Team 2980's 2020 Open Source Thread

Hey All,

We will be posting as much as we can about this year’s robot and our ideas for this year’s FRC competition. Our team follows a pretty regular schedule throughout build season which I will lay out now so you can follow along if you like:

Week 1: Rules review, Sub System research, Design competition,
We start out by reviewing the rules, analyzing the game, and researching as many ways to do each thing as we can find. We do some prototyping, and build simple field elements. We then split the team into three subteams. Each subteam “assembles” a robot selecting subsystems from our research based on a particular strategy for playing the game. We then present the three different designs to our local community. This is made up of Any people from our local community, representatives from our sponsors, Navy partners, team alumni, and more. The community then decides that the team will build.

Week 2: Cadd and further prototyping. During week 2 we really try to nail down a design and get things firmly settled on the team moving forward. We look for any major conflicts that would get in the way of us fulfilling the communities design specifications, and we do some basic fabricating (drive train if we have a good enough idea what the robot needs in order to function.)

Week 3: We should be heavily into fabrication of subsystems. The goal is to have everything that goes on the robot modeled in CADD and figured out at this point. The team should be cutting out parts and the electronics and programming people should be hard at work setting things up. The drive base should definitely be done at this point unless it requires a lot of welding and custom fabricated parts, though we have been sticking with KOP drive bases for the past few years. Years where we have done custom fabricated drive bases before then we pushed to have those done by the end of week 3 anyway.

Week 4: Assembly At this point the robot and the majority of its subsystems should be functioning. During week 4 we should be putting things together and working on cleaning up wiring, plumbing pneumatics if we use them, and electronics. In prior years we have used week 4 to work on a practice bot also, but this year we won’t be making one because there is no bag day. Hopefully we can use the extra time for improving subsystems (though we have a week 2 event and half of the team is traveling to Costa Rica during the 0 week, so we won’t really be able to do very much more between build season and our first competition.

Week 5: is refining, testing, and electronics. really it comes down to making the subsystems work once the robot is put together as well as they did on their own while being hand fed for example.

Week 6: More testing and finalization. At this point we should have things pretty well buttoned up, and have found most of the major problems and be working on solutions. Hopefully we don’t completely build the wrong robot (it has happened before…) and we can just focus on drive team practice and making things look really good.

Week 6 ends with a reveal ceremony. We bring back the community, have a spaghetti dinner, and show them the robot. We also show our robot reveal video, chairman’s video, and give our sponsors an opportunity to share with the community.

Week 7 we go to Costa Rica.

Then we have our first competition shortly after we get back.

I will work to make sure we update this thread including pictures at least 2 times a week throughout build season. I will also work to have updates on how the robot performs once it is all said and done.

Let us know what you think, and if any of you put the ideas we post here to use.



I have been going through the rules in preparation for today’s meeting with the team. I’m trying hard not to steer the team in a particular direction while trying to avoid mistakes that our team has made in the past…

I have only browsed through the rules at this point and don’t really have the clearest understanding of the game… ( I am no expert)

My thoughts on the best teams out there…

Some sort of omnidirectional drive capable of driving over the barrier to get into the rendezvous zone in order to climb.

I could see a really good team having some sort of turret bot…
Able to score from almost anywhere on the field using vision tracking and distance sensors to accurately target the goal and spin up flywheels.

Able to floor load and shoot quickly to benefit from a dump bot that would act as a feeder.

Able to turn the control panel wheel quickly and accurately using sensors to know when to stop

A ~ 5 second climb anywhere on the bar possibly lifting two parter robots along with them…

Am I leaving anything out?

Oh…and possibly a short bot /convertible because the bar at its lowest point is pretty close to the ground…Either that or able to pull up bast the highest point on the bot, maybe even taking advantage of that in order to use the rest of the switch to support the robot during its climb.

Other end of the spectrum…

A dump bot that focuses on powercells…Drive to the human player station. Collect power cells…Drive back and dump them in the low goal…Rinse recycle repeat.

The hope here would be to shoot for 5 cycles a match not including auto and scoring at least 4 points each cycle.

Given the number of points for climbing (number of points equated to potential difficulty of task) Maybe a 10 or more second climber added on later in the season.

My thoughts on defence?
Defence is going to be hard to do well. I can see targeting line shooters as a way to increase the need for cycles…

I can see being a blocker increasing cycle time as teams travers the field to get power cells…

Visibility is going to be a nightmare.

I just looked through the field using VR on my phone. I have to try it using the vive later on, but visibility is going to be terrible. I looked from most positions. The center and left positions being the worst for high goal scoring. lining up with the control panel is going to be difficult also.

Relying on a camera on a bot is going to slow things down without using some sort of automation or vision tracking…Though I’m sure teams will figure this out…

Specific spots on the field to shoot from (IE the protected zones)

Ok…enough for now…We will try to keep people updated on our ideas, and thoughts as we progress through the season.



So I know I won’t be able to keep this up for the entire season, but I have commited to writing for 20 minutes each day and this counts…(I’m a part of a facebook group where people agree to sit and write for 20 minutes each day. If you miss a day you have to pay 1 dollar. The person or people who miss the least number of days in a given period get the pot. I would donate it to the team so…

Today we went from 10 AM to 6 PM…The team worked fairly steadily the whole time which was nice. We started out by spending the first 2 hours reading through the rules. We split the rules into 4 sections, and each subteam read a different section and gave a short presentation to the rest of the team on that section of the rules. The goal is to have everyone on the team know the rules well enough to pass a rules test… Not sure if it actually worked out that way, but we did have some interesting discussions happen about how to effectively be a defence robot and how you might potentially fall into penalty traps if you are in the wrong place.

There were also discussions about the control panel wheel and how it needs to be moved…Harder than it looks at first glance, Different ways in which points can be scored with power cells and different aspects of hanging.

One of the things that I found most enlightening was the difficulty a number of kids on the team had reading and understanding the rules. A number of students in their presentations stated misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the rules which we could then correct or at least try to rectify.

After that we went into looking at all of the possible ways to do all of the possible things.

We split up and had groups researching:

-Drive bases:
-Power Cell intake methods (my favorite was the hungry hippos method)
– floor, feeder station, and combination
-Power cell shooting
-Power cell dumping
–Both active and passive
-Control wheel manipulation
–active, passive, and locking hooks
–Anywhere on the bar
—with and without the ability to hold position as the bar tilts
—With and without the ability to manipulate center of gravity
–Potential buddy climb methods
-Multipurpose assemblies

Each of these things was then presented to the team…

Then finally we broke into design sub teams.

Each subteam will pick a strategy for game play. They then design a robot around that strategy and we will be presenting the strategies to the community on Friday. The community will then decide what we should build.

After the meeting the mentors had a meeting at a local restaurant. I had a burrito.

I’ve tried to start listing my concerns for this year 3 times, and each time I have deleted what I have written, so instead I will say this.

We are sometimes a bottom of the pack sort of team, we are sometimes a middle of the road sort of team. While we have never really been a top of the pack sort of team, we have at times done well.

I don’t want us to overextend ourselves this year. Those years are usually the worst for us. Years when nothing works well and we are constantly working on fixing the robot…Not much fun.

I also don’t want us to underextend. At one point today someone was suggesting that we just focus on the control panel and climbing…

I definitely want the team to have a successful and reliable climber. We were pretty good for steam works, not so successful for Power up though we did successfully climb a few times…Not at all for stronghold…

I don’t really know what else I hope for for the team outside of that…

I don’t know…


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Today’s meeting…Still have about an hour to go. The three design teams have settled out with strategies that they are going to work out for the community.

Team 1 (Dumpling)

Uses the square KOP drive base

Super simple low scoring robot. Basically a box on wheels. Loads at the human player station, drives through the trench and dumps by tipping the bucket maybe with an active flywheel to help propel power cells out of the robot.

The climber hook would be passively lifted using elastic on nested PVC pipes, and then when it retracts would use a pulley lifting the robot from its 4 corners.

Team 2 (BIMS)

An active low scorer using 2 conveyor belts to floor load power cells from the back and spit them out into the low goal from the front. The power cell manipulation would be relatively fixed and the robot should be low enough to go through the trench.

Modifying the KOP drive train with shifting gearboxes increasing their ability to do defense and for helping the drivers to line up.

The climber would use a rack and pinion to lift a linear slide which would lift a hook and cable up to the switch. A winch would then wind up lifting the robot.

They would use a wheel on an arm that can be lowered for manipulating the control panel.

Team 3 (Yeat yaw Seent Saw)

AM 14u4 long drive base.

A belt based high goal/low goal active shooter that would take in balls to a conveyor belt based storage area and then spin the intake belts in reverse at high speed in order to accelerate power cells up to the high goal. The intake/shooter would be a long rectangular tube with two belts, one pair for storing power cells (low speed) and one high speed for intaking power cells and shooting them up to the high goal. The entire mechanism would be mounted on a pivot point like a see saw so that it could tilt down to intake, tilt horizontally to actively discharge into the low goal, and aim up to shoot into the high goal.

They plan to use a horizontal wheel mounted on the top of the see saw to manipulate the control panel, and linear slides on either side to lift hooks up for climbing to hang from the switch.

We should have hand drawings by the end of tomorrow and then we will start doing really basic CADD models so that the community will have an idea of what we are working with. We will also start doing some prototyping work tomorrow.

Enough for now…


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We spent today doing two things. First we prepared for FTC interdistricts for a bit. Mostly that meant working on our presentations and dialing in our autonomous program. It kept hanging up after dropping off a stone on the foundation.

Then it was on to working on getting our presentations ready for the community based design competition.

We got our first simple drawings done of Dumpling. Dumpling is designed to shuttle balls from the human player station to the low goal and then climb during end game. It cannot load from the floor which on some level has me worried because it means we will be relying on the human player station having balls. If the other alliance can’t score balls, then I guess it won’t matter.

I am a bit concerned about the design of the bucket. It is a large passive box that tips up to pour the balls out into the low goal. The concern is that balls may jam in it making it exceedingly difficult to get the out into the goal. I don’t want to end up with something so complicated that it might as well be one of the more ambitious designs.

We still have to see if there is room on there for a mechanism for manipulating the wheel of fortune.

We worked out a lot of the geometry for Yeet Yaw Seent Saw. This is a convertable robot that can floor load. We started doing a super rough cadd model, but it was pretty late when we got done with dumpling so…(probably shouldn’t name robots we aren’t sure we are going to get to build.

The robot has a long conveyor belt box that tips back and forth like a seesaw. Initially it will be for actively putting balls in the low goal, and then in time the hope is to spin the first level belt fast enough to score in the high goal. Not sure if that is even possible… Next week we should be cadding and prototyping so hopefully we can find out.

A part of me thinks we could almost build dumpling as a backup in case a more ambitious design doesn’t work out…Another part of me knows that if we did the more ambitious design definitely wouldn’t work out.

Hopefully I will have pictures to add tomorrow.


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I am honestly exhausted…

we are getting ready for our design competition, and our FTC team is still running strong and getting ready for inter districts. I sort of hate the overlap because all of the FTC team members who are also doing FRC bail on the FTC team and spend all of their time focusing on FRC stuff…

So…We have 3 teams, but I only have access to drawings of 2 of the designs. Tomorrow I am really hoping to post video from the design competition.

I don’t think we will have a good camera set up so it might just be a recording on a phone or facebook live post.

First off:


Dumpling is a box on wheels. Running the full length of the field to load power balls from the feeder station, and run them to the low goal. It will either use springs and a motor to pull a pin, or 2 small motors to lift two hooks up to grab the switch, a 45:1 gear setup will then wind up cables connected to a pulley on the bottom of the hook to lift the robot from all 4 corners.

Showing the back drop out panel that should bridge the gap between the back of the bot and the feeder station.

The box lifts up to dump the balls into the low goal. we may have to carefully design the box to prevent jamming, or make it active using belts on the bottom.

Shows the lifter fully extended. It pulls the hooks down hopefully hooking onto the bar. The hooks then disengage from the lift mechanism and lift the robot up.

The other design I have access to will be an active low scorer which may also be capable of shooting into the high goal if we can get the belts to spin fast enough, or add fly wheels to the end. The lifter will be similar to the first one, except they plan on using an active clamp to grab onto the bar. We plan to use encoders to position the ball manipulator. The other part of the plan is to shoot from a fixed angle pressed up against the wall.

The box in the middle can pivot around an axis using a large sprocket and a geared motor assembly.

The box can tip down double as an intake. This will allow the team to pass under the wheel of fortune.

In its starting position the box will aim directly up so that it is in the robot’t frame perimeter.

A similar lifter to Dumpling. The difference here being the style of hook. This team plans to use an active clamp similar to a design we used in our power-up climber.

This week is always hard. I feel like we could be totally okay with either of these designs. I like Yeet Yaw’s name and I think it would be interesting to try to build. I think there will be some geometry issues, namely how close the end of the ball manipulator is to the frame perimeter. we may have to move it back and make cut out in the front of the frame, and honestly I’m not sure why they didn’t do that to begin with. I am a bit concerned about our hard deadlines, but I also think we might be able to add some extra hours during the week, or maybe on weekends…

I like the simplicity of Dumpling…It is a sort of wonderfully humble bot…That said, I can see some of the things that we might get hung up on. I can imagine balls jamming in the box, or not pouring out properly. I can imagine not being able to balance out our alliance partners because we are too light, or having to go all the way out to the edge of the bar and only having one of the two hooks grab on.

I feel bad for not having gotten drawings from the third design team. I’ll try to post some pictures tomorrow.

Nuff Said.



I like the idea of having the two barrels tilt down to act as an intake, but If you want to shoot power cells flywheels will probably be a must. I seriously doubt the ability of any motor/motors to accelerate 3 balls to shooting speeds at once. The flywheels could also double as intake wheels, with vectored intake wheels on each side to increase your reach.

We are pretty convinced a single belt wouldn’t work either. The current plan is to use one pair of shorter belts at the end of the box, and a longer belt feeding into it. We will hopefully be able to make a prototype by friday of next week (our goal is to have something working to shair by the friday of every week. This coming week is a bit stunted because a number of team members are missing Saturday to go to the FTC competitions.

The longer back belts would clamp down on the balls holding them in place while the front belts spun up to its maximum speed. Once that is achieved the back belts would spin up feeding the shorter front belts.

One issue caused by having the double barrels is that we couldn’t mount the flywheels on the sides of the box because we would only be spinning up one side of the balls which would make aiming problematic.

Finally…We will probably need some sort of wheels on the top of the box to act as an intake. These might be used to help the balls get up to speed, but they may also cause a problem by spinning the balls down away from the target.

The community will decide tonight in either case, so We will know more later as to what we are asked to do.

You mentioned needing wheels on top to act as an intake; could those not also do double duty as a flywheel for shooting? Also, instead of starting with the “box” straight up, could it start at predetermined angle that allows you to fire from a preferred location (such as up against the drivers station)?

Current plan for this design would be to always shoot from pressed up against the wall with the box at a preset angle. We would also have preset angles for intaking. We probably won’t have more information until next week if the community decides to go with this design. One concern might be the amount of time it would take to spin up the fast belt, line up the shot, and feed the balls through, coupled with some of the balls not going in, vs driving up and dumping the balls in with a much greater supposed rate of accuracy. Of course the box may be just as problematic with missed dumps and balls pouring out in unexpected ways…

The community has spoken! I’ll try to post the video we shot tonight of the meeting. The community ended up choosing option 3, Think of Yeet Yaw, but instead of swinging the ball manipulator around, the whole thing is fixed with the intake end at ground level and the output end fixed at the low goal.

The idea is to drive back and forth loading balls quickly and scoring them directly into the low goal.

The community also wants us to add a method for manipulating the wheel of fortune.

For next friday my hope for the team is:

  1. Drivetrain and basic electronics complete and drivable.

  2. Ball manipulator prototyped

  3. CADD all blocked in with geometry figure out.

Tomorrow the majority of the team will be at FTC inter-districts and Sunday we have a small service project to work out.

Best wishes to all.


Today was productive while not feeling productive.

I had a mild panic over the communities choice. The community voted against having a dumping bucket. In my opinion this would mean we were unable to load from the human player station and could only load from the floor.

Also, with the ball manipulator going through the middle of the robot we wouldn’t have a dedicated place to put the electronics.

I really wanted to propose that we maintain the capability to load balls into the robot directly from the human player station.

I proposed this to the team, and after we looked at the different iterations we decided to keep the box from dumpling, and add an intake allowing us to floor load. The group that originally came up with the plan for the robot the community originally selected was happy once we tried blocking out the various subsystems in their original configuration.

I went in this morning thinking that I was going to have to fight with the kids to change the plan.

This shows the flap on the front of the box which will span the gap between the front of the box and the wall or the human player station.

This is a really quick rework of the original dumpbot design. It shows about how the box might hold all 5 balls. We will have to move the lifter further back, and out over the wheels in order to have have the box in the way.

This picture shows the path balls will take when we floor load them. This capability would make it so we can score more points more quickly by only traveling as far as the next ball.

This shows the position of the box when we are dumping balls out into the low goal. This way we will be able to take advantage of the low goal which might greatly increase the capabilities of the robot.


Continue working on the robot or post on chief delphi…ah…the dilemma. Guess its good for whoever might be looking at this that I pledged to write for 20 minutes a day. If I miss a day I have to donate $1 to a charity of someone else’s choosing not related to FIRST or my team. I already owe one dollar from a few days ago so…

I’m pretty sure the robot has gotten way more solid in terms of what goes where at this point. Now it really comes down to execution. We put our drive train together today. One team member commented about how much easier it is to put together the KOP drive train when you follow the directions. I agree. :slight_smile: It is also much nicer when the real matches the CADD, and following directions greatly facilitates that effort.

We also finished killing last year’s robot and recycling and throwing away a ton of polycarb and aluminum. That is something that always hurts me a bit about our FIRST Team. We throw create so much waste! From field elements that we are only going to use for 1 season to polycarb that isn’t recyclable…so much waste. We ordered a bunch of power balls, and those will either end up in the gym where they wont be used, or in my shed where they won’t be used…or in the trash…:frowning:
Ok. Rant over.

We also blocked out the entire robot and now everyone is pretty happy with wear everything will end up and how everything is supposed to work. There are little things that need to be figured out, like how to guide the cables for the winch so that the robot doesn’t fold like a taco when we try to hang…Should have a more specific CADD model in the next few days at the rate we are currently going.

We also have a solid prototype for the intake. It has been tested relatively thoroughly and seems to work really well. We are going to have to find a more reliable way to weld polyurethane belt, and buying a welder looks pretty ridiculous cost wise.

All in all I am happy with where we are.

Or was…until I saw the robot in three days recap:

So many shooters!!! I hope focusing on the low goal wasn’t a mistake. This design would make adding a shooter later pretty hard without scrapping a bunch of stuff. Might be that accuracy is more difficult for us regular teams as our community thought, so if we can be much more accurate with the low goal then we will be ok.

Really either with way we will be OK.

Honestly I just hope this whole thing works.


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It isn’t much…It is starting to come together in our minds?

Today I watched 118s everybot video. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure we wouldn’t be better off than if we just went with that, except that we are learning and having fun right…RIGHT!!!

In actuality I don’t know how I feel about this…But maybe that is for another thread.

Today was another productive day for us. We got the intake box CADDed, which is good because we are out of polycarb and it won’t get here till Sunday. Probably better if we slow our roll a little bit and really think things. A lot of the CADD work is done and pretty solid in terms of how things are going to be placed on the robot. We do need to figure out how to transfer power from one place to another in a few places.

We are having an interesting discussion. A few members of the team are wondering why we are keeping our robot short enough to go under the trench. They suggest two things, first that having a taller robot would allow us to do the wheel of fortune more easily, and second that you don’t get points for going through the trench. We are also concerned that we will have to have our wheel mechanism actuated, and that as a result it may break easily. Our drivers haven’t ever been the most delicate with our robots in the past so…

That said, I think we are in a good place on that one. Once we really looked at the plan and realized a few things…1 If we are the most capable bot in our alliance then we probably won’t be getting to the point where we need to go spin the wheel. If there are other robots on our alliance who are capable of getting us to the point where we need to go spin the wheel then they will probably be better at spinning the wheel than we are, and finally we, as a team are choosing to give up a week of potential build and practice time in order to go do something much more valuable than building a robot or winning matches.

Our goal is to be a competent alliance partner given all of our limitations and our obligations to our community.

On other threads I am reading estimates of 9 - 12 cycles per match, and crazy numbers of points being scored. I think back to Steam works where good teams were getting 5 or 6 cycles with gears. We are basing our strategy on being able to

  • 1 score in auto (low goal)
  • 2 complete 4 -5 cycles 90% of the time
  • 3 hang from the switch 75% of the time. (mostly I see us not being able to manage time properly, or missing the bar with our clamp lifter.

Personally I feel that if we can do that successfully in every match then we will be OK. A much bigger problem to worry about is the fact that we have a giant bucket on top of the robot. We pick up 5 balls at the human player station and I can easily see us catching a 6th ball accidentally as other robots drop balls they were planning to shoot. I can also see balls getting stuck inside of our robot when we have the lifter up jamming everything up hopelessly.

Then I fall back to…Are we building too little robot? The fact that the 118’s Everybot would dominate us in a match and is already built is a bit disconcerting. That said, hopefully if we get done sooner rather than later, and can get in a bunch of driver practice then maybe we will be ok.

Alright…time for sleeps.



The everybot is also designed by experienced mentors of one of the best teams in the world, so I wouldn’t blame you for not having the same ideas as them.

I think it would be smart to take the everybot and iterate on it – some improvements may be replacing the climb with something that can fit under the trench, adding a Snow Problem style Wheel of Fortune mech, and dialing in the intake a bit more. To quote Mike Corsetto from 1678, “Steal from the best, invent the rest”


Today we had a snow day. Tomorrow we have another one. Not going to lie…It is really nice that they are happening this early, provided they don’t continue into next week.

This weekend I hope to get the drive base driving, assemble most of the frame, and get ready for when the polycarb and new motors/gearboxes arrive in the next week. Time to start really nailing down the CADD I guess.

Today Luke finished his design of the intake, and Makenzie modeled the lifter for getting the hooks up to the bar. I tweeked the frame a bit, making room for running the cables to the hooks. We also made a mockup of the box that might almost be good enough to use as is once we locate the servo that will open and close the front flap, and the piston mounts for tipping the box up to pour the balls into the low goal.

I also managed to go out and salvage some madrone wood. A tree came down in a wind storm a few days ago and the county cut it into rounds. I am going to make some bowls out of the rounds that I got in a year or two once it dries. One of the other mentors has a dehumidifier shed, so I may just take it all over there.

I ended the day turning 3 pens, 2 out of an older madrone stick that was salvaged by someone else about 2 years ago, and the other out of some Koa and Purple heart that I had. Our team holds auctions twice a year to help pay for all of this. We mentors have started making things that can be added to the auction. Lately I’ve been making pens and a few bowls…I need more practice making bowls.

Not my best work…Not my worst.

Then back to the CADD…I’ve decided to tackle autodesk synthesis depending on how many hours we are stuck at home due to snow. So long as the team doesn’t miss Saturday through Monday I think we’ll be OK. Given that we are going to get almost 24 hours of uninterrupted work time and we should have had a bunch of parts show up by then, hopefully we can really get something done.


As for the frame tweeks…moved the front upright bars further out to make room for an intake that feeds into the ball elevator. I also got rid of the support bars for the lifter arms because they pushed the lifter too far out making it really difficult to run the pulley’s that will lift it, and also fit a motor behind it in order to actually make it/them actuate.

Finally the current plan is to make the frame out of 1/16th wall 1*2 aluminum square tube. We have traditionally gone with 1/8th wall…Hopefully this will be strong enough. have already made the brackets for connecting the various bars using rivets. In the past we have welded and even brazed tubes in our frame. Never really gone this route before so we’ll have to see how well it works. Hopefully we won’t be rebuilding our frame 5 weeks from now. Better get it built early so we have time to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Tomorrow is another day.



Luke’s intake/ball elevator are in, and it just happens to work out that a 10 inch piston should work perfectly on the intake arm without messing up too much else, though all of that might change tomorrow.

We were snowed out of school again today so I haven’t gotten to talk to the rest of the CADD team to see about the hook lifter and while we have the general dimensions of the winch and know about where it needs to go, no one has started CADDing it yet.

I also managed to get out and make a few more pens for the auction, and I salvaged a bit more madrone from the tree that came down in the wind storm the other day. Tomorrow if we have school I’m going to start working on a set of wooden beer steins for the auction…

Today I also watched quite a bit of Youtube and there it was, the original design the community voted on created by one of the robot in 3 days teams.


This is almost exactly what the community wanted us to build even down to the pop up on top of the intake that allows the balls to be stored inside.

The climbing mechanism is different, but not by much. It is a bit unnerving.

Watching the video I am glad we managed to maintain the capability of in-taking balls from the human player station. It seems like their ability to move balls at all is pretty slow and it takes up a lot of the space on the robot making it hard to add more capabilities.

One of the concerns we had after our design competition and the communities selection was that we were giving up the capability of intaking directly from the human player station while not gaining anything on the other end. We feel that by going with the bucket from dumpling and adding an intake we maintained the communities desire to score in the low goal and intake from the floor while adding the ability to intake from the human player station. A large part of our concern stems from our teams history of driving around searching for game pieces to intake which slows everything down.

There is the benefit of being able to intake balls that are force dumped by the opposing alliance saving us time and a trip across the field, but I wonder if competition for those balls coupled with slowness of intaking won’t result in us needing to drive the length of the field anyway. It will be interesting to see if we can feed any alliance partners. (that would be cool!)

So far tomorrow is a delayed start. Hopefully they don’t try to ban after school activities.


Today was weird. 2 hour delayed start and I sort of forgot how to adult.

Made it to school in the end though. :slight_smile:

Shikata Ga Nai

It is a Japanese saying that basically means it is the way it is. Today we ran into a consequence of the choices we have made and though we tried, couldn’t find a way around it.

While you read this…for your listening pleasure:

Ne Me Quitte Pas


If you go away

Both songs are in my head as I write this…The second is the english version of the first. I listen to books on tape and one of the characters in the book I am listening to had “Ne me quitte pas” tattooed on their hand reminding me of the song that I absolutely love, so there you go.

The battery placement: This is where it fits…It is what it is. The good news is, we will be able to tip the robot on its back or side and access the battery relatively easily. The bad news is that the battery will be hanging out of the bottom of our robot coupled with the fact that the kids on the team who remember the last time we put the battery somewhere like this, they hated it.

Maybe this time we will execute it better?

shikata ga nai! … With gusto this time.

The other thing is the difficulty we will have putting together the intake. The shafts are hex or more likely churro, but we will either need to make the shafts in multiple parts or we will have to machine out a bunch of hubs for the belts to ride on.

This isn’t guarenteed, and maybe we will come up with a better way, but I’m not sure what that way might be. Then again, I don’t know a whole bun…

Oh wait…I’m dumb. I just figured it out. Thanks.

The intake may prove to be a problem. We are using 2 inch wheels, and the space available for the intake behind the frame perimeter is just over 2 inches deep. There are two ways around that. One way would be to add a light weight piece of plastic to the front of the frame making the frame perimeter about 1/8 - 1/4 inch thicker. This would put us closer to the size limitation, but not so much that I would worry. Of course this requires that the mecanum wheels we ordered for the intake are actually 2 inches and not 2.5 inches (They are listed as 2 inch wheels and won’t be here until February 4th…Really close to when we have to leave for Costa Rica…


Mentors quit

The reason Ne me quitte pas is stuck in my head.

This thread kills me in a sense. I have been on the brink of quitting my team before. I’ve had senior leaders push so hard for things that I knew didn’t work, and when I presented them with why they just came up with a new argument…It can get really exhausting. I’ve had kids change the passwords on team email accounts and insist that the team is “student lead” and that means they don’t have to give them to me. I’ve had kids send out emails to other kids on the team and their parents informing them that the students receiving the emails would not be allowed to go to competition because of an attendance policy that the student leadership was enacting…

So I am biased.

I’ve also met kids on teams where the mentors do everything. I’ve seen mentors push kids out of the way and work on the robot themselves, by themselves…(I even saw that at an FLL competition.) So I can…on some level…understand where “tired” is coming from.

Things on our team have gotten so much better over the years though. I’ve noted that the thing I need to always work to remember is that everyone has the best interest of the team and robot in mind, just not the same information for basing their decisions on.

I also started working on a wooden beer stein during the team meeting today…so there is that. Hopefully I can have some pictures to share in the next day or so. :slight_smile:

While I was playing in the woodshop the kids on the team got a number of things done.

Will worked on getting electronics set up so that we can drive the practice robot.

Makenzie recadded the lifters.

Isaac started working on a battery box

Luke cadded the pistons for lowering the intake. and possibly the box.

Someone today asked why or how things were running so smoothly this year.

Always a nice thing to hear.

Ok…I should try to go to bed so that I can be productive tomorrow.



Today…We started out going over what we got done over the week and looking forward to what we have to get done next week.

What we have gotten done:

We made the trench and the wheel of fortune. We are down to painting the last color on the wheel and should be done tomorrow.

We built the drive train and will likely be able to drive it tomorrow with temporary electronics.

We have executable CADD models of the intake, ball elevator, dump box, frame, electronics box, pneumatics box, and hook lifter.

We cut out all of the frame members and about 90% of the brackets to hold it all together. We will probably begin riveting the frame members together tomorrow after final check of the CADD to ensure we know where all the mounting holes should go.

Isaac has been working on a driver program based on the temporary electronics.

Still needed:

  • CADD of:
    • Winch, (We actually have it built, we just need to model it in CADD)
    • Battery Box
    • Hook/hooks,
    • Control panel manipulator
  • Servo to drive the flap on our dump box.

By next Friday we will:

Build the low goal and feeder station

Make the competition battery box and mount it on the robot.

Build the competition electronics and pneumatics box and begin populating them.

Build and mount the upper frame

Retain the ability to drive the robot

Build and mount the ball elevator

Work on intake

Build the dump bucket (May not be mounted, but fitting should be well underway

Build the new driver station

Final CADD:

  • The hook
  • the winch

The hook lifter will have to wait for more 1*2 aluminum square tube to get here from AndyMark…As will the intake.

Today some of the kids worked on the battery box while others worked on the new driver station. Will worked with Grace on the temporary electronics box.

Little Logan worked on the wheel of fortune and Makenzie worked on revizing the lifter CADD model.

I worked on making a wooden beer stien. :slight_smile: Its my first one and I am definately learning a lot making it. I ordered a bigger chuck for my lathe so I can hold the next one a lot better. That will make turning the inside easier. I tried on my lathe today after turning a tenon out of some plywood and the whole thing came off the lathe like a badly snapped football bouncing around my shed for what seemed like an hour.

In anycase, I’m going to start a set of 4 next week for the auction so hopefully I can do a better job with those.

Ok…enough for now.



Long day…

The kids worked on the frame…We are going to need more metal if we don’t want the robot to look like swiss cheese. :- :crazy_face:

It’s ok though. For a few kids on the team it was their first time making anything…which is sort of weird to think about, and this frame is pretty intricate.

Hopefully the new stuff will get here from AndyMark Soon.

I learned tonight that the governor is coming to look at one of our community projects…So…Yeah!

We also drove the robot for the first time. At first the NEO brushless motors were jittering crazily but thanks to Chief Delphi we found a solution…Updating the firmware on the sparks and they were all good…Well…Will had to replace one of them, but outside of that…

Ok…so it was an expensive day?

Little Logan got the last colors onto the wheel of fortune.

Gary and Zach got a mockup feeder station done…

Will learned about pneumatics using a test bench that we made more than a year ago?

and I worked on my beer stein, and 2 more for the auction.

I suppose putting the frame together would have gone more smoothly if I had maybe been a little bit more helpful, but really it was fun to watch them try to figure it out.

Oh…and we made 3 battery boxes, non of which will really work, so we will have to make another one tomorrow. Maybe we should have mocked it up out of cardboard, but where is the fun in that!

Ok…Sorry for such a short post, but my band played tonight and it is late…and we have another full day tomorrow.

Night all,