Articles by tag: journal

Articles by tag: journal

    Darshan's Farewell

    Darshan's Farewell By Darshan

    Task: Adios mis amigos

    Well... this is somewhat of a bittersweet moment for me. All of us seniors are leaving for college in hopes of spreading our horizons and making something of ourselves, but we're leaving this team that has become almost a second family. It's been a good few years since I first joined this team and I never thought that I would even make it to this point. I've learned so much in my tenure with this team, from all the technical stuff that goes into the robot building process itself, to building my teamwork and communication skills, and that has actually been one of the things I've enjoyed most. Meting new people and teaching both kids and parents the importance of the STEM field has been great especiaclly, when you see their faces light up. I've made many friends through this team and I know I'll keep in touch with some for a long time. The experiences I've had here are some that will last a lifetime, from riding in the RV all the way to Arkansas to the time we finaly made it SuperRegionals. But we've had our fair share of dissaapointment as well as sucess, but as a team we always bounced back. Something I hope the future of this team continues to do, succeed and bounce back. Hopefully y'all make it to Worlds next year XD. And in the words of YFN Lucci: "EVERYDAY WE LIT!!!" p.s. lil yachty

    Omar's Farewell

    Omar's Farewell By Omar

    Task: Bye :'(

    Hooray for graduation! Sort of. As we seniors write our farewell blog posts before we head to college, we have a lot of years to think about. In my case, I only have my 4 years of high school to pull from, but that's more than enough to express my gratitude for being on this team. I've learned so much in so many different areas, and not just scientific ones. I've learned about being on a team, about the logistics of managing said team, and about reaching out to my local community to spread STEM to the next generation of scientists and engineers. I've made a ton of awesome friends, as well as improved my personal and group communication skills (which were lacking before and are still lacking now, but they've still improved a ton). I hope I can apply some of my knowledge to my future, so that I may one day have a Lamborghini and drive around Beverly Hills. My best wishes to the team for the future! (You're going to worlds next year. -_-)

    So, You're Writing a Blog Post

    So, You're Writing a Blog Post By Ethan

    Frontmatter

    layout: Do not touch.
    title: Title of your article (you can't use hyphens or colons.) tags: Enter as comma seperated list, case insensitive. Try to use one award and one normal tag

    • Tips - tips and tricks for other teams.
    • Journal - working on the journal, blog, and posts like this one.
    • Outreach - volunteering and special events. Ex. Moonday, NSTA
    • Mechanical - work on the robot, parts, building, ect.
    • Software - programming.
    • Business - grants, funding, ect.
    • Organization - organizing, cleaning physical things.
    • Video - if you have a video, nothing else.
    • Private - will NOT show up on the blog page
    • Pinned - pins post as first on the homepage until the tag is removed.
    • Inspire - (award) all around good posts, important things for judges like NSTA, or a post going over our robot in detail
    • Connect - business award
    • Innovate - design process and uniqueness award
    • Design - award about how well documented and designed your robot is
    • Motivate - recruitment, representing STEM/FIRST
    • Control - coding award

    section: Choose team, engineering, or business.
    personhours: Calculate using # of people * hours worked. One number.
    rolecall: People who participated in the post, comma seperated. Author of post goes first.

    REMEMBER: keep the space between the colon and the information, and dont touch the "---"s.

    Rules

    Task: Used for succinctly describing what you did
    Body of Post: Describe what you did, how you did, ect..
    Reflections: Used to say how something worked out, your creative process, expectations, ect.
    Images: Must be 600px wide. Use as many as you'd like. Save in images.
    Videos: Use the default YouTube embed.
    Embedded Insta/Twitter Posts: DON'T put in the first paragraph. You will break the blog.
    Filenames: Save as YYYY-MM-DD-NAME.html in _posts. If unfinished, Draft-YYYY-MM-DD-NAME.html

    Dear Iron Reign

    Dear Iron Reign By Jayesh

    Dear Iron Reign,

    8 years ago, when I walked into Mr. Schulte’s room after school, I didn’t realize my life was about to change dramatically. I’d heard there was a robotics club which was attempting to be started. I’d had sparse experience with the subject, through extraneous events like the annual Engineering Saturday at UTA, so I decided to give it a shot. When I walked through that door on the second floor, I didn’t realize I would find my second family and grow in ways which were then unimaginable to me.

    Iron Reign began as a play on words from a natural phenomenon on Jupiter. It began as a group of 10 energetic, passionate, and probably annoying geeks with no idea what they were getting into. Through everything I’ve learned intellectually though these years, my favorite part has been the growth we’ve gone through, both as individuals and as a group. I’ve seen us struggle through all manners of competition, conflict, and always come out on top. The team served as a place I personally could start to build, what I came to realize, my future. I wanted to acknowledge the individuals which made this group as special as it is, so here we go (in no particular order):

    Charlotte, it has been a pleasure getting to know you this year. I wish we’d met and talked more earlier, but you immediately stood out to me because of your kindness and quiet dedication to what you care about. It was great talking and joking around with you. Don’t let the others (looking at you Ethan) bully you, just lemme know if they make too many Vegan comments. They’re just jealous you’re healthier than they are. I look forward to seeing how you progress.

    Austin, it has been a fun two years getting to know you. Your passion and dedication to those you care about has always endeared me towards you. Your transition to Iron Reign was as seamless as I could’ve fathomed. You immediately meshed with our hardworking and fun-loving personalities, and it has given me even more hope to where this team is going to be. Stay true to yourself, and I trust you to ensure this team doesn’t lose who we are.

    Ethan, you were one of the original memebers, ahem, members of the team. Since the very beginning, I knew you would be both essential to the team, as well as a good friend to me. Your technical expertise, as well as your ever- positive personality, has been essential to who we are as a team. You’ve especially made my role on the team easier, as you are always so willing to work with other people, even on tasks you aren’t comfortable doing. Stop bullying Charlotte so much, keep growing, it’s been a fun ride.

    Tycho, you have been the person who has always challenged me on why I do what I do. You’ve made it possible for me to concentrate on the team as a whole, and not get lost only focusing on singular tasks. You are individually one of the most intelligent people I’ve met. It has been great seeing how you’ve advanced, especially in functioning as a team player. I hope you continue to grow in everything you commit to.

    Janavi, I don’t think I’ve ever been as proud of a person on the team as I have been of you. Your growth since we met you has been astonishing. We’ve joked about your affinity towards duct tape since the beginning, but you’ve grown so much since then. When you came in, you had such a desire to learn as much as you could, and made an immediate positive impact on a veteran team. The reason people say we cherry pick our members is because we have people like you who come into the team. Keep your kind and inclusive personality, it’ll serve you well.

    Evan, since day one of Iron Reign, you’ve had a direct impact to both the team’s success, as well as my progress as an individual. You’ve grown to become such a mature, and hardworking person. Seeing you take more of an assertive and self-motivated role on the team made it so much easier for us to be successful. Exploring Atlanta with you is a memory I won’t forget. Thank you for inviting us to your play, your playwriting is unique and characteristic of what may become your future. Keep your positive and dedicated personality, I look forward to see how you grow.

    So, I lied earlier, I did purposely leave my seniors for last, so here we go:

    Caitlin, you joined us a year after the team was formed. I remember how nervous you were about joining the team, especially as you were the first girl to be on it. Since day one, those concerns should’ve been voided, with how vital you’ve been to our team dynamic. You had a maturity about you, even back in 7th grade, which served as a reference and base point for us. You were essential for us, both systematically, and as the person actually caring about organization (rip). Thank you for everything, I can’t wait to see all the good things you do at MIT.

    Darshan, I’ve known you for so long, it’s actually ridiculous. Since I met you in elementary school, I’ve always thought of you as a brother of mine. We’ve fought, joked around, and grown through the years. I’ve been especially proud of your courage to fight off your introverted nature, and do things for the team, both in practices, and even on our presentation (dropping bars though), which you were originally uncomfortable with. You’re going to do fantastic at UT, and I hope you continue to challenge yourself as I know you can do.

    Max, since I met you in 5th grade, I knew there was more to you than the eye could see. One of my favorite parts of being a part of this team is in working and joking around with you every week. You show who you really are in front of the people you truly care about, and are comfortable with, and that’s precious to me. Your intelligence always astounds me, and I know there are good things in store for you. You are going to absolutely destroy UTD (in a good way), and I look forward to seeing what you do my bro. I look forward to seeing how you and your memes progress.

    Omar, as you said, we’ll probably still be meming around by the time this all ends. You have been a brother to me since we started really talking to each other back in middle school. It has been fantastic seeing how you’ve branched out being a part of this team. I know you don’t get too much into sentimental things, but I will always be there for you my man. Your intelligence and savvy are going to serve you well. You’re going to do fantastic things at Notre Dame, and I look forward to our endless discord calls when we all have time to play.

    This team wouldn’t have been possible without two specific people. Our FCE, our OTP, whichever you prefer, but Mr. Karim Virani, and Dr. Catherine Lux; you two have been the basis for everything this team has ever done. None of this would’ve been possible without you two deciding to dedicate a significant portion of your lives to all of us. You have made time and effort specifically just so we can have a better future, and I can’t even express how grateful I am for it. Your home has become ours, and your welcoming arms have always been a sanctuary for us. Mr. Virani, your technical expertise, as well as your never-ending dedication to listening to us has always been something I’ve treasured. We’ve been able to discuss anything and everything, and that openness to everything we do has been essential to forming what this team has become. Dr. Lux, your kindness and willingness to listen to us has taught us what’s important beyond the robotics which we do. You two balance each other in such a beautiful way, it inspires us to be both successful in what we do, as well as overall being good people. Thank you for all of this. You’ve sacrificed a lot for us, now it’s on us to create the positive change in our world which you’ve emphasized. Thank you for being my second family.

    The seniors will be back every winter and see how everyone is doing. I have been so proud and honored to work and be with every single one of you. You have taught me the meaning and importance of what I want to do in the future. You have shown me what it is to better the world, while accomplishing difficult technical tasks. You’ve taught me that a leader isn’t just one who encourages others to do better, it’s also one who has to see the importance of even the smallest task in how a larger goal is accomplished. Thank you once again from the bottom of my heart. It has been an absolute pleasure and honor to be with you all. The future is bright for this team, and not just in regards to First ;).

    Much Love,
    Jayesh Sharma

    Iron Reign and Substainability

    Iron Reign and Substainability By Ethan

    Iron Reign's Substainability

    Iron Reign has been a team for 8+ years now through multiple competitions. We started as a wee middle school FLL team at W.B. Travis, and we've grown exponentially since then. We've competed in MoonBots and FTC, represented our school at SuperRegionals, presented at the National Science Teachers' Association covention, and built our own RV in order to serve underpriveledged communities accross the Dallas Metroplex. But, after the current original team members are gone, we would like to continue our legacy.

    First, recruitment. When we recruit new members, we first take into consideration their prior robotics experience. While those with prior experience may have a better chance of being recruited, it is not the sole determinant. We also take into consideration their willingness to learn and interest in robotics. While robotics may indeed be a resume-booster. it should not be the reason that a person applies to a team. Finally. we take into consideration their dynamic with other people. There must be a balance between fun and productiveness on the team, and that must be kept in mind when recruiting.

    Second, transfer of knowledge. We recently had our first alumni graduate, and we had to ensure that all the knowledge that they knew were transfered to the younger people on the team. Most recently, we had to make sure that the newer people on the team knew how to 3D model so that we could contiue making parts. Myself, I started taking over some of the blog duties last year and now have become editor of the blog. Transferring these skills not only ensure the substainabilty of Iron Reign, they also give our members real world experience that they can use in college and job settings.

    Finally, we divy up labor so that no one has to do everything. While a person can choose to work on a different project than normal, everybody tends to have their own specialty that they work in, such as building, blogging, programming, 3D modelling, scouting, et cetera. Doing this ensures that new recruits can have a mentor to go to in order to learn about the skill they're interested in.

    Building the Field

    Building the Field By Janavi, Charlotte, Ethan, Abhi, Karina, and Austin

    Task: Build the field

    Today we started the task of building the field, which we received for free, thanks to DISD and their generous donation. The first task Charlotte, Austin, Karina worked on was assembling the balancing stones and the cryptoboxes. While building the field we ran into a few difficulties. First, when we were making the balancing stone, we accidentally had on the cover plate on backwards, which made it impossible to place the screw through the center. We only discovered this after around 15 to 20 minutes of trying to get the screw to go through. However, after successfully building one of the field pieces, it was much easier to make the last three.
    After completing the balancing stones and cryptoboxes, we all moved outside to set up the edge of the field and place down all of the tiles. We made the mistake of not placing the plastic tarp down before linking all the tiles. Which lead to all of us lifting the tile mat above our heads to place the tarp underneath(as you can see in the image below). In total, it took us most of practice to finish making all of the field elements and attaching all of the tiles, but we are not finished yet! We still have to set up the field border and attach the field elements, so keep on the look out for a part II on building the field!

    Relic Recovery Strategy Part 1

    Relic Recovery Strategy Part 1 By Austin

    Task: Determine building strategy for Relic Recovery

    Any well-versed team understands that, depending on the competition for the year, a robot will either be modified to compete or be built from the ground up. In any case, however, a robot often starts at its chassis, and teams have multiple companies that provide solutions to the common robot chassis’ needs and specifications. To name a few: AndyMark® has its standard kits that include all the parts and electronics needed to build a very basic frame that includes a few mounting points for the rest of the robot’s components, Tetrix has its standard kit that provides all the parts for an entire robot if used properly (however, we’ve discovered drawbacks to be mentioned later), and even REV has thrown its hat in the ring with new motor and battery types to add to the highly adjustable REV rail chassis kits. For rookie teams there is no lack of options for starting your robot chassis. However, as a team gains experience they find the flaws that come with each kit and move towards creating robots that harness equal amounts of parts from all companies. Here’s what we’ve learned about each company:

    AndyMark: overall, AndyMark is a great supplier for all the standard parts you’ll need, however we wouldn’t recommend buying their overall chassis kits because they can be on the pricier side and come with few replacement parts and too many unnecessary parts. Most of our gears, wheels, pulleys, motors, and batteries come from AndyMark in batches of parts that we keep on hand to prototype with or replace failing parts. This keeps us from paying for parts we don’t need and having what we do need on hand. The overall quality of their parts is high, but they do decay quicker with use, especially when running the robot at multiple competitions without proper repair time.

    Tetrix: Tetrix is highly standardized in all dimensions, making the connections between parts easy to grasp for basic builders who haven’t developed a mental 3D idea of what they’re working towards. Tetrix kits don’t include electronics. However, their brackets, channels, and joints are very useful for making connections between various components of your robot, so keep plenty on hand for quick fixes and prototyping. Our biggest concern with tetrix are their designated nuts; we find that they often are shaken completely off respective bolts, which can lead to mechanical failure and penalties. To combat the issue of robots quite literally shaking themselves apart, we recommend using nyloc nuts. They have a small amount of nylon in them that grips the threads of bolts making them almost immovable without a pair of pliers.

    Rev: Iron reign loves our Rev rails. The ability to have a mounting point at any incident on a bar is amazing, and often allows us to pull off the crazy designs we create. Rev has created a system that is beyond flexible, meaning that the limits of your designs have expanded. For those who want a chassis that is easily maneuverable, Rev rail is extremely light as well. While Rev is expanding into providing parts like AndyMark, we find that they are still in development but we eagerly await upgrades.

    Overall, Iron Reign wanted a robot chassis that was stable, maneuverable, and modular to our needs, so this is our compromise that we’ve applied to all aspects of our robot;

    - AndyMark FRC Standard Omni-Wheels: we chose these because of their dependability and maneuverability. They provide standard motion as well as strafing for fine-tuning movements in front of cryptoboxes. While we had to print custom mounts, and modify tetrix channels for the necessary axels, the wheels pared nicely with the rest of our components once mounted.
    - Rev Rail: our entire upper chassis is made from interconnected Rev Rails that serve as a smooth, easily adjustable, and light support for the massive omni wheels that rest below it. The rails provide plenty of room for future expansion, and can take quite a beating (we learned this the hard way by dropping our robot off a table).
    - Tetrix Channels and Brackets: these are the middle men, the parts we change to fit those awkward angles and fittings, such as the axels for our wheels. Overall never a bad idea to have extras on hand.
    - Hardware: we always use standard hardware sizes, but we make sure that the corresponding components are snug fitting and streamlined to minimize unnecessary snags and sharp edges.

    While these are the typical components that make an Iron Reign base, we have seen other teams get extremely creative with raw material, although this usually requires heavy machinery such as laser cutters and lathes. Overall, we are a team that uses what companies provide and modify it to fit our needs (which has worked well for the past years of competition.) For smaller start up teams we recommend a similar approach of learning each system and its advantages over the course of multiple years, and finding what you feel works best for your needs.

    Greenhill FTC Qualifier

    Greenhill FTC Qualifier By Ethan, Evan, Tycho, Charlotte, Austin, Abhi, Tycho, Karina, and Kenna

    Task: Compete at our first FTC qualifier

    So, we were absolute failures. There's no way to get around that. We got 14th place out of 14, and our presentation flopped. But, its not the end of the world, even if it may feel like it. We have another qualifier in Oklahome in one week, and we need to analyze what we did wrong so that we can improve for the next round.

    • Match 1
    • We lost, 79-93. This was our closest match, and if we had managed our time in-game more wisely, we could have won by balancing. This was our only game in the margin-of-error.
    • Match 2
    • We lost 101-131. The other alliance outperformed us in scoring glyphs, and was able to knock an additional jewel off in autonomous.
    • Match 3
    • We lost 28-65. We failed on every level, even to balance our robot. Our bot was on for about 10 seconds for the entire match.
    • Match 4
    • We lost 111-181. We scored only 3 glyphs and underperformed in autonomous.
    • Match 5
    • We lost 61-203. Our robot was not on.

    We had many failures in the robot game. Our first, main failure was lack of practice. We only really dedicated ourselves to driving practice two weeks before, and we had trouble aligning the blocks throughout the day. In prior years, we had started drive practice from over a month out, so this was a major failure on our part. A second failure that wasn't our fault was that we had connection issues between the phones, and weren't able to drive in two rounds. But, because of our collective failures, we managed not to win a single game. However, we ended up with the second heighest rank points in the whole tournament (380).

    Our presentation was a failure too. We hadn't practiced our presentation enough, and it seemed a bit janky at points. In addition, our engineering journal was a bit rushed, as we'd printed the night before and had some issues printing. We also didn't turn the control award in. However, one highlight of the judging is that we were able to answer questions quickly and effectively, and the judges seemed to like that. We did end up winning the Connect Award.

    Reflections

    This tournament was one of Iron Reign's worst. However, we must learn from that so we don't repeat our mistakes. The silver lining of this tournament is that we can't really preform any worse :).

    Building the Garage

    Building the Garage By Ethan, Evan, Austin, and Kenna

    Task: Build a cover for our field

    Since Iron Reign is hosted in our coaches' house, we only have so much space. Even though we've basically taken over their house, a consequence of that is that we don't really have a place to put the field...until now.

    In prior posts, we've talked about building a pool deck to store our field, and its finally become a reality. We obtained a practice field from DISD, and built it. Then, we realized that we can't really keep a practice field outside, as the tiles get water damage and the field elements slowly get destroyed. So, we decided to create a protective cover.

    We bought and built an entire DIY garage set so that we can both protect our field and ourselves from the elements while driving. And, it's really cool, if I say so myself.

    Reflections

    This will make driving practice much easier in general, and allow us to practice regardless of weather. In addition, this benefits our sister team by giving them a place to practice.

    Oklahoma Qualifier Recap

    Oklahoma Qualifier Recap By Ethan, Evan, Austin, Janavi, Charlotte, Kenna, Tycho, Karina, and Abhi
    Task: Compete at the Oklahoma Qualifier

    Once done, our postmortem post will be here.

    On Nov. 17, we went to the Oklahoma Mustang HS qualifier. Our strategy for this tournament was to attempt to qualify in multiple regions so that we have more chances to get to the South Super Regionals. For this tournament, the DISD STEM Dept. funded the tournament fees for us to attend, as well as housing for our team. We drove down there on our RV, and also fixed it up so that we could convert it into tournament mode.

    For out-of-area tournaments, we have to prepare ahead of time so that we can get everything we need, since we can't really go back to get parts we forgot. So, this time, we created a packing list in order to ensure that we have everything on the RV before we leave. The complete list is below.

    Tent / Pits

    • Shield
    • Main robot Cart
    • Small carts (x2)
    • Banner stand
    • Main banners (x3)
    • Aquila
    • Inspire
    • Inspire mount
    • Monitor
    • Extension cord(s)
    • Power Strip(s)

    Field Elements

    • Cryptobox
    • Foam blocks
    • Jewels
    • Jewel base
    • Vuforia pattern on stick

    Tools

    • Staticide
    • Shamwow
    • Threadlock
    • Red (x3), Blue (x3), Green (x3) hex keys
    • Flat heads: Large (x2), Small (x2)
    • Phillips heads: Large (x2), Small (x2)
    • Modular screwdrivers + bits (Cyan wrenches)
    • Rubber bands / Hair Ties?
    • String for pulley system
    • Container store chest of drawers
    • Chain Box
    • Tape Box
    • Glue + putty Box
    • Large pliers
    • Needlenose pliers
    • Regular Pliers
    • Power pole Box + stuff with that
    • Xacto knifes
    • Regular knifes
    • Zip ties
    • Axles
    • Drills
    • Yellow Drill (x2)
    • Drill batteries + chargers
    • Electric screwdrivers + bits
    • Plugin drill
    • Wire strippers
    • Measuring tape
    • Dremel
    • Reciprocating Dremel
    • Circular Dremel
    • Sawblade
    • Evil sandpaper
    • Battery
    • Charger
    • Hack saw
    • Hammer
    • Mallet
    • Bolt cutters
    • Lighter
    • Core power distribution Box

    Parts

    • Standard nuts + bolts
    • Extrusion nuts + hex bolts
    • Prototyping wire
    • Tetrix pieces
    • U pieces
    • Plates
    • Phone cases - ZTE + SG5
    • Extrusions (Cap lift size)
    • Extrusion brackets

    Electronics

    • Phones
    • All cables that we can get our hands on
    • Phone cables(new and old)
    • Coding cables        
    • OTG cables
    • Printer
    • Computers
    • Battery Box - phone
    • Joysticks
    • 9-volt batteries
    • All wrenches
    • Spare Core Power Distribution Module Box
    • M-M cable
    • M-F cable

    Organization (Boxes)

    • Judging Box
    • Damaged foam block
    • Example of abs 3-D printing
    • Drawer Slide                      
    • All grabber prototypes
    • Turkey baster ones
    • Conveyer belt one
    • Current one on robot
    • Tape Box
    • Foam tape
    • Gaff tape
    • Duct tape
    • Duct tape
    • Double sided
    • More + ........
    • Glue + Putty Box
    • Battery Box
    • Batteries
    • Phone cables
    • Phone + Charging Box
    • Joystick Box
    • Powerpole Box
    • Tri-Crimp
    • Powerpoles
    • Wire stripper
    • Wire clipper
    • Needle nose
    • Container store chest of drawers
    • Chain Box
    • Spare Core Power Distribution Module Box

    Before leaving, we had already encountered problems. Our RV's generator refused to turn on, which meant that we couldn't get AC, chargers, or any electrical components on board to work. So, we had to do a last-minute oil change. As well, we had trouble finding several important tool parts, such as our box of drill bits and other things. Running about an hour late, we finally left for Oklahoma. The drive took the usual 4 hours, stopping to get Schlotzky's™, and we arrived at midnight. After we were all assigned to our rooms and all, we did another runthrough of our presentation, then went to bed

    We woke up by 7am the next day, and slogged our way out of bed to the Mariott™ Contentental™ Breakast™. Over breakfast, we discussed our strategies and rules for the tournaments. Some of the major points are these:

    • Unless your work requires it, stay off the RV and in the pit
    • If possible, try to talk to as many teams as possible, hand out flyers
    • When you see judges roaming the tournament, try to flag them down to talk
    • Try to get as many people as possible to see the RV
    • Do scouting ASAP

    Flyer

    Inspection


    We didn't manage our time well for inspection. We hadn't really prepared our robot back in Dallas, nor on the way, so we had to attach the side panels and the buttons right as we arrived. As well, we had to make sure the bot fit within the sizing cube. Overall, our preparation for this section of the tournament was 4/10.

    Judging/Presentation


    This was our largest improvement from last tournament. This was probably the best presentation we've put on yet. As well, our engineering journal was indexed a little bit better than last time. The judges also seemed receptive to our presentation and asked in-depth questions on our robot, which was very enjoyable and signalled that we would be considered for future awards. As well, we managed to get every judge in the tournament on the RV, every single referee, and about half the teams total. So, we did well on that front. As well, our strategy of trying to talk to every judge worked well, as we were able to cover a variety of subjects, ranging from our design process, to business, to our outreach, to women in STEM.

    Robot Game

    Our time-management overall here was not great. We'd rush to the practice field to try and fix parts, then get immediately called back to the round. I think we almost got disqualified 3 or 4 times because of this. However, this was our most successfull tournament in the robot game ever, since this was our first time getting 1st alliance captain.
    Game 1
    Game 1 was one of the two games we lost this tournament. We lost by 20 points, and we managed to both knock the opposing team's jewel off, as well as not balance in the end-game. This match highlighted the problems with our autonomous' reliablility.
    Game 2
    In game 2, we still had autonomous problems, but won a close game due to our stacking.
    Game 3
    Game 3 was our best game, as we didn't experience any connection issues and got almost 200 points.
    Game 4
    In game 4, our robot shut down throughout the game, but despite that, we ekeed out a close victory.
    Game 5
    We won game 5 by about 30 points, as we stacked 2 columns, got a jewel, and balanced our bot.
    At this point, we became an alliance captain and chose team 3732 Technical Difficulties to be our partner. We had connection problems throughout the next games that hampered our ability to score.
    Semi-Finals 1
    We won 80-100, despite connection issues.
    Semi-Finals 2
    We improved a little and got about 120 points as we fixed a servo between matches.
    Final 1
    We lost this game due to connection issues.
    Final 2
    This was our closest game, as we won by 2 points, since we were able to stack blocks *slightly* faster.
    Final 3
    We won this game by 20+ points as the opposing team failed to balance one bot.

    Ceremony

    The first award we won was the First Alliance Captain award, a first for our team, so we were overjoyed about that. Then, we also won 1st place Control Award, another first for our team. This was especially suprising, as our autonomous failed quite a bit throughout the tournament. Finally, we won 2nd place Inspire Award. While this is still a great accomplishment, we'd like to work on this a bit more and get 1st place next tournament in January.

    Oklahoma 2017 Post-Mortem

    Oklahoma 2017 Post-Mortem By Ethan, Evan, Tycho, Austin, Janavi, Kenna, Abhi, Charlotte, and Karina

    Task: Recap what went right and wrong in Oklahoma

    Even though we did very well in the Oklahoma qualifier, we still encountered several problems, that if not addressed, could lower our chances of getting to Super-Regionals. So, we had a team discussion on what to do differently in the next tournament, and what to keep constant.

    Problems

    Time management
    Our time management was Not Good. First, we had trouble coordinating with different parts of the team, which lead to disorganization. As an example, we nearly missed judging because we had to go to inspection, then we nearly got DQ'd from several matcvhes because we kept going back to the practice field instead of queuing. So we need to clearly schedule when to go to practice field and when to not, as well as coordinate the judging, inspection, and other important events.
    Referring to coach
    We didn't realize that the judges were judges in the pit and one of our members refered to our coach for help, which probably hurt our chances.
    Preparedness
    First, on the robot side, we hadn't prepped for inspection the night before, so we had to be in a rush the day of to get ready. As well, we still hadn't made a coherent model of our robot in Creo by OK, which hurt our judging chances. And, we didn't emphasize the design process enough.
    Presentation
    For some reason, our robot kept glitching out *only* during the presentation, which hurt us. And even though our presentation was better than last time, we still had a lot of pauses that could've been remedied easily with more practice.
    Robot Stability
    While our robot worked pretty well during the first 5 rounds, once we hit the final rounds, our robot started shutting down and being hard to operate. We still don't know the reason, but we're currently diagnosing now.

    To-do

    • Static-proof robot
    • Fix wiring
    • Organize journal for award
    • 3D Model
    • Expand engineering section
    • Build 2nd field
    • Shock mount robot

    Townview Qualifier 2017

    Townview Qualifier 2017 By Kenna, Abhi, Ethan, Austin, Evan, Charlotte, Karina, Tycho, Janavi, and Jayesh

    This past weekend, Iron Reign hosted a 28-team qualifier at Townview Magnet Center. Many of us attend the School of Science and Engineering insided Townview, so it was familiar territory and made the whole experience a little easier. We were lucky enough to host a Scrimmage as practice for our actual qualifier. Weeks of preparation and anticipation paid off when the FTC Affiliate Partner for North Texas told us it was "the best run qualifier this season," and the North Texas Judge Advisor, Freidrich Elliot, called it the "best judging panel he's ever seen."
    Unlike most posts in our blog, this post's purpose is not to give a play-by-play. You can take a look at how the day went on our instagram. We want to use our experience as an opportunity to help out other teams who may be hosting a qualifier.

    • It is very important to manage your volunteers. We had volunteer coordinators for every task, like a match queueing coordinator or inspection coordinator.
    • Our PTSA was kind enough to donate food as a fundraiser. However, a lot of it was left over and wasted because it was perishable. Our recommendation is be careful in the amount of perishable food you make.
    • Make a playlist using FIRST-approved songs ahead of time or use the one we used. Thanks to Roaheen Neil Mansuri on Spotify!
    • Take notice of which teams queue on their own, which teams need lots of reminding, and other general manners. You and your volunteers may be asked by the judges, as we were, which teams were the best to work with.
    • This may seem obvious to some, but if you cannot find a team, they are likely at the practice field.
    • If possible, build two fields (in addition to the practice field). It helps immensely with time management and is part of the reason our qualifier went so well.
    • Competing in a qualifier, much less running one, makes everyone a little high-strung. The most important tip we can give is to be understanding of everyone there. We all understand how much FTC means to many and it can cause some to be less considerate than normal. People standing in others' way or not queueing is not helpful, but it is nothing to lose temper over. Try to give people some kindness in a stressful day, whether you're participating or facilitating.
    • Closely related to the last point, be sure to thank people. Tell your volunteers and teams that you appreciate them being there!
    On the subject of appreciation, we'd like to thank a few people for helping out.
    A big thank you to Karina for volunteering even though she was sick. We had so much help from Townview parents and students that made this qualifier successful. The entire event would not have been successful without the support and sponsorship of DISD.

    Alumni Meeting

    Alumni Meeting By Ethan, Abhi, Karina, Austin, Tycho, Kenna, Charlotte, Janavi, Darshan, Jayesh, and Omar

    Task: Talk with our former members

    Since we're in the last weeks of December, our schools are legally obligated to let us out. And, while colleges aren't legally mandated to let their students out, they tend to do so, as not doing that would rather enrage their students and families. So, due to this fortuitous coincidence, us simple FTC students were able to work with their dearly departed alumni to fix various problems with our team, mainly the blog.

    Besides it just being nice to see all our former members come back home, we were also able to gain knowledge from their experiences in college. As well, several of our members became judges for FTC tournaments, so they were able to provide valuable insights into the judging process, which we highly appreciate. Also, as you see in the above photo, you can see we got p-r-e-t-t-y l-i-t.

    Blog Fixes

    post problem
    PID & balance everything
    rev robot reveal write more
    PID further everything
    zygote write more & picture
    makeshift glyph why tag and task
    Birth connect --> more posts
    stockard meet folkloricos people
    childhood see birth
    rail test elaborate on wear & tear
    testing materials reflective
    designing the grabber fix frontmatter & emphasis
    oh no! dying glyphs everything
    v2 hexifier everything
    7-Oct fix pic
    chassis upgrade remove extra paragraph
    pick and place talk about code not just place
    machine vision goals more reflective & how to implement
    wheel protection after photo talk about engineering & link related
    garage WE, usefulness
    ptc creo tutorial reason for making video
    intake WE, reflection
    OK qualifier fix rick roll
    grabber v3 fix drawing & reflection
    *Pinned Posts* change + shorter posts
    working auto more than code
    how to RV 10 --> 6
    DISD sponsorship GRAMMAR, why we received
    gripper construction more words --> strategy, hyperlink
    *make new post, talking to alumn jayesh pic @ competition
    designing jewel arm WE, new pic
    building field GRAMMAR, head + free + DISD
    adding code fixes 2 robot more than code
    greenhill FTC positive spin & analysis
    driving struggles WE, reflect
    gripper p2 more words, WE
    make code readable more writing, explain process
    business plan ethan upload
    all evan posts
    evan need 2 add, connect posts to each other, more img
    all abhi "fixes" Someone pls review these "fixes"
    all code post tycho add

    Our blog is one of our most important parts for competition, as it allows us to communicate our ideas, designs, and engineering process to judges. Through the help given by our former alums, we hope to improve our chances at Wylie East.

    Introducing Kraken

    Introducing Kraken By Abhi and Tycho

    Task:Design the robot model

    We have finally completed assembly modeling Kraken, Iron Reign's Relic Recovery robot. Named after the sea creature due to the robot's OCTOPUCKERS, Kraken stands as a fierce competitor in FTC.

    To the chassis, we added the glyph system mounting. We first designed a linear slide replica and constrained that to a small TETRIX U connector piece which attached to the REV rail base. On the other side of the linear slide was a TETRIX bar attached by distance and coincident contrains. Onto this, we mounted the grabber system, and assembly done with a combination of normal, distance, and coincident contrains.

    As on our robot, this linear slide system is supported by a small TShaped piece with two aluminum bars. This required tangency constrains with the inside of the T piece along with angle offset to the REV rail base.

    Finally, we attached the jewel thief mechanism via subassembly, We first attached servos to either side of the custom designed pentagon piece. Then, these servos were constrained to the REV rail base and partly to the phone mount bar extruding out.

    All of this went over our amazing chassis design. To see more info on the chassis assembly, refer here

    What's next?

    We hope this chassis provides an alternate testing mechanism for sizing of our future prototypes. Another version of the chassis is underway based on changes to our robot.

    Chassis Model

    Chassis Model By Abhi and Janavi

    Task: Use Creo Parametric to CAD the chassis

    After making significant development on our robot, we decided to model it. So far, we have developed the chassis of the robot seen below

    To develop this, many types of contraints were used.

    The entire model is dependent on this tetrix bar. The bar was constrainted using the Default feature since it was the base of the model. To this, the lift motor was attached as well as the battery box. These two were constrained by the Distance feature to the end of the bar.

    Four REV rails were attached to the TETRIX bar. These supported the wheels and their motors. They were constrianed through the Coincident to the bottom of the tetrix bar and Distance to the side of it.

    There are custom designed motor mounts constrained to th side of the REV rails using Coincident and Distance measurements. To this, there are TETRIX wheel mounts attached onto which the mechanum wheels are attached. On the outside, wheel guards were attached. The motors that drive the wheels are attached to REV motor mounts which were constrained to the underside of the REV rails. Attached to the motor is an axel which connects to a sproket to turn the wheel.

    The REV hubs were the hardest to constrain in this model because they didn't have typical sides. To mount them, we used a combination of Distance, Coincident, and Angle Offset features. The final part of the model was the phone mount which was simply constrained using coincidents.

    The next steps of this robot is to complete the robot model. This chassis was actually reused from last year. Due to licensing issues, we had to redevelop this model. We hope to experiment with this model to make space for the new, larger gripper arms.

    Wylie East Qualifier 2018

    Wylie East Qualifier 2018 By Ethan, Evan, Charlotte, Janavi, Karina, Tycho, Austin, Abhi, and Kenna

    Task: Compete at the Wylie East Qualifier

    Introduction

    It was a cold and dark morning. The howling winds of a cold front rushed through the grass. Under this cover of darkness, one car after another pulled up to a house, dimly lit. A car door would open for a second, letting a child out into the cold night. Under these auspicous conditions, each child wandered into the house, only for a moment, and left again, and boarded an RV. Thus began the Wylie East Qualifier.

    Inspection

    We arrived at Wylie about 7:50 AM, and unloaded. Unlike previous tournaments, we had actually prepared our robot the night before. So, we were able to get in and out of inspection pretty fast, which was nice and definently reduced our stress about time management. Our only worry was that our robot was too big for the sizing cube, as we had measured the robot to be 17.96875 inches in length, leaving 1/32 of an inch. And since that is *probably* within the production error of a sizing cube, we were mildly worried. Still though, our robot barely slid in. We passed the rest of inspection with flying colors.

    Unloading

    We had been preparing to pack Friday, so we had all our tools ready. However, we didn't use the packing list we had previously, and we felt the effects. We forgot encoder cables, and even a flathead screwdriver. While this really didn't hurt *us*, it hurt our sister team, and we weren't as helpful with other teams when they came to us. The one pro of forgetting a lot of our stuff was that the unload was really fast, and we set up our table and got it organized in under 5 minutes.

    Judging

    Next up was judging. We'd neglected working on our presentation previously, as we had to prioritize even more neglected items such as drive practice. And, it was pretty obvious. We had a few stumbles, a few missed cues, and we even managed to miss a slide. Despite that, we were able to convey our team's progress and history to the judges effectively, and they seemed to be enganged and asked relevant questions. If there was one thing we could change, it would not be the prior errors, but that we took too much time in the presentation, and didn't leave enough time for questions. NOTE: A judge later told us that we should clairify information about our MXP in the presentation

    Scouting

    Team # Team name Autonomous Glyph Jewel Safe Zone TeleOp Glyphs Columns Rows Pattern Balance Stone Relics
    3734 Imperial                      
    3899 Terror Bytes YES no yes no yes 6   2 r no yes mo
    7172 Technical Difficulties ys 1 with view yes yes yes 24 full full full no no
    7904 HSA Dallas Robotigers no       yes 6 0 2 no don’t know no
    8418 The League of Legendary yes 1 no viewfoia no yes yes   1-20000   yes yes no
    8565 Technicbots yes 1 with view yes yes yes 8 2 3 no yes no
    8626 Prototypes yes 1 no viewfoia yes yes yes   3/2 col 0 yes yes no
    9386 Elmer & Elsie Robotics yes 1 no viewfoia yes yes yes 24 3 4 no yes no
    11097 Cybersurge yes no no yes yes 4-6g yes no no yes 3 and up maybe
    11339 Williams Warriors Robotics yes no no ys yes     2-4 r no no no
    11341 ViBoTs                      
    11366 The Smarty Party yes no yes yes yes 4-5 g wonky 3-Feb no yes not focus butr can
    11425 Murphy Maverick Robotics no       yes no test 4   1 no yes no
    11563 Hedrick Garage yes no yes yes yes max 6   2 yes yes no
    11594 FireCats no       yes 1   1 no yes no
    11629 Todoians yes 1 no viewfoia no yes yes   0 2-3 r no0 yes no
    11791 Marvin the Martian                      
    11793 TRICERABOTS yes no yes no yes     max 2 no yes no
    12061 Long Buccaneer Engineers                      
    12430 Raider Robotics yes no yes yes maybe yes 5 no 2 no yes no
    12810 QuantumX yes yes yes yes yes 8 2 0 yes yes 1-2 zone
    12930 ScitoboRRobotics yes no no yes yes 6 1/3/2002 no yes no could try
    13376 Cyber Wolves                      
    13850 Raider Robotics 2 yes   yes yes yes 8   yes no no no

    Robot Game

    Game 5
    We won this game by a large margin -> 122-40. Our autonomomous definitely pushed us over the top here.
    Game 12
    We lost this game. Our teleop speed and strtegy didn't work against our team, and our partner had connection issues.
    Game 15
    This was a surrogate match, but we were still very happy about winning this. We performed pretty well *and* the opponent's bot shut off.
    Game 20
    We won this game with our largest margin, 106-12. We performed well in all aspects of the game, and we should replicate this success.
    Game 26
    We lost this game by our largest margin, 236-76. We were outperformed in the autonomous and teleop by large margins, and failed to get on the balance stone.
    Game 32
    We won this game, again by a decent margen. We did very well in the autonomous, and the other team just couldn't catch up.
    Semis Game 1 & 2
    We lost both these marches by good margins, we couldn't really compete with Tech. Diff's teleop with our autonomous.

    Ceremony

    Usually, judges come and talk to your team if you're being considered for an award, so we have at least two people at our table at all times, and we sound an alarm so that the entire team can come and answer questions. And so, we sat, and we sat, and we sat, and no judges came. But then, with just five minutes left, we were blessed with an apparition of judges. We walked into the ceremony more confident than we were, and were reasonable impressed when we won 1st-place Inspire.

    North Texas Regionals, 2018

    North Texas Regionals, 2018 By Ethan, Evan, Abhi, Tycho, Janavi, Charlotte, Austin, Karina, and Kenna

    Task: Win at the North Texas Regionals

    Introduction
    All over the city, lights turned on. In each house, a member departed, on their way to a secretive location, Iron Reign headquarters. Each member entered the HQ, took a parcel, and boarded the equally secretive Iron Reign Mystery Bus, on our way to an even more undisclosed location, the North Texas Regional, at Wylie East Highschool.

    Inspection
    For the first time this season, Iron Reign breezed through inspection. There were no issues with sizing, we had all of our signs and warnings attached, everything was good. It was so good that there's not really anything left to say.

    Presentation
    Earlier this week, we practiced our presentation with our new SEM principal, and did a pretty decent run. We still had issues, i.e. running overtime & switching off between parts, but it still impressed our principal. However, we wanted to do better. We had a brainstorming sesssion and talked with past judges, and found that if you make your presentation a little more enertaining while still keeping the necessary information, your presentation will stick in the judges' head for longer. So, that's what we did. We added pieces that improve it just a little, some informative (juggling balls representing the engineering process), and some for our sake (miming being trapped in Iron Reign for 9 years). But, these changes definitely paid off. As well, we fixed our timing, leaving 3 minutes for questions, and fixed some gaps. However, we still did stutter and stumble a bit, but the overall quality of our presentation outshined our mistakes.

    Scouting

    Robot Game
    While we spent all night adding parts and doing mechanical fixes, we should have also spent time fixing our code due to these changes. But, we didn't, so we spent the first three matches trying to debug our code and fix unexpected mechanical issues with the grabber.
    Match 1
    We lost this match. We hadn't practiced with the new gripper, and on top of that, the Octopuckers 3.0 didn't perform as well as we expected, resulting in a disappointing loss that we really shouldn't have.
    Match 11
    We also lost this match, most of our code issues were fixed, but we encountered an unexpected mechanical issue with our grabber - it caught on a small piece of plastic that stopped it from engaging fully.
    Match 14
    We had everything working in this match, but we were simply outperformed. This match really served to show us that we needed to improve in all aspects of the game.
    Match 23
    We won this match! We were pretty dejected over the past results, but our drivers strapped up and give us the W.
    Match 27
    We also won this match by a large margin, due to our great performance, and also due to a robot on the other alliance not working.
    There are those times where everything seems to fall in place just perfectly, and this was one of those times. We had really good scouting, and we were able to worm our way into alliance with the 4th seed, allowing us into the semifinals. This helped give us the boost we needed for awards.
    Semi Match 1&2
    We lost, badly. We were simply outperformed, and this taught us we need to improve.

    Ceremony
    We walked into the ceremony uncertain. We had done well in judging, but we were iffy with our performance in the robot game, and thought that our performance had cancelled out any benefits of the Think and Innovate awards. However, we were able to show our design and engineering process well in additional questions, and the judges seemed pleased with the answers. As well, we answered a question about gracious professionalism that really impressed the judges. In the ceremony, we were awarded several small awards, and the 1st place Connect, but we needed a higher award to advance. Then, we heard 2nd place Inspire...goes to team 6832!

    Oklahoma Regionals, 2018

    Oklahoma Regionals, 2018 By Ethan, Evan, Janavi, Charlotte, Abhi, Tycho, Austin, Karina, Kenna, Shaggy, and Justin

    Task: Compete at the Oklahoma Regional

    In November, we went to a Oklahoman qualifier in Mustang. The reason for this was purely strategic - by competing in multiple regions, we have more chances of advancing, as well as having more in-tournament experience overall. There, we got 2nd-place Inspire and advanced to the Oklahoma Regionals. Then, when we came back to Dallas, we ended up advancing to the North Texas Regionals as well, on Inspire 1st place. Then, North Texas Regionals happened to occur before Oklahoma, and we advanced there with 2nd place Inspire. Finally, we had the Oklahoman Regional. Since we'd already won a regional, this tournament proved as a testing ground for robot, presentation, and strategy changes.

    Inspection

    Again, we went through inspection with ease. We really hope that this will be a continuing trend because this gives us *way* more time for practice, and this helped with our performance in the game.

    Presentation

    The presentation...oh man. The presentation is usually the high point of Iron Reign's day, and we forgot the Engineering Journal. That's right, the one thing that allows us to get awards, our main advancement strategy. So, we panicked. Mrc. Lux was still in Texas, and theoretically would be able to get us the Journal, but we didn't want to hedge all our bets on that. So, we bought an entire printer from Walmart™ so that we could print if she was too far out by 4:30. But, luckily, she got there in time, and we didnt have to print approx. 400 pages.
    Besides forgetting our engineering journal, we had other issues to deal with. We recently took on three new members from our sister team, team 3734 Imperial Robotics, and two of them had to learn parts in our presentation for Oklahoma. As well, we added new lines to the presentation to talk about our connections with outreach and mentors.
    Despite all this, our presentation went really well. Our judging panel interrupted us to ask questions, which threw us off a bit, but we were able to persevere through that and pull off a good presentation.

    Robot Game

    We were hoping to have our new gripper system installed in time for Oklahoma, but it fell through the cracks. So, we had to reinstall our old gripper, but other than that, we made few changes to the robot.

    Match 5
    We won this match, 237-230. Our autonomous performed extremely well, and together with a partner, we were able to beat most teams.
    Match 20
    We won this match, 154-148, even though we thought we lost. It all hinged on whether our balancing stone was counted or not, but it barely was.
    Match 28
    We lost this match, 139-154. The only way we could have won this match was to improve our teleop performance and gripper system.
    Match 37
    We won this match, 133-90. We were about evenly matched, but our alliance had better performing autonomii than the opposing teams.
    Match 45
    We won this match, 349-54. We did everything right, as well as our partner team, and our opponents just happened to underperform that round.
    Match 51
    We won this match 233-187. We didn't think that we'd win this one from the get-go, but we managed to skate by with two relics being placed.
    Match 65
    We lost this match, 196-273. We were obviously outclasses and this match demonstrated our need for a better teleop strategy.

    Ceremony

    Even though we performed decently in the robot game, we didn't communicate well with some of the groups of roving judges, so we were unsure about how we'd do in awards. We ended up with a 1st Connect and a 3rd Inspire, as well as a few other award mentions.

    Next Steps:

    Iron Reign Engineering Journal Summary

    Iron Reign Engineering Journal Summary By Ethan

    Task: Write a summary page for the engineering journal

    The generic engineering journal rubric given to teams by FIRST heavily recomends having a season-summary intro page at the front of the journal. As well, every winning example journal includes the summary. So, we figured out that it might be a good idea to actually make one.

    Summary

    Iron Reign has been a FIRST team, in one form or another, for eight years. In prior seasons, we have gone to South Super-Regionals and won the North Texas Inspire Award.

    We often participate in outreach events. Last year, we fully renovated an old 90’s RV to turn it into a mobile workshop for low income neighborhoods. We now drive the RV all over the Dallas Metroplex in order to reach kids who normally wouldn’t have access to STEM programs, in hopes of inspiring them to go into STEM one day. We have also presented on the national stage in hopes of spreading our RV program to other cities. We recently travelled to the National Science Teachers’ Association Convention in Florida so that we could represent our school as well as inspire educators in other areas to adopt our ideas.

    We program our robot in Java, using the Android Studio IDE. We have integrated Vuforia and OpenCV to use our phone’s camera for computer vision to identify the field patterns. OpenCV was an Intel computer vision technology that recently spun off into its own company, and Vuforia is a PTC-owned augmented reality library.

    We use a variety of parts in our robot design. For example, in past years we have used a combination of AndyMark and Tetrix parts, using AndyMark materials for our drivetrain, and Tetrix for the rest. However, we are increasingly integrating REV parts into our design, as they let us be more flexible and pull off tougher designs. We also have switched from using the basic power distribution module to using the REV PDM and two expansion hubs.

    In our engineering process, we use the Kaizen process, which means that we continually improve each individual part of our robot. We also have design competitions, in which two or more team members each create a part made to solve the same issue. When we were designing our cryptobox grabber, we started with a design competition. Evan built an arm-grab system for the cryptobox grabber, and Austin created a conveyor belt to grab cryptoboxes. Through testing, we determined that the grabbers were more efficient and reliable at picking up blocks than the conveyor belt. As well, the arm-grabber was more compact than the conveyor belt, which was unstable and unwieldy. Then, as we used the arm-grabber, we realized that it still needed work, as the grabber missed some blocks and the driver had to be extremely accurate. So, we designed a new rotating grabber, with soft spikes to hold blocks better, to grab blocks quickly and grab more than one at a time, then one with 3-D printed arms. Afterwards, we decided this wasn’t efficient enough and created a new system with an octopucker design, then mounted the new gripper to a 270° conveyor so that we could move glyphs around the robot with enhanced speed.

    We also utilize 3D printed parts throughout our robot. We design parts using PTC Creo, and can print parts in a variety of materials, including nylon, ABS, Filoflex, and Ninjaflex. Usually, we opt to use nylon, as it is flexible enough as not to break under stress, but is strong enough to handle our needs during the game without breaking. Printed parts on our robot enable us to create more flexible designs and circumvent issues that pop up. For example, originally, our robot’s mecanum wheel would damage blocks when hitting them, so we had to design wheel guards to protect both our robot and field elements. We iterated through multiple designs, eventually settling on a u-shape that covered our wheels while not affecting mobility. Then, we changed the height until the part wouldn’t cut into the mats while turning.

    More specifically, we have created a personalized library of parts called REVolution for REV extrusions to turn them into driveshafts. We have had great success with these and have shared them with other teams to spread our parts. Refer to our additional handout and presentation for a more in-depth idea of what these do. This is the best part of all of Iron Reign’s designs this season, and we think it is very useful and important.

    This year has been an extremely successful year for our team as far a business goes. Normally, we receive FIRST sponsorships, and other minor sponsorships to cover tournament fees. However, this year, we have received sponsorships from a variety of sources. First, in building our RV, we received money from BigThought, a Dallas nonprofit, to run our RV, as well as money from a Dallas initiative called Dallas City of Learning. We also received a grant from Best Buy for 4 onboard 3D printers and 20+ laptops to educate on. Then, we received $3000 of REV parts, two practice fields, and a sponsorship from our school district in exchange for hosting a qualifier and running a DISD scrimmage. We also partnered with AWC to cut our side shields out of aluminum.

    Our strategic + business plan is on the next page, and then our Tables of Contents follows, with exceptional posts that we would like you to read highlighted.

    Download the pdf here.

    CNC Machine Rehab 1

    CNC Machine Rehab 1 By Ethan and Charlotte

    Task: Refurbish an Apple II CNC Mill and Lathe Set

    We were helping our school's FRC team clean out their parts closet, which hadn't been cleaned in 10-ish years. Under the layers and layers of FRC junk, we found an Apple II-operated Patterson/Paxton CNC Milling Set. These were meant to run off of a long-since-gone Apple II in a classroom setting. But, it had long been auctioned off, leaving the set useless. But, Iron Reign, as a collective of hoarders, decided to bring these machines over to the house to refurbish.

    The first idea we looked at was emulating the Apple II with an Arduino, as seen here. However, this implementation didn't have the response rate needed for an accurate CNC machine, so we scrapped it. Then, we found this post. The problem that people mainly encounter is that, for some strange reason, Paxton\Patterson used a proprietary parallel port pinout, and deviating from that pinout (read: using a standard parallel cord) would fry the optidriver board in the machine. So, we bought a ethernet-to-parallel port jumper box (UC300eth).

    We then sliced a parallel cable in half, and rewired the wires to the pins, treating the left column of that of the port numbers on the board and the right as the pin numbers of the cables.



    We then made a power supply for the UC300eth. We attempted to use a 10V DC power supply, and use a voltage splitter. Unfortunately, the power spiked, and probably fried the UC300.

    Next Steps

    We need to buy a new UC300 board and hook it up to a laptop with Mach3 to test the power.