Articles by tag: think

Articles by tag: think

    Super Regionals - The First Day

    Super Regionals - The First Day By Ethan, Evan, Tycho, Max, Jayesh, Janavi, Caitlin, Darshan, Omar, Charlotte, and Austin

    Task: Go to super regionals, set up, and present

    Way too early in the morning, on March 22nd, the Iron Reign team gathered in darkness. It was approximately 65 Farenheit and gusts around 12 mph were blowing in from the South. Under this cover of darkness, a bus pulled into our school. As the trees shivered in the wind and the stray dogs around our school howled, we boarded the bus.

    Of course, we were boarding the bus to head down to Athens, GA, to go to the South Super Regional tournament, and we hoped, to advance to Worlds. On our way there, we stopped at Sunset HS to pick up RoboBison Amistad, the other team from our school district. Then, we two teams were on our way.

    No road trip operated by DISD can ever be simple, and this one was no exception. Our coach was driving our chase vehicle AKA our robotics RV, but managed to beat us there by five hours. The team ended up being on the same bus for twenty total hours, stopping three times. Luckily, on our way down there, many of us got to see sights such as the Mississippi River for the first time.

    Finally, we arrived in Athens at 1 in the morning. Some of the team split off to sleep, while others broke off to work on the robot. But, it was late, and we all went to bed soon.

    The next, first real day of the tournament, we woke up bright and early. We were one of the first ones to have pit load-in, and we actually managed to do everything in a timely manner. Our tent that we designed was slightly bigger than we thought, but the teams neighboring us were fine with it, so everything worked out in the end. We did a little bit of preliminary scouting and talked to a few teams. We also got our robot through inspections.

    Finally, we went into judging, and it was the best presentation that we've done this year. We had two new team members added to the presentation, and we pulled it off flawlessly. As well, we added a new visual gag, with Darshan jumping out at the judges from under the cart. We got asked some very good questions that I can't remember, but the judges were generally very impressed.

    Reflections

    See Postmortem.

    South Superregionals Day Two

    South Superregionals Day Two By Max, Tycho, Omar, Jayesh, Darshan, Austin, Charlotte, Caitlin, Evan, Ethan, and Janavi

    Task: Reminisce on our first six Superregionals matches

    After a decent night's rest, we began Day Two at around 7 AM. A lot of our tools and materials were still on our RV, so we first moved them over to our pit. Our match schedule said that we'd have nine matches beginning with Match #1 (just our luck). After the...interesting Pokemon-themed opening ceremonies, we began the day with our first match.

    Match 1: Our alliance partner was Thorn's Army, and we faced Greased Lightning and Guzzoline Robotics. We lost; we didn't earn as many points in autonomous or teleop. It was our first game anyway; just a warmup. No big deal.

    Match 2: Our alliance partner was Saber Robotics, and we faced Aperture Science and The Prototypes. We lost; tied in teleop, but our autonomous didn't score as much as theirs. Warmup game #2, no big deal.

    Match 3: Our alliance partner was 4-H Rohming Robotics, and we faced Team Duct Tape and Twisted Axles. We won; even though neither of us were able to cap, we nailed our autonomous and teleop periods.

    Match 4: Our alliance partner was Static Void, and we faced East Cobb Robotics and Team CHAOS. We won; our autonomous didn't score as much (we missed a beacon and a ball), but our partner was able to cap and our combined teleop scored more.

    Match 5: Our alliance partner was LASA MurPHy, and we faced Diatomic Dingos and Blue Crew, Too. We won; our autonomous worked great and scored well, which made up for our lackluster teleop period.

    Match 6: Our alliance partner was Technical Difficulties, and we faced the Rockettes and LASA Ultra Violet. We won; once again, our autonomous worked great (we missed a ball though), we scored more particles in teleop, and our partner was able to cap. Four in a row!

    We felt pretty good about this day, since we came off of a four win streak. However, we still worked as long as we could on improving the reliability of our autonomous. Once the pits were closed, we were directed to the team social, where there was Super Smash Bros. and DJ Mickey Nightrain. It seemed like a fun time (Tycho tried his best at professional Smash), but roboticists usually aren't the type to be out on a dance floor. Jayesh is an exception because he's weird.

    As well, we were interviewed by a few groups of judges, and performed well in the interviews. We froze up a few times, but it worked out. Also, we invited some of the judges onto our RV.

    Reflections

    Even though we were able to do a lot of work this day, we're slightly disappointed in our tiredness. Even though the RoboBisons had brought an entire field with them, we didn't really think about asking them to let us use it to practice. We were very exhausted, and with a half-still-sick Mr. Virani, we think we just weren't enthused enough to stay up late and do some more work. If we had, we might've had the small bit of reliability we needed to win more matches with just our autonomous. ;-; Either way, we're proud of the work we did. Tycho did a great job driving for all the matches. Note for next year - we neeeeeeeed more than one driver. On to Day Three!

    South Superregional - Day Three

    South Superregional - Day Three By Jayesh, Tycho, Omar, Max, Darshan, Austin, Charlotte, Caitlin, Evan, Ethan, and Janavi

    Task: Reminisce on our last three Superregionals matches

    Our final competition day began with the driver team rushing to the pits because of a warning given by the game officials for the first match's teams to reach the pits earlier than expected. We reached in time, in fact about an hour before the match actually began. This mild inconvenience did give us time to formulate a strategy against our opponents, the high-scoring mechromancers.

    Match 1: Our alliance partner was Neutrinos, and we faced Mechromancers Redfish. We lost; The Neutrinos disconnected early and we had made a strategy of denying the scoring of the Mechromancers. We were relatively succesful, halving their usual scoring output, but without the expected scoring of the Neutrinos, we lost.

    Match 2: Our alliance partner was Guzzoline Robotics, and we faced Mouse Spit and Browncoats. We won a very close game, where a blocking penalty by Mouspit helped us win our closest game of the tournament.

    Match 3: Our alliance partner was KNO3, and we faced The League of Legendary Scientists and Tundrabots. We lost a 15 point game, where a miscue in our autonomous positioning proved fatal and cost us the winning points of the match.

    The match schedule we had today would be our toughest sleight of games for the entire tournament. Despite the unfortunate circumstances of the Neutrinos disconnecting early into our first match, we played decently well and had close games against our toughest competition.

    Reflections

    Our last loss ended up proving worse than anyone could've expected. In the award ceremony we figured out we were one spot on the leaderboard from advancing. Due to our aquisition of the Judge's award and our position on the leaderboard, we were named first alternate for Worlds. Unfortunate for us, we hope to do better next year.

    UIL Robotics 2017

    UIL Robotics 2017 By Ethan, Evan, Tycho, Charlotte, Austin, Omar, and Janavi

    Task: Compete in the UIL Robotics 2017 State Tournament

    The UIL Robotics State Tournament is a Texas-only invitational based upon a team's performance in Texas qualifiers and regionals. Since we preformed so well in the North Texas Regionals, winning the first place Inspire Award, we qualified for UIL as well as Super Regionals.

    While the tournament is planned with FIRST's help, it differs from a regular FTC tournament. First, the only awards are for the robot game. This harms Iron Reign from the get-go since we work heavily on our journal.

    We did well in the robot game, but not amazingly. We went about 4-2, but got carried in some matches. We got chosen for a alliance, but lost in the semi-final round. This year at UIL wasn't much to brag about, so the reflection is the most important part.

    Reflections

    We learned many lessons at UIL. First, this was our first senior-less competition, so we have to learn how to moderate ourselves without them. Secondly, we ought to put more emphasis on our robot and driving. While the journal is definitely important, we could've won an extra game or two by practicing driving and keeping our robot in working condition. Finally, we need to work on delegation of roles for the upcoming year, as there'll be a vacumn left by the outgoing seniors.

    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

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log September 09, 2017 By Ethan, Evan, Abhi, Tycho, Austin, Karina, and Kenna

    Meeting Log September 09, 2017

    Today was the first meeting of the Relic Recovery season. Our main focus today was strategy, then organization and getting the robot ready for this year's challenges

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Organization / Documentation / Competition Prep

    • Review Journal
    • Write blog post for Kickoff
    • Fix dates for indexPrintable
    • Blog post catchup
    • Strategy review

    Software

    • Glyph recognition OpenCV
    • Aspiring programmer's code review

    Build / Modelling

    • Teardown old robot
    • Design Competition - glyph grabber

    Service / Outreach

    • Kickoff

    Today's Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    AllPlanning Meeting2:10pm.25
    EthanKickoff post2:002
    EthanFix dates4:002
    EvanDesign Competition2:004
    AustinTeardown robot2:002
    AustinDesign Competion4:002
    TychoCode review2:004
    KennaBlog review2:004
    KarinaStrategy review2:004
    AbhiStrategy review2:004
    PeopleTask2:001
    PeopleTask2:001
    PeopleTask2:001
    PeopleTask2:001
    PeopleTask2:001
    PeopleTask2:001
    PeopleTask2:001
    PeopleTask2:001
    PeopleTask2:001
    PeopleTask2:001

    Intake System Competition

    Intake System Competition By Evan and Austin

    Task: Compare build designs for the cryptobox intake system

    The block scoring system is going to be an integral part of the competition this year, and it will have to built sturdy. It’ll have to be reliable for us to have any shot of winning any matches. So we got to brainstorming. We spent a while at the whiteboard, drawing up various mechanisms and ways to pick up blocks. One idea was the idea of a block delivering system similar to those modern vending machines that have two degree of freedom movement. We began to design the contraption so that a conveyor belt could be placed on an up and down linear slide to position the blocks just right to make the different symbols. Another person came up with the idea to use our tank treads from Geb, our competition robot from two years ago, to push the blocks up a ramp and deposit them into the cryptoboxes. Neither of us could convince the other about what was to be done, so we both split off to work on our own models. Next week we will keep working on this build off of the century.

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log September 16, 2017 By Ethan, Evan, Karina, Tycho, Austin, Charlotte, and Kenna

    Meeting Log September 16, 2017

    Today we had a major outreach event at Conrad HS in DISD which served around 450 people. We also planned on continuing our building competition, working on strategy, the blog, and the robot teardown.

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Organization / Documentation / Competition Prep

    • Review Journal
    • Conrad post
    • About page - new members
    • Strategy

    Software

    • Code review

    Build / Modelling

    • Complete robot teardown
    • Finish design competition
    • Install REV hubs

    Service / Outreach

    • Conrad HS volunteering

    Today's Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    AllPlanning Meeting2:10pm.25
    EthanConrad post2:002
    EthanAbout page4:002
    EvanDesign competition2:004
    AustinRobot teardown2:001
    AustinREV hubs3:001
    AustinDesign competition4:002
    KarinaAbout page2:002
    KarinaStrategy4:002
    TychoCode review2:004
    CharlotteConrad post2:004

    Further Design of the Intake

    Further Design of the Intake By Evan and Austin

    Task: Design the grabbing systems further

    The sun came out and it was back to the field. We got started right away, both of us building our designs. Since the cryptoboxes were wider than the 18 inch sizing cube, we started by designing a fold out for the conveyor belt. This was entirely proof of concept, purely to see if it was at all aplicable in the game this year. We spent an hour or two gathering parts and put together an extending conveyor belt. This device would swing down, like the arrow suggests, allowing for more space to move the blocks back in forth, giving us accuracy in rune completion. This will be later attached to linear slides, allowing for an up and down motion.

    Intake Systems

    Intake Systems By Austin

    Task: Work on designs for the intake system

    Over the past couple of days we’ve experimented with a horizontally mounted track system that we had hoped would serve to move blocks through the entire length of the robot and into the crypto box. Immediately we noticed a few issues, the primary one being that the tread was static in terms of mounting and therefore wasn’t accepting of blocks when feed at an odd angle. To correct our feeding issue, we widened the gap between the tracks and added rubber bands in hopes of maintaining traction and adding to on demand orientation ability.

    Initial tests of our second prototype went fairly well, however the design suffered from some severe drawbacks; the first was its weight and size which would limit robot mobility and take up much needed space for other components, the second issue was that keeping the treads tensioned perfectly for long periods of time was nearly impossible and they would often sag leading to loss of grip, and finally the system was still fairly unpredictable especially during intake (blocks were flung occasionally). These finding lead me to believe we may scrap the idea in consideration of time.

    Aside from our track intake we’ve also been working on a gripper and slide system that shows promise.

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log September 23, 2017 By Charlotte, Kenna, Tycho, Austin, and Evan

    Meeting Log September 23, 2017

    We started the day by volunteering at LV Stockard MS, another DISD event. During our practice, we planned to work on robot design, blog updates, and code testing.

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Organization / Documentation / Competition Prep

    • Review Journal
    • About page updates
    • Stockard blog post

    Software

    • Controller mapping

    Build / Modelling

    • Cryptobox grabber - competition judging
    • Install chosen grabber
    • Reposition robot hubs

    Service / Outreach

    • Stockard MS DISD

    Today's Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    AllPlanning Meeting2:10pm.25
    CharlotteStockard post2:002
    CharlotteCompetition judging4:002
    KennaAbout page2:002
    KennaCompetition judging4:002
    TychoController mapping2:004
    AustinCompetition judging2:002
    AustinInstall grabber4:002
    EvanCompetition judging2:002
    EvanMove hubs4:002

    Narrowing Down the Designs

    Narrowing Down the Designs By Evan and Austin

    Task: Redesign our grabber systems

    In an attempt to get a working lift system before the coaches meeting we will be presenting at, a linear slide has been attached to the robot, along with a pair of grabbing arms. They work surprisingly well and aren’t as complicated as my idea. Plus the importance of speed has really taken hold on me this year. We need to be as fast as possible but my contraption is slow compared to the grabber arm. I think we'll be scrapping the idea for this grabber arm bandwagon everyone seems to be hopping on. While the grabber arm allows for quick pick ups and easy placement, our idea was only bulky and unnecessary because of our use of mecanum wheels which eliminate any need for a system to go side to side. Since the grabber was rudimentary, we’ll be making improvements and new iterations. We toyed with some materials earlier on in the season, and we’ll probably be implementing that into it.

    Slide Designs

    Slide Designs By Austin

    Task: Figure out slide mechanism

    After determining that the treaded channel was much too buggy to perfect with the time we had, we shifted attention to other scoring systems like grabbers, however before finding the right grabber we decided we needed to get the track for it completed first. We’ve had experience in the past with all sorts of rails from Tetrix kits that convert their standard channels into lifts, to the newer REV sliding rail kits which we also toyed around with in initial prototyping shenanigans.

    One of our key concerns was also wear and tear, in that we have had systems slowly breakdown in the past, such as our mountain climber and catapult, since they had plastic components that broke over time, we knew that long periods of use over multiple competitions would deteriorate the plastic components of either rail sets, and other rails that used full metal parts would simply be bulky and rough to fit in snugly with our robot. After a bit more research we settled on standard steel drawer slides from home depot, mainly because they were streamline and all around sturdy. The slides also provided us with easy mounting points for our future claw and attachments.

    We understood that whatever option we picked for slides would have to be easily repairable or replaceable during competition, should something go wrong. Since the drawer slide were easy to come by and needed little modification we could easily make duplicates to act as stand by and demonstration parts during competition.

    These positives came to form more than enough of a reason to continue prototyping our grabber that would eventually be attached once completed to the lift, which was now mounted to the robot and used a system of spools and pullies to extended above the minimum height for scoring in the top row.

    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 Iron Reign, an incurable rift between the forces of light and darkness.

    But then I decided to stop because his design had more speed than mine and speed is more necessary this year. My idea had been a lift that could move the glyphs back and forth but I realized that it would be a little too slow for the competition. Or, another solution would have had a side to side conveyor belt that moved glyphs back and forth to arrange them in the correct order, and then push them into the slots. This movement would have been separate from the four mecanum wheels that we are using in the chasis. His idea was simpler than mine, a conveyor belt that ran through the middle of the robot to bring the glyphs to the keybox, where they could be slotted in with the side to side movement provided by the mecanum wheels. So, like an outnumbered Supreme Court judge, I decided to join the winner so I could have a say in the early design. Once he got a prototype ofhis contraption working, it was able to pick up blocks effectively but it still needs improvement. It has issues with blocks at an angle, and it has trouble slotting the blocks into the keybox, but it's a nice step toward a working block system. We are currently planning to use the mecanum wheel base we used last year but this could change anytime. We left practice with a direction and that's better than nothing.

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log September 30, 2017 By Ethan, Evan, Tycho, Austin, Kenna, Karina, Austin, and Abhi

    Meeting Log September 30, 2017

    Today was based around prepping for our meeting with DISD adminmistrators, getting our robots in working order, and organizing parts for the season.

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Organization / Documentation / Competition Prep

    • Review Journal
    • Fix stats page
    • Strategy

    Software

    • Program lift
    • Program grabber

    Build / Modelling

    • Fix lift string system
    • Add lift supports

    Service / Outreach

    • DISD prep

    Today's Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    AllPlanning Meeting2:10pm.25
    EthanFix stats page2:002
    EthanDISD Prep4:002
    EvanLift supports2:004
    AustinLift string2:004
    TychoProgram lift2:002
    TychoProgram grabber4:002
    KennaLift supports2:004
    KarinaStrategy2:004
    AbhiStrategy2:004

    Testing Materials

    Testing Materials By Austin, Evan, and and Tycho

    Task: Test Materials for V2 Gripper

    Though our current gripper is working sufficiently, there are some issues we would like to improve in our second version. The mounting system is unstable and easily comes out of alignment because the rev rail keeps bending. Another issue we've encountered is the cervo pulling the grippers so that they begin to cave inwards, releasing any blocks being held at the bottom. By far the biggest problem is our intake. Our drivers have to align the robot with the block so precisely to be able to stack it that it eats a majority of our game time. However, there are some advantages, such as light weight and adjustability, to this gripper that we would like to carry over into the second version.

      We tested out a few different materials:
    • Silicone Baking Mats - The mats were a very neutral option because they didn't have any huge advantages or disadvantages (other than not adhering well). These could have been used, however, there were other better options.
    • Shelf Liner - It was far too slippery. Also, when thinking about actually making the grippers, there was no good way to put it on the grippers. Using this materials would have been too much work with little gain.
    • Baking Pan Lining (picked) - It was made out of durable rubber but was still very malleable which is a big advantage. We need the grippers to compress and 'grip' the block without causing any damage.
    • Rubber Bands on Wheels - This material was closest to our original version and, unexpectedly, carried over one of the problems. It still requires very specific orientations to pick up blocks, which would defeat the purpose of this entire task.

    The purpose of this is as a part of our future grabber design, which will need to be relatively light, as our string is currently breaking under stress due to weight. The material must also have good direct shear and direct strength, as the grabber will have rotating arms that move in and out to grasp blocks. As well, we're replacing the tetrix parts with REV, as they're smaller and a little lighter, with the additional bonus of more mounting points.

    Designing the Grabber Further

    Designing the Grabber Further By Evan

    Task: Design the grabber design and make future plans

    The grabber has been evolving. A column made of a turkey baster and a wooden dowel attached to servo has come into fruition. The first drawings and designs are coming along, and some 3D printed parts have been thought up to allow the square dowel to become a hexagon. An adapter of sorts. The grabber and lift have been outfitted with a back board to stop blocks from getting caught underneath the backing bar. The back board is just some 1/16th inch wood cut to fit. The new turkey baster columns are in the first stages, so more info on them will come as more is discovered and progress has been made. The sketches will explain these designs better.

    Designing the Grabber

    Designing the Grabber By Austin

    Task: Work on the grabbers more

    With our single degree of freedom lift fastened to the robot we focused on the appendage that would grip to within an inch of its life any glyph we fed it. We initially toyed with simple tetrix channels to form a make shift rail that would hold axels for pivoting points, however we found tetrix to be a bit too cumbersome and decided to use rev rail instead. Using two tetrix U-brackets we built a makeshift grabber that used rubber bands and a servo to secure blocks without letting them slip through its grasp. To add extra grip to the long L-beams that formed the pincers of the claw, we added even more rubber bands, and moved on to testing.

    Initial tests were very positive, the high strength servo coupled with a few rubber bands maintained enough of a grip on one or two blocks with ease, and because the entire system was mounted to a rev rail we could easily slide and size the pincers to the right distance. Feeling confident in our work we attached the grabber to the lift and attempted drive practice, which ended relatively quickly due to a surprising number of jams between the lift and glyphs.

    The key issue we now faced was that as the lift returned to its home state blocks were getting stuck beneath the retracting claw causing jams. To fix this relatively simple problem we added a back plate to the claw that kept blocks from slipping to far into the robot, this was easily fashioned out of a bit of thin wood board we had lying around from the decks of other robots. The overall performance of our glyph wrangling device was astounding, so long as whoever was operating the robot was a well-trained driver.

    V2 Hexifier and Parts

    V2 Hexifier and Parts By Tycho and Abhi

    Task: Creating the Parts for V2

    Today we continued our work on the second grippers. We talked about this in another post, but the gist is that we iterated through various materials to find something that would securely grip the block, without damaging it. At the beginning, that got rid of most of our options, but we tested various sprays, materials, and pressures to find the right material. The baking pan liner was the best, as it had some give without damaging the block, but had enough friction that slippage was a minor issue. So, we needed the baking pan liner to adhere to the large square dowel we chose to be the base for our grippers. In order to do this, we had to design and print a hexifier, as seen below, which makes the dowel's square shape into a hexagon. We also designed and printed square pieces to go on the top and bottom of the gripper to keep it in place.

    Reflections

    The new grippers are probably going to be much heavier than our previous ones. Not only because of the difference in material, but in sheer size. We may not be able to retain the lightness in V2 that we had hoped to.
    We used PTC Creo for all of these parts. Abhi has some video tutorials on using Creo that can be found here and here. Soon we will start assembling our V2 grippers.

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log October 07, 2017 By Ethan, Evan, Austin, Tycho, and Charlotte

    Meeting Log October 07, 2017

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Organization / Documentation / Competition Prep

    • Review Journal
    • DISD post
    • Fix old post formatting
    • Stockard MS

    Software

    • Begin autonomous

    Build / Modelling

    • Fix robot - was dropped
    • REV hub relign 2
    • Realign square base

    Today's Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    AllPlanning Meeting2:10pm.25
    EthanDISD post2:002
    EthanFix formatting4:002
    EvanFix robot2:002
    EvanRealign4:002
    AustinFix robot2:002
    AustinREV realign4:002
    TychoAutonomous2:004
    CharlotteStockard post2:002
    CharlotteJournal review4:002

    Chassis Upgrades

    Chassis Upgrades By Austin

    Task: Upgrade our chassis

    Because our robot at this point has merely become a collage of prototypes that we compete with, there are often subtle improvements that need to be made. Starting with the wheelbase, Abhi has written a blog about the shields we printed to protect the glyphs from the gnashing bolts of our mechanum wheels, and we also tensioned all our set screws and motor mounts to make sure that our base was preforming in terms of the speed and strength we needed. As we add components to the robot things often are shifted around as well, after tuning up the drive train we focused on realigning our REV expansion hubs and their wiring so that nothing would be in the way of critical lift or drivetrain components.

    Any jettisoning bolts that have been catching components while moving, and any sharp edges have all been ground down to ensure that any motion is smooth and that there are minimal catching hazards during operation. Because of the earlier mentioned prototype state our robot was in, many of the key components laid outside of the 18 inch cubic limits and so these components we brought in and neatly fastened to the internals of the robot bearing in mind ease of access for future updates to components. This entire push for cleanliness was the result of upcoming scrimmages and practice matches that we would be participating in.

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log October 14, 2017 By Ethan, Kenna, Abhi, Austin, Janavi, Evan, Charlotte, and Tycho

    Meeting Log October 14, 2017

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Organization / Documentation / Competition Prep

    • Review Journal
    • Learn to blog
    • UTA post
    • Teach how to blog
    • Strategy post

    Software

    • IMU testing
    • Autonomous

    Build / Modelling

    • Install wheel mounts
    • Test string for lift

    Service / Outreach

    • UTA volunteering

    Today's Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    AllPlanning Meeting2:10pm.25
    EthanTeach how to blog2:002
    EthanFix formatting of posts4:002
    KennaLearn to post2:002
    KennaUTA post4:002
    AbhiStrategy post2:004
    AustinWheel mounts2:004
    EvanString test2:004
    CharlotteLearn to blog2:004
    TychoIMU2:002
    TychoAutonomous4:002

    Stopping Glyph Damage

    Stopping Glyph Damage By Abhi

    Task: Stop Destroying Glyphs

    Since damaging field elements is a huge no-no, we needed to fix this, we decided to create a 3-D part to protect the glyphs from our wheels

    Model:

    During the first attempt, I had just self taught Creo hours prior to construction. As a result, I was not very precise nor efficient in my design. Nevertheless, we recognized that there were some basic shapes we could use for construction such as a semicircle for the bottom half and two rectangles on the top part. We decided to use measurements that were estimated from a singular mechanum wheel. This culminated in the design below.

    Result:

    The part itself is made out of nylon as usual. Our main issue was measuring the wheel accurately to create a functional part. The two parts hampering the design was that the U-shape must be off the ground slightly, and that the shape's semi-circle would not have the full radius of the wheel. So, we iterated through various designs of the U-shape, changing the height off the ground by ~1mm each time. We also varied the radius, until we realized that we could measure the width of where the semi-circle segued into the rectangle and get the estimated diameter of the semi-circle.

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log October 21, 2017 By Ethan, Tycho, Evan, Abhi, Charlotte, and Karina

    Meeting Log October 21, 2017

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Organization / Documentation / Competition Prep

    • Review Journal
    • Travis blog post
    • Work on presentation

    Software

    • Work on openCV integration
    • Test out RoboRealm

    Build / Modelling

    • Robot drive practice
    • Learn PTC
    • Jewel thief mockup

    Today's Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    AllPlanning Meeting2:10pm.25
    EthanWork on presentation2:004
    TychoTravis blog post2:001
    TychoOpenCV3:002
    TychoRobotRealm4:002
    CharlottePTC2:004
    AbhiPTC2:004
    KarinaDrive practice2:004
    EvanJewel thief mockup2:004

    Wheel Protector Correction

    Wheel Protector Correction By Abhi

    Problem: Wheel Guard Innacuracy

    Refering back to the design of the wheel guard, we decided it was time to actually mount it on the robot. At first, it seemed like the part was perfect for the robot since it fit just snug with the screws on the wheel. However, upon mounting, we discovered the following:

    Turns out that the part is acutely shorter than the real height of wheel relative to the horizontal axis superimposed upon the vertical plane. As a result, a second and better trial for modeling needed to be conducted. For this run, I chose to measure the dimensions directly from the robot rather than a spare wheel.

    Correction:

    As seen above, the corrected version of the part looks and works much better. Though there is a slight margin of error in the success of the part due to the dynamic nature of the density of the field tiles , the part should be reliable for the most part

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log November 03, 2017 By Ethan, Evan, Tycho. Austin, Charlotte, Karina, Janavi, Kenna, and Abhi

    Meeting Log November 03, 2017

    Today is one of the last full meetings until our tournament, so we need to get everything ready for judging. This post also includes the objectives for the next week.

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Organization / Documentation / Competition Prep

    • Review Journal
    • 3 posts from each member
    • DISD Scrimmage post
    • Field build post
    • Strategy\Business plan
    • Print notebook
    • Finish presentation
    • Presention practice

    Software

    • Autonomous
    • Drive practice

    Build / Modelling

    • Respool string
    • Robot tuneup

    Today's Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    AllPlanning Meeting2:10pm.25
    Ethan3 posts2:002
    EthanFinish presentation4:002
    EvanTuneup2:004
    TychoAutonomous2:002
    TychoDrive practice4:002
    EvanDrive practice2:004
    AustinDrive practice2:004
    AustinTuneup2:004
    JanaviWork on presentation2:004
    KennaPrint notebook2:004

    Gripper Construction

    Gripper Construction By Tycho

    Task: Making the Gripper

    Standard parts were used to create the backbone. Then, we bent some tetrix parts to connect the backbone to the servos. We used continuous rotation cervos to solve the issue mentioned earlier. This was a fairly easy build but we still have a ways to go before V2 is completed.

    This gripper will be far superior to our prior designs in that it will be lighter, as we are substituting wood and rubber for metal parts, which will solve our string breakage issue. As well, we will be able to grasp objects more securely, due to the rubber's larger coefficient of friction and that the gripper arms themselves have more surface area than our original design. Finally, our gripper will be more dependable due to slightly better wire organization than before.

    This helps our strategy in that it will be far easier to pick up individual blocks, and helps us achieve our goal of grabbing multiple blocks at once. The wider gripper arms will make it so that we can stack blocks on top of each other before bringing them to the CryptoBox, which makes our robot 1.5x as fast in operating time.

    How to make a part in PTC Creo Parametric

    How to make a part in PTC Creo Parametric By Abhi

    Problem: How to Make a Part in Creo Parametric

    PTC Creo Parametric is one of the best software to 3-D model tools that we can print out. I will detail how to create a part in Creo for both our team and any other teams who need help creating a piece. For this demo, Creo Parametric Academic Edition was used along with a pre designed model of the part.

    To begin the model, create a new part. Make sure you are making the part in the right dimensions since the 3-D printer needs special requirements. For the 3-D printer that Iron Reign has, we chose to make all of our dimensions in millimeters. You can change this configuration by going into File>Prepare>Model Properties >Units.

    Once your program is set to go, go under Model and press Sketch. This will create the base diagram which we will raise to make our part. Once the sketch menu appears, you will have to choose a plane on which we will draw. For this sketch, we will draw from the top plane since we want to raise it from the bottom. To do so, press on the top plane and press sketch. If the view is still in an isometric format, you can change the view by pressing the button indicated in the video.

    Once the sketch is set up, we need to draw two concentric circles with the right dimensions. To find the dimensions, I refer often to the premade part. Once I have made the system, I set up centerlines vertically to be able to draw better. Next, I cut off the top two parts of the circle since we will put rectangles on them.

    Next, select a line chain to draw two sets of rectangles with the bottom edge fused with the half circle. At the end, you should have a U shaped part. Now, we can draw another centerline along where we want the screw holes. After doing so, we can use the circle tool to make two holes in the rectangles.

    We now need to extrude this part to the right size. After pressing the extrude took, we can change the size on the arrow. After doing so, we need to place two high radius thin circles on either sides. These are placed as weight pads so that when the part prints, it doesn't curve on the printing bed.

    At this point, we can do some optional things to make our part..well lets say prettier. We can use the round tool so the edges look nicer and the screws are easier to place inside. After doing so, we can use the render tool to color all the edges. At the end, you will have a complete part to print

    End result:

    We hope you learned from this tutorial and are able to apply this to any future parts you make!

    Designing the Jewel Thief

    Designing the Jewel Thief By Evan

    Task: Design a part to remove the jewel

    The jewel thief, the mechanism for knocking off one of the jewels, was going to be one of the tougher parts of our bot to integrate, based on the chassis we began with. But, with a little engineering and some long thought, we came up with a few ways to implement it. First, we began with a side mount, and it was alright for the angle, but we switched our autonomous plan to begin pointing forward, presenting me with a new problem. The part we had used before would simply not work. We tried a modified version of the pusher we'd made, but it didn't fully suffice. It was impractical and would require more than a little wire extention for the servo. We finally decided that a frontwards approach should be taken from the side. Instead of a single middle forward facing prong, a two bar prong sticking from either side, meeting in the middle, and providing a platform for a potential relic placer. While not completely finished, we intend to have it done by the first qualifier, fully functional. It should allow us to knock the jewel off during autonomous effectively and efficiently, although that’s all to be seen.

    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.

    Business and Strategic Plan Pt. 1

    Business and Strategic Plan Pt. 1 By Ethan

    Download PDF here

    Intro

    Iron Reign has existed, in one form or another, for the past eight years. We have competed in FLL, Google Lunar X Prize Challenge, and now, FTC.

    While our team originated at WB Travis Vanguard and Academy, we are now hosted by the School of Science and Engineering at Townview, in DISD. Despite our school being 66% economically disadvantaged and being Title 1, our school consistently ranks in the top 10 nationwide. As well, our school has numerous other award winning extracurricular, including CX Debate, Math/Science UIL, and more.

     

    A History of Iron Reign

    Iron Reign has been a team for eight years. We initially started as an FLL team, plateauing in regionals every year we competed. We also did Google’s Lunar X Prize program every Summer, achieving finalist status in 2011 and 2012. Upon moving to high school, we started doing FTC, as FRC was too cost-prohibitive to be parent-run.

    We have been an FTC team for 6 years, advancing further and further each year. Last year, we got to the South Super Regionals, qualifying by winning the North Texas Inspire Award. In Georgia, we were the first alternative for Worlds if another team dropped out due to cost.

    Also in FTC, we compete in the Texas UIL State Championships. For those unfamiliar with UIL, it is the main organizational committee for all public school academic and athletic events. Through UIL, we helped compete in the first test program for the UIL Robotics program and since then have competed in every subsequent tournament.

     

    Outreach

    Iron Reign spends a large amount of time on outreach. This year alone, we have put in 500 man-hours and created 2800 individual connections to people in our community. Our goal of this outreach is to reach disadvantaged children who would not normally have the opportunity to participate in STEM programs in order to spark their interest in STEM for future learning. Some of our major outreach events include presenting at the National Science Teachers’ Association Convention in Florida, hoping to inspire people in other regions to adopt our methods of outreach. We volunteered at a Microsoft youth convention to spread STEM awareness, as well as volunteering throughout our school district.

    We also volunteer for FIRST. We have hosted a scrimmage for our entire school district, DISD (one of the largest school districts in the country), and are hosting a qualifier for the North Texas region in December. We also instruct parents and educators on how to start a FIRST team when volunteering, as Iron Reign itself was started by parents at WB Travis.

    Our outreach stands out from other teams through our mode of presentation. Last year, we renovated a 90’s Seaview Skyline RV, took out the “home” components, and turned it into a mobile tech lab to read underprivileged demographics within our community. Our RV currently holds 4 3D Printers, 30+ computers, 3 widescreen TVs, and 1 microwave. Our current curriculum consists of teaching kids 3D modelling in the back of the RV, using Google Sketchup, as it is free and available to any family with a computer. We usually help them design keychains, as they are memorable, but don’t take excessive time to print on our printers. In the front, we teach kids how to use EV3 robots and teach them how to use the EV3 programming language to compete in a sumo-bot competition. We also give advice to parents and educators on how to start FIRST teams. To fill and staff the RV, we have received grants from Best Buy to purchase the 3D printers and laptops, grants from non-profits such as BigThought and Dallas City of Learning to fund the building and upkeep of the RV, and staffing from BigThought and AmeriCorps, as well as our own team. The AmeriCorps staffing is especially notable, as it is a US Federal Government program to support civil service within communities.

    When not in outreach service, we can transform our RV into tournament mode. We have taken numerous long-distance road trips aboard our RV, with locations such as Austin, Arkansas, and Florida. We substitute the laptops for bandsaws and drill presses, use the flat screens to program, and bring our higher-quality personal 3D printer. At tournaments, we encourage other teams to board our RV, not only to encourage them to start their own similar programs, but also to help them with mechanical and building issues.

     

    Business and Funding

    Normally, Iron Reign does not get major funding. However, this year, we have seen our funding, sponsorships, and grants increase exponentially. Currently, those include:

    ·         BigThought - RV materials, staffing, and upkeep

    ·         Dallas City of Learning (DCOL) – RV materials and upkeep

    ·         Best Buy – 4x3D Printers, Laptops for RV

    ·         AmeriCorps – RV staffing

    ·         DISD STEM - $3000 of REV parts and 2 full practice fields

    ·         Dallas Makerspace – Access to machining tools

    ·         DPRG – Robot assistance

    ·         FIRST – Tournament fees

    ·         Texas Workforce Commission – Grant

    We are always seeking out new sources of funding.  In the past, we have applied for prior grants by sending letters to STEM-curious companies in the Dallas area. For example, we have previously applied for a $4000 Orix grant, a STEM foundation dedicated to spreading STEM to the underserved. Also, recently, we received an additional grant from Best Buy for our distinguished service to the underprivileged within the Dallas area.

    In previous years, we have lacked the ability to get significant transportation fondant to tournaments. However, through our partnership with DISD, we have solved that problem. And when DISD is unable to provide transportation due to short notice, we can provide our own transportation due to our building of the RV.

     

    Reference Business Letter from Last Season

    Dear Orix,

    Iron Reign Robotics, a robotics team of 7 years, is competing in the 2016/17 First Tech Challenge Velocity Vortex game. We are based out of the School of Science and Engineering (SEM) in Dallas which is a title one school.

    The population of the public school is racially diverse and 68 percent of the students are on free-or-reduced lunch. In spite of our economic challenges, SEM is regularly considered the school that offers students the most growth in the entire district (highest effectiveness index) and is regularly in the top 10 in many national rankings. But as the second robotics team to be formed at this Dallas ISD Magnet, we are underfunded by the district and need to reach out to organizations that are investing in the long-term future of our community.

    Each year we deepen our advanced robotics skills, improve our ability to organize around common team goals, and learn how to better communicate with technical professionals so that we will prepared make an impact as we continue through college and eventually join the workforce. Last year our team made it to the Regional Championship during the FTC season and then proceeded on to the UIL State Robotics Championship in Austin during the summer. This year, with your support, we are striving to make it to the 12-state super regional in Georgia and go from there to the World-wide competition in Houston.

    Yet we spend a significant amount of our efforts investing in younger students outside the team. We work very hard to let young students in North Texas know about the opportunities in STEM education. We mentor students in elementary and middle schools. We regularly participate in a series of STEM outreach events to help younger students think of themselves as future scientists, engineers and technical professionals. This includes presenting at events like the Dallas Mayor’s Back to School Fair, Earth Day Texas, and Moon day at the Frontiers of Flight Museum just to name a few. Last year (2015/16) our outreach involvement amounted to 400 team person-hours in service to 2,200 people. We are unaware of any other FTC team in our region that does as much outreach as we do.

    This year we’ve stepped those numbers up to over 500 person-hours serving over 2,000 people so far just this summer. This was because we took on a project to renovate an RV to create a mobile learning laboratory for the Dallas City of Learning. Not only did we turn the interior into a mobile technical classroom with 3D printers, but many team members volunteered to teach robotics and 3D modelling and printing on board while volunteering for AmeriCorps with Big Thought this summer. The team was featured as a “Class Act” on TV channel CW33 because of this effort.

    Unfortunately, time is money and the time it takes us to contribute to each of these events costs us dollars we don’t have. We all love teaching young children who are interested in robotics and technology and we hope what they receive is beyond value. But we also need to raise our competitive game and new parts cost money. When jerry rigging and reusing parts unsuited for the job, we waste time that could be used to make more progress and continue the advancement of our robot. As we continuously refine our design, new parts are needed and some need to be replaced as we strive for an efficient and reliable entry. The other piece of the financial puzzle is transportation costs. This year we plan to take part in multiple competitions including out-of-state competitions in order to deepen our competitive potential and improve our chances of advancing to the next level. Competition expenses beyond the standard local track are some of the hardest expenses to fund.

    We are asking for $4,000 to help us continue our journey into robotics and we hope that Orix can become a major supporter of our team while we continue to invest in the futures of many more students in North Texas. We would love a chance to visit with you, show you our robot in its current form, and discover together how much our mission and your focus areas have in common. Please let us know how to schedule that time. Until then, you can access much more information about Iron Reign on our team blog: http://www.ironreignrobotics.com/

                                                                                                                    Warmest Regards,

                                                                                                                    Iron Reign

    Looking Back, Moving Forward

    In the past, sustainability has not been a major concern of Iron Reign’s. We’ve essentially had the same team for seven years. This year, our eighth, we’ve finally lost members through graduation. As a result, we’ve had to substantially reconsider our approach to recruitment and how to manage our changing team.

    We already have another team in our school, team 3734 Imperial Robotics. 3734 is an entirely different team, with different sponsors, members, robots, journal, outreach, and codebase. That being said, we recruit the more accomplished members of that team. The teams’ relationship is most similar to the difference between a Junior Varsity team and a Varsity team.

    We tend to recruit based on robotics experience, but having robotics experience alone is not a guarantee of joining our team. Iron Reign has a specific culture, and we tend to recruit people whose personalities fit our culture. We also do not accept people who only want to join robotics as a resume booster. While robotics is indeed a resume booster, and we allow every member to claim co-captain on their college applications, members of Iron Reign ought to join out of their genuine passion for robotics, not because of it getting them ahead in the rat race of college applications.

    Since this year was the first year in which we lost a substantial number of our teammates, we had to learn how to effectively transfer knowledge. First, we were losing our master of 3D modelling, Max, so we had two members, Abhi and Charlotte, learn under his wing throughout last season. Because of that effort, they have now designed a variety of parts on our robot. For the blog and engineering journal, Ethan learned under Caitlin’s tutelage how to use Jekyll, Shopify, and manage the blog. This year, we face difficulties, as we will lose our lead programmer, Tycho, for next season. To combat that, our members Abhi and Janavi, are learning the intricacies of our codebase that we’ve kept since we first started using Java.

     

    Game Strategy

    This year, we were faced with a conundrum. The central question was this – “Should we focus on scoring the cryptoboxes, relic, or jewel?”. We settled on the order of Cryptobox > Relic > Jewel.

    Our game strategy was based off of the fact that we could build a robot which could score one block initially, and easily score a column, giving us 40+ points right off the bat. As well, the cryptobox process is simplistic enough that we could get to the balance stone to gain even more points in the endgame, without doing any point-risky challenges such as the Relic.

    When we finish the cryptobox designs and autonomous, our next goal is the Jewel. The Jewel challenge is simplistic enough that it could be done in 1-2 meetings without interfering with any other design processes. Our current planned design process is first to create an arm with a color sensor attached like most teams, but eventually we plan to remove that color sensor and identify the Jewel only by OpenCV.

    Finally, our last area of focus is scoring the Relic. Scoring the Relic involves a high degree of difficulty, and the risk grows when you consider that you have to score the Relic upright in order to gain the most points. As well, building an arm that can score the Relic while still staying within the 18x18x18 size limits increases the design difficulty of the robot.

    Building

    This year, Iron Reign has drastically changed how it builds its parts. In previous years, we have relied on primary Tetrix parts, utilizing AndyMark parts for the drivetrain and other moving areas. However, we happened to gain access to a motherlode of REV parts, which drastically changes our designs from previous years.

    The biggest change enabling innovation is our newfound use of REV rails within our robot. REV rails allow for basically unlimited mount points for parts so that we are afforded maximum flexibility in our designs, comparable to the flexibility of 3D printing.

    As well, for this year’s robot chassis, we have decided to take the use of REV parts even further, and use the REV Power Distribution Module and both Expansion Hubs. The reason for this change is twofold. First, we experienced significant connection and static issues last year with our robot, partially due to excess static buildup from our mecanum wheels. So far, we have not experienced any of those issues using REV modules, even though we are using the same base chassis. Second, the REV hubs allow us to add more features on to our robot, such as LED strips and extra servos, that allow us to signal our team as well as create more innovative components of our robot.

    We also utilize a variety of 3D printed parts on our robot. While we use less 3D printed parts than previous years, that is due to the particular challenges of this year. Our parts are modelled in PTC Creo, and we have recently switched over from Creo V.3 to Creo V.4 so that we can use the more advanced features included in the new program. Our personal 3D printer can handle a variety of materials, and we have used nylon, ABS, Filoflex, and Ninjaflex in prior designs to fit various needs. In our current robot, we have settled on using nylon. Nylon has four qualities that make it more advantageous than other materials. First, nylon is less brittle and prone to breaking than materials such as ABS. Second, nylon achieves comparatively high print quality on our robot as compared to Filoflex and Ninjaflex. Third, nylon has enough give so that it doesn’t break, but is strong enough to withstand the forces felt in everyday use of our robot. Finally, nylon can be dyed so that we can give our parts a distinguishing color, a quality that we have taken advantage of in prior seasons.

    An example of these 3D printed parts are our wheel guards. In testing, our mecanum drive train tended to cut up the cryptoboxes when we drove up against them. As a result, we designed various wheel guards and tested them. We also made mockups with various materials such as cardboard, to minimize design time and waste parts. We settled on a U-shaped design to prevent damage to the boxes and other field elements, while not sacrificing mobility. Then, to guarantee nothing went wrong, we iterated through various heights of the U-shape so that they would not cut into the mats or bump into other robots

    Programming

    Iron Reign has generated a substantial codebase over the years. Initially, Iron Reign programmed in RobotC. However, when robot phones started becoming the main form of control, we transferred our codebase into Java. We use the Android Studio IDE to code our robot.

    Our most notable programming achievement has been the integration of machine vision and augmented reality libraries into our code. Currently, we use Vuforia in conjunction with OpenCV to identify and score field elements in autonomous, as well as assist in scoring elements during TeleOp. Both Vuforia and OpenCV are industrial-level technologies that we have integrated into our codebase. Vuforia in particular is currently owned by PTC, one of the sponsors of FIRST.

    Another notable programming achievement is our Pose class. We use the class to determine our robot’s current position on the field using trigonometric functions. While this class currently need updating for the new season, it can still be used for any small-scale operations on the field.

    Design Process

    Iron Reign uses two design processes in conjunction with each other to create efficient and reliable parts. First, we use the Kaizen design process, also used in industrial corporations such as Toyota. The philosophy behind Kaizen is the idea of continual improvement, that there is always some modification to each system on our robot that will make it more efficient or more reliable. As well, design competitions are a focal point of Iron Reign’s design process. In these design competitions, team members choose their favored designs that all complete some field challenge, and build them individually. Upon completion of each mechanism, the designs are tested against each other, considering weight, maneuverability, reliability, and efficiency.

    An example of these design processes working in conjunction is the process of designing our cryptobox intake system. Evan had the idea to build an arm-style grabber seen on many current competition robots. His design, however, included shorter arms for space’s sake and a more compact lift system than normal. Austin decided to build a unique conveyor-belt system which used friction to hold blocks in space and move them vertically. Through the competition, we determined that Evan’s design was more efficient and took up less space than Austin, so we settle on his design, adding in a linear slide for lifting at the end of the process. Then, Kaizen comes in. Through firsthand experience in scrimmages, we learned that the grabber system isn’t as reliable as we thought when first testing. So, we have designed a new grabber system that moves like the arms did previously, but also rotate with soft spikes attached to hold blocks with friction better without damaging them.

     

     

    Budget

    Bought:

    REV Minibot Kit

    2

    125

    250

    REV Slim Batteries

    2

    50

    100

    Axles

    4

    10

    40

    Drivers

    2

    5

    10

    Nyloc Parts

    4

    5

    20

    Step Drill

    2

    5

    10

    Shaft Collars

    4

    7

    28

    Tetrix Competition Set

    1

    580

    580

    Control and Communication

    2

    265

    530

    REV Hubs

    4

    150

    600

    Motors

    14

    28

    392

    Encoder Cables

    14

    5

    70

    Soft Tiles

    28

    5

    140

    Tile Bags

    2

    60

    120

    Full Field

    2

    480

    960

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Total

     

     

    3850

     

    Wishlist:

    Per Team - 6832

    FTC Control and Communications Set

    265

    0

    0

    https://ftc.pitsco.com/Control_Set

    Electronics Set

    150

    0

    0

    https://ftc.pitsco.com/Electronics_Set

    Build System: Competition Set - Tetrix [not recommended]

    580

    0

    0

    https://ftc.pitsco.com/Competition_Set

    Build System: FTC Starter Kit - REV

    475

    1

    475

    http://www.revrobotics.com/REV-45-1170/

    2nd REV Robotics Expansion Hub

    150

    1

    150

    http://www.revrobotics.com/REV-31-1153/

    Batteries

    50

    2

    100

    http://www.revrobotics.com/rev-31-1302/

    Batteries, Tetrix form factor

    50

    0

    0

    https://www.tetrixrobotics.com/Controllers-and-Electrical/Power-Accessories/TETRIX-12-Volt-Rechargeable-NiMH-Battery-Pack

    Servo Power Module

    40

    1

    40

    http://www.revrobotics.com/rev-11-1144/

    HD Hex Motor

    30

    4

    120

    http://www.revrobotics.com/rev-41-1301/

    NeverRest Motor

    28

    0

    0

    http://www.andymark.com/NeveRest-p/am-neverest.htm

    Lexan - 3 x 4 sheet - 3/32

    87

    1

    87

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/LEXAN-48-in-x-36-in-x-093-in-Polycarbonate-Sheet-GE-38/202038065

    FIRST Season Registration

    275

    0

    0

    https://my.firstinspires.org/Teams

    Per School - Science and Engineering

    Game Set - Full Field

    480

    1

    480

    http://www.andymark.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=AM-3600

    Game Set - Half Field

    270

    0

    0

    http://www.andymark.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=AM-3600

    Game Set - Quarter Field

    159

    0

    0

    http://www.andymark.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=AM-3600

    Soft Tiles Game Surface

    230

    1

    230

    http://www.andymark.com/product-p/am-softtiles.htm

    Field Perimeter Kit

    595

    1

    595

    http://www.andymark.com/FTC-Perimeter-p/am-0481a.htm

    Tape Set

    50

    1

    50

    http://www.andymark.com/product-p/am-3600_tape.htm

     

    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 :).

    Driving Struggles

    Driving Struggles By Abhi

    Task: Drive the Robot

    Today we tried to drive the robot on the practice field for the first time since the qualifier last Saturday. However, we couldn't get in very much quality drive practice because the robot kept breaking down. We decided to dig a bit deeper and found some issues.

    As seen above, the first thing that was wrong was that the lift was tilted. Due to the cantilever orientation of the plank of the grabber arm mounted on the vertical axis, the structure only had one bar for support for the lift. As a result, since the construction of our robot, the rev rail of the mount had been worn out constantly up to the point where it broke. Also because of the singular rod mounting, the lift system rotated on the vertical planar axis creating a need for drivers, such as myself, to rotate into the cryptobox every time we needed to mount. This was not a good way for the robot to function and had frustrated us.

    Another issue we had was that the lift system string was caught often in all the wiring of the robot. Due to the friction created between this string and all the wiring, including the jewel system, it breaks the string and also creates a safety issue. As a result, we need to fix either the wiring of the robot or the lift system altogether.

    Reflections

    We hope to make improvements over this week before the Oklahoma qualifier. Hopefully, we will have a more proficient robot making it easier on our drivers.

    Gripper Part 2

    Gripper Part 2 By Evan

    Update:

    The task today was simple. We replicated the prior work with the first gripper, as stated in the prior post, so we can begin connecting them. The biggest problem was finding all the parts to make it. We are hoping we can connect and mount them in the next couple days so it will be ready for the qualifier in Oklahoma. The improvement over last post was the addition of the rubber gripping material, as found in our "Material Test" post.

    How to Assemble parts in PTC Creo

    How to Assemble parts in PTC Creo By Abhi

    Task: Learn how to Assemble parts in Creo Parametric

    In addition to making parts to print in Creo, it is sometimes useful to combine multiple parts to make a model. For example, we can make a robot model by assembling parts in Creo. We have conducted a video on how to do so.

    For this tutorial, we first created two simple parts which fit snugly inside one another (done before the video). Then, we created a new assembly file and uploaded the bigger part first. We placed the smaller part and did the assembly by matching the sides of the cylinder. That is how we ended up with a cylinder with its hole plugged in the end.

    Reflections

    We hope to use Assemblies to make models for various structures in our robot in the near future. We hope this tutorial helps you with your endeavors!

    Intake Grippers Pt2

    Intake Grippers Pt2 By Evan

    Task: Attach the new intake grippers

    The basters are here and in full swing. We spent a late night putting together the two intake columns. They were attached to a backing by previously, allowing to finish it by attaching the final servo and tieing it to the two columns. Since the new intake needed new code, we whipped up some code to allow us to have control. Upon doing this he realized we needed two controllers, one for movement and controlling the lift, and a second purely to work the two columns as they spun. This allowed the operator to operate the whole robot just a little easier. The new columns are set on a majority REV base, allowing for more choices in design that normal tetrix doesn’t provide. The new grabber has already been placed on the robot and seems to be working smoothly, only time will tell if it is a long term solution.

    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.

    Spring Cleaning in the RoboDojo

    Spring Cleaning in the RoboDojo By Janavi, Evan, Ethan, Austin, Tycho, Karina, Charlotte, Kenna, and Abhi

    Task:

    A few weeks leaving for our Oklahoma competition we assembled a large garage tent upon the pool deck and moved our field inside the tent to shield it from the weather. The night before the competition we moved in a projector so we could project see the code on the wall and left it there when we went to Oklahoma. We were very surprised when we came back to Dallas around midnight and found the canvas that was supposed to be covering the tent crumpled in the corner of the backyard and the frame of the tent on its side resting again the tree as you can see in the photo below

    But what surprised us the most was that nothing that we let upon that table was disturbed at all, the projector lay in the same spot and even a glass of water we had left hadn't moved an inch.The next day we came back, well rested and finally wrestled the RoboDojo back from the grasps of the tree and bolted it down to the pool deck to prevent any future mishaps.

    After that we started to move robotics stuff outside and Max placed a board hole onto the wall with hooks so we can hang up the tools for easy access.

    We moved out all shelves that overflowed with boxes upon of boxes of robotics parts to the RoboDojo. Our plan is to move all of the robotics building out to Dojo that way we have easy access to the field and don't have to constantly move in and out to test. To start the move we labelled shoe boxes with bright orange tape to organize all of the tools and parts ,

    after that we started sorting through the shelves someone exclaiming almost every five minutes " I was looking for that last time! ". Eventually after getting most of the big items sorted we worked on organising the smaller items like hex keys and nuts into grid containers.

    Reflections

    Making this big move has really helped us not only with organization but it has allowed us to do a deep clean of all the robotics parts, we sorted thorough all of our old motors and battery and found some that either didn't work any more or were outdated. This is very important to do periodically because it allows us to make more space and it eliminates the chance of us bringing broken battery to competitions. Moving all of the items outside has taken us a while and we are still currently still moving items outside but so far it has had an immediate effect, our two teams have been able to do more testing and we are able to spend less time searching for stuff ever since we organized. Since this has been so helpful to our teams we might plan to make this a yearly occurrence, during summer or after our season ends we can spend two weekends completely reorganizing the Dojo.

    Grabber Arms v3

    Grabber Arms v3 By Abhi and Karina

    Task:Develop a More Efficient System

    At the Oklahoma qualifier, we saw numerous teams with similar systems to that of ours. However, since we had the mobilized gripper arms to stack with auto alignment, we were able to collect glyphs easier. In spite of that, after observing other teams in action, we realized our current gripper method had the issue of not being ready by the time we got back to the cryptobox. This is because we had to turn around everytime we needed to pick up glyphs and we also needed to pick up glyphs. This leads to longer time to fill the cryptobox, something that is not good if we plan on recovering the relic later in the season. As a result, we decided to upgrade our arms to a new level: a chain based intake system.

    The idea behind this system is that the grabber arms would be on a mobilized chain system, kind of like a conveyor belt. One of the reasons this is much faster than our old system is that we don't need to turn our robot around as we approach the cryptobox. We can drive forward, pick up glyphs, and as we drive backwards, we can use a toggled button on our gamepad to move the grabber arms to the back of the robot upright. As a result, by the time we get back to the cryptobox, we have the glyphs ready to place.

    Another benefit of this new system is that we don't need to stack glyphs. When we drive forward to pick up glyphs, we can tilt the grabber arms forward so that even if the pre stacked glyphs look far apart, they can still be in-took with the tilted system. Also, this system can be used for intaking the relic in the future. If the chain system is placed on an elevated level on our robot, the grabber arms will be taller than the field walls. Because of this, if we pick up the relic when it is on the ground, we can place it easily.

    This picture represents our current progress. We hope to complete this system soon so we can test it on the robot.

    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

    Gripper v4, Octopuckers

    Gripper v4, Octopuckers By Tycho and Abhi

    Task: Design a new piece for intake

    Version 2 of our gripper arms worked much better than our original. Due to their silicone material and trianglular shape, we definitely had more control over the glyphs than our one degree of freedom grabber arms. However, we still had issues we needed to address. When glyphs were taken in, since the silicone surface did not have much mobility and compressibility, glyphs would often fall. Due to slight changes in glyph size, the bigger glyph would determine the space between the grabbers, meaning the other glyph would be mobile despite us wanting its control. This is when we develoepd the first version of our new rotators.

    The first edition of our rotatory mechanism allowed us to play with ninjaflex printing and flexibility. They were 15mm extrusions designed to stack on one another on a REV rail or similar rigid structure. Since Ninjaflex can bend, we got more grip on the glyphs. It was definetely a well designed model but had many issues. First, each fin of the fan was very thick. Though it was able to grip glyphs well alone, the system was not able to grip much better when stacked together. We decided we needed more surface area contact with glyphs during intake.

    This led us to create a new model with thinner fins and thin tabs at the end. The thin flaps allowed more grip area with the glyphs allowing us to work better. Though good in theory, when we went to print out the part, we discovered our 3-D printer didn't allow printing vertically of surfaces less than 1 mm. Since this idea didn't work, we started thinking of the idea of suction cups. This led us to our current design.

    The design worked very well. We decided to name them Octopuckers since they had suction cup shape and there were 8 fins to a pucker. The surfaces of the octopuckers which would contact the glyphs were large and had a large area. Since this was heavier than the bridge connecting them to the center, the branches bent easily allowing for a grippy surface which was also flexible. After testing it on a small scale, it seemed to work well so we will continue development and implement it on our next edition of the grabber arms.

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log December 09, 2017 By Ethan, Evan, Tycho, Austin, Janavi, Charlotte, and Abhi

    Meeting Log December 09, 2017

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Organization / Documentation / Competition Prep

    • Review Journal
    • Write post-mortem
    • Update past MeetLogs

    Build / Modelling

    • 3D-model
    • Work on robot flipper

    Service / Outreach

    • Build 2nd field

    Today's Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    AllPlanning Meeting2:10pm.25
    EvanFlipper2:004
    AustinFlipper2:004
    Abhi3D Model2:004
    EthanPost Mortem2:002
    EthanField4:002
    JanaviField2:004
    CharlotteField2:004
    TychoField2:004
    KarinaField2:004

    Jewel Thief

    Jewel Thief By Austin and Evan

    Task: Build a Functional Jewel Thief

    The jewel thief we built before *worked* but that was about it. More often than not it failed by not hitting the jewel, or even worse, knocking off the wrong jewel due to instability. And, in the Greenhill Qualifier, we lost several rounds by the margin of error that could've been fixed by hitting the jewel. So, we had to redesign it.

    The jewel thief was intended to be simple at first, it was comprised of no more than a 180 degree rotation servo and an arm with a standard rev color sensor. The arm was foldable and collapsible so that it would fit inside our robot, and as the servo turned out to its extended position the arm would open up with the help of a single bungee cord. This plan had a few inital downfalls: first the arms were rather large and clunky and never really folded well into position, second the arms was heavy due to the use of tetrix bars meaning that the servo would strain, and finally the overal position of the arm was inconvenient for our autonomous programing, so we moved on completely. Rather than focusing on a single arm that could extend to reach the jewels, we decided to focus on something that would conform well to our current setup and then focus on making it long enough to reach. We realized that the outer edge of the robot was open enough to contain a V-shaped device that would rise 180 degrees over the head of our robot. The immediate perk to this was the fact that the system would be 18 inches in length. We felt no need to update which sensor we were using at the end of whatever mechanisim we finally attached, since the rev color sensor served it purpose correctly and effectively each time we had tested it in the past. Our final design was the V-shaped rim that laid flush with our robots exterior and was made from cut and bent L-bracket and was moved with two continuous rotation servos.

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log December 23, 2017 By Abhi, Karina, Austin, Tycho, Kenna, Ethan, Charlotte, Janavi, Darshan, Jayesh, and Omar

    Meeting Log December 23, 2017

    Our team alumni visited practice today. They imparted their knowledge to us in terms of the blog and our build plans.

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Organization / Documentation / Competition Prep

    • Review Journal
    • Use alumni reccomendations with number and content of blog posts.

    Software

    • Investigate ways to pick up glyphs during autonomous
    • Review OpenCV viewing of cryptobox

    Build / Modelling

    • Complete frame of gripper arms v3
    • Assemble new gripper arms

    Today's Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    AllPlanning Meeting2:00pm.25
    AllRecap Townview Qualifier2:15.5
    AustinAssemble Gripper arms2:453
    AbhiComplete frame v32:452
    KarinaComplete frame v32:452
    OmarHelp build ideas2:452
    DarshanHelp build ideas2:452
    KennaFix Blog2:452
    JanaviFix Blog2:452
    CharlotteFix Blog2:452
    JayeshIdentify fixes in blog2:452
    Karina3-D Model4:451
    Abhi3-D Model4:451
    PeopleTask2:001

    Flipper Prototype

    Flipper Prototype By Evan

    Task: Build an alternate glyph-placing mechanism

    The world advances on innovation. We strive to make the most efficient devices and aparati to complete jobs for us. There’s a hundred different ways to work a task, but only one will be the best at functioning in the areas of efficiency and timeliness. Just as America runs on Dunkin, advancement runs on efficiency. That’s why the robot must be outfitted with a flipper system to intake and deposit blocks. It’s the only design that will make it to the world competition, and it’s the only way that we will make it out of local competitions. I personally have taken it upon myself to develop the prototype while the majority of the team is focussed on a new grabber arm.

    While our grabber arms were *good*, they weren't great. The arms currently attached to the robot, which use the turkey-pans, didn't grip as much as we hoped, and while we're designing a new version which has specialized 3-D printed arms, we can't put all our eggs in one basket. So, we decided to make the flipper system. The advantages of the flipper system as compared to the other systems is that the flipper system:

    • Does not depend on friction to hold blocks
    • We had previous issues with block slippage with the arms model, and this should fix our dependency on high-friction materials.
    • Faster
    • Our old arms depended on stacking to get more than one block, while this one wheels blocks in, reducing the time needed.
    • Less precision needed
    • Before, we had to align blocks directly with the arms to pick them up, but this can just use the wheels to intake blocks.

    So far I have built a flipper and an intake system, both that function well, but have yet to get the teams’ permission to attach it directly to the robot, as it would require a lot of dismantling. Since it won’t be able to be put on before the upcoming Wylie qualifier, it’s been put on a backburner as I also throw myself at the new grabber arm. The flipper is being held in a frame I built around it but as a system is comprised of a board attached to a servo attached to a drawer slide that works as a vertical lift. The intake system is composed of two intake wheels made of the same foam tiles that make up the field floor attached to two axles that are chained to two opposite rotating gears powered by one of the new REV motors. The intake works with the flipper well and only needs some side guards. I’m half of the way through designing. It should be on the robot before any regional qualifiers we go to.

    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.

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log January 06, 2018 By Ethan, Evan, Charlotte, Kenna, Tycho, Austin, Abhi, Karina, and Janavi

    Meeting Log January 06, 2018

    So, today's the last Saturday before the Wylie Qualifier, and we're pretty unprepared. We're a little behind on our blog posts by about a week, we still haven't added our octopucker attachment, and we need to finish our 3D model of our robot.

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Organization / Documentation / Competition Prep

    • Review Journal
    • Spring Cleaning Post
    • Code Improvement
    • SEM Tournament Post
    • Flipper Post
    • Octopucker Post
    • 3D Model Post
    • Proofread
    • Fix presentation

    Software

    • Fix autonomous jewel code

    Build / Modelling

    • Finish 3D model
    • Attach octopucker grabber
    • Work on flipper

    Today's Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    AllPlanning Meeting2:10pm.25
    EthanReview Posts2:004
    EveryonePresention2:001
    EvanWork on octopuckers2:004
    AustinFix wiring issues2:004
    CharlotteFix Presentation2:004
    EthanFix presentation2:002
    KennaProofread posts2:004
    TychoWork on auto code2:004
    Abhi3D model2:004
    Karina3D model2:004

    Fixing the Robot Chassis

    Fixing the Robot Chassis By Austin

    Task: Redesign the robot chassis, fix issues

    When we designed our new grabber with the octopuckers, one of the variables we neglected was the width of the new grabber once assembled and resting. After the grabber was completed it’s width was actually greater than that of the housing bay we had built into the current drive train, so to get the grabber to fit we actually had to widen the bay. We had know from past experience that the base was never truly square, so we took this necessary widing as a chance to resquare the base and drastically improve the efficiency of our mecanum drive. We added ¾ inch to the inside base and the resquared the frame before finally bolting everything down and attempting to mount the new grabber. Because the closed grabber barely fit within the new widened bay we had to cut away portions of the frame over the front wheels to allow the octopuckers room to actuate.

    The other key chassis modification needed to accommodate the new grabber system was a lift bolstering. We decided that to handle the newly doubled weight of the grabber we would share the load across two strings and convert to a double pulley system. The lift was also strengthened with newly squared and adjusted cross beams similar in length and angle to the other iteration. Because of the double pulley, we also centered the drive motor and utilized a second spool. The pulleys rest on either side of the lift system and are both being run by the same motor.

    The Grabber V. Kraken

    The Grabber V. Kraken By Austin and Evan

    Task: Build a new version of the grabber

    One of our issues with the previous iteration of the gripper was the fact that the material that coated the actual pincers weren't even and would often lead to blocks slipping from the bottom of the gripper and falling out. Our solution to this was to retest materials and in this process we decided to try our hand at 3D printing a circular and pliable material that could be part of our new rotating pincers. We designed the OCTOPUCKERS and built the rest of the grabber around that. Because the octopuckers were designed to slide onto typical rev-rail extrusions we also had to design a new system of bearings that could house the rails with skewered octopuckers.

    We developed a “revolutionary” new 3D printed rev-rail bearing system that was liked with a series of chains and pulleys that could be attached to our current lift system and not severely alter the base and drive train. Previously the grabber was actuated via a system of servos controlled by a rev hub back on the main drive train, however in this newer iteration of the grabber, we decided that all of the necessary wiring would be kept inside the grabber to eliminate tangling by mounting the rev hub on the back of the grabber. While this grabber was a major upgrade that drastically improved our glyph handling capabilities, it did in fact double the weight that our lift had to bear.

    Creo Parametric, a Learning Journey

    Creo Parametric, a Learning Journey By Abhi

    Task: Learn Creo Over Time

    Over the course of this past season, I have been learning how to use Creo Parametric to learn 3-D modeling. Since this is Tycho's last year on the team (so far he has been our main modeler), I decided to learn from him so the modeling legacy would continue.

    The first project I was tasked to design was the wheel guard on the robot. As a very early learner, I ran into many issues. For example, I used to eyeball all my dimensions. This clearly didn't work out as evidenced by my epic fail of the first form wheel guard. However, after experimenting with the constriants, I jumped all the early hurdles and learned the basics.

    My first assembly project was to CAD the conveyor belt we hope to eventually mount the grippers onto. As someone who had never dealt with assemblies before, I felt like someone going through a maze. Even assembling basic parts like an axle hub to the axle, it took me 10 minutes because I struggled changing dimensions and such. This project, though very basic, seemed impossible to me. However, after working through it, I was able to become more familiar with constraints to apply to the next biggest task, the robot model.

    So far this is what we have constructed of the robot chassis. After training on the conveyor system, I was able to complete the chassis easier. By doing this, I have dealt with more constraints and have been moving faster.

    Next Steps

    After learning a lot so far from Tycho, I hope to finish the model soon and continue growth on the model. The only thing remaining on the model is the vertical bars connecting the lift and the lift itself.