BUILD LOG UPDATE WEEK 1:
Meeting 1: Kickoff (1/8)
The team landed on a general strategy and robot design. We started work on our CAD design and opened a GitHub for code. We went through the rulebook as a team and talked in depth about any points we deemed important to keep in mind as the season goes on. We also introduced our new students to the program and watched some videos of past competitions in order to get a feel for what we’re getting into. We especially looked at 2013, as the pyramid ascent looked very similar to the bar climb from this year. Further discussion was done about the strategy and robot as the night went on. Our students did a wonderful job leading a majority of the conversation and facilitating an easy and honest discussion.
Our stream setup using a room at the local library.
This was one of our most productive kickoff meetings ever! Even though we had low turnout, the students who came were dedicated and really wanted to gain momentum for the season. We landed on a general design and really started to kick off our CAD model (linked here). We also landed on a great strategy, which contains the following:
- Aim for the high goal. If we find out we cannot engineer a high goal solution, it would be far easier to switch to low goal shooting, rather than switch to the high goal shooter from a low goal shooter. This will almost definitely be done with a shooter similar to our 2020 design, which is a slightly modified version of the Ri3D robot “‘Snow Problem” (seen here).
- Engineer a solid mid bar climb solution. High bar seems like it could be out of our reach. If we can come up with a solution before we start building our mid bar mechanism, we’ll add it in. If not, we bank on a solid mid bar climb. This will most likely be using an elevator (more robust, however) similar to our 2019 design (seen being tested here).
- Passive defense. Our robot will primarily be used as a high offense bot, scoring a significant amount of cargo and being a reliable mid bar climber. We’ll be using a chain driven 6 wheel design, with 6” plastic wheels. This should provide us plenty of traction while not tearing up the carpet (of which we did our fair share in 2016), while also allowing us to resist sideways pushing from any robots trying to knock us off course. If there’s one thing we’re good at, it’s traction.
We did not make as much progress as some others. We anticipate running into weight problems and space problems. Our team sometimes has some luck with space problems happening to work out, but when it’s all theoretical we really don’t know for sure. As our CAD develops we’ll be able to see what space we have and what we can efficiently use to make our robot the best it can be. Not a lot of students showed up, and it would have been nice to be able to properly introduce new students and get them ready for the season.
Meeting 2: First Build Day (1/9)
This meeting started with a hitch. We were unable to access our shop. This was fortunately remedied within a couple of hours, and we used this time to expand our CAD and start our code. Once we got into our shop, we started disassembling the essential parts of our 2020 robot, Steve. He will be missed. While someone was working on that, we had 2 people helping to clean out our closet and sort some of the loose parts. This was very helpful, and we ended up finding a few things we didn’t know we had that saved us a couple bucks. We also had another two people cutting metal for the robot frame, one person improving our CAD model, and another two starting to code.
I am hesitating to call them goals, only because they were not set before the meeting began. But they were amazing to accomplish anyways.
- CAD improvements! (here)
- The CAD was improved to show motor placement, floorpan cuts, and general cargo shooter shape. This is a big move in the right direction.
- Code started! (here)
- The code was started! We’re about ⅓ of the way through making a drivetrain work, and a significant amount was done in the way of being able to communicate with the motor controllers.
- Possible name?
- One of our students noticed a fire extinguisher in the hallway with some of the letters removed, reading “Fire Tinguisher.” This seems to have stuck, and an early contender for the robot name is “The Tinguisher”
- Frame pieces fully cut and almost ready to be assembled!
- She’s looking great already!
- 4 of our 5 students who attended filing down the rough edges of the aluminum.
Never have we had a frame in this state this early. This is incredible. With learning CAD in the offseason, we had the opportunity to cut all the metal our first day in the shop. The team also feels that communication is better this year than most. Frustration has been kept at a minimum, and we’re having fun while still staying safe and getting things done. As mentioned early, we found a lot of parts that were presumed missing, saving us some money and grief in the long run.
Another lack of students. It seems that the 5 students who attended both today and the kickoff meeting will be our core group. While I am glad we have students at all, a majority of the team wishes we had a few more students to help with more daunting tasks. Another issue we’ve had is inventory management. We have a lot of stuff and not enough space. Currently we’re doing our best to label and sort the important parts, but it’s tough to keep things organized with such a small storage space. If anyone has suggestions for keeping small spaces organized, please let us know!
We’re meeting on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. We have no goals for this week. Almost everyone on the team is new or inexperienced, and we want to learn our limits and average pace before we set any goals. We are happy with our current trajectory and hope to keep our momentum going into the coming weeks!
Please let us know if there is anything we should add or if you have any questions/comments! We are always willing to help.