Off-Season Projects

This is simply out of curiosity but I would like to know if other teams do off-season projects. The answers I’m mainly looking for are projects that involve using some type of control system so it’s not just a t-shirt cannon but an automated one.

Later Posted in this thread:
Cool, it’s nice to know that teams keep going even when the season is technically over.

FRC 3320 is building a t-shirt cannon robot, or more of we just finished it.
The t-shirt cannon robot has three barrels and it launches three t-shirts sequentially, so one after the other. I would post a picture but that would be too much of a spoiler to an April event we’re helping out with.

Now we’re currently building a soda dispensing robot. It’s quite self explanatory, basically a roaming vending machine, just you don’t have to pay for the soda. We’ll be done building it this week and then it’s being shipped to be shown off for a contest. (Details will be released April 27 - 29 :wink: ).

Now does anybody out there use their FRC Control System for other projects?
Bonus question: Do you do it with LabVIEW? (Just out of curiosity)

a couple of people on my team have some interesting off season projects.

i am looking into making 2 speed transmissions with less money than buying premade ones, and less time / difficulty than making fully custom ones. i plan to buy the gears, shafts, and dog gear from andymark, then create the rest of it in our shop. the cost of bought materials should be only 148 dollars through this method. if it turns out to be a viable solution i will write a white paper and upload CAD files.

another member of my team is looking into the possibilities of using an Arduino to supplement the Crio, and to run a practice bot off.

i am also thinking of looking into finding better encoders.

I think our team leader decided we were going to try to recreate jump drive (by 461) this off-season, whether everyone else wanted to or not. :stuck_out_tongue:

3266 still doesn’t have a t-shirt cannon bot yet, but that’s something my dad (mentor) and I have always wanted to do.

I was planning on doing the same thing but without pneumatics. I didn’t know if anyone else had tried it yet. I’m going to use this video thanks for the video:)

Team 166 wants to do a water cannon bot…preferably with camera control to tell how it needs to be aimed.

The off-season, or as we like to call it, the “pre-season,” can be just/almost as important as the build/competition season. The most important thing that your team can do during the pre-season is get active in your community. Go out and fund-raise, mentor some FLL teams, or march in a few parades. The more your community knows about you, the better off you’ll be later on. You could also construct a cart or a pit area.

But to get back to your request for a technical project…

This past year MARS (2614) held its first-ever internal robot competition. Basically the team split in half and worked on a challenge similar (in spirit at least :smiley: ) to a FIRST game. We called it Cube Capture and it came complete with a rules manual and a game animation http://marsfirst.org/sites/default/files/MARS_CubeCapture_Animation.wmv :cool: .

The goal was not only to develop new technologies (the judging rubric/point values were weighted in such a way as to encourage team members to get better at what we perceived as our weaknesses) but also to train new and returning students so that when the seniors left for college it wouldn’t be as hard on the team. The robots that were built for the competition weren’t all that pretty (since they were built on very tight budgets) but they didn’t have to be. Everyone had fun and learned a lot and it prepared the team for the 2011 season.

It doesn’t really matter what you do over the summer, just so long as you do SOMETHING to keep the team active and learning.

Good Luck!
-Luke

Each year changes, but includes the same ideas. In the off-season, Team 256 will make machines such as T-shirt cannons(or catapults, as we call ours), go-karts, etc. During this time, we test out new drive train ideas, gear boxes, custom parts, new motors, and the works. This is also our time where we bring out our robot to the public and show off what we do. This is our major recruiting time. This year, our goal is to incorporate robotics into other sports. We will be attempting to build robots that can compete in football, baseball, basketball, and soccer. We may even try the impossible: Water Polo!

One of the things team 1311 works on is our Applied Robotics for Marine Sustainability (ARMS) program. It’s turned into a year round effort, but it started as just an off-season project.

A few years ago we started building a ROV to pick up trash from lakes and streams. It took a little while to pick up, but eventually expanded into a massive effort.

This year we started building a ROV to collect oil from shallow marine estuaries (inspired by the oil spill in the gulf last year). We applied for and were awarded the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams grant to fund the project.

ARMS is more than just about building robots. It’s a great way to get the attention and communicate to the public the value of STEM education and FIRST. Remember, one of the main goals of FIRST is to transform our culture into one where science and technology is celebrated. If your work outside of the competition can grab the attention of more than just everyone on chiefdelphi, then you are well on your way towards helping accomplish this goal.

We will be looking into different types of drive trains. We will research CAD and build 2(?). Also our programming and electrical teams will practice wiring and coding these 'bots, so come competition time we chose drive train A or B (yes i know we have to start build from scratch, we will just replicate one drive train) and programming and electronics can whip out a coded control bored in a very short amount of time. Plus we will be fundraising and doing LOTS of demos. This is not just time for the robot guys to get a head start, but also the chairmans team. Also don’t forget about that website because, come Jan.8 you won’t want to be working on the website.

A very good idea.

In fact, that is precisely what we hope to be doing in the off season :stuck_out_tongue:

Team 1293 and team 2815 are having an off season competition here in Irmo, South Carolina. If anyone would like to participate, email me at [email protected] for more info.

Team Driven (1730) has always had a very busy off-season with our long list of events (The Cowtown Throwdown off-season FRC event, our robotics summer camps for elementary and middle school kids, fundraising, etc.) but this past year we also undertook a couple of more “robotic” focused activities:

  1. A group of students and mentors took on the challenge of building a new robot for the 2010 Breakaway IRI event. We were learning to TIG weld and decided to try to build a new machine for IRI without using ANY 8020 (our long-standing frame material). We were pleased with our results and implemented some of our learnings while building our 2011 LogoMotion machine (free of 8020).

  2. After enduring a long season of mechanical problems with our crab drive train during 2010, we had a group of students take on a project of designing new crab wheel pods for potential future use. They drew all of the parts/assemblies in CAD (Inventor is our tool of choice), then printed the custom parts on our school’s new 3D printer. We purchased a few parts (gears, wheel, etc.) and then assembled the prototype wheel pod. The kids even did a couple iterations of some of the parts to refine their model. We ended up not going with a crab/swerve style drive train in 2011 but still have this prototype in our bag of tricks should we ever decide to go that route.

It seemed to be a great experience for everyone involved and maybe more important than the actual wheel pod, our team became proficient in using the 3D printer and have incorporated several key parts in our 2011 LogoMotion competition machine that are directly off the 3D printer. Stop by and take a look if you get to the Championships in St Louis!

One offseason project I would like to do comes from inspiration of Team 3553’s robot. I think their “Dragonfly” is worthy of the creativity award. If I ever get the opportunity I would like a robot like that of Team 3553’s robot out of Tetrix parts.

Besides that I want to experiment with different drivetrains and learn how to do CAD.

Once I raise the funding I will be building what I call a folding crab drive.

The goal is to build a robot that’s starting footprint is a 18" square, and can thus be transported in the trunk of a car.

I will also be working on a web service for remote control of robots, hopefully find a way to host a game that people can pay to drive a robot for a match.

I am thinking of making it a woods-based capture the flag game.
Taking a lot from COD, trying to make it an addicting game with achievements that give you a distinct advantage.

Our biggest off-season project will be prepping for and hosting SCRIW (our first attempt at an off-season FRC event) alongside 1293. We’ll probably discover some more ideas, but after two back-to-back regionals the team is in ugh-I-don’t-want-to-see-you-people-until-after-spring-break mode. (Can’t blame them–it was nice to have a weekend off for once!)

I’d love to see a capture the flag type game! It would be so much fun to have a group of robots on a large playing field, with many obstacles blocking their way, and a terrain with varied heights, fighting it out for possession of a game piece! It would rely a lot on sensors and cameras, but that would make it more interesting!

Team 256 also does team-building activities such as going to Laserquest, Golfland, and having swim parties!

We too are hosting an offseason event. That’s the biggie for us.

In the meantime, we’re going to learn to use our new mill with all of it’s incredible tools/jigs. It’s accurate to within 0.005, even less with alot of care, so the hope is to make some gearboxes using it. Perhaps we’ll even make a 1-speed direct-drive WCD. After the problems we’ve had so far this season, I’m really liking the less parts that WCD has to offer. We might even upgrade our claw to a roller claw, depending on how things go.

Last year our offseason project was starting a 501c3. Good decision so far, tbh.

Cool, it’s nice to know that teams keep going even when the season is technically over.

FRC 3320 is building a t-shirt cannon robot, or more of we just finished it.
The t-shirt cannon robot has three barrels and it launches three t-shirts sequentially, so one after the other. I would post a picture but that would be too much of a spoiler to an April event we’re helping out with.

Now we’re currently building a soda dispensing robot. It’s quite self explanatory, basically a roaming vending machine, just you don’t have to pay for the soda. We’ll be done building it this week and then it’s being shipped to be shown off for a contest. (Details will be released April 27 - 29 :wink: ).

Now does anybody out there use their FRC Control System for other projects?
Bonus question: Do you do it with LabVIEW? (Just out of curiosity)

FRC2168 intends to train more of our students on CAD and mechanical design. This we likely be done through refinement of our current sheetmetal 6WD, and the development of other drivetrain options for the future. We intend to look into the design of an 8WD, and a slide drive. The design intent will be adaptable so we will be prepared for various game challenges.