Off season projects

Hey CD,
I am trying to get some ideas for possible off season projects to challenge myself, and to improve my capability’s for next season. Two years ago I designed in solidworks a single speed kiwi drive chassis. This was quite fun and I learned a lot, but looking back I wish I was more prepared for the season, and took more time to learn more. Last year I was focused on my study’s and i did not have as much time in the off season, but i did design a 2 speed gear box.

What are some off season projects you guys have done in the past?

I look forward to hearing your input.

Paulius Pace
Team 3161

This spring and next fall we are building a mopping robot for the janitorial staff. Basically a Roomba for mopping the hall. We know they exist in commercial units, but it provides a good intro to the tools and techniques we use for underclassmen, and a neat programming and sensors challenge for the programmers.

If you are looking for a good and challenging off-season task I would recommend building different kinds of drivetrains. You said that you have all ready made a kiwi drive and if you wanted a step up I would recommend cading a swerve. Personally my team was thinking that we may rebuild an old swerve drive to test and build on our skill. If a swerve drive is a bit much I would recommend picking a robot that you found interesting this year or in past years and try cading that. You said that you also made a shifting gearbox and that is very impressive, I would take a drive train that you have caded and attach it to the frame kind of like a display of what you have done. How you find something fun to make!

I agree with MikeMack, but to even expand further on drivetrains, try to branch out to generic types of peripherals/manipulation stuff you could use in season. Some categories could be things like shooters, arms, climbing, game piece collection, etc. Say you design a generic shooter in the off season and end up needing one when the new game comes around. You’re no longer starting from scratch, you can work with the generic model you made prior and adapt it to your needs in the new season.

A more creative project your team could do is building some sort of prized icon. Our school is “boiler” themed (like Purdue) and our team is Ironclad. So, we built our school mascot a hammer that’s made with pvc piping, and the top has led lights that flash and do their thing. We also borrow the hammer from time to time, and take it with us to business meetings. Personally, I love when the folks representing the company we’re meeting with walk in and there’s this giant hammer sitting in the middle of our meeting table :smiley:

As far as a more personal summer project, I think a lateral gear movement system would be pretty cool. I don’t know how feasible this is to accomplish, but it’s a system that shifts where the gear is being held right to left. 2169 has a really good example of theirs in their reveal video (https://youtu.be/cRelUdGfBqo at 26 seconds). Again, not quite sure how realistic it is for one person but that would be quite the challenge!