8 FPS (you have a whole street to drive in, not a tiny carpeted field) will be more than fine. 1676 has done this for years successfully.

The Andymark pneumatic wheels, from 2016, and, the lowest gearbox ratio will still roll along well over 5mph. The two speed gear box would be good. The air tires will be forgiving on city streets.

Last year the 0970’s were on backorder, our team used lawn and garden type 4.10x3.50-4 wheel and tires we made adapter plates for the Hex hubs.

Don, within a couple hundred miles of New Orleans, we’ll disagree with this one. Not to put too fine a point on it, around here “throw” is a noun*, referring to something which is thrown at a parade. Even coconuts. When the Saints won the Super Bowl, at the victory parade, players (and everyone else in the parade) threw things into the crowds. At night. Parades are what we do. YMMV.

All great suggestions! Maybe we were subconsciously thinking of parades rather than football games when we built our t-shirt cannon (as I said, it’s what we do), but we incorporated all these ideas except the neck strap.

  • though to be honest, the plural “throws” is far more commonly uttered than the singular.

Edit: to OP, love the avatar. The Victorinox Camper is one of the eight items regularly found in my left front pocket.

This is the biggest thing right here, speaking from experience, asphalt and concrete destroy other common types of FRC tread VERY quickly, the AM Pneumatic wheels are designed as wheelchair wheels and are much more suited for this kind of application.

Indeed. Throwing coconuts into a crowd. At night. Well, you do what you think is best…:ahh:

No, what I meant was not for the danger, but for the loss of foam basketballs. T-shirts, candy, coored beads: Those are OK to lose in the crowd. Those %%#@ basketballs are a few bucks each. Lose all of them in the first mile and the display gets a little bit uninteresting.

In all seriousness, though…

All of these are great ideas. Wiring batteries in parallel may also be a good option, though it would require all of the batteries to be of similar capacity. If you want some different or interesting items to launch into the crowds, check out 4imprint(you can put your team logo on your giveaways!) or US Toy.

You don’t need just a robot for a parade, you need to go big.

I know that team Titanium 1986 once built a large strandbeest (like these) parades, but I don’t seem to be able to find photos of it this morning.

But I really think it would be hard to top our Panther Robotic parade float.

And we’ve often put a driver in the ‘mouth’ to drive this year’s robot until they nearly always develop a problem then we load it and carry it on the trailer.

Note, frisbee robot is very good for parades.

Our float:

we built an all around robot cart about a year ago with two motorized wheelchair motors (essentially massive CIM’s) we built it to fit through most standard school doorways which are except for this year about the same dimensions as a legal FRC robot. the wheelchair motors are 24 volts so we put a radio controller on it with basic PWN motor control outputs and synced a model airplane r/c controller to the controller. we then attached 2 older pwn motor controllers that were rated for at least 24V to control each motor. with 2 driven 8" Pneumatic tires in the rear and hard rubber casters in the front each rated for 300lbs.

Here is a picture of the cart in prebuild stages I cannot find a more recent picture:

All around we’ve taken it in two parades using two standard lead acid FRC batteries powering it in series to make 24V, both being I believe a mile or more. depending on the gear ratio on the motors to start you may have different speeds however we never held up parade traffic.With this setup, we’ve carried around 400lbs on it with little loss of speed but a reduction in turning ability.

We also switched to the SPARK controllers found in the KOP this year because they were much more updated and didn’t have as many issues, as well as they, were rated for up to 30V if I remember correctly.

Great memory. It’s disassembled at the moment, but I think we have all the pieces still. Takes up a lot of shop space fully assembled.

Oh, and Bob. That 1108 float is incredible. Well done.

Pretty good surprise and a real laugh out-lout when the shooting started!

I’ve thought about building a beest for many years.

And thanks on the compliment.

Not quite. Only Zulu does coconuts, and they’re a Tuesday morning parade. I understand that throwing coconuts is now illegal, even during the daytime. ::safety:: I haven’t been down to Zulu since the rule was made, so I don’t know how closely it’s followed.