I am Zeynep, a new mechanics and electronics member of team #6838, and this year, I hope to be a part of our Build Blog writing crew too!
Today, we met up for the first time after the kickoff to build our first prototypes and work on our programming. At the end of the meeting, we all agree that this was the most productive we could have been in our first meeting.
Today’s most important topic for us was building intake prototypes. Just after the kickoff, many of our team members have started to sketch their ideas on onshape, and today, we were able to build 2 of those prototypes.
Intake Prototype 1
The first prototype was an intake design with inspiration from FTC Powerplay robots. Even though it was designed mostly to take cones from the ground, it still is practical for the cubes too. Moreover, I can totally say that this design fulfills our golden rule #1: Keep It Silly Simple (K.I.S.S).
It is a pretty straightforward mechanism, using two parallel plates with star wheels and 30A compliant wheels to grab the cones.
We consider it a successful design even though it needs more work. We will most probably keep iterating this prototype. You can view our test videos here.
Here are our findings:
-Simple to build, can be very lightweight.
-Easy to iterate throughout the season, a very modular design.
Hard to beat, with a single motor to power it to pick up cones and cubes off of the ground.
-Compliance might be useful with something like surgical tubing to get a better hold of the cubes.
-Not sure how optimized it could be to hold both game pieces well.
-Can’t currently hold game pieces when lifted off the ground.
-We are not sure if the star wheels are the best way to go here. It feels like different wheels might be better.
-Can not intake from a large area, width-wise. We will also try to implement something like 254’s 2018 intake to see how well that would work. (This might be compensated with driver practice, but we would prefer a wider touch-it-own-it intake.)
Intake Prototype 2
The second sketch, which is also an intake prototype, was inspired by FTC GEarheads Team #16460, whose robot you can further observe from here.
Making this prototype was a more challenging task. This prototype aims to tip over all cones to intake directly, so that we can intake both tipped and upright cones.
There is a front roller with star wheels to tip the cone over and when the cone is in, the belts raise them to whichever mechanism requires it. We initially designed this prototype to use the roller claws on the sides to help carry the cone upwards. However, due to time and resource constraints, we could not test this.
We had some troubles making this prototype function in a stable manner, however, we also think that it is not a problem that can’t be solved. Based on our robot architecture sketches, we might improve upon this idea, but it also seems a bit unlikely. However, we believe many top tier teams will have similar intakes that will use this principle, so we are happy to hear feedback or other similar principle prototypes.
You can view our testing videos here.
-Can be great to pickup cones that are upright, and tipped over.
-Shows great potential for improvement, don’t get fooled by the videos.
-If tuned, this design might be very beneficial in getting cones in consistent orientations.
-With compliant side rollers, it might also pick up cubes. (This might make cones easier as well.)
-A bit bulky, takes up too much space in the robot.
-Not sure how it would also pick up cubes. (Might need to make it spring-loaded, which adds complexity.)
-The bottom of the cones might cause some problems when intaking, unlike the round bottoms of FTC.
-Not sure how well it would pick up tipped over cones from the ground, as that requires side rollers.
-Again, not sure about star wheels. (Though, we are not sure if they made it better or worse for this prototype. We did not have the time to try other options.)
At the end of our first meeting, of course, neither of our prototypes are perfect, however, we gained some good insights that will drive our robot design which we will probably release some good updates tomorrow. We also worked on programming and also got some new tools in the shop, but those topics are beyond my scope for now. So, expect updates on those tomorrow as well!
Until then, thanks for tuning in. Please let us know if you have any feedback or questions.