Optimizing the Churro CatcherTags: mechanical and Design
Task: Improve and fix our Churro Catcher + finalize design for trough
The team met up on Sunday and we focused our meeting on finalizing our trough design and making our churro catchers usable. Beginning with our trough prototype, we put in an angled metal piece to the main box compartment and shortened the height of the box. This height was specific to the height of the blocks, allowing us to shave off blocks that become stacked upon those that we've already collected and allow us to stay under the five-object limit during the match. After testing the perfected design, we moved onto testing the churro catchers. We found that we needed alignments along the ridges of the metal beams that carry the catchers to make sure the catchers actually extended past the robot. Past that, we found that the beam holding the motor controlling the in/out motion of the catchers was causing the beam to bend inwards. This caused the two gears to progressively bend the drive chain between the two and stalling the entire system. We fixed this problem by making a mechanical stop by rotating the motor and placing to larger gears with a 3:1 ratio.
With our model for the trough finalized, we can begin construction of the actual trough with much more sturdy material. Our design, which includes the bottom semi-ramp, will most likely be a cut T-shaped container that is directly connected to the ramp. This design allows the blocks we pick up to go on a singular path to our container and minimize the chance of the blocks getting stuck on one of our side beams. We plan to place small spacers throughout the upward path of the ramp to prevent these posibilities. We figured out the reason our catchers weren't working at first was because the motor wasn't initialized in the hardware map on the robot controller phone. Figuring out the mechanical error, the churros now run purely on a gear based system and doesn't use a drive chain anymore. Now the main objective is to place our actual trough and the robot and finish up this year's scoring system.