Articles by tag: mechanical

Articles by tag: mechanical

    Strategies for Relic Recovery

    Strategies for Relic Recovery By Evan, Austin, and Abhi

    Getting Started

    We began our thinking process by isolating the various mechanisms which we believed would provide equally beneficial amounts of control, speed between intake of glyphs, and low weight to keep our robot agile. Preliminary discussions devolved into partially heated arguments about various designs implications and fesability. While "faction" may be to strong of a word for the groups that formed to prototype the various designs, there was an easily noticable...

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    Building Competition 2017

    Building Competition 2017 By Evan and Austin

    Task: Find the best robot design

    The games have begun and it’s time to build. So that’s what Austin and I did. A war had been declared. Legions of the indentured collided on the battlefield. Millions were slaughtered during this new age armageddon. Austin had his army. I had mine. Two different ideas to do the same task: lift glyphs into their correct positions. A simple job but one that caused a rift in...

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    REV Robot Reveal

    REV Robot Reveal By Tycho, Austin, Charlotte, Omar, Evan, and Janavi

    Argos V2 - a REV Robot Reveal

    This video was pulled from Argos visits to: The NSTA STEM Expo in Kissimmee FL, in the path of eclipse totality in Tennessee, and in North Texas at The Dallas Makerspace, The Southwest Center Mall, Southside on Lamar and the Frontiers of Flight Museum. We hope you find it interesting:

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    Editing the Reveal Video

    Editing the Reveal Video By Evan and Omar

    One man's harrowing journey through copyright free music lists

    The Robot Reveal video is underway. With most of the filming done, the sky grows dark and the day ends. A night time of editing sets in for the poor miscreant who volunteered for the task. Huddled in the corner with a raw fish and his precious computer, the boy opens premiere pro to begin. All is right with the world. The five hour...

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    Inspire Award

    Inspire Award By Tycho, Jayesh, Caitlin, Omar, Max, Darshan, Evan, Ethan, Janavi, and Charlotte

    1st Place at North Texas Regional Championship

    Iron Reign members left to right are Ethan Helfman (Build, Communications), Janavi Chada (Programming, Communications), Tycho Virani (Programming Lead, Main Driver), Jayesh Sharma (Business Lead, Build, Communications), Darshan Patel (Build), Caitlin Rogers (Communications Lead, Logistics, Business) and Charlotte Leakey (Programming, Logistics), with Evan Daane (from BTW, Build, Photography) in repose. Not shown: Max Virani (Design Lead, Programming), Omar...

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    Backups and Shields

    Backups and Shields By Caitlin, Omar, Max, and Tycho

    Task: Build a backup flywheel track and remount side shields

    Previously, our side shields were zip-tied through 4 bolt holes on tetrix pieces per side, and we had taken one off to reach our drive system. When putting it back on to fine tune autonomous we took the time to cut out space for a wrench and bolt it on. The holes were already the correct size, we just had to line...

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    Building the Fly Wheel Launcher

    Building the Fly Wheel Launcher By Jayesh, Omar, Darshan, Evan, Tycho, and Max

    Task: Create a particle launcher with a higher scoring rate

    The first particle launcher we saw by another FTC team was actually a crude flywheel and rail design back in October where the rail was a cut up PVC elbow. Back then we considered a number of different designs including impact launchers, catapults, flywheel + rail systems and dual flywheel shooters like our sister team built. We decided to go with a catapult design because Max...

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    Motor Controller Mounts

    Motor Controller Mounts By Ethan, Darshan, Max, and Tycho

    Task: Prevent static shocks to our robot

    Throughout the year, we've dealt with static issues with our robot, as shown here and here. And, now that we've pretty much gotten autonomous and the lift out of the way, the static was our only remaining issue.

    To prevent the static shocks, we needed to isolate the motor controllers and other...

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    Cap Ball Lift

    Cap Ball Lift By Omar, Jayesh, Darshan, Evan, and Max

    Task: Build a lift to try cap-ball scoring

    Although we're confident in our robot's ability to shoot balls and press beacon buttons, we decided that in order to be competitive, we should try to score the cap ball. The lift would have to be strong enough to lift the surprisingly heavy ball, but also not take up too much space. Our robot, as like every year, is very close to the 18 inch size limit in all directions, so we...

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    Mapping Out Autonomous

    Mapping Out Autonomous By Janavi, Tycho, Omar, Evan, and Darshan

    Task: Mapping Out Autonomous

    To tell the robot how far to move forward we had to calculate our motors RPM. We did this by telling the robot move to 10 rotations forward and calculating how far it travelled. After he RPM we created a model field upon which we designed a set path for the robot during autonomous. One path for red and then one for blue....

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    Beginning the build for the Cap Ball Trapper

    Beginning the build for the Cap Ball Trapper By Jayesh and Omar

    Task: Give Deadshot flexibility in end game scoring by designing Cap ball launcher

    One of the issues we saw in Arkansas was in the lack of flexibility we had in terms of the end game. We efficiently scored balls and beacons, but when our teammate for a specific match could do the same, we lost possible points scored. This led us to conclude that a Cap Ball Trapper,...

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    Designing Button Pusher

    Designing Button Pusher By Darshan and Omar

    Task: Design potential beacon scoring mechanism

    Up to this point, we hadn't given much attention to a beacon scoring mechanism that we could use in both autonomous and tele-op. At the scrimmage we learned that scoring the beacons was almost vital to winning the match, and we couldn't do that. We rigged up a short u-channel on a plate and attached it to our robot, hoping we could just ram...

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    Robot Frame and Rewiring

    Robot Frame and Rewiring By Jayesh, Omar, and Evan

    Task: Build a frame to increase available surface area on robot to rewire current configuration

    The wiring, which had been on the robot, had been a constant issue. The wiring tangled, interfered with the scoring mechanism, and led to some inefficiencies in electrical output. In order to increase the available space to reconfigure the inner workings of the robot, we built a second testrix layer, which also conveniently serves as a handle.

    Reflections

    The new level...

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    Final Catapult

    Final Catapult By Ethan, Evan, Omar, and Jayesh

    Task: Finish up the catapult before Arkansas

    Today marks six days until Doomsday (AKA Little Home, Arkansas), so we needed to finalize everything. For the catapult, Jayesh and Omar fixed my catapult "fixes". However, with the new fixes, the catapult was more powerful, and required recalibration. To adjust to the new fixes, we removed the old stop-mechanism, and replaced it with a wooden one that stops it on the 2nd level of...

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    Catapult Unfixes

    Catapult Unfixes By Ethan

    Task: To bring the catapult within size limits and improve it

    What Actually Happened: Abject failures

    So, the original catapult, when not stuck, performed pretty well at the scrimmage. However, since we opted not to measure our robot at the scrimmage, we didn't realize that our robot was not within the FTC size limits. When measured after the fact, it was 18x19x20 in x, y, and z axes respectively, due to the catapult's position on the robot. To rectify this, we decided to cut the catapult down,...

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    Intake System Improvements

    Intake System Improvements By Caitlin and Janavi

    Task: Replace rubber bands with smaller versions and add wider intake area

    New intake area is wider than before


    At the Scrimmage we noticed that the rubber bands would get tangled as they rubbed against the underside of the catapult bowl, and so didn't reach as far down at the bottom. We untangled them before each match but decided to test out the smaller ones when we had the chance at...

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    A Thank-You to Tetrix

    A Thank-You to Tetrix By Ethan and Evan

    Task: To create a thank-you video to Pitsco

    We entered a contest to win a pack of Tetrix parts on Twitter, and we won! You can also enter the contest by following these instructions

    So, as a thank-you to them, we made this:

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    Launching Mechanisms Pt. 2

    Launching Mechanisms Pt. 2 By Ethan

    Task: To improve upon launching mechanism designs

    Catapult

    First and foremost, we now have one completely functional, terrifying, catapult. The motor mechanism is cannibalized from our sister team's attempt at a catapult, which broke apart on testing.


    Flywheel
    So, while we don't have a functional flywheel as of...
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    Stabilizing Our Driving Base

    Stabilizing Our Driving Base By Jayesh, Omar, Max, and Darshan

    Task: Stablize Meccanum wheel base so the driving is more stable and consistent

    Our Meccanum wheel base idea started off on a shaky note. While we had a good amount of success in the tass we wanted to complete, like driving right or let without turning the entire robot, including the basic driving functions. However, as we went on with testing, we found that over time, the force the meccanum wheels...

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    Launching Mechanisms

    Launching Mechanisms By Ethan

    Task: To build a launching mechanism for the particles

    For the 2016-2017 season, particle scoring is really important. During autonomous, balls that are launched into the center vortex earn 15 points each, and balls that are launched into the center vortex earn 5 points. If done quickly enough, the particle scoring can negate most of the advantages another team has - just 8 particles scored during the driver-controlled period is equivalent to scoring all 4 beacons. With a good scoring mechanism, the only thing that your team...

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    2016-2017 Robot

    2016-2017 Robot By Ethan, Omar, Jayesh, Evan, Tycho, and Max

    Task: To build the robot for the 2016-2017 season

    As much as we love our robot from last season, Geb, we need a robot that is better able to fit the season's challenges. Our needs for this year are:

    • Manuverable and fast
    • Able to play defensively
    • Can support attachments such as an intake system
    For manuverability, we decided to use mecanum wheels.

    The cool thing...
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    Building the Robot Base

    Building the Robot Base By Jayesh, Omar, and Darshan

    Task: Design and test implementation of a driving base

    We have spent the last few practices formulating a new driving base for our robot this year. We went through various possibilities: tank-based drive using both tracks and the omni-regular system (both of which are systems that we have utilized in previous years). However, both systems showed inefficiencies with this year's competition. We decided to go to a system using mainly Mecanum...

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    First Official Practice of the Season

    First Official Practice of the Season By Omar, Caitlin, Jayesh, Darshan, Ethan, Evan, Janavi, Max, and Tycho

    Task: Pull ourselves together for the new season

    At this practice, our goal was to get everybody familliar with this year's game, Velocity Vortex, and to brainstorm some ideas for this year's robot. Some organization also needed to be done in terms of parts (everything is everywhere and nowhere at the same time) and also in terms of this year's meeting structure. Last year...

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    Geb Fixes and Adjustments

    Geb Fixes and Adjustments By Jayesh, Omar, and Caitlin

    Task: Prepare Geb for competition and get it into running condition

    With all of the large projects and events that Iron Reign have been commiting to (with more still to come), we have unfortunately been neglecting Geb and as we came to find a few weeks ago, many of the running parts that give us the majority of points in competition were falling in disrepair. We found that the tape measure system...

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    New tread material test

    New tread material test By Caitlin, Tycho, Max, and Evan

    Task: Initial tests for new tread material

    The standard Tetrix treads and tread inserts aren't nearly as sturdy as we would like. When they snap it's a real effort to put back together stretched over the idlers, and the inserts peel apart, bringing our traction down. The new material is a rubber conveyor belt material from Andymark, and the underside track chain is 3D printed in nylon to mesh with the...

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    Sumobot Tips and Tricks

    Sumobot Tips and Tricks By Tycho

    Let's assume you are building a LEGO Mindstorms or Vex IQ based Sumobot, but you want to skip some of the basic mistakes beginners will make. Here are some tips and tricks.

    • Know the rules. It's silly to get disqualified because you didn't pay attention to the rules. Know the size and weight limits. Know the allowed construction materials and techniques. Know the startup behaviors. For example, your robot must not move...
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    Hoverboards and PID

    Hoverboards and PID By Caitlin, Omar, Darshan, Tycho, and Max

    Task: Continue with the Hoverboard and tweak PID

    After the long weekend last week, today was a reasonably relaxed practice. We decided that we could work on anything, as long we stayed focused. The two main foci were the -Robot on a Hoverboard- and fine tuning our PID for autonomous.

    Reflections

    We experimented with balancing the robot more evenly on the hoverboard to keep it on a straight path...

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    Robot On a Hoverboard - Try 1

    Robot On a Hoverboard - Try 1 By Caitlin, Max, Tycho, Darshan, Omar, Evan, Ethan, and Jayesh

    Task: Try to drive the hoverboard with the competition bot

    In the middle of Saturday's event we decided it would be a GREAT idea to put the competiton robot on the hoverboard and try to drive it around. Theoretically if we got it centered correctly it could only drive forward and backwards. We could extend...

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    Fixing Up Our Climber and Trough Attachments

    Fixing Up Our Climber and Trough Attachments By Jayesh, Max, and Omar

    Task: Replace servo on CliffHanger with a motor

    At both competitions we've been to so far, we've noticed that the servo that controls the cliff hanger's elevation often stresses and heats up due to the strain being put on it, especially near the end of the match. It has already scorched quite a few of our fingers. To remedy this, we decided to replace it with a...

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    Pushing my Buttons

    Pushing my Buttons By Ethan and Max

    Task: To build a button-pusher for the beacon

    Today, we realized that the tape-measure attachment that's supposed to push the buttons on the beacon could have multiple functions instead So, we designed an attachment to the tape measure that can push any buttons, including people's. Max designed it in PTC and then printed it. We have yet to actually test it on the robot, but it works in-hand.

    Reflections

    This is just our first design, and it has not...

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    The Double-Wide Experiment

    The Double-Wide Experiment By Jayesh, Max, Dylan, and Evan

    Task: Strengthen our tape-measure climber against folding and sideways forces

    Our tape measure is constantly under stress, which usually isn't a big problem if the driver is positioned with a straight 90 degree angle, but when twisted can result in cracks.

    While our tape-measure design worked decently at our competition last week, with multiple mid zone scores and one high zone score, we are going to need more consistency to be a valuable ally in our matches. At...

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    It's a Bloodbath

    It's a Bloodbath By Ethan, Alisa, Max, Darshan, Jayesh, and Tycho

    Task: To dye all our nylon parts red

    Today, we took every single 3D-printed part off our robot to dye them. We used RIT clothes dye, which worked because our parts are nylon. The purpose of dying all our 3D-printed parts red was so that they would stand out from Tetrix parts while demonstrating the robot. It was a bloodbath. The color was the color of the Nile during the Plagues of Egypt. It seemed as if we...

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    Conveyor belt

    Conveyor belt By Jayesh, Max, and Darshan

    Task: Create continuous method of scoring blocks

    Since we have a semi-reliable form of going up the ramp (which we are working on to make closer to 100% efficiency), a priority for our team robot-wise is to establish an effective method of scoring blocks. We've designed a preliminary model with our old plastic trough that uses a conveyor belt made of fabric and foam sewn together that we tried to use before but decided not to. The foamy...

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    Tape Measure Attachment

    Cliff Hanger - Tape measure based climber By Trace and Max

    Task: Creating an attachment to climb the mountain


    We have recently been working on a new approach to climbing the mountain. Our strategy so far was to have one system customized for climbing the mid and upper mountain (Churro Climber), and a separate system for climbing the cliff (Crossbow Grapple). The Churro climber system was beginning to work but it was floppy and we were thinking about stiffening the nylon extensions with...

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    A Presentation for the Ages

    A Presentation for the Ages By Ethan, Jayesh, Max, Tycho, Caitlin, Omar, Evan, Alisa

    Task: Work on our presentation to the judges

    Our main weakness in previous years had been our presentation. This year, we plan to change that. When our team was solely FLL, we practiced our presentations beforehand, so, we're applying that to this year. We've done 2-3 presentations so far and it seems it really helps us. As well, we're making a powerpoint presentation to assist us, giving us information we might forget and providing a visual...

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    Prototyping and Making the Flipper

    Prototyping and Making the Flipper By Jayesh, Omar, Darshan

    Task: Design an apparatus to deposit the climbers in the beacon bucket.

    One of the methods to score in this year's competition is depositing the two climbers in the bucket behind the beacon. This being relatively simple, we decided to concentrate this practice on creating something to get us these easy points. We discussed possible ways to deposit the climbers and came up with a design that used some of the scoring mechanism we already had on our robot. The idea was to...

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    Rebuilding the Churro Climber System

    Rebuilding the Churro Climber System By Omar, Darshan, Max

    Task: Fix bending axle on churro climber permanently

    After further testing of the churro climbers, we noticed that the axle the gear is rotating on had been bent severely due to the strain on it of the arms pulling. If we left the axle as it was, it might wreck something else later and become unusable, so we tried to figure out a way of creating something that served the same function as the axle but wouldn't bend as easily. We decided...

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    Slide Lock

    Slide Lock By Max

    Task: Model a part to keep the slide from going too far forward

    Since we mounted the beater bars on a slide, we have been keeping them from going too far and falling off their rails either by obstructing them with a couple of bolts or with a bent piece of steel wire, but neither method is fool proof. The wire can get bent out of shape as the slide moves forward and collides with it, and...

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    Climber Restraint

    Climber Restraint By Max

    Task: Model a part to keep the churro climber cable ties on path

    As we continued to work on the churro climber mechanism today, we decided that the cable ties bowing out would be a big issue that needed fixing. By making a small guide piece, we could ensure that the cable tie actually extends from the front of the robot instead of flopping around like overcooked spaghetti on the other side. So, I've made a rather...

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    Improvements to Churro Catcher and Ramp

    Improvements to Churro Catcher and Ramp By Jayesh, Caitlin, Omar

    Task: Make improvements to Churro Catcher and Ramp and make blog more accessible

    Iron Reign held our first of two meetings before the New Year season to concentrate on improving our main designs to ensure they worked as expected. Starting with our Churro Catcher, we found that as the motor moved the two arms down, the tension in the two churro climbers was two low to actually push out the latches forward from the robot. We built two small metal segments...

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    Optimizing the Churro Catcher

    Optimizing the Churro Catcher By Jayesh, Omar, Darshan

    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...

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    Churro Hook

    Churro Hook By Max

    Task: Model a part to help the robot climb the churros on the mountains

    Most of the big-value items in terms of points have to do with the mountains, so climbing mechanisms are a must have. Since the tank treads have problems scaling the churros on the middle and upper mountains, we need another way to pull the robot higher. Our solution was to put hooks on the ends of long, heavy-duty cable ties that we could...

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    Prototyping the Trough

    Prototyping the Trough By Jayesh, Omar, Darshan

    Task: Prototype the trough using materials such as cardboard to give us a baseline

    '

    The team had a meet before the busy Christmas period to focus on the main part of of our scoring mechanism: the trough. We discussed possible courses that would be easiest for us to score points and code at the same time. We went through multiple ideas of how the trough would work. One idea was to have our trough consist of rotatable base to account for...

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    Improving the Catcher Design

    Improving the Catcher Design By Dylan, Darshan, Omar, Jayesh, Evan, Alisa

    Task: Add Improvements to the Catcher Design

    Today our team worked on improving the methods of capturing and holding blocks and balls. Our first design involving zip ties had major difficulties including that it had little strength to pull objects in. For this reason, we redesigned the beater bar using a 3-D printer that had stronger materials to capture materials along with frictionless tape which did not cause the blocks to become stuck. Through our tests we can see that...

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    General Improvements

    General Improvements By Jayesh, Omar, Darshan, Max, Caitlin

    Task: Perfect and improve multiple of our main characteristics of our robot

    Iron Reign held its first Christmas break parade today and we decided to focus our time on making multiple small improvements, rather than adding one big part on our robot. Omar, Darshan, and I spent our time on rewiring and fixing our side motors. We found that one side was greatly lagging behind the other, so we tested to see which motor was failing, and rewiring the system fixed our driving system....

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    Slide Trigger

    Slide Trigger By Max

    Task: Model a part that lets us hold back the slide with a trigger to release it

    The beater bar mechanism was put on a slide so that we could restrain it until some point during the match, but we had yet to actually build a restraint and trigger to serve this purpose until now. Since the mechanism would likely include rubbing pieces and need customized parts, we chose to model and 3D print the part in...

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    Scrimmage at Greenhill

    Scrimmage at Greenhill By Darshan, Alisa, Omar, Caitlin, Max, Tycho, Evan

    Task: Practice with other teams and see

    This past Friday, the team tried to get the robot working in a small scrimmage with seven or so other teams. At the scrimmage, we managed to get our cow-catcher working, even though we nearly burned out our servo. During the process of finding the right positioning and testing it while driving we managed to tear up quite a few rubber inserts on our treads. Even though the scrim was scheduled to...

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    Design and prototype a churro latch mechanism

    Design and prototype a churro latch mechanism By Caitlin, Darshan

    Task: Design an alternative churro climber mechanism

    Currently Max and Tycho are working on a beater bar 3D part that is stiff enough to pull in blocks, and will hopefully double as a churro catcher when spinning. However, since the parts take 4 hours per set to print, and are harder to rapid-fire test and change and tweak relative to some other options we're going for other options till they're tested. The churro catchers help us to secure holding up the ramp but...

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    Why we should measure twice, and cut once

    Why we should measure twice, and cut once By Ethan, Evan

    Task: To redo our bumpers

    "Measure nonce, cut twice," is Iron Reign's unofficial slogan, as hidden in our html.

    the image's spelling is entirely on purpose

    We especially learned the error of cutting hastily today, as we errored in the production of our bumpers.

    Evan and I spent multiple practices on working on the front and back bumpers. We easily took ten hours cutting them into their perfect shape. However, after we...

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    Prototyping the ramp for the intake system

    Prototyping the ramp for the intake system By Jayesh, Omar, Ethan, Evan

    Task: Make a physical prototype to plan out the next step in our ball/block intake system

    We held a post-Thanksgiving meet to focus on the mechanical side of our robot, as we had been devoting a majority of our time to software and other such things. The problem we faced with our beater bar being installed on two sliding extrusions is that we had to have an incline adjusted to going up two levels and not...

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    Hell On Reels

    Hell On Reels By Max

    Task: Make a prototype grappling hook of doom.

    As the point values make clear, managing to get the robot to hang on the end of the "cliff" is likely worth the effort. As such, we've worked on making a strange grappling-hook type contraption to pull the robot up. This first version works rather like a crossbow. A telescoping fishing pole has its largest loop hooked up to a long "bolt" which extends beyond the pole to a bungee cord tied to a pair of arms on...

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    Driving That Robot

    Driving That Robot By Evan, Darshan

    Task: To try out the robot in a competition setting

    Last weekend Darshan and I tried to drive the robot in a small scrimmage with eight other teams. Even though we hit a few bumps along the competition we were able see how the robot drove and handled. We also saw what we could do easily and what was hard for us. Among the bumps was an incident involving a tread falling off the track because we hit...

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    Bumper Shields

    Bumper Shields By Ethan and Evan

    Task: To create bumper shields for the robot.

    We needed to create bumper shields because the debris on the field interfered with the tread. We had a prototype on the left,
    Evan and I cut the bumper shields out of polycarbonate with two made for the front and two for the back. To do this, we were trained how to use a bandsaw. We cut them down so that they will be moveable.

    Reflections

    Evan and I will attach the bumpers,...

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    Beater Bar Launch Mechanism

    Beater Bar Launch Mechanism by Omar, Darshan, Evan, Max

    Task: Design deployment mechanism for beater bar

    Similarly to last year, the beater bar on our robot needs to be deployed in order to stay within the size limit. Using motors would make the robot heavier, and potentially too heavy to go up the ramp anymore. Bungee cords are something that we've always resorted to in order to save weight, so we decided to use them once again. By tying them to the back of the beater bar sliders...

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    Meeting other Teams at the Scrimmage

    Meeting other Teams at the Scrimmage By Caitlin, Omar, Darshan, Jayesh, Tycho, Max, Evan

    Task: Get a feel for where we are and the progress of other teams

    Whether or not we were allowed to compete, we felt that it would be worthwhile to go to the scrimmage, if only to see how we compared to other teams. Climbing the mountain is the hardest mechanical design challenge so far, and we were able to see their solutions.

    Reflections

    Many teams had treads like ours, with different arrangements of idlers, while...

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    Addition of Beater Bar to Robot

    Addition of Beater Bar to Robot By Omar, Ethan, Darshan, Caitlin

    Task: Fix and alter robot to include sliding beater bar

    Since the robot's last run, several fixes and adjustments had to be made in order to make the robot operational again. All we had to do was tighten a couple of bolts, so it wasn't that big of a deal. We'll probably have to do a quick check from now on to make sure nothing's falling off. Afterward, we set to using the same beater bar we used last year (the first...

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    Rocker Boogie Tank

    Rocker Boogie Tank By Trace

    Task: Design and build a basic rocker boogie tank

    A few weeks back, I designed a new chassis. It was a combination of the rocker bogey and a tank to make the rocker boogie tank! With the advantage of sturdiness from a tank and the ability to adjust to surfaces from the rocker boogie. This combination is unstoppable!!!

    Reflections

    The task proved to be easy (just added tank treads to a rocker boogie) but worked. After I tested the prototype on a number of surfaces, it...

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    Before Scrimmage basic tests

    Before Scrimmage basic tests By Caitlin, Tycho, Omar, Max, Darshan

    Task: make sure the robot can run

    There's a scrimmage next Saturday that we may or may not be going to based on Dallasisd technicalities with our team. Our goals for today were to get a basic autonomous going to dump climbers and maybe some mountain climbing tests. However, the controller apps needed to be updated and we got a lot of errors when connecting.

    Reflections

    If the controller gives an error mentioning "USB UART" apparently the only fix is to...

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    Video Ideas

    Video Ideas By Alisa, Dylan, Ethan

    Task: Watching videos to get ideas for our robot

    Dylan, Ethan, and I decided to watch videos to see what other teams were doing to build and improve their robots during the Circle Meeting outside. We wanted to see if any of the designs were successful so we could learn from them. The videos included Robot in Three Days, RiTD Explained, and Trojan Robotics .

    Reflections

    Every video we watched was ahead of us; we have a...

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    Gyro-IMU Case V2

    IMU Case V2 By Tycho

    Task: Improve our 3D Printable case for the Adafruit BNO055 IMU

    Last week I designed a case for our IMU sensor in Creo and wrote up how it could be improved. I've fixed most of those issues and we are ready to share the results. There is one version with Tetrix hole spacing and another that works for Actobotics channels. Either can be used with aluminum extrusions though you might have to drill out the mounting holes depending on your bolt size.

    You can...

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    Gyro-IMU Case

    IMU Case By Tycho

    Task: Make a 3D Printable case for the Adafruit BNO055 IMU

    We're used to having gyros to help maintain heading, but we've never been fans of the Hitechnic gyro sensor. Now we have more options and the BNO055 looks pretty good. But our testing has been off robot so far and we need a way to securely attach the sensor to our robot which bounces around like crazy when climbing the mountains. So in PTC Creo, I'm designing a 3D printable case for this sensor that we...

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    Arrangement and Rearrangement of Motor Controllers

    Arrangement and Rearrangement of Motor Controllers By Omar, Darshan

    Task: Find better configuration of motor/servo controllers and power distribution module on the robot

    Today, we tried to figure out the best possible way to stick all the motor controllers and the PDM together to minimize the amount of space they take up on the robot. Fitting the finished product into the gap on the back end of our robot would also be a bonus. We had previously thought of one way of doing it: When placed on the robot,...

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    Driving up the mountain - test 2

    Driving up the mountain - test 2 By Caitlin, Darshan, Jayesh, Omar, Max, Tycho, Evan

    Task: Test how the condition of the mountain changes robot performance

    After last week's fail we decided that we should change a couple of variables of the environment. The first and easiest to fix being the condition and cleanliness of the mountain ramp. Having dust on the ramp would severely lessen the friction holding the robot in place, so we wiped it down with glass cleaner and started up the robot.

    Reflections

    ...
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    Circle Time

    Circle Time By Jayesh, Ethan, Omar, Darshan, Evan

    Task:Discuss multiple possible solutions to climb steep incline on field

    We held a team meeting outside on the field discussing multiple possible solutions to the problem of the robot ascending to the top of the ramp. While we are already able to climb the ramp, the robot strafes significantly as it climbs above each rung on the ramp. This can be accounted for during the driver-controlled period, but the strafing can't be accounted for during autonomous, unless we have each side of the...

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    Building the Field - Part III

    Building the Field: Part III By Ethan, Trace, Alisa, and Evan

    Task: Building the field for the third week in a row!

    Today, for the third time, we worked on setting up the field. We finished the mountains and the climber setup. We made several mistakes along the way. Firstly, we screwed the mountain climber mounts in wrong, not one or two times, but three times. Then, we realized that the mountains couldn't even fit inside the tent and the wooden boundaries. So, we had to dissasemble it,...

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    Building the 2015 Field

    Building the 2015 Field By Evan, Dylan, Alisa, Trace, Ethan

    Task: Cleaning and building the Field

    Today we were charged with the task of building the FTC field. There was one problem. The tent we were setting it up in was in a state of decay. We cleaned out the area to make space while others put together the field. It was changed comletely from when it started. When cleaning we discovered many cool things like cassettes and floppy disks. The mat of the field was a little old but...

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    I hate tread inserts

    I Hate Tread Inserts By Omar

    Task: Insert grips into alternating treads to boost traction of driving system

    I am so done with these treads. For the past three hours I have worked to soak the treads and tread inserts in dish soap. *takes deep breath* The process is painstakingly slow and also literally painful. The process itself seems simple but after soaking both pieces the insert must be pushed in with a considerable amount of force. This is not user friendly and is not what the company...

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    Tank Drive Model

    Tank Drive Model By Tycho

    Task: Design a new build platform more suited to this year's challenge

    Since the robot game for this year came out about a week ago, we were thinking about which kind of drive system would work best for the challenge, which mostly involves climbing. Some of the concept we came up with were rocker bogies, rubber-banded tires and a tank drive with treads. Since we already had the preliminary design started for a tank drive, I started modeling that.

    Reflections

    ...

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    Meeting After Game Reveal

    Meeting After Game Reveal By Dylan, Darshan, Alisa, Ethan, Evan, Caitlin, Tycho, Max, Trace

    Task: Discuss robot design

    Now that the game has been released, we as a group discussed the different amount of points per each possible game strategy that would give us the most ample amount of points during the given time limit. We also discussed the different ideas on the tracks and wheels that are possible for our design. The arm attachment was discussed for the grabbing of the highest mount of the mountain which would give us the...

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    Overview of new hardware and software

    Overview of new hardware and software By Max,Tycho,Caitlin,Alisa,Ethan,Trace

    Task: Getting a first glimpse at the new motors and controllers with Imperial robotics

    We continued our meeting at the Dallas Makerspace after the GitHub tutorial. We unpackaged the new motors and motor controllers for the first time and took out the phones to scan the hardware configuration. We added Anderson Power poles to some of the motors. Caitlin taught Alisa and Ethan how to crimp wires and attach the power poles.

    Reflections

    Scanning the hardware configuration was very troublesome...

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    Argos the Chromovore

    Argos the Chromovore By Max and Tycho

    Task: Get some pre-season experience with Android controlled robots

    We've been experimenting with Android controlled robots while we wait for our ModernRobotics modules. Argos is a chromovore - it seeks an identified color using OpenCV4Android machine vision processing. It tries to maintain a given distance from the colored object and follow it around. It's built using the IOIO-OTG for low level interface with the motor control electronics. The ZTE Speed phone is mounted on pan/tilt hardware from ServoCity...

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    Semi-Final Robot

    Semi-Final Robot By Jayesh

    Task:Finalize robot design for competition

    With the scissor lift elevating with the screw-motor system, and the drive chain-claw system for scoring the balls all in place, our robot is now officially ready for competition next week. Our advantages lie in the stable,continuous driving chain of the robot and also our ability to maintain a constant stream of scoring balls in a mostly stationary position.

    Reflections:

    Driving practice is now our main object of concern. We also need to put the finishing touched on the...
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    Scissor Lift

    Scissor Lift By Jayesh

    Task: Scissor Lift for New Scoring mechanism

    Our method for elevating the platform for optimum height has been decided. A simple scissor-based design with support on either side seems the best option. Supporting each opposite side and also lifting the platform, the scissor lift is efficient, and with the added support of the center beam, should stay stable long enough for the robot to score each consequent ball. The "scissor" has been measured to have an optimal angle (For the greatest stability). During...
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    New Design!

    New Design! By Jayesh

    Task: Make emergency scoring mechanism for competition

    With competition only a week away, the team has decided that the rolling tube will not be able to be completed by the competition. We are now switching to a elevator based design with a drive chain. This decision has opened up a multitiude of new builds and with a scissor- wedge design(elaborated in later posts), we believe the final version will help us in the qualifier(atleast more than an incomplete scoring tube).

    Reflections:

    This change has...
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    3D Modeling Kibosh, pt 2

    3D Modeling Kibosh, pt 2 By Tycho

    Task: Continue Build of Kibosh in Creo

    After finishing about 2/3 of the drive train, I came across the first custom part. We sliced a small chunk off of the inner beam so we could install our goal catcher. Getting the alignment on the model to be accurate for the real robot was a challenge, as the robot was in another room, and I'm pretty sure we just eyeballed the cut in the first place, which meant there were no real recorded measurements I...

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    Solution to Tube Placement

    Solution to Tube Placement By Jayesh


    Task: Place Scoring Tube

    A Solution we have produced for the placement of the tube was to place to long beams to opposite sides of the robot and connect with a third beam. This addition grants us more surface area to place our extra components such as the NXT brick and motor controllers. With these components gone, we now have adequate space for the tube mount. However, we encountered a problem as we found that the mount's base was a...

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    Placing the lift tube for elevating the balls

    Placing the lift tube for elevating the balls By Jayesh

    Task:Place lift tube

    Now that our rolling goal clamp system is working, we have the task of placing the lift tube to elevate the balls to the correct position. First we have to reconstruct the back end of the robot to accommodate for the extra size and girth of the tube. With our rearranging, we also now have to connect the rolling goals to the tube and complete our scoring mechanism. As soon as we complete this, we are...

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    3D Modeling Kibosh 1

    3D Modeling Kibosh 1 By Tycho

    Task:Start Building Kibosh in Creo

    Today I started building the model of the Robot in an assembly in Creo. As I only had some experience with parts, which is not the proper tool for this job, I decided to watch some videos on the basics of assemblies. After that I downloaded the models of the Tetrix parts off of the FTC website. So far, I have built one half of the right drive train.

    Reflections:

    Watching the how-to videos is important.

    ...
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    Toggle for Capturing Rolling Goals

    Toggle for Capturing Rolling Goals By Jayesh

    Task: Code the servo for the toggle + finalize remote settings

    While our scoring tube mechanism for the balls to be placed in the rolling goals is being finalized, our simple task of capturing the rolling goals has finally been coded and physically placed on the robot. Through the use of a simple if/else statement within a while loop, we toggle the open/closed positions of the servo controlling the capture mechanism and now we can easily maneuver the rolling goals into position...

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    Initial robot driving

    Initial robot driving By Jayesh

    Task: Test the controller connection with Samantha

    With the scoring mechanism gradually coming together, today was devoted to the testing of the sync between Samantha and our robot. The drive control system has given us a weird bug, where on startup, the robot starts moving only one side of the wheels without any input from our side. While the other programmed code still works, such as the drive control and simple toggle, the constant turning of the left wheels makes it difficult for the other methods...

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    Ball capture

    Ball capture By Jayesh

    Task: Create mechanism to capture Rolling Goals

    Our main mechanism for capturing the balls for scoring are now in place. A simple 3D printing of two triangle-shaped items are nailed opposite each other, allowing for a perfect diameter to contain both the balls and a snug fit for the rolling goals. We now also have the mechanical design for the servo toggle. A simple little push-based method allows for the tubes to pop up in a very small space of time. This allows...
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    Spring based design(Scoring)

    Spring based design(Scoring) By Jayesh

    Task: Design a way to lift the ball tube

    The ideas we have come up with for scoring the balls in the rolling goals have undergone many changes throughout the year. The basic plan was to somehow stack adjacent tubes on top of one another and raise the balls to maximum height and score in the highest tube. Today, we came up with the actual design:springs. Utilyzing springs, one will be attached to each tube and a simple servo with a toggle will push each attached...

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    Trapping Rolling Goals

    Trapping Rolling Goals By Caitlin

    Task: Build a mechanism to hold a rolling goal so we can drive with it

    Since we've already cut away part of the beams making up the robot's base to accommodate a rolling goal's shape, we now have to put down a hook to hold it as we drive.

    Reflections:

    We experimented with rotating down flat pieces, but found that when we applied any force the part was just pulled up and didn't do much in holding anything. The holes cut into the base...

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    Tube Positioning - Where will they go?

    Tube Positioning - Where will they go? By Omar

    Task: Mount the Tubes on the Robot

    For a long time now, one of our problems has been to figure out how to mount the tubes that will function as the lift system onto the robot, and where to mount them. Today, we tackled this question with the highest possible efficiency. We used a small piece of tube that was serving as an example to get an idea of how big the mechanism should be. After trying a few things, we decided...

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    3D Printing Troubles

    3D Printing Troubles By Jayesh

    Task: Print Spool/Pulleys for Lift Strap

    Today we visited the Dallas Makerspace. They have moved their building though, and now have much more space. Their facility has great tools for us to use in future endeavours. Also, they are very capable people here who listen to our ideas and contribute as well. They have helped us so much, we are going to start considering them to be sponsors. One of our tasks today is to 3D print the spools...
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    SEM Open House

    SEM Open House By Jayesh

    Task: Showcase robot to possible future engineers and scientists

    On Tuesday we presented our Team's accomplishments, future goals, and basic robotics knowledge in a room full of kids and parents thinking of attending a school of Science and Engineering. We talked about engineering, the benefits of participating in FTC, and the overall affect robotics has had on our lives. The crowd was very responsive and seemed to get excited over how high school sophomores are accomplishing...
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    Spool Joint

    Spool Joint By Max


    Fig1 : Actual Image TBD - let's fix this

    Task: Leverage synergies as a team so as to look towards the horizon in the new tomorrow by implementing binomial+ access

    Today we 3D-printed a new version of the tube joint made to hold a spool (which we also made and printed) to put on the very ends of the SVAU (Spheroid Vertical Acceleration Unit) that are not connected to other segments by the normal joint. The piece that attaches directly to...

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    Creating a Socket

    Creating a Socket By Omar

    Task: Ease transportation of rolling goals

    While looking around on the internet, we found that some teams were trying to grab the bottom of the Rolling Goal to pull it around. This, however, is not what we plan to do right now. What our idea is is to create a sort of socket to put the rolling goal into to facilitate travel even further, then, using this, we will grab the base of the rolling goal with a couple of sticks or something. The back of...

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    William B. Travis High School Night

    William B. Travis High School Night By Omar

    Most of our team went to a middle school named William B. Travis, so when we heard that we had the opportunity to visit our old school again, we jumped on the chance. The school placed us in our 4th grade math teacher's, Mrs. B's, classroom. Our current math teacher, Mr. Newton, was also with us to talk about SEM and why kids would want to go there. The first group of children and parents came in around 7 PM. Mr. Newton introduced himself...
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    Intake Mechanism Completed!

    Intake Mechanism Completed! By Jayesh

    Task: Finalize ball collector

    This week we finished updating the ball collector. This is a major accomplishment, since this is a very important part of the machine, and is the first step towards the ability to score. Our finishing the collector now allows us to concentrate on the tube joint and figure out how to finish the entire scoring mechanism to have it ready for the competition. We are thinking about making a whole new robot that is...

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    Beater Bar V3 Improvements

    Beater Bar V3 Improvements By Darshan

    Task: Improve BeaterBar V3

    Today we came up with a new attack angle for the beater bar. This new angle allows for greater accuracy for picking up the the large balls but missing the small ones. We also added a temporary mounting area for our NXT and wired up the beater bar motor so it would not get snared when the ramp deploys.

    Reflections:

    We have also finalized our plan to not pick up the smaller balls and have a large amount of...

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    Almost Working Intake System

    Almost Working Intake System By Jayesh

    Task: Finalize ball intake system

    The ball intake mechanism of the robot has finally been given a mostly working design. The plastic ramp and the dual-row system of twist ties has been pretty effective with moderate power driving both rows. Reoccurring tests were created to observe what would function best; higher power in the first +lower in the second, lower in first+ higher in the second, or equal power for both. So far it is hard to tell which combination...
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    Fitting the Tube Joints

    Fitting the Tube Joints By Tycho


    Task: Mount the Tube Joints onto the Tube

    Today we attempted to fit our tubes into our newly-printed Tube Joints. The tube joints, however, were at least 2 mm too small in the inside diameter, so we had to spend quite a bit of time sanding them down. We decided that this would be a good time to use the drum sanding attachment on our new Dremel. This helped speed up the process quite a bit.

    Reflections:

    ...
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    Beater Bar V3

    Beater Bar V3 By Tycho


    Task: Build Better Beater Bar

    Today we set out to build an upgraded version of the beater bar. We used square dowels from home depot to prevent the twist-ties from changing their orientation on the bar. We down the twist-ties and made a design that intakes the balls with 100% efficiency

    Reflections:

    With the 100% efficiency we can now move onto the tube mechanism to finally finish our scoring system. Our robot is approaching completition and with...

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    Making the Intake Ramp

    Making the Intake Ramp By Max


    Task: Make the intake ramp out of polycarbonate

    Last night we went to the Dallas Makerspace to build our ramp for our capture and intake system. Caitlin had already done the mockup in cardboard and the rest of the team had tested it with the beater bar assembly, but that was too fragile to test on a moving robot. So I took the mockup to the Makerspace to reproduce it in Lexan.

    I drew the shape from the...

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    3D Printing the Tube Joint

    3D Printing the Tube Joint By Max

    Task: 3D Print Tube Joint

    Last night we went to the Makerspace to 3D print our second version of the Tube Joint (link in the related articles section). We arrived with a Sketchup file on a flashdrive, but needed to export it as an STL file so that the slicing program (we used Kisslicer) could convert it to g-code, which the 3D printer uses. There were a few issues that we found and fixed in the...

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    First 3D Printable Part Published

    First 3D Printable Part Published By Max

    Task: Create joint for tube

    Today we published our first 3D printable part on Thingiverse. This part is meant to create a joint in our lift tube so that it can be folded into the 18" sizing cube. The lift tube is responsible for bringing the balls up to the deposit height. The part was designed so that if you took two and flipped one over, you could put them together and the hinge tabs would interlock....
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