Robot Shooter Simulations and more

I have some resources below for you guys on how to simulate an FRC shooter, animate your robots, and some basic design tips and tricks using cad drawing tools. This post is not just about CAD, it has some basic design tools that can be used on many platforms. If you guys want to see other topics like this, let me know and I will see what I can do!

I recently finished up a web series on SOLIDWORKS for my work and figured that the community should see these videos and take advantage of some of the free stuff being thrown at them. I am using SOLIDWORKS but trust me, all 3D platforms have a way to do this so even if you don’t have SOLIDWORKS maybe you will be inspired to use these techniques on CREO/ProE and Inventor and share with everyone on how to do it in those programs.

There are three videos with distinct topics and features in here that I will share below.

Make It Move Part 1: Basic motion controls and AVI creation for your robot CAD model. This can be used to effectively communicate your basic design to your team and help you get to the best answer for that ball pickup device quickly. You don’t even need to model the entire design, just a few sticks of metal might suffice. I see 1000 designs for actuating 775 pro drives showing up this week on Chief. Now go animate them!

Make It Move Part 2: This video is a much more advanced animation topic and there are other videos out there for it…but not FRC related. This should serve as some basic ideas for you on how to get game pieces to interact with your robot so that you can identify problems. For instance, your robot can pick up a game piece but has difficulty transitioning it into your shooter. This kind of stuff plagues FRC teams and this is one way to help work through it using a tool most of you are already using. How about designing a robotic arm with 8 moving parts? It helps to see the motion and the pistons moving around!

Make It Move Part 3: This is the bread and butter of the series! I created a basic motion simulation that helps identify how fast the flywheels on the robot need to spin to get the ball into a goal. Given an initial speed, will the game piece go in to the goal? This can be used for so many games it isn’t funny. I tried to make it as easy for anyone to replicate as possible so check this out and make your own versions for your shooter designs. You will need to adjust for compression, shape, backspin, but this may help you figure out how a ball will behave after being shot. (I can’t simulate that yellow steamworks fuel residue sorry)

Machine Design using Blocks: I threw this one in because it should be helpful for many of you. The 973 RAMP series is excellent and does go over some of this but I still see teams year over year overcentering their pneumatic actuators and causing steel rods to start looking banana shaped. This can be used for any CAD platform flavor, all of them have block commands. We actually create a master block file to design our robots first and then start making the parts so we can see if the motions clear or meet the rules first. This is simply an extra step between the 973 videos and a fully completed robot design. Use those blocks, they help!

If you guys like this kind of content or have anything specific you would like to see let me know!

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