Pearadox 2022 Summer "Task" blog

In today’s meeting, we started work on 2 more tables and got those mostly done. we’ve also begun assembling the swerve robot that I mentioned in my last post, after finishing up the last few parts from the previous meeting I started work on “upgrading” the CNC, mainly how we mount and work hold things, and now I will spend way too much time talking about it because that’s all I did today and I’m excited to try it out. Up to now, we’ve been using double-sided tape to work hold basically everything and it works great to keep things from moving. Still, we find that it can throw off our Z accuracy as well as stick to tools and makes them worse at chip evacuation, as a solution we’re installing some #10-32 screw to expand inserts into the HDPE spoil board we’re using. we plan to put them in a regular grid pattern so that before we cut out parts we can go through and drill through holes that will let us screw the parts down.

That should allow us to deal with most of our plate material as for tubes we have an Ozzy Board TubeMagic (v1) and after taking a test indicator to it even with all the surfaces parallel we’re still seeing about 10 thou run out over 6 inches and in some places we’re seeing 10 thou over an inch. we don’t really like that for some of our more critical machining for things like belt and chain C to C’s. As a solution I made some CAD of eccentric cam’s that can be used to hold tubes, this in combination with a set of dowels we already use to index sheet and plate materials these cams in combination with the aforementioned screw inserts should let us machine both tube and plate without me having to spend an hour tramming the tube jig. which I like because it makes less work for me :slightly_smiling_face:.


Hi! Would you mind talking a little bit more about how you plan to use the cams to hold in the tube stock? We were having trouble with an effective setup for tubes, but I want to experiment with it over the off-season.

I’m always down to share more. The cams are doing the same thing as the mitee-bites you would see on the WCP tube jig, the only difference here is we’ve tried to make them easily CNC’ed and tool-less once they are installed so we can rapidly switch tubes. They work basically by attaching to a hole 1 inch of the face of the tube, the cam is designed that when the handle is perpendicular there’s room to insert or take out parts, and turning it either way to a 45-degree angle should touch the tubes so you just need to push it a little past 45 to get a good clamp the tube.
here’s a little example I made in onshape.

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Thanks, that sounds like a great idea! How do you ensure the piece is straight when clamped in like this?

great question, as i mentioned a few posts ago we have several dowel pis we put into the spoil board and we know that they are parallel with the spindle, these pins are what we use to get our precise straightness and then we can adjust for any variance in the cams by clamping more or less because each cam is independent of the others.

This past weekend was a pretty productive one for us!

  1. installed an outlet cover for the CNC router. We had covered it in electrical at some point because the outlet we plugged the router into is directly underneath the router. Early on, we kept tripping the breaker as little shavings of metal would get between the prongs somehow.
  1. Some students went through and reorganized our sheet stock! Looking much better. Instead of sorting by material type, we now just primarily sort by size.

  2. got a couple more tables built and painted

    Still need to install the shelves for the sterilite bins on them

If anyone has suggestions on fastener sorting and storing methods - I’d love to see/hear them! I have dreams of a lista cabinet. I think my goal would be to have two different things:

  • a larger fastener organization set up for at the shop that has a wide arrangement of bolts types/sizes
  • our smaller/more mobile set up for the pit

Open to suggestions on how to figure out what to keep in stock. Things I can think of would be:

  • #10s SCHS at roughly 0.25" increments from 0.25 - 2.5 or 3"
  • 1/4-20 button heads (same hex key size as #10 schs)
  • would probably need a few #10 button heads and a few 1/4-20 SCHS
  • Probably need some appropriate M3 sizes for Rev stuff

The nice thing if we were to get a lista cabinet is we could just get it configured for what we’d like it to be stocked with eventually, and as I determine we need a bolt size, or if we have some spare cash, we could fill in the gaps - and it’d be in theory to keep organized.


today’s meeting was super productive for the team, unfortunately, I forgot to take any pictures but we did some rookie sketching training and we took apart some tables and we got even more tables started which is great. we also started a training series to introduce rookies to the drive team (more to come next week) so that when we go to remix and NTX they can be prepared if they want to try to be on the drive team for those events. we also got the CNC control box wall mounted so I can continue to work on the new work holding solutions.


We use 4 fastenal compartment boxes and this bearing slide rack to hold them. We have #8 and smaller, #10-32, #10-24, and 1/4-20 compartments boxes on the rack. Fastenal Industrial Supplies, OEM Fasteners, Safety Products & More

A few things have happened over the last few weeks.

We got advantageTrack running, after learning that if we plug a router directly into a wall we can have a team wifi running that we can connect our raspberry pi, printer, and markforge too! Hooray! We may end up still having people click their name to sign in vs using the pings - but its’ nice that we can do the automatic detection if we want! Also, if anyone wants to know why I’m feeling overwhelmed any given weekend, you can take a look at this visit count of 53, with 75% of the visitors being freshman and sophomores.

I’ve also identified a new potential task that we can have some parents help with - I’m thinking the walls around here could be good for some trophy shelves. Might reserve room for another TV on the wall to the right, but can probably get a few good shelves on either side of the existing TV

Also we got some new ideas for a method to our madness for raw materials

  • pieces shorter 16" go standing up in a milk crate
  • pieces between 16" and about 3 ft go standing up in another container. Currently a milk crate, but I’d like to find something a little taller that’s sturdy and not too expensive. Would love any suggestions
  • 3 ft and longer material goes on the shelves

This will hopefully help us identify when we’re running low on long stock, and help us find and use short pieces when we don’t need something long; it’s easy for someone to just grab the first thing they see, which might be long, and cut it down. Now if you have an 11" piece you need, you know where to start looking before going up a size container and cutting things down more. We do flats/solids on the bottom, 1/8" + versa + maxtube on the next one up, 1/16" + max tube lights on the next up, with wood on top.

Also looking to do some similar things with shafts/axles. We have some work to do here these shelves, so I bought some acrylic pencil cup holders for short shaft. We’ll of course sort these into hex, churro, round, etc. They’re $4 a pop, so they’re not too cheap, but if I’m only doing 10 or so of these, it’s probably worth it.

We also got a bit further along in our CNC re-work. Electronics board is mounted to the wall, as well as some covered electrical outlets. We’re going to be making the switch to a water cooled spindle. I’d still really like to build a large enclosure around it and have a better way for supporting the duct. And of course cable cleanup needs to happen.


I’ve got to ask, why 10-32 AND 10-24? This sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

I can usually pretty quickly tell the difference these days between a course and fine threaded #10 bolt, but the same certainly can’t be said for 90% of my students. I’d also hate to have to constantly be checking if I have a course or fine thread in my hand, opposed to just knowing any #10 bolt I grab in the shop is 10-32 (or 10-24 if you go that route).

Versaplanetary gearboxes used 10-32. However we changed over to 10-32 standard to get rid of 10-24 (except for legacy robots).


How big are those pencil holders? I want :wink:

On the duct, I suggest a bracket on the wall to get a support out near the middle of the table, and have a soft spring or surgical tubing on it to support the hose.

Now that the CNC is back and running I can return to my shenanigans. This week was the first week we tried to make robot parts for a climber to our swerve bot, this was mainly to test the machine and make sure it was functioning and everything checks out on that front so we’re chugging along. (not all of these parts are new, some where cut during the season)


Pretty sure this is what I got:

The only issue is that window right there just means the support would be pretty high up, and a little harder for us to do safely (since we’d have to be on ladders or scaffolding or something). Not all of us have the height advantage that you do! lol

have a busy couple of months to go here before kickoff, figured I’d share some of our remaining fall plans for anyone that may be interested:

  • Sept 17th - round robin training. This training involves veteran students running 8 different 30-ish min sessions to introduce new students to the various aspects of the team/competition, along with some ice breakers, team lunch, etc. Running these 8 sessions concurrently and rotating small groups through the sessions allow veteran students to work with a group of 5 or so students at a time and learn more about each other
  • Sept 24th - Remix competition
  • Oct 1 - might be a FTC workshop for our jr high kids
  • Oct 8/9 - NTX competition
  • Oct 12 - leadership discussion
  • Oct 15 - team goals discussion, leadership elections
  • Oct 19 - training on how to use the various prototyping blocks (Spectrum Blocks, Hype Blocks, and Quick Build Blocks)
  • Oct 22 - mock kickoff
  • Oct 26/ 29/ Nov 2/5 (really however long it takes) - practice prototyping with the 3d printed blocks
  • Oct 29th and Nov 12th we may be targeting some fundraiser type camps
  • Oct 31st will be an outreach event with the Pearland Parks and Rec called “Trick Or Treat” trail - it’s a really great opportunity for us to reach thousands of people in our community and promote our Nov 12th fundraiser

wow…gonna get real busy! We also got a new spindle for our CNC router that we’ll need to get installed sometime and tested out. Would like to eventually get it set up with the PC water cooling loop, but that probably won’t be this year

I think the team goals discussion is real important to have. On a team such as ours that’s really large, and we are fortunate to have good resources available to us, we have some students that are really eager to to finally break that barrier from finalists to event winner (and more). But, as the saying goes “if you wanna go fast, go alone. If you wanna go far, go together”. The team discussing goals and understanding what sort of team buy in is needed to achieve various goals is going to be useful I think for the week or two after kickoff.

If anyone has suggestions on some training for introducing new students to design calculators (JVN,,, etc) that’d be great. Sometime in the next week or two, I’d like to take them through some examples to help them better understand how to use these awesome tools.


I’d love to have some training material on the design calculators too… I’m 98% sure they baffle the heck out of the kids :wink: Heck there are things in them that require some head scratching for a skilled engineer! That would be braking, of course. My current windmill to joust with.

I wonder if I could work with the programmers to have three or four video cases where we run our bot with 2, 4, and 6 motors, and variable current limits. Then compare those results with the models!


yea, I mostly just want to put together some examples of the basic usage for the calculators (trying to guesstimate a reasonable gear ratio and number of motors for a given speed/load). And I’ll definitely be reminding the students that all models are wrong, but some are useful - haha!

It’s really easy for people to get caught up the calculator says it should be doing…some number to 5 sig-figs :upside_down_face:

True! However I found that convincing the kids that current limits were actually going to -improve- robot performance was completely impossible without allowing them to brown out in competition :frowning: I’ve gotta find a way to pass that on more successfully… Hopefully not a “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink” situation.

it’s been a while since we’ve updated this but we just finished up our last offseason of the year, NTX which is in Dallas. We also competed at remix in the woodlands on September 24th where we competed with our primary robot and while we didn’t make it past quarters we’re still super happy with how we performed, at all our offseasons we’ve been rotating our drive team for almost every match to try and get as many people an idea of what it’s like to be on the drive team. At NTX we competed with 2 robots, our main robot Trogdor and our swerve offseason robot Pearamount. Both robots competed in the Stem gals girl’s tournament and the main tournament. We got a lot of good experience with these robots and after talking to the other people on the swerve drive team we’ve learned a lot and figured out some other things we need to figure out when we’re able to get back into our room.
Now that we’ve finished all our offseason competitions we’re going to hit the ground running working on organizing and reworking some of our processes and I’ll do my best to keep everyone watching this thread up to date.


That is sort of what we do in our office (two shelfs on the upper right), if you need ideas for your parents. I’m thinking of putting up the plaques separately. And please note the Woodie Flowers’ clay bust on the top shelf that a student made a few years back, since #WalkLikeWoodie day is Wednesday.

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