What had your team done in the offseason to prepare for 2023?

The title speaks for itself.

I’ll go first! We got a lot of really great practice projects going.

  • We (1477) made an off-season robot to test an elevator with a claw similar to the 2019 254 claw that can grab hatch panels and 2022 cargo. Clean Up Time - YouTube
  • We tested some cool code with April tags and we have accurate positioning working.
  • We are building an all-new custom flipped swerve similar to MK4s.
  • We build a robo–chair and let everyone ride it Robot Chair - YouTube (from the robot chair thread Offseason West Coast + Chair?).

I’m excited to see what y’all have been up to… how have yall gotten ready for the season?

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Building a building. Pretty much all traditional training will happen in-season since there’s no time for anything else, but we’ll make it work.

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But there’s still time…

Actually we have done some neat stuff.

Got into PCB design. Custom Mag encoder works. Putting the finishing touches on the Spark Max Breakout, MXP port breakout, and 5V power distribution board.

Designed a Spark Max mount with encoder/can wire retention. It also holds our breakout board.

Got a cascade elevator with compact rigging. 100% timing belt. Need to get it wired up, but it seems like a good first draft and is a neat concept. Based on the idea you can do a cascade elevator with 1 timing belt (in our case 2 because symmetry). COG is a little high, but concept is cool.

Got a new robot cart designed. Just need to get the parts machined.

Got our 2017 robot cleaned up and rewired. Designed new gear boxes for it. Now it’s a solid D-bot.

Rewrote a bunch of our 2022 robot code in “command-based” approach. Trying to make things cleaner for season.

Cleaned up the wiring on a test chassis that was donated to us. Planning to mount an elevator to it.

And cleaned up our website a bit (still some work there)

Overall, I think we had a successful preseason. Just have to get some projects cleaned up for January. If it’s a swerve/elevator game…we’ll be in really good shape.

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We ended up making a whole new bot for offseason competitions instead of using our overpriced everybot from build season


it was our first time using swerve and vision tracking too

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7407 members have been busy bees this offseason! Lots of good resources on technical training projects and community outreach in our thread! :blush:

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Building t-shirt cannon. Not quite finished, and not the most conventional way to prepare for a season, but its helped rub off some of the rust, as well as learn a lot about pneumatics (non FRC lol) as well as swerve and just good design/fabrication processes.

(and yes the far right barrel is not supported… there is a print printing like on the other two)

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As the end of the year grows closer and 2023 is on the horizon, here’s a short review of some of our preparations:

• Swerve test chassis for 2023
○ instead of using gussets we are moving to using aluminum tube plugs

• Configurable elevator in CAD, made by @niczip

• Switching from C++ to Java

• Using 6328’s swerve simulation and pathplanner to test out autonomous modes

Much more to come as the season comes closer.

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Same thing we do every offseason … try to take over the world.

But seriously, we spend each May to Dec doing outreach and building skills. Every subteam has at least one summer camp and then the technical subteams spend the fall skill building (cadathons, special projects [eg designing a swerve drive like everybody else], and so on).

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Recruited up to 150% of our previous size. Revived our website, Youtube and Facebook presence. Studied elevators. Experimented with MK4 swerves and developed a simulator for them. Assembled two Prusas and built an enclosure for one for nylon printing. Rehabbed an abandoned Xcare router. Rounded up a couple new sponsors. Presented to the School Board. Drove a Ghostbot around the middle school handing out candy to tykes already hyped up beyond the need for sucrose and robots. And best of all…we now have a capacious storage closet with so much room that there is - I swear its true - empty shelf space.

Do you make or buy the tube plugs?

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Im pretty sure we made them in house but let me ping @Nick.kremer to confirm.

Those are tube plugs we purchased from WCP.

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Rookie team formed up & registered for 2 regionals. Recruited 3 new mentors to assist. Got almost all tools, materials, and equipment out of my bowling alley and moved into the school. We were able to get a KOP chassis assembled and driving. Students have a rough idea of what Onshape and Java both are. Was able to take several studends to an offseason event (Cowtown) so they have some idea of what they are in for.

Looking forward to a very fun and interesting year.

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We designed a elavator (no one on our team had done that) and we built a prototype roller claw.

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My rookie team 9062 has been busy.

  • We started with a minibot (WCD 2wd skid steer chassis – 18" frame). This was built by the first 5 or 6 students to sign up for our pre-rookie team. It’s not good, but it is FRC legal with electrical and weighs ~40 lbs with battery!
  • We moved on to a chairiot, similar to 1477’s above, but significantly bigger. We used raptor treads, in a 4’ by 3’ frame because we forgot to trim the cross beams and thought it was funny. Turns out it can hold upwards of 400lbs and still move, although we used a limiter for “kid mode” to avoid accel issues.
  • We made a custom throttle motor gearbox, and have been updating it with 4 gear ratios and a dual input option (all printable with files we posted on grabCAD).
  • I presented at the 2056 conference and 9062 attended as spectators.
  • Recently we have been playing around with code for a limelight and hope to get accurate vision targeting for reflective tape before moving on to apriltags in December.
  • Seeded 9th at the STEMley Cup Championship, playing in the double elimination tournament with 4907’s as pick 1 on alliance 4 (used #9992, with 5406’s comp bot)
  • We have been running CAD training sessions and including other local FRC teams, then uploading our newest ones to YouTube.
  • Despite being a pre-rookie, we are now mentoring 5036 and 6135. This arrangement started in October.
  • Started the Covalence Crew initiative, for teams in Ontario to pool resources and share training modules. So far this has led to a shared sponsor between teams resulting in a few newer drive station laptops here in Ontario.
  • Started a Loaner Parts Program for teams within driving distance. This has included our good friends 3739 and 6135, among others. Most recently 6135 borrowed our minibot for an outreach while they wait for RIOs to come back in stock.
  • Finished a 45 page business plan for awards documentation and internal goals and values.
  • Ran a mock kickoff this week and had the students design robots for Stronghold, with decent success.
  • Students have printed multiple custom parts that make the IGUS KOP stuff compatible with hex shafts
  • Helped to host international exchange students to our school (CIC) and did robotics lessons with them, including a Mindstorms build day and a MarioKart Balloon Battle with Roombas (latter is posted to our YT as well).

I’ve got one or two other things planned before winter break, but honestly this team has been running at full speed since August. So darn proud of the 40 or so students on the team and the 25 or so that show up once a week or more. Next stop is SWATposium in the morning!

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I wanted to expand on this post a bit.

A lot of what we are doing on 3512 at the moment is standardization of components and processes to decrease design, manufacturing, and assembly time all in the effort to maximize software development and driver practice.

We are attacking this on multiple fronts:

Standardization of Design

  • Drivetrain to be SDS MK4 swerve as long as the game allows
  • Using WCP Tube Plugs instead of structural gussets
  • Using WCP Elevator Blocks instead of bearing gussets
  • All gear ratios to be belted reductions directly off NEO where possible
  • Elevator, arm, and climber powertrains to use MaxPlanetary gearboxes in all cases
  • Using standard 0.196 diameter x 0.500 spacing hole pattern (#10-32 clearance & 3/16 rivet) on all tubes on all faces where possible
  • All pulleys above 12T to be MarkForge 3D printed w/ WCP 3D print insert installed for bore reinforcement
  • All arm joints to be constructed with large OD alum. round tube, tube nuts, and bronze bushings

Standardization of Manufacturing

  • Use WCP Tube Jig to workhold tube on Omio
  • Face off tube to length on manual mill
  • Cut and drill swerve tread using drill jig

Fall 2022 Projects:

Prototype NEO Swerve Chassis

We built a prototype swerve chassis to test out our new CNC workflow and verify a new chassis design with vertical corner 1x1s. The design is meant to be modular so all drivetrain tubes are interchangeable. If the 2023 game allows, this chassis will become our 2023 proto bot chassis and software can begin auton development very early into the season.

Multibody Configurable Elevator

One of our senior students is working on a configurable elevator design based on Greyt Elevator V3 using the Multibody Design Workflow in anticipation of 2023 being a pick and place game. Multibody Design is where the entire structure of a subassembly is designed as part of one single SolidWorks part. This has numerous advantages:

  • Easier to design in 3D compared to 2D mastersketching
  • Better Assembly performance as there are no mates required to mate structural components relative to each other

This Design makes use of WCP Bearing Blocks and Tube Plugs which eliminate the need for us to machine 44 gussets per elevator compared to our 2019 elevator which was based off a previous version of the Greyt Elevator.

Swerve Tread Jig

Based off a design by @Boomie-7492

Superpit

We recently received our road crates from Omega Cases and are begining the process of designing the shelving:

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Forgive my ignorance, but what are the pros/cons of tube plugs vs gussets?

Low profile… they fit into/in place of the tube instead of on top or bottom like gussets, so you have the maximum amount of space still to mount manipulators/mechanisms to the tubes.

Also just looks cleaner…

Time.

FRC is all about time optimization. Let’s use an elevator for a comparison:

Our 2019 elevator (nakedly stolen from Greyt Elevator V1 or V2) has 44 gussets for structure and for the bearing blocks. Our new elevator design needs none of those 44 gussets.

44 gussets we don’t have to design
44 gussets we don’t have to mate in the assembly
44 gussets we don’t have to CAM
44 gussets we don’t have to machine on the CNC
44 gussets we don’t have to post process
44 gussets we don’t have cleco then rivet in place

Oh and we build 2 robots so it’s really 88 gussets. At what point does a few hundred dollars in tube plugs (sort of offset by buying less aluminum plate stock) start to make sense?

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Are you saying you manufactured the tube blocks also, or are you comparing the time to purchase one item vs the time to manufacture another item (that’s also readily available to purchase)?