Weekly Wins 11-18-2022

Hey all, I’m getting to this early for once…

We know the deal by now - anything cool happen this week?


Because the rules are made up I’m going with two - One I supported a launch in the EU this week which was… my normal work hours are like 10 hours offset from the rest of that team it was fun but it worked. My task next week is to write up a checklist of the steps since it was a new way to do it and there was some confusion. (Nobody assigned me this task but I don’t like knowledge living only in my head)

Two - new Pokemon game launched (yes I’m a nerd) but I guess a bit of a loss is that Amazon seems to have shipped me the wrong game and it won’t fit in my switch :frowning:

(Yes, I spent several hours printing that out for this joke… but now I have a giant gameboy cartridge that I’m sure I’ll find uses for that aren’t building a to scale gameboy…)

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Paging @troy_dietz for “uses for giant gameboy cartridge”.


After destroying things at work early in the week (we were making it better, I swear!), got a good one today: “This equipment that came back to us, can you get it running by this afternoon’s demo?”. Nailed it, except one piece wasn’t set up properly (so no demo with it).

Oh, and the demo went well (we used other equipment).

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I was very tired this week, so I took the bus a lot. And as I actually like taking the bus, that is why this was a win. I enjoy the insane crowds, and the hustle and bustle :slight_smile: Sometimes I have to wait in a line for like 2-7 minutes to get out of the station because the stairs aren’t wide enough, but that doesn’t really bother me either.

Also, we spent a day at my best friends house, I finally held the baby. Babies are strange. But it was really nice to hang out and see my friend :slight_smile:

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Very tired here too, but we did our Adult 3D Printing Camp this week and it went very well! Definitely the biggest fundraiser of the entire year.

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We had an outreach visit to a local Cub Scout Den with lots of excited boys and girls in attendance. Extra nifty, B, (at the robot) and my daughter, (at the controls) happen to both be working on Eagle Scout at present.

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Almost all the way through the first semester of college, and headed home for Thanksgiving break. Trying out taking a long bus instead of flying home, so far it’s been comfortable and pretty.

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Saw a concert, something about battling pink robots

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Lots of great things happening this week!

Purchases from my shop revitilization grant have strated to roll in and some of the kids are starting to notice and get excited too! Hand tools, bench top power tools, organization equipment, all adding together to breathe life and functionality back to the school’s metal shop.

This cart isn’t even all our new goodies!

In robotics news, we were able to work with a partner/sponsor at our school and they were able to order some max planetaries for us, which is a big win.

The same group was also able to increase my classroom supply of robot parts, doubling my ultraplanetary inventory.

This drawer is very satisfying (and there’s even a handful more on some robots).

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Almost got one of my combat bots ready for competition, just a bit overweight, so tape removal is needed.

Picture of Robot

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Jealous of the combat robot where that’s all it needs to do to no longer be overweight :stuck_out_tongue:

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Had to grind down a bunch of epoxy beforehand, but now its within 1/8 ounce of making weight. May take the wheels down a bit as well.

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Ok this win is a few weeks old, but the press release just went out, so I’m sharing this week.

First public demo of our mining truck with no diesel engine. Heck yea.

This has been in the works for years. You know all those times I said “come work for use we do cool stuff!” ? Yea, this is the cool stuff.

The video is… not engineering targeted. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have engineering stuff to talk about.

Just to annotate a few things:

“But Chris,” you say, “Isn’t that just a diesel generator next to it? Isn’t this just fossil fuel powered with extra steps?”

Well you’re not wrong today. But that’s changing too: Building a Better, More Sustainable Proving Ground - YouTube

Also:

That engineer and I have done the same job role, just different equipment (I do bulldozers).

Ya know how on your robots, you’ll have someone from software team with a laptop, connected to the robot, and with Glass or some other dashboard up, watching data, debugging and tweaking things in real time? Yup, that’s literally what’s happening in that video. On a truck. The size of your house. When we say these STEM skills prepare you for life, we really aren’t kidding.

Anyway. Probably sounds like I’ve had a lot of yellow corporate cool-aid. I promise: that’s not it. Every company’s got its flaws. But honestly - this is a really cool engineering project, and the individuals I’ve met behind it are genuinely caring about making something that transforms the world toward being better. Makes me proud to be working alongside them.

So seriously. Students. If you’re looking to keep doing robot stuff later in life, give us (or anyone who does work like us) a look. It’s closer to what you know than you think. And I promise our laptop screens are a lot less blurry in person.

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I got four Taylor Swift tickets!

No, no, just kidding.

But we did order a CnC plasma table (2’x2’) for use by the technology department and robotics team.

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I’m just happy I got my order of 8 NEOs yesterday. :smiley:

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Am I correct in thinking the generators are only for testing and would be replaced with a connection to the power grid in a real application?

Are you able to say who is supplying the motor controllers? I have seen similar photos on internal newsletters about what some other divisions are doing.

You got it. It would be … mostly… pointless for a minesite to invest in the extra energy conversion steps if the root source of energy is still fossil fuels. The early electrification adopters I’m aware of all have some cheap, green source of power nearby.

I actually don’t know who’s doing it for this generation of trucks. I will ask around to see what’s shareable.

As a sample point, current production diesel-electric trucks are using Mitsubishi components with Cat-developed controls software on top.

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Got some stuff.

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I wish there were a :heart_eyes: react, 'cause danggggggg, nice!

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Not sure which costs more…

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So, at the risk of getting very in the weeds for a WW thread - I’m not sure this is strictly true. Emissions at a static plant can be more effectively controlled than on a couple mobile vehicles. Are they? Idk, depends. But there’s efficiency gains when you don’t need things to be mobile. So an electric vehicle plugged into a fossil fueled grid is potentially a net benefit (when running) over a fossil fueled vehicle. And LNG vs Coal factors in too… I also know most grids are investing in some form of renewables production so I’d be shocked if all the energy came from burning dinosaurs almost anywhere in the US these days. One advantage that consumer electric cars also have is they tend to increase the load at night when demand is lowest and with the expansion of smart chargers load could be adjusted to allow for most efficient production options.

Short, it’s kinda complicated but neat stuff tbh. But super cool to see CAT going down this road.