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.

    REVolution Pulley

    REVolution Pulley By Tycho

    Task:Build an Army Worthy of Mordor

    This GT2 pulley has rounded teeth that engage nicely. GT2 pulleys and timing belts are the most common in use with 3D printers - but those are usually of the 2mm pitch variety. We didn’t think our printer would be able achieve the fine detail accuracy needed to print at that size, so we went for the 5mm pitch belts. On our printer we can take this part off and use it right away with only the most minimal cleanup. This is a 24 tooth pulley.

    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

    REVolution Simple Dual Rail Plate

    REVolution Simple Dual Rail Plate By Tycho

    Task: Power to the REVolution

    The dual rail plate allows you to couple the rotation of two REVrails together. The distance between the holes should be based on how you are coupling them together. This model is designed to use GT2 5mm pulleys and a 46 gap timing belt.

    REVolution Basic HingePlate

    REVolution Basic HingePlate By Tycho

    Task: Power to the REVolution

    This is our most used hinge plate. The 4 holes can take M3 screws to attach to a REVrail on one side at the end.

    REVolution Narrow Inside Washer

    REVolution Narrow Inside Washer By Tycho

    Task: Power to the REVolution

    This washer is a stackable spacer that can be used to adapt standard bearings/sprockets/pulleys to thinned base plates.

    REVolution Thick HingePlate

    REVolution Thick HingePlate By Tycho

    Task: Power to the REVolution

    This is our most used hinge plate. The 4 holes can take M3 screws to attach to a REVrail on one side at the end.

    REVolution Pillow Block

    REVolution Pillow Block By Tycho

    Task: Power to the REVolution

    This is a standard pillow block. We had to add adhesion pads to the ends because the nylon would curl away from the print bed. But these are easily cut off with a hobby knife.

    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 or, even worse, knocking off the wrong jewel due to instability. And, in the Greenhill Qualifier, we lost several rounds because of a problem that could've been easily fixed. So, we had to redesign it.

    The jewel thief was initially intended to be simple. 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, 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

    REVolution 15x20 Tooth Sprocket

    REVolution 15x20 Tooth Sprocket By Tycho

    Task: Power to the REVolution

    This is our REV0lution 20 tooth sprocket for #25 chain. This took a lot of trial and error to get right, because it was the component most sensitive to our print settings. We had to inset the tooth profile quite a bit because any extra material created by perimeter settings would cause the gaps between teeth to be too small for the chain to fully engage, and because nylon is so slippery, this would radically increase the likelihood of the chain slipping. Or you would have to make the chain super-tight and that would increase the friction at the bearing. It still requires a pretty tight chain. And it requires a lot of post-print cleanup. The lip where the lowest layers spread out on the build plate have to be trimmed with a hobby knife - all the way around. And then the chamfers at the tip of the teeth have to be rebuilt. We used a reciprocating sander to do this. Nylon is one of the hardest materials to sand effectively, but fresh 220 grit paper will eventually do the job. We only need 2 sprockets for our new Glyph System, so it was worth the effort. This would be the first component that we would recommend replacing with a regular flat aluminum sprocket if you have the means to accurately broach a 15mm square hole in it. Or switch over to timing belts entirely - the timing pulley works fine right off the print bed.

    REVolution Rail End Cap

    REVolution Rail End Cap By Tycho

    Task: Power to the REVolution

    End caps are stops placed at the end of a REVrail. Five of the holes are for M3 bolts that can be screwed into the standard holes in the cross section of the extrusion. We highly recommend tapping these holes and then using threadlock to retain the bolts. So far we’ve only had to use a single bolt since we haven’t experienced very large forces The other 4 bolts are for attaching to a bearing on the far side of an attachment plate.

    REVolution Thin Bearing

    REVolution Thin Bearing By Tycho

    Task:Build an Army Worthy of Mordor

    This is the standard bearing / bushing that allows a REVrail to rotate inside a plate. It is typically coupled with a glide washer and two stops to bind it to an attachment plate or pillow block.

    REVolution Rail Stop

    REVolution Rail Stop By Tycho

    Task: Power to the REVolution

    This stop can be placed anywhere on a REVrail to trap mounting plates inside bearings. They are usually used in pairs.

    REVolution Custom Dual Rail Plate

    REVolution Custom Dual Rail Plate By Tycho

    Task: Power to the REVolution

    This shows customized version of the Dual Rail Plate. This is for our 4th generation rolling gripper system. The small ears are designed to hold a long M3 bolt that have a stack of mini ball bearings on them. These ball bearings squeeze our timing belts together, forcing them into a more oval shape, but still allowing them to glide. This reduces friction quite a bit. Otherwise we had to put a lot more tension between the pulleys to get the belt to fully engage. This plate also has grooves to attach servo pulled wires to control the plates angle one of the REVrails and it has a flange to mount our beater guards.

    REVolution Narrow Bearing Washer

    REVolution Narrow Bearing Washer By Tycho

    Task: Power to the REVolution

    Washers can be used as spacers. They are also used to smooth out the rough top layers. Keep the bed very clean and smooth and the bottom surface of parts should be very slippery against other nylon. Put these in between the rough top bearing surface of one part (with rough surface facing rough) and the smooth bottom surface of the next part, and the friction will be substantially reduced.

    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.

    Introducing Kraken

    Introducing Kraken By Abhi and Tycho

    Task:Design the robot model

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

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

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

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

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

    What's next?

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

    Chassis Model

    Chassis Model By Abhi and Janavi

    Task: Use Creo Parametric to CAD the chassis

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

    To develop this, many types of contraints were used.

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

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

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

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

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

    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.

    Prepping for Wiley

    Prepping for Wiley By Janavi, Karina, Ethan, Charlotte, Kenna, Abhi, Austin, Tycho, and Evan

    Task:

    It was countdown time before the competition, we had to practice driving our robot, pack the MXP, and practice our presentation. So we decided to split up into smaller groups to accomplish more. Tycho, Charlotte, and Evan drove together to practice communicating quickly and effectively. They also played against our sister team so both teams could get practice with other robots in a competition-like setting before the real thing.

    Inside, Ethan and I worked on putting the final touches on our team's journal. We hole-punched papers, decorated tabs, and double-checked the whole journal. Austin, Tycho, Abhi and Kenna were helping out our guest team with their phones and their robot(click here to read more about that!).

    Every 30 minutes we all met up as a team in the tent and practiced our presentation. This really helped all of us work out any kinks or problems we had in our presentation. After each dry run we gave and received constructive criticism as well as new ideas, which really helped to improve our overall presentation.

    Reflections

    This method of splitting up into sub-teams really helped us organize and coordinate our time. In the past this has worked well for us, so applying this to our competition prep was a good move. By splitting up we could divide tasks more evenly and have a clear understanding of what we had to do. Another really beneficial thing we did were the practice runs every 30 minutes. By doing this we were able to practice our presentation and give each other feedback. Leaving 30 minutes between each run gave everybody time to review their slides and incorporate any new ideas into their presentation.

    Wylie East Qualifier 2018

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

    Task: Compete at the Wylie East Qualifier

    Introduction

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

    Inspection

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

    Unloading

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

    Judging

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

    Scouting

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

    Robot Game

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

    Ceremony

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

    Friction Coefficients of Various Materials

    Friction Coefficients of Various Materials By Ethan

    Task: Test Friction Coefficients of Various Materials

    Introduction:

    Iron Reign has used many different materials in years past. In those years, we usually preferred materials which were more durable. We started with ABS, but while hard, it was relatively brittle. We attempted to use Filoflex and Ninjaflex, and they were more durable, but too soft. Finally, we had used nylon for the past seasons, as it was extremely durable but also was hard enough to get the job done.

    However, our needs have changed. In this challenge, we have to consider not only durability, but also how well the material works with other materials. And, the most important dynamic we must consider is the interaction with the foam blocks and the gripping material, since it is the major point-scorer.

    The coefficient of friction determines the power of the force in the opposite direction of motion. While friction is determined by ƒ=µn, we can ignore the normal force when using the same object repeatedly.

    Procedures:

    In this, we created an inclined plane that rotated around the base so that we could change its angle slowly from 0 à 90. The coefficient of friction is equal to the tan(ɵ), where ɵ is equal to the angle of slippage. We had to overcome some hurdles, most notably the higher center of gravity of a standard foam glyph, so we cut it down to one-inch of height so that it wouldn’t slip. Another way to restate the tan(ɵ) is the opposite/adjacent of the triangle formed by the incline.

    We slowly increased the slope’s angle until the block slipped, then recorded the angle of slippage to calculate the coefficient of friction, µ.

    Data:

    Surface

    Opposite Edge

    Adjacent Edge

    µ

    Standard Polycarb

    8.925

    8.125

    1.098

    Sandpaper (120 grit)

    9.5

    8.25

    1.152

    1-layer Ninjaflex, no ridge

    10.925

    5.5

    1.986

    1-layer nylon, no ridge

    10.25

    6.125

    1.673

    Nylon ridged

    6.75

    10.5

    0.643

    Drip Silicone Sheet

    6.25

    8.6

    0.727

    Full-Thickness Ninjaflex

    12.2

    less than 1

    Immeasurably High

    Results:

    We found, as we expected, that the Ninjaflex sheets have the highest coefficient of friction. The most important thing to do to further increase the coefficient of friction is increase the area of the contact. While we obviously can’t increase the surface area of the block, what we can do is increase the contact points between the sheets and the glyphs. The main way we can do this is decreasing the quality of our prints, counterintuitively. The reason for this is that the decreased quality creates little fibers that stick up from the print which create more contact points.

    The meaning of the coefficient of friction is how easy it is to slide an object across a surface, and as it gets higher, it gets harder to push across the surface. When the coefficient becomes greater than 1, it becomes easier to lift the object vertically than slide it horizontally (This can be qualitatively confirmed by touching the test block). And, for the conveyor belt, we need a high coefficient of friction.

    In the future, we should test multi-layered prints, as that ought to further increase the number of contact points. We also plan to impregnate the prints with fine garnet dust, which will hopefully make the sheets more abrasive, and therefore have a higher coefficient of friction.

    A critique of this experiment could include that the actual type of friction in the robot game is kinetic, or rolling, not static. In this case, the friction would be higher than rolling friction but lower than kinetic. This is due to the grippers pushing the blocks in, increasing the normal force. However, most coefficients of friction are proportional, so we can extrapolate from the static friction we gained to assume that the material with the highest coefficient of static friction will also have the highest coefficient of kinetic/rolling friction. In the future, we will also test kinetic friction with a spring scale.

    References:

    This source serves to prove the higher coefficient of friction of Ninjaflex – our experiment varies as we leave the 3-D printing artifacts on the sheet. As well, this measures a different type of friction than ours.

    https://ac.els-cdn.com/S2212827117300793/1-s2.0-S2212827117300793-main.pdf?_tid=0b998c36-02ac-11e8-bb23-00000aacb361&acdnat=1516980039_4970d0ef82d6f5d0a8bdd886b6005602

    Wylie East Qualifier Postmortem

    Wylie East Qualifier Postmortem By Ethan, Kenna, Janavi, Karina, Evan, Abhi, and Charlotte

    Task: Analyze our successes and failures in the Wylie East Competition

    We have a new format for our postmortems. We start by asking a series of questions to figure out our problems, and we cover 4 catagories to do so.

    STRENGTHS

    • What are our strengths?
    • What do we do better than other teams?
    • What unique capabilities and resources do we possess?
    • What do others perceive as our strengths?
    WEAKNESSES
    • What are our weaknesses?
    • What do other teams do better than us?
    • What can we improve given the current situation?
    • What do others perceive as our weaknesses?
    OPPORTUNITIES
    • What trends or conditions may positively impact us?
    • What opportunities are available to us?
    THREATS
    • What trends or conditions may negatively impact us?
    • What are other teams doing that may impact us?
    • What impact do our weaknesses have on the threats to us?

    Preparation

    Strengths
    This time, we prepped our engineering journal a good while beforehand, which was good. Last time, we spent the last night panicking over how our journal wasn't finished and dealing with a printer that craps out every other page. We also became more productive as the tournament drew closer, but this can also be a drawback as we need to be *consistent*.

    Weaknesses
    We didn't really ever get our parts and tools together before the tournament. We were helping a team the night before, and we had our tools out to help them instead of packing, then never really reconsolidated them.

    Oppurtunities
    We should take full advantage of non-Saturday practices to prep before the tournament. While some people did show up, not everyone was able to, and we'd like to increase attendance as much as possible. We also need to prepare ASAP, not right before the tournament. We also ought to make flair for our team like pins or something similar to get our name out and bribe teams with.

    Threats
    We're high school students at one of the top schools in the nation, so we're pretty busy. Despite that, we really should increase attendance so we can get more work done.

    Judging

    Strengths
    We won the First Place Inspire Award, so we're definitely doing something right. We got mentioned for every single award but Motivate. We got all our content across, and we told a good story, but we still have room to improve.

    Weaknesses
    We need to smooth over our presentation in several areas. First, we need to sync up our presentation so that our laptops show the same slides. We also need to clarify our content between last year's accomplishments and this year's. Our transitions need a bit of work - we came off as rusty - and we also need to cut our time down by doing so.
    We also need to be more effective in the pits of the tournament. We need to look active, and we don't do a great job of doing that. We also need the team to become more educated in the intricate parts of our team.

    ALSO: ENTHUSIASM

    Oppurtunities
    We want to make our engineering journal stand out more - we have some ideas such as adding robot parts to our journal to make it snazzy. Also eventually, we want to get a tent for the pits to stand out.

    Robot Performance

    Strengths
    For the *first* time ever, we had ZERO disconnects on our phones. We can partially attribute this to using new phones, the Moto Gs. As well, our jewel auto worked every single match, 100% success rate. The newest glyph system worked amazingly, but we still have room for improvement.

    Weaknesses
    We need a way to build more 3D-printed parts to outrace the constant wear and tear of the tournaments. We also had issues with Vuforia, and we ought to work on phone placement to fix that, which ties in to retuning our autonomous glyph tuning. We also need to add strain relief to the hub power cable.

    Oppurtunities
    We need to work on driver practice more with the new gripper. We also need the drivers, as well as everyone else, to get more sleep.
    We're going to try and assemble more intake systems, such as a chain flipper, improved glyph system, and forward rake to test the intakes.

    Scouting

    Strengths
    Abhi did a great job scouting. This was one of our best scouting tournaments, and there aren't many critiques of it.

    Weaknesses
    We need to make sure teams can follow up on their claims because some teams frankly just bs when asked about their robot. We also need to take more photos for blog posts and the presentation.

    Oppurtunities
    We need to have better accounts of the matches, and we need to watch other teams' matches.

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log January 27, 2018 By Ethan, Karina, Charlotte, Abhi, Tycho, Austin, Kenna, Evan, and Janavi

    Meeting Log January 27, 2018

    We are very behind on updating our engineering journal and discussing our performance in Wylie. This was the main focus of the day.

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Organization / Documentation / Competition Prep

    • Review Journal
    • STEM Expo Post
    • Chassis Post
    • Driving Post
    • Wylie Postmortem
    • Create poster

    Build / Modelling

    • Work on new chassis
    • Attempt to update gripper

    Today's Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    AllPlanning Meeting2:10pm.25
    EthanWork on poster2:004
    CharlotteDriving2:004
    JanaviWork on chassis2:004
    KarinaDriving2:004
    TychoDriving2:004
    EvanGripper update2:004
    KennaWork on chassis2:004
    Abhi3D Model2:004
    AustinGripper update2:004

    Flipper+

    Flipper+ By Evan, Abhi, and Janavi

    Task: Build a new glyph scoring system

    As the season wears on, the robot game looms over Iron Reign since the bot we built scores only a fifth of the world record. To lessen the gap, we continue to invest in the flipper system I contrived earlier on in the season. As of late, we’ve furthered the project by building a chassis for it to rest in. It’s a slightly modified version of the one on the current robot because we want to still keep the lovely mecanum wheel drive for that extra mobility. We’ve had one major hiccup that has slowed progress which is that the spare set of mecanum wheels we have are all too thick. It turns out there’s about a centimeter of extra wheel depthwise, and this has made us have to try and refit the chassis to accommodate the discrepancy. We're going to rearrange the frame to fit the wheels.

    The first thing we did when trying to design the new chassis to go around the flipper system was to arrange the different components of the flipper onto the base where they would go in the future. We were able to secure the intake system I designed a while back to the part where it would suck up the blocks. Then we started to rearrange the supports that are used to keep the robot base square to different places around the robot where they wouldn’t interfere with the flipper and instead utilize the space that would be under the flipper board.

    To give the required room the flipper needs, we’ll have to rig the motors upward, so they won’t take up space in the center of the robot. Doing this will require gearing it in a one to one ratio, then allowing those to be connected to other gears what are then chained to the larger mecanum wheels. This is a necessary part of the design because there’s not many other places we can put the motors that won’t collide with another function of the robot. Since the last competition, I’ve been assisted by numerous members such as Ahbi and Janavi in the quest for a high performing robot, and it wouldn’t be as far as it is without them. The flipper has potential, and we're going to push it towards its full.

    Building a new chassis

    Building a new chassis By Karina and Janavi

    Task:

    Janavi and I have started to build a new chassis for Kraken 2.0., modelled after Kraken’s current chassis.

    First, we had to measure the chassis of Kraken, then cut REV rails to these measurements. Lastly, we assembled the pieces to look as it does above.

    With this being the first build project Janavi and I have taken the lead on, we had to have some help from the more experienced builders on our team: Evan and Austin. The most difficult task we came across was having to figure out at which angle to cut the REV rails to fit diagonally on the main frame of our new chassis. After we found this measurement, it was easy cutting the pieces using the miter saw and safety equipment and then we assemble all the REV rails with handy-dandy brackets.

    Our current plan is to use this chassis as a base for our fifth generation grabber system. Going forward, we have to figure out how we are going to mount our conveyor belt onto our chassis, and then how to mount grabber arms onto the conveyor belt. We also have a new set of mecanum wheels which we are going to attach to the chassis. However, it came to our attention that they are thicker, so we will have to adjust the rails that run parallel to one another so that the wheels can fit in between.

    Normally during the season the build team, the programming team and the drive team all need the robot and this can be difficult. Often times this can hinder our performance since the drive team doesn't get the practice it needs. Therefore the team decided to build a new chassis because having a second base will enable us to dedicate more time to drive practice with Kraken while simultaneously testing out new designs on what will be our second robot. Additionally, having two robots will allow to choose which robot we will take to competition based on performance.

    Conveyor Belt V2

    Conveyor Belt V2 By Abhi

    Task: Develop Conveyor System 2

    After analyzing the lack of speed from our last competition, we decided to continue the journey of attaching the gripper arms to a conveyor belt as previously designed. To do so, we realized that we needed to utilize the REVolution system to make the grippers work better. Also, we needed two points of attachment for our robot after seeing that one didn't work with the first version of the conveyor. To figure out how to do all this, we went to our best tool: Creo Parametric.

    The assembly began with an assembly of two REV rails through distance and coincident constraints. To this, we mounted two bearing holders with bearings inside on either side of the bars. Inside, the plugs holding the REV rails were attached with coincident constraints. This combined assembly was added to the final assembly and was set with a default constraint. To the inside of the plugs, REV rails were attached using coincident constraints. Next, a copy of the bearing assembly was added and attached to the REV rails attached to bearings.

    For the next part of the assembly, we had to make a couple of subassemblies. First, we attached a Sprocket hub that we custom designed for the REVolution system and attached it to a 35 Sprocket from Andymark. The other end was plugged into another hub. This sub-assembly was replicated 4 times so that it could fit on all of the conveyor belt pieces. Also, we had to make a similar subassembly for the 25 sprockets since those are what our motors were designed to do.

    Finally, we mounted two motors on the insides of the REV rails. The sprocket attached to this motor would connect to the REV rails so that the whole system could actuate. This was constrained using coincidence.

    Next steps...

    We really liked how this model turned out. By starting to build it based on the model, we realized how useful Creo is to our design process. We hope to use it again soon for determining how to mount the grabber arms to the belt system.

    Designing Grabber V. 4.5

    Designing Grabber V. 4.5 By Ethan, Evan, and Austin

    Task: Build an Updated Grabber System

    So, we probably won't finish both the Grabber V.5 and the Flipper designs by the North Texas Regional this Saturday, but we really need to improve our grabber system so that we have a chance of doing well in the robot game. From our last post-mortem, we decided that while our grabber performed *well*, it obviously could have been better. So, in comes our new design.

    Our main problems with our last grabber were twofold. First, our internal conveyor belt did not work as well as we had hoped. The point was to deliver blocks to the upper areas of the grabber, and it wasn't really doing that. The first cause of this was that it wasn't catching the block in the first place, as we had designed the internal lift too high off the ground to catch. The second issue occured when the block happened to be in the lift system. It was supposed to stay in place due to friction, and to have friction of an effective magnitude, the normal force must be reciprocated. And, ours wasn't, as the only thing that the block was able to push off of was the rubber mesh we designed, which had a high coeffiecient of friction, but not the rigidity needed so that the normal force was reciprocated 100%. So, so solve that, we installed a backer plate behind the mesh that the block can push off of, which has a higher reciproccal force than before. A final, more minor problem was that the block weren't always staying in the lift at the top, so we designed new Octopuckers to both push them in, and damage the glyphs less.

    Part 2

    Our eventual intention is to do away with this system, and move on to the v5 system which carries the blocks over the robot entirely, but for now, this should do.

    Last Minute Robot Fixes

    Last Minute Robot Fixes By Ethan and Evan

    Task: Add last-minute design changes to the robot

    It was a temperate night. The waning moon shone overhead, a blazing reminder of the continuity of time, for as the moon dipped lower in the sky, our precious little time until the tournament dripped away. Under this oppressive, singular symbol, we labored, trying to outpace the continual march of time.

    Over the past week, we had worked tirelessly on the robot. In Wylie, we had used the Octopucker Gripper System, but it didn't perform to our expectations, as the internal lift didn't work. However, in this week, we fixed that issue, and designed the Gripper 4.5, which can be found here. Now, all that was left was to actually attach this new gripper.

    At 9PM, things were already going downhill. Apparently, "people have to sleep" or "the team should be well rested for the tournament", so we watched our members drip out the door, one by one, until only us two were left. The task still remained - attach the gripper to the robot. From the get-go, we experienced problems, most prominently that since we had extended the height of our grabber, our phone now stuck out of the 18x18x18 sizing box. Now, we as a team already have significant experience just *barely* passing the sizing cube requirements - before this, our robot was 17.5x17.96875x17, in width, length, and height respectively - so we had certain tricks to get our robot just under it. However, this time, our phone stuck a solid inch outside of the cube, so there was no reconfiguration with the parts attached to the grabber at the time that would allow us to fix this.

    So, with traditional Iron Reign ingenuity,we had to devise a solution to our problem. In the words of of the legendary Lil Darsh', "First you gotta analyze\see the problem\conceptualize so you can solve 'em". And, we must follow in the words of our elders, as all good robotics members do. So, we devised these ways to fix our phone problem:

    • Position the phone under the grabber system
    • No, vision was hampered too much in this position.
    • Position the phone on another side of the robot
    • No, this autonomous would be too slow, as the robot would have to turn to locate blocks
    • Attach the phone to a servo, which then moves off the grabber after autonomous
    • This may have been the dumbest and the most difficult solution, but it was the best for our robot
    So, we set out to create a moveable phone-mounting system. First, we designed the servo.

    The next issue was attaching it. We had to find a position that could view the blocks, pattern, and cryptobox from the same angle. We ended up positioning the phone right in the middle of the grabber, about here.

    Next Steps:

    In our postmortem, we will talk about the issues caused by these last-minute changes.

    North Texas Regionals, 2018

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

    Task: Win at the North Texas Regionals

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

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

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

    Scouting

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

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

    North Texas Regionals 2018 Postmortem

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

    Task: Reflect on The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of our performance at North Texas Regionals

    Preparation

    Strengths
    Some of our team members put in a lot of hours of work the night before the competition and we were able to successfully prepare the robot for the robot games.

    Weaknesses
    Though it proved very necessary, the fact that people had to pull an all-nighter before the competition shows that we have a long way to go before we have perfected our preparation strategy. We need to work on limiting our last minute robot changes/focus more on the robot in the weeks before the competition instead of the hours. Also, with any changes we make we need to make sure that we are able to practice driving with them.

    Opportunities
    In the future, we must take advantage of after school practices in the weeks leading up to the competition,as we historically can't accomplish everything solely on Saturday practices.

    Threats
    There is a threat of laziness and the lack of high priority in the weeks leading up to higher level competitions. We must work hard not only on the night before the competition, but in the days and weeks leading up to it. There is a huge threat of time crunch.

    Judging

    Strengths
    In the presentation room we had more of an air of enthusiasm than in our previous presentations, and while we can always have more energy, it was a step in the right direction. We got a sheer mass of information out in our allotted time and did so effectively. It was evident in the fact that we won 2nd Inspire and 1st Connect that we were successful in bringing our point across.

    Weaknesses
    We still have the problem of coming off as inactive or lethargic in the pits. It didn't help this time that some of us were running on a very small amount of sleep. During the presentation itself we ran overtime, as we always do, and barely left any time for questions. Also, in our time crunch we didn't get to show the full demo of our robot, which is obviously a very important aspect of the presentation.

    Opportunities
    We can practice our presentation to make our transitions smoother and our content more concise so that we can relay all of the information that we strive to.

    Robot Performance

    Strengths
    After our losses, our robot started to perform a lot better and won a couple of matches. While the grabber system could perform better, this competition was a good opportunity to see what works and what doesn't.

    Weaknesses
    We lost our first three matches due to our lift not being completely tested and fixed. It got caught on the robot, stopped lifting, and had other performance issues early on in the competition. We had to do a complete replacement of the grabber, so there were still some parts that were not completely secure; we had to make many last minute and between match fixes.

    Opportunities
    We were able to prove that grabber v.5 works! And now we can move on and make additional improvement so that we can truly bring forward our robot game during supers. We are using our current model (the model from the competition) and working on mounting it to a conveyor belt to flip to either side of the robot. This competition proved the ability of the grabber and opened up the opportunity to make additional modifications with it.

    Scouting

    Strengths
    This competition we were able to talk to other team throughout the day and form connections, that way even though we were in 13th place by the end of the competition we were able to explain that we lost our first three due to some minor changes but we won our last two games because we finally got our robot to work. This helped us get into the semifinals as part of the fourth place alliance.

    Weaknesses
    We need to make sure teams can follow up on their claims because some teams frankly just exaggerated when asked about their robot. We also need to take more photos for blog posts and the presentation. We needed to do more scouting this competition, while we were able to talk to teams we didn't do a very good job in keeping up with a spreadsheet of all of our data that meant by the end when we were trying to see what teams to talk to we had a hard time remember their stats or much about their robot.

    Opportunities
    We need to have better accounts of the matches, and we need to watch other teams' matches through doing this we can keep an accurate spreadsheet and know what each team is truly capable of.

    Oklahoma Regionals, 2018

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

    Task: Compete at the Oklahoma Regional

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

    Inspection

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

    Presentation

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

    Robot Game

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

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

    Ceremony

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

    Next Steps:

    Intake Stars

    Intake Stars By Tycho

    Task: Improve the functionality of the gripper

    Our grabber is good, but it isn't achieving 100% of the potential it could. One thing we're doing is creating the Grabber V.5 previously blogged about, but we also want to increase the speed of the grabber in other ways, in order to get every single bit of performance out of our robot, since we want to really impress at Supers. So, we designed star-grabbers. The purpose of these are twofold. First, the unique star design we made allows the gripper to fish single blocks out of a pile of blocks so that we no longer have to fully align ourselves with blocks, which reduces the time we spend retrieving blocks. As well, these grab blocks more securely.

    Next Steps:

    The next step is to mount the modified grabber system with the stars on the newer Kraken chassis.

    Preparing for South Super Regionals

    Preparing for South Super Regionals By Ethan

    Task: Prepare for the South Super Regionals in Athens, Georgia

    We currently have a bit over two weeks to get ready for the South Super Regionals, and we're not quite ready. Actually, if we want to get competition-ready, we've got a long way to go. From prior experience, we're currently 55% on awards and 45% on robot game for advancement, but we want to get both to 60-70+%. So, we created a list so that we could break our workload down into discrete tasks.

    Engineering Journal

    • North Texas Regionals PostMortem
    • OK Regionals Play-by-Play
    • OK Regionals PostMortem
    • Meta-PostMortem
    • Reindex Journal
    • Super Regionals Packing List

    Business

    • Talk to AWC for Sponsorship

    Build

    Relic Arm
    • 3D Model
    • Code
    • Improve Gripper
    • Posts
    Octopuckers
    • Print Latest Design
    • Next Design\Post
    • Print Old Versions
    Gripper
    • Space Attachment Links
    • Test Code
    • Phone Mount
    • Posts for Above
    • Mount Pulley Clips
    • Star Intake/Post
    • Update to V5
    • Extend Internal Lift
    • Bottom-Mounted Jewel Thief
    • Posts

    Code

    • Automate Balancing
    • Auto-Column w/ Vuforia
    • Cryptobox Alignment w/ Vuforia
    • Posts

    Organizational

    • Clean RoboDojo
    • Clean MXP
    • Design Pit
    • Make List of Pit Items
    • Design Posters

    Next Steps:

    As you can see, we've got a lot to do, but I'm confident we'll finish a majority of these items.

    Grabber V5. Diagrams and Pictures

    Grabber V5. Diagrams and Pictures By Austin

    Task: Implement the new grabber system and record how it works

    So, we've been talking about our new gripper system for a while - we've made prior 3D models and started it, hoping that we'd have it done by the Oklahoma Regional, since that was sort of a low stakes tournament for us. Unfortunately, we didn't get it just in time, so we had to go back to the basic Kraken model of our robot. We really don't want to repeat this mistake again, so we're doing a last-minute drive towards adding V5 to the robot.

    First we had to build a new base, in case we had to suddenly revert back to the old bot. We've detailed that in the Building a Chassis post. Next, we had to make the design. We wanted something with more versatility than the static up-down gripper system, and looked at the flipper that our sister team had designed for inspiration. However, we didn't want to give up the whole design process that we'd used for the gripper. We decided on a comprimise, a gripper-flipper system that would intake blocks on either side of the robot, but then had the capability to flip over the entire robot and deposit blocks.

    First, we made a model in Creo to see how we would get the gripper to be mobile over the entireity of the robot. This system continued to use the REVolution system that we'd previously designed. Described, the design was a gripepr system hooked to two chains which in turn moved the gripper system from one side to another. The default configuration is to let the gripper rest on top of the rotation system in order to relive stress on the chains.

    Next Steps:

    Next, we need to hook all of this up onto the robot and test them - we don't have much time, so we've got to act fast.

    Designing our Wheel Mounts

    Designing our Wheel Mounts By Tycho

    Recall the discussion and design strategy regarding our wheel mounts

    The side shield design process involved much thought and discussion. We have experienced difficulty with the wheel mounts we have been using, which are the ones from last year. These are made of a composite of nylon and aluminum, but they are too thick and consume a lot of space on our already large robot. Also, the our new Mecanum wheels are thicker than before, so it was about time that we use a thinner material that is just as strong. We decided to use 1/8th inch thick 6061-T6 aluminum plate. We then designed the mounts in such a way that the axles of both of the wheels on a side are joined to increase the stiffness of our robot.

    In the beginning of the season, we noticed that the Mecanum wheels would damage glyphs, so we designed shields to protect that from occuring. In this design we also had to protect against glyph damage, so the lower circular areas cover the Mecanums, and there is an indent in the bottom between the two wheels so the mounts don’t get in the way of parking on the balancing stones. Additionally, the middle region is thinner so we can move the mounting regions of the robot inward if need be due to sizing restraints or if we change intake design.

    Beyond mounting the wheels, we decided to extend the design into the upper region of our robot as attachment support for the relic arm that we are currently building. In this upper region, we decided to incorporate a unique design based on the name we chose for our robot earlier in the season, “Kraken.” The choice of this name came from the “octopluckers” we designed and use in our intake system. Often, teams will make circular or triangular cutouts to remove weight for the robot, but to remain consistent with a design motif, the cutouts we made show silhouettes of tentacles, like a Kraken.

    Making our design a reality

    Now that we have a completed design, we intend to schedule a meeting with Advanced Waterjet Cutting to discuss the possibility of them cutting out our design for us. We have incorporated tolerance for a waterjet machine so after sending our design to them they can put it right on one of their machines. Hopefully we can also share our robot and our Mobile Learning Lab with them.

    Revolution Flyer

    Revolution Flyer By Tycho

    Task: Create a flyer for our Revolution system

    We've talked to REV before about our unique REVolution system that we've detailed in other posts, but for those who are unaware, its a system that we've personally designed to turn REV extrusions into axles, which enable us to have more flexibility in design. But now, we've designed a flyer to get people on board with the system.







    Oklahoma State Regionals 2018 Postmortem

    Oklahoma State Regionals 2018 Postmortem By Charlotte, Ethan, Tycho, Austin, Janavi, Abhi, Karina, Kenna, and Evan

    Task: Evaluate our strengths and downfalls at Oklahoma State Regionals

    It wasn't a great regional, but it wasn't a bad one either, it was an OK Regional.

    Preparation

    Strengths
    Because we had already been to North Texas Regionals, we were one step ahead of the teams in OK that hadn’t been to a regional yet this year in that sense. We already had everything in some sort of order from North Texas, so we were prepared for the challenges we know we will encounter at a competition at the regional level.

    Weaknesses
    We left the engineering journal in Dallas. If it weren’t for our chaperone, we would have had to re-print all 300-400 pages of our engineering journal in Oklahoma. This is the worst example of us not following the checklist when packing up our vehicle. Also, we left polycarbonate, so we had to go to Walmart and use the lid of a plastic box for the polycarb pieces on our robot that needed replacement. Because we had already qualified, we were not as serious in our preparations as we could have been, and that cost us in the robot game.

    Opportunities
    In this competition, we 3D printed keychains to hand out to teams (pictured below). We started this process a couple of hours before the competition, so we only had enough to hand out to our alliance partners. A lot of teams also had extravagant pit setups, so during Super Regionals we should strive to set ourselves apart in the pits, especially since a large part of judging occurs in the pits.

    Threats
    As always, a large threat is lack of urgency for the competition in the days leading up to it. We only had one week to prepare and we will only have two weeks to prepare for Supers, so our head has really got to be in the game in the days leading up to it.

    Judging

    Strengths
    In the presentation room, there was a great environment and our presentation flowed more as a conversation than a lecture. The judges were curious about some of our accomplishments, like our REVolution system and the RV, and interrupted us during the presentation to ask questions. This made us feel more relaxed and the presentation ran very smoothly. Unlike last time, we had enough time to demo the robot and show off its capabilities. Also, a lot of judges visited our pit and we were able to show many of them to our Mobile Tech Lab.

    Weaknesses
    We didn't mention to the judges that we have already qualified, which would have been helpful for us as we won't have been seen as a threat to Oklahoma teams. Also, we added many parts to the presentation on the day of judging, so we were less practiced on those parts.

    Opportunities
    Now we have the opportunity to refine the parts that we added to the presentation so that it flows smoothly with no awkward breaks.

    Robot Performance

    Strengths
    Our autonomous is where we do best during matches, especially the jewel portion which we did successfully every match. When it worked, the internal lift was helpful in making out game and although we didn't score a lot of glyphs, we were consistent in getting 1.5 columns every time. With practice we could continue that consistency but with more columns.

    Weaknesses
    Our robot performed decently, but the grabber was slow and we never got more than 1.5 columns. The internal lift broke many times throughout the day. Because we changed the grabber recently, we mounted the phone in a position that it can't read the target so that it places the glyph in the correct column and didn't have time to fix it. Also, we were one of the few teams without a relic arm which I think hurt us in both our success in matches and in not getting picked for an alliance. We won all of our matches except for one, but that was mostly due to luck which we can't count on at Supers.

    Opportunities
    Our grabber system is now at v.5, which is the old lift (the one we used in OK) but on a conveyor belt system that flips it to either side of the robot. We think that this grabber is going to be our best and hopefully, paired with a lot of drive practice, is going to significantly improve our robot game.

    Threats
    The robot game was strong in Oklahoma. There were many teams that had working relic arms and we witnessed the 3rd highest score in a game this year. It will be even stronger in Super Regionals, so in order to qualify for worlds we need to really up our robot game while maintaining our potential for awards.

    Scouting

    Strengths
    We were able to make some connections with teams that we are going to see in Georgia for Super Regionals and further practice our communication with other teams.

    Weaknesses
    We did a poor job in advertising our robot to other teams and were not picked for alliances despite our decently high ranking after the qualifying matches (12th place). We have had a lower ranking and been picked before, so we need to start scouting earlier in the games and form connections with competitive teams so we have a chance to get picked.

    Opportunities
    For Supers, we are going to prepare handouts, like flyers, keychains, and pins to give to the other teams and make our name known. Also, at this point in the season there is a lot of data for each team, so we can get a lot of the scouting done before the competition. We can also prepare our spreadsheets or whatever method we choose to use to get information from the teams at the competition.

    Relic Arm Design

    Relic Arm Design By Ethan, Abhi, and Shaggy

    Task: Design and implement a new Relic Arm mechanism

    At the North Texas regionals, we realized that if we really want to go further in the robot game, we need to significantly improve. Part of this is designing the new grabber-flipper system detailed in a later post, but another good way to score points is to score the Relic. So, we designed v1 of the Relic Arms, as detailed in this post.

    However, designing a model and designing a real-life part are much different. First, we didn't have the Tetrix piece needed for a backing plate, and it is easier to say you can attach unrelated materials than actually doing it. As well, having a single 18-inch deploying arm would test the size limits more than we already do.

    In comes Relic Arm V.2. This version is twice as long as the previous version so that we can score in the third zone for 40 points. As well, we have an updated relic-grabber that uses the silicone sheet from our Grabber V.2, so we can grip the relic more securely. Finally, we have a new mounting point on the robot that allows us to extend even farther than before.

    Next Steps:

    We now need to build and attach this design before Supers, in less than a week.

    Iron Reign's Meta-Post Mortem

    Iron Reign's Meta-Post Mortem By Ethan

    Task: Evaluate how well Iron Reign has stuck to its priorities

    As Super Regionals approaches, we'd like to evaluate our past performance on post mortems, to see how well we've done, to modify our future post mortems, and to find new approaches towards solving our problems.

    Past posts are:

    Mustang Qualifier at Oklahoma

    ISSUE: Time Management
    We've definitely gotten better at time management in tournaments since this one, and haven't had any issues since.
    ISSUE: Referring to Coach
    Again, we've gotten much better on this. We've all grown more familiar with the information about our team. I think this was mostly a one-time issue.
    ISSUE: Preparedness
    We have gotten much more prepared for each tournament than the last. We made the 3D model we needed of our robot. We have our robot inspection-ready before the tournament now. We do still have issues with packing however, especially when we travel out-of-state.
    ISSUE: Presentation
    We've done a lot of practice for our presentation and eliminated a lot of stuttering and pauses. As well, our robot is much more functional than it was, so we're good there too.
    ISSUE: Robot Stability
    We switched to the LG 4 phones and eliminated all shutoff issues, so theres no problem there anymore.

    Wylie East Qualifier

    ISSUE: Packing
    We haven't gotten much better at this, we even forgot our engineering journal in Dallas when we went to the Oklahoma Regional.
    ISSUE: Judging
    See above.
    ISSUE: Robot fixes
    • More 3D parts to combat wear and tear - fixed
    • Vuforia fixes - not fixed
    • Strain relief - fixed
    • Lack of driver experience - fixed
    ISSUE: Scouting Gaps
    We have gotten much better at scouting, with more accurate spreadsheets, some of which we've already included in other posts.

    North Texas Regional

    ISSUE: Last minute robot changes
    We did this at both this tournament and the next tournament, so we haven't done much to combat doing this. At the time, it always feels needed, but in retrospect, it doesn't. Here, these last minute changes helped, but ideally we should have finished them the week before and not the night before. At the next tournament, we made a system a week before, but ended up reverting to the old version the night before.
    ISSUE: Lethargy
    One of Iron Reign's trademark moves is being apathetic as possible, and this doesn't always shine well on us in tournament. We really haven't improved much on this, and we really should.
    ISSUE: Robot Weakness
    All of these issues were tournament-specific and won't come up again.

    Oklahoma Regional

    ISSUE: Preparation
    WE FORGOT OUR ENGINEERING JOURNAL IN DALLAS. We really really need to work on packing for Georgia, and make a definite list and plan with people responsible for it.
    ISSUE: Design Keychains
    We want to have a trinket to hand out to teams. We started this in Oklahoma, but we should mass-produce items before the tournament.
    ISSUE: Speed
    We have designed a new gripper-flipepr system to increase our speed and have already built a new chassis around it.
    ISSUE: No Relic Arm
    We've designed a new Relic Arm that'll work, we just need to attach it to the robot and program it.

    Polycarb Deformation

    Polycarb Deformation By Ethan

    Task: Find a constant for polycarb deformation

    Recently, we've been having an issue with our gripper in that the shielding for the sides of the intake have been bending torsionally, so that they deform and interfere with our glyph take-up. So, we created a lab to find the torque required to cause this deformation.

    We cut a length of polycarb with a similar width but different length to test this (thickness 3/32 of an inch), hooking it into a vertical vice. Then, we attached a vice grip of length 8.75 inches to the side, then attached various weights to the vice until the polycarb deformed.

    Under a ten-pound weight, the polycarb finally deformed. Using calculations, we can determine:

    d = length of moment arm = 8.75 in = .22225 m
    x = 0 degrees
    F = 10 lbs = 44.482 N
    Torque = Fdsin(x) = 9.886 N*m
    Since torque to create deformation is roughly inversely proportional to the length of any object in a single dimension (keeping thickness and width constant): L' = expiremental length = 4.5 in
    L = actual length = 14.5 in
    T' = T(L'/L) = 3.068 N*m

    This amount of torque isn't hard to generate at all, which explains why our gripper shields bend so easy. To prevent this, we must reenforce the shields with something with a higher resistance to deformation, such as thin metal strips.

    Next Steps:

    We're going back and recording many of our robot's constants so that we can be better able to predict how our robot functions in various situations. This is the first of many posts.

    Promote Award 2018

    Promote Award 2018 By Kenna, Austin, and Ethan

    image coming ASAP

    With SuperRegionals just around the corner, everyone is going into overdrive and we almost forgot about our video for the Promote Award. We got lucky with the due date being extended for the South, so we had two extra days to make ours.

    We wanted to this year's Promote Award video to be a little different from last year's. This entire season we've been trying to move away from the creation of the MXP and more towards its sustainability (as well as Iron Reign's sustainability as a team). Last year's video focused on the MXP. Through FIRST, Iron Reign has affected the lives of all of its team members so we had no lack of stories from members who wanted to share what FIRST and robotics means to them.

    We decided on a more personal approach. Austin had the great idea of doing a flashback video in which a FIRST alumni remembers their 'good old days' competing in FLL and FTC. We drew from our own members' experiences like Ethan's growing up as part of Iron Reign or Jayesh coming back to help us improve our presentation.

    Our plan was to have an older robotics member reminisce about their days in FIRST, then we flashback to a slideshow of photos of our team from 2012 to 2018 with a voiceover talking about what we want the world to know about FIRST.

    We scavenged through years and years of photos saved on our Google Drive. We even got to see the famed salad bar video where some very young Iron Reign members present a sanitary alternative to a salad bar through song. Some of my favorite pictures are below:

    Ethan Smal

    Jayesh Smal

    The video clip at the beginning took about an hour to film and record. Kenna outlined a script for the whole video which Austin narrated and acted with Ethan filming. The audio for the intro where Austin pretends to be a retired FTC member had to be recorded separately so the transition from live video to slideshow. After several tries, we had a few good clips. But those just made up a couple seconds of the entire video because most of it was the slideshow. Below is Austin recording the voiceover.

    Austin Records

    Using VideoPad Video Editor, a free program, Kenna screenrecorded the slideshow and added the intro clip with the voiceover files as the audio. For anyone who is inexperienced with video-editing and needs to do it in a hurry, VideoPad is a good way to go. Be warned, you can only download your final video once or twice without paying. To be very honest, everything was done in a bit of a hurry. We liked our idea, but we wish we had more time to execute it. Next year, hopefully, we will plan ahead of time and have a few weeks to create our video.

    Update: Since we have been lucky enough to be selected to go to Worlds, we will be making an updated version of our Promote Video.

    Poster Designs

    Poster Designs By Ethan

    Task: Make team informational posters for South Super Regionals

    Last year, we didn't spend that much time on the poster/aesthetic side of things for Supers, and we ended up getting the Judges' Award. While we can't really prove a cause-and-effect relationship between the two, we want to improve in all aspects so we don't repeat last years performance. So, this year, we're going to try to convey more information to the judges so that we can bolster our chances for awards.

    While we were in Oklahoma, we saw another team's pit setup/poster design that we liked (FTC Team 4962, the Rockettes), and we realized that having posters stand by in the background that we can refer to would significantly help our chances in judging, as we would be able to further back up our claims during questions from roving judges. So, we made our own designs that will sit in the pit for the judges to see. All 3 were made in Adobe Illustrate.

    Next Steps:

    After this, we need to make new posters and Aquilas, as both are currently water damaged.

    Progress of the Octopuckers Over Time

    Progress of the Octopuckers Over Time By Ethan and Tycho

    Task: Chart the progress of the octopuckers over time


    This design was too rigid, we overlooked the fact that triangles tend to be the strongest shape, and therefore this octopucker wasn't as compliant as we wanted, damaging the blocks.

    This design was really good, and we used it for 3-4 tournaments. Our initial design of these wouldn't damage the blocks significantly at the levels we used, but at extraordinary conditions they would gouge the blocks, and under normal conditions they would leave superficial scratches.

    This design was really bad. They would catch on each other and get stuck on themselves, and as a result wouldn't pick up blocks. However, they did not damage the blocks in any conditions. We never brought these to tournament.

    This was a step in the right direction. They didn't grip the blocks that well, but they worked and didn't get stuck on each other or jam.

    This is the design we're currently using. It's impossible to damage the blocks with them, and with the slightly larger cylinders, they grip the block really well. We're going to use these going into the South Super Regionals.

    These aren't octopuckers, but they deserve an honorable mention. We're using these intake stars at the bottom of the grabbers to securely grip the glyphs before fully loading them into the grabber system. As well, these have the added bonus of slightly increasing the speed at which we can take in blocks.

    Designing the Tent

    Designing the Tent By Janavi and Kenna

    Task:

    So, its Supers time again! And that means its time to design our tents and pick a theme for ourselves. Last year, when Iron Reign went to Supers for the first time, we got to see all of the other teams' displays; before, we had only been to regional level competitions and weren't ready for the displays at Supers. We saw the coolest tents and got some really cool trinkets. For example, one team from Louisiana passed out miniature Tabasco bottles and another team laser cut wood into the FTC logo.

    We need to make sure that our tent has a good design and we have memorable trinkets to pass out, if we have a recognizable team it will help us with scouting and sponsors. If we can show sponsors that their name will be on our display then they are more likely to either continue supporting our team or think about starting. And for scouting we are more likely to get chosen for an alliance if we have a memorable robot performance and pit.

    This is what our tent looked like last year at Supers, we plan to take this design and improve upon it based on the feedback we received.

    Next Steps:

    So, I decided to create a 3D model of what our tent might look like, taking measurements of the carts, banners, and tables, so that we can make sure that we not only have space for all of the items we intend to place in our pit, (Inspire banner, sponsors, school banner,team aquila, carts, banners, tables, etc.) but we also need enough space to move around in our area. I used SketchUp to create the model, photos are below.

    Last year, Austin created a Roman-style shield with old field mats as the plating and sawed off broom handles (left over from the hats) to keep them stiff. We plan to use those again this year keeping with our Roman theme. We also plan to add to this by hopefully creating another (hopefully lighter) shield to carry around; this way we will be recognizable for both our helmets and shields.

    Trinkets:

    Kenna and I worked together last Saturday to create business cards and design wooden coins that we would laser cut out of wood. We decided that we really needed to advertise about 4 main things:

    • Our team logo with our name and team number
    • Our game stats
    • Info about the MXP
    • Social Media accounts and our website

    So, after thinking about all of this and looking at other teams' cards and trinkets, we came up with this design for the business cards. For the wooden coins, we put our logo on one side and for the other we put our social media info.

    Update:

    Getting everything printed out was quite a hassle. First we sent the cards to get printed out three days before we left, already cutting it close and then due to some error the order was cancelled. Then, after getting the error sorted out, we got 1,000 bushiness cards printed out in 24 hours.

    Then for the laser cutting of the coins, we realized that it would take around 8 hours to complete and since we don't have access to a laser cutter at school, one of us would have to go to the nearby maker space and wait 8 hours for it to finsh. Since it was right before the completion, and we needed to spend our time focusing on the robot, so we decided to 3-D print the coins and pass them out. This worked wonderfully and since we brought along the R.V. any time we ran low we could print out more on board.

    Other teams loved our merch and we got to see some other great trinkets, one team from Louisiana gave out miniature Tabasco bottles, and another gave us a laser cut horseshoe game for luck!

    South Super Regionals Day One, 2018

    South Super Regionals Day One, 2018 By Ethan, Evan, Kenna, Charlotte, Austin, Karina, Janavi, Abhi, Tycho, Justin, and Christian

    Task: Set up and present at SSR 2018

    A placid stillness hung over the dark, cold room. The early sun flashed through the pale window curtains, ineffective against the onslaught of light. Outside, birds started to chirp and sing, starting off the new day. All over the city, teams were waking up, walking to the Classic Center (the Thunderdome of Robotics), to see their fate, either as champions of the last ever Super Regionals, or to go home defeated and never again see the light of Dean Kamen and his vision. However, through all of this movement and energy, this hotel room stayed quiet. Slowly, a beeping slowly grew more loud, blaring its morning call throughout the room until no one could deny its existence. In spite of the warm and soft Holiday Inn™ beds calling their users back to slumber, the team members had to wake, under the threat of death by coach. Thus started the journey of Iron Reign's 2018 Supers.

    The Pits (Setup and presence)

    This day marked the first official day of the 2018 South Super Regionals, the last one ever being held. With FIRST moving to the Qualifier-Reigional-Worlds system, we wanted to make a good impression and show off, and thats exactly what we did. First, we overdesigned a robot that impressed judges and looked nice to other teams, as well as making sure we had little goodies to hand out. But, we really worked on our pit presence, to make ourselves really known to other teams. We made posters detailing Iron Reign's season and hung them up; we brought LEDs and lights to give our tent that good old rustic Roman Feeling™; we had business cards to hand out; we went around and talked to other teams and took pictures of their robots. All of this served to make it feel as if Iron Reign was really *there*. While this eventually proved ineffectual to get picked, this still was a good strategy - it got us noticed - and we will feel its effects at Worlds. We still could've done more with the pit setup though, it would've helped to find a place for posters and the like beforehand, and we ran into some placement issues of our robot and award carts that irritated the safety officials. But, overall, 9/10 would do again. (We will)

    Judging

    Our judging didn't go that well. Our presentation was fine, we still had breaks and pauses like usual, and we got the majority of information across, but we didn't deliver on important information correctly. Our energy was a little low, we had a power outage while going over our outreach which distracted the judges, and on top of that, the judges' paradigms were a little closer to the engineering side of things. Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing - having a skewed mindset makes a judge more likely to defend for some awards - but for an outreach-heavy team like ours, we were at a disadvantage for the Connect and Motivate awards. In the questioning, we only had one connect-related question, with the rest on Innovate and Design, so we knew we probably wouldn't be up for our usual awards from the get-go, which is a shame as we've gotten the Connect Award at every level of competition this year.

    That was the end of the night, so like all Good and Responsible Teams™, we went to bed early and got enough sleep to be rested for the next day /s.

    South Super Regionals Day Two, 2018

    South Super Regionals Day Two, 2018 By Ethan, Evan, Kenna, Charlotte, Austin, Karina, Janavi, Abhi, Tycho, Justin, and Christian

    Task: Complete the first day of competition at SSR

    After finishing judging and setup, all we had left to do was the entire robot game. Knowing this, we stayed until 12, tattooing pictures of Minions™ on each other. Thus, we were perfectly prepared for the tournament the next day.

    Match 5
    We won this match, 207-256. We mainly won due to the autonomous, our partner and ourselves scored 170 points and the other side couldn't catch up.
    Match 16
    We lost this match, 236-297. We suffered as a result of having a broken relic arm and not focusing on the end game. We really need a relic arm for Worlds.
    Match 23
    We lost this game, 412-105. We were up against two of the top ten teams in the tournament and we couldn't compete on any level. We didn't even get the balancing stone point because our robot turned off on the field.
    Match 29
    We won this game, 285-351. While we were outclassed in TeleOp, our combined autonomii were able to overcome that and give us a win.
    Match 38
    We lost this game, 109-286. We were outclassed on every level, and it didn't help that our robot was unresponsive. This was a wake up call for our team to improve.
    Match 49
    We lost this match, 572-221. This wasn't even close and was a huge disappointment.
    Match 56
    We lost this match, 196-374. Again, we underperformed in every aspect of the game and ended our day with a 2-5 record.

    Besides our subpar performance in the robot game, we were also interviewed by a team of judges that we guessed were responsible for the Innovate or Design awards. They asked a little more in-depth questions than what we were used to, but we were able to answer them effectively and demonstrate our engineering process. The judges were reasonably impressed by our robot - our design was fairly uncommon - and it made us canidates for the Innovate award by our estimation.

    Janavi, Karina, Abhi, and Tycho stayed up to work on driving and autonomous to prepare for the final day while the rest of us slept so that we would be restful and awake for the next day.

    South Super Regionals Day Three, 2018

    South Super Regionals Day Three, 2018 By Ethan, Evan, Kenna, Charlotte, Austin, Karina, Janavi, Abhi, Tycho, Justin, and Christian

    Task: Finish SSR and attend awards ceremony

    It was the final day. Tumbleweeds drifted over the land, rolling and turning through the abandoned Athens streets. Over the horizon, a dust cloud rose, brown and shifting and twisting, speckled with the detritus of an abandoned city, flashing and siezing, lighting up the city through its inky blackness, devoid of all light. Under these auspices, with the flashing lights of the looming cloud highlighting every crack, every pore of our grim, stone-cold faces, we trekked through these dark streets, against the cold, whipping winds blowing in, through the debris and detritus of the lost, fallen FTC teams that succumbed to the biting winds and the shooting lightning. Through these harrowing conditions, we perservered and arrived at the fabled Classic Center, the home of all southern FTC teams' dreams, and their doom.

    We started out with our 2-5-0 record, so we didn't have a great outlook on alliance selection or for the tournament in general. However, through our discussion the night before, we decided to give our newer team members a shot at driving and working on the robot. So, Justin and Karina became the main drivers for the day, since we didn't have much to lose.

    Match 70
    We lost this match, 379-267. Even though we lost, we did way better than expected, so this is still a win in our hearts. Had we executed our autonomous correctly, we could've won this match, or at least gotten closer and impressed more people.
    Match 78
    We won this match, 388-348. It definitely helped that we were partnered with the top team in our division, but it was certainly a morale booster overall. This ended the SSR with a 3-6 record.

    With the fresh feeling of defeat in our hearts, as we didn't stand a chance of actually getting picked, we went to a nice italian restruant and talked about potential plans while eating good food. If you ever have the chance, eat at Depalmas Italian Cafe.

    We walked back to the tournament, bellies full of prosciutto and cheese, reasonably not confident for our chances to advance to worlds. So, we sat in the stands, waiting, hoping that our names would be called (except for the Promote Award, ours is kind of embarrassing). As we slowly slipped into deep slumber, we heard a but a whisper from the announcer, "And the 2nd place Innovate Award goes to............Team 6832 Iron Reign!". And so, we advanced to Worlds, and rode off into the sunset.

    Kraken LED Installation

    Kraken LED Installation By Ethan, Austin, Evan, and Abhi

    Task: Install LEDs on our robot

    This has been a low-priority task for the robot throughout the season. We wanted to be able to a) look cool and b) signal team color and problems with the robot with LEDs. And, at Supers, we just happened to have access to a Fender switch, servo, and a roll of LEDs, so in our downtime we decided to take advantage of it. If we knew we weren't going to win, we could at least make our robot look cool.

    The installation was relatively simple. We attached a servo to a Fender switch so that we could automatically toggle between colors, and rewired our servos to accomidate that. We threaded the LEDs above the wheels so that we could have a nice backlit effect on our robot.

    Next Steps:

    Next, we need to code the appropriate signalling for the colors and the servo to move the switch.

    Which Cipher?

    Which Cipher? By Abhi

    Task: Find which cipher works best

    By this stage of Relic Recovery, we have finally discovered an efficient strategy for the glyph game. At this point, it is important to get consistent driver practice. While doing so, it is important to think of the cipher patterns. Seeing that world records are being set by teams who can double cipher efficiently, it is important that we can complete ciphers at Worlds. But which pattern should we choose? At first glance, all the ciphers seem just as hard (or easy) to do. However, after some analysis, we found some will work better for our team than others.

    Based on our current design, the bird cipher is the easiest to complete for drivers. This is because of the pick up pattern of our grippers. For each column, each pair of glyphs can be picked up with the same color order. For example, if we start with a gray glyph during autonomous and put it into the center column, after placing a brown one on top in teleop, we can pick up another gray then brown. Then, when we go to the left column, we pick up brown then gray for first two rows then brown gray again. This makes it easy on our drivers to remember which glyph colors to pick up.

    The next easiest cipher is the snake cipher. Though this may conventionally seem hard since mirror snakes are not allowed, it is easy for us because we have the ability to pick up stacks. We would start the same way as the bird in the center column and then pick up pre-stacked same color glyphs.

    Finally, we have the frog. The frog is the hardest to do because though the first two rows are the same as the bird, the final two rows have flipped pickup of glyphs. This can cause a high chance of error for our drivers. This is why we will try to stray away from this cipher but can do it if necessary.

    General Advice:

    Though we focus on specific ciphers, we can setup our cryptobox to allow multiple ciphers. The best thing to do is setting up the center column in a 1221 pattern (each number represents either gray or brown). This sets us up to do either a bird or frog cipher, our two favorite ciphers to do. If this isn't possible or if we are focusing on rows, we have to set them up with an alternating glyph pattern, like the frog and bird bottom two rows. This allows us to set up the cipher for our alliance partner if they choose to complete both cryptoboxes.

    Gripper Physics Diagrams

    Gripper Physics Diagrams By Ethan

    Task: Describe the physics of the gripper

    We always struggle a little with describing our robot to the judges. So, this post will be the third in a series of posts describing the physics of our robot (four if you count the coefficients of friction). First, we have the free body diagrams of the gripper.

    Next, to further describe this, we created an expiriment in which we determined the maximum force one octopucker can apply. We took a traditional octopucker and rotated it so that the arms of the pucker would barely impact the sides of the scale. From that, we applied force until the octopucker moved to the next arm. We then averaged the forces recorded to determine the maximum force an octopucker arm can apply.

    Under these circumstances, we recorded an average maximum of 4.125 oz of force, which translates to 1.147 N. This translates to an increase in the normal force of +6.882 N. This, in turn, increases the frictional force of the internal lift by fk=uN, where u is the coefficient of friction of the internal lift to the glyph. fk=1.96*6.882=13.489N. So, the simple creation of modified intake octopuckers allowed us to increase the frictional force by +13.489N, which allows our internal lift system to operate.

    Force exerted by the octopuckers vs time

    Next Steps

    On Saturday, we will continue this series of posts, finding the series of constants in infopost #2.

    Engineering the Flag Holder

    Engineering the Flag Holder By Abhi

    Task: Find a place to put the flag

    When we went to Super Regionals, we forgot about where to put our flag with the new design. That led us to strapping a zip tie to a side shield, ruining the aluminum aesthetic. We decided we need a specially designed part to put our flag in since duct tape didn't look nice (we're classy like that). I embarked on a mission to create a 3-D printed part for it. That led to the part you see above, which has worked very well. It didn't always look that nice though. The part endured a very special process, one that Iron Reign has used for years and has carried us through the hard times. If you guessed the engineering process, you are correct.

    This was the first iteration of the flag holder. The reason it looks so circular was that it was originally going to stick into the Relic arm so that when it extended, the flag would go with it. I built it around those specifications. However, when I went to print it, I realized that there was no good way to print it without supports (nylon doesn't clean very easily for big supports). I also saw that the holder wasn't modular enough to encompass different flags and had to be mounted only one way. I threw this design in the trash and started over.

    Inspired by REV's pillow blocks, I decided to make something similar to that. I wanted the part to be able to mount in different ways in case if robot design modifications were required. That led me to the the design above. It worked much better than the previous design. However, the holes for the flag weren't big enough to fit even a pencil. This is a problem because we don't know how flags will be at worlds. I went back into Creo to make a new design.

    As many other people have said, third time is the charm. After enlarging the flag circles and making overall dimension modifications to fit this change, the holder ended up accomplishing both tasks I need it to do. It was big enough to fit a pin with some wiggle room and actually held the flag as seen the first picture. We will use this at worlds and possibly hand them out to teams like us at Supers who are using zip-tie holders.

    South Super Regionals 2018 Postmortem

    South Super Regionals 2018 Postmortem By Charlotte, Ethan, Tycho, Austin, Janavi, Abhi, Karina, Kenna, and Evan

    Task: Reflect on our accomplishments in South Super Regionals

    Judging

    Strengths
    In previous presentations, we have had difficulty with timing and conveying everything we have to in the allotted time. This time, we got all of our information across and had enough extra time for some questions and good discussion with the judges.

    Weaknesses
    Although we did improve our timing, due to a lack of practice we had some poor/awkward transitions, and we had to shuffle a bit every time we needed to demonstrate something we have made which made for awkward periods of silence. Also, we tended to ramble, so with practice or by making a script we can be more precise. We didn't stress connect/first specific events and we didn't stress the year round deployment of or outreach program as much as we usually do, so we didn't get any visits to our Mobile Learning Lab from judges. The main logistical error we had was that one of the computers didn't have the latest version of the presentation on it, and we couldn't download it because the venue didn't have internet connection. As always, we were lower on energy then we could have been, so we may have come off as less enthusiastic as we really are.

    Opportunities
    The greatest improvement we can make is practice: with practice we can make our presentation crisp and flushed out to avoid those awkward pauses. To avoid the awkward shuffling to the presentation box, we can have every person hold different versions of the grabber. We are going to make a bar with every version of the octoplucker because this would be helpful to demonstrate. Also, FIRST specific events are very important to us and the judging.

    Threats
    Our Mobile Learning Lab is going to be at an Earth Day event during Worlds, so we will not be able to share it/give judges tours.

    Robot Performance

    Strengths
    At Supers, we had the best gripper flipper that we have had yet, it worked alright and it looked nice so it impressed the judges. Our robot didn't die during matches which is a welcome improvement. We won 2nd place innovate award for our REVolution system. Also, we noticed our robot has good speed and maneuverability.

    Weaknesses
    We were ranked 32/36, so overall our robot game was weak. We assembled our final Supers robot too late, so we didn't have nearly enough driver practice.

    Opportunities
    Driver practice is key. In the weeks leading up to Worlds, we are going to avoid major robot changes and practice driving the robot as much as we can.

    Threats
    In Worlds, we are going to face the toughest competition we have thus far, so we are going to have to work very hard to stand a chance.

    Scouting

    Strengths
    This time, we had things to hand out to teams that we visit and those that stopped by our pit. We made 1000 business cards and a lot of keychains that we 3D printed previously. Also, we visited a lot of pits, both in Kilrain and Pemberton, and made friends with teams, connections that will continue into Worlds. We even took pictures of everyone's robot and made a collage, pictured below.

    Weaknesses
    Our pit was disorganized and crowded, we were having. A few members of our team got sick, so there was a lot of sitting around and looking lazy. Apparently they will not be supplying chairs at Worlds, so that should help. We aren't known for being particularly high energy, but it is essential to be active in the pits on competition days.

    Opportunities
    By Worlds, we hope to have completed the awards case that we had planned for Supers, and hopefully we can create more Roman inspired items to give our pit a more unique touch.

    Journal

    Strengths
    Our engineering journal was effective in portraying the progression of the robot design. It had an enormous amount of posts that show all of our accomplishments this year. The many posts we made for the REVolution system probably helped us catch the attention of the Innovate judges.

    Weaknesses
    Some of our sections were a bit empty, such as our control section which only has 6 posts and the business section.

    Opportunities
    Before Worlds, we are going to organize the posts into their respective awards a bit better as well as writing abstracts for each award and why we are good candidates for them. We are running out of space in our binder, so we are going to split it into two which will be nice so two judges can read our information at the same time. For our control section, we are going to add an Open CV post, which is something we talk about in our presentation but we don't have many details about it in our journal.

    Threats
    When we split into two binders, a judge may mistake each on for a full journal, so we must make it clear on the cover of each journal that it is only half.

    Motor Constants and Future Plans

    Motor Constants and Future Plans By Ethan

    Task: Find constants for the motors for future calculations

    In order to better predict how our robot will work, we first need to find a few constants to do calculations. Luckily, our school has an engineering class, so many of us have the skillset to do these calculations.

    The base data we needed was:

    NeverRest 40s:
    &tab;160 rpm\16.755 rad/sec
    &tab;369 oz-in\2.6057 Nm

    NeverRest 60s:
    &tab;105 rpm\10.996 rad/sec
    &tab;593 oz-in\4.188 Nm

    REV Servos:
    &tab;.14 s/60°\7.143 rpm\.748 rad/sec
    &tab;187.8 oz-in\1.326 Nm

    Next Steps:

    We are going to record these variables using the calculations or by video analysis next:

    • Mass of robot
    • Acceleration curve
    • Max speed
    • Max turning speed
    • Center of gravity
    • Chain speed on gripper-flipper mechanism and drivetrain
    • Gear ratios of gripper and drivetrain
    • Bungee elasticity under various conditions
    • Torque of various motors on the robot

    Lab Planning

    Lab Planning By Ethan

    Task: Design labs to find more physical properties of our robot

    Lab #1: Batteries

    Procedure

    1. Obtain a fully charged REV battery - should say ~13V on our battery charger
    2. Record the voltage upon being plugged in to the robot
    3. Start a timer at the same time as drivers practice starts - this should be intensive practice
    4. When done driving, stop the timer and record the final voltage

    Data

    Vi Vf Runtime(t) ΔV
    Run 1
    Run 2
    Run 3

    After recording the voltages, we will calculate ΔV=(vf-vi)/t for each run, hopefully totalling 10 runs so that we can safely use statistical analysis to calculate standard deviation and outliers for each battery. The purpose of this is to find our best batteries for use in competition as well as set a baseline for future batteries.

    Lab #2: Videoanalysis

    Procedure

    1. Record videos of the robot accelerating to full speed and rotating at full speed
    2. Put the videos into LoggerPro
    3. Perform videoanalysis, finding the acceleration curve, max linear speed, and max angular speed

    Data

    Vmax Wmax Amax

    Next Steps

    We will perform these labs on Saturday; as well, we will find the gear ratio numbers.

    The Cost of Mistakes

    The Cost of Mistakes By Abhi

    Task: Analyze Failures

    Two words describe the picture above: "Oh dear". The wires shown above are connected to our jewel thief on the bottom of our robot. The reason the wires are so shredded and torn is because the chain on our grippers would rub against the wires when the lift was in the lower position. However, it was not always like this.

    This piece used to be on the robot prior to stripping. It's purpose was to protect the wires from damage of grippers. However, at SSR, I decided to take the piece off temporarily because it halted the gripper too short from the optimal intake position. Ignorance led to this piece becoming forgotten about and left in a random box. Since then, the robot had experienced many issues.

    The first and most evident effect was the wires being stripped. This created a safety hazard and made the robot dangerous to others on the field. In addition, this cutting led to the color sensor becoming unresponsive many times, taking away valuable time from autonomous testing. Another issue was that the wires shorted out our batteries, leading to destruction of valuable batteries. This is shown below.

    From this, we lost over 4 hours of driver practice since we would constantly be waiting for batteries to charge (unaware of the issue at this time). As a result of losing one piece of the robot, we lost many things in the process. To fix this, we had to: order new sensor cables, use a new color sensor, rewire the robot, use new batteries, and reassemble the jewel thief.

    It took me about 3 hours just to remove the jewel thief and reassemble it to get it ready for rewiring. After this, someone who was better at electrical had to rewire the robot. In the end, the fix took close to 7 hours.

    Aside from physical build, I also made a mistake on the software side. Being a novice at Github, I managed to create a collection of merge issues for our game repository. As a result, Tycho had to take about 2 hours to fix all merge conflicts and make the robot functional again. This again led to loss of driver practice-something we are very bad at.

    Though I have made many failures recently, this post is also about the team as a whole. As a team, we have not been the best at organization. For example, after returning from Georgia, we left the poles for our tent in the middle of the backyard. Though we were very tired, we should have put the poles in a safe location. Since we neglected them, we now have to wash them because of rain damage in the following days. Another issue we have is phone and battery management. It is always exciting to be on the practice field driving around but we seem to forget about the most important thing: charging. After some driver practice, we seem to just leave the phone and used batteries on the field and go home. Therefore, we lose valuable time to charging, time that could be used for driver practice or autonomous testing. Finally, we are terrible at putting things back where they belong. If you look at our practice space currently, you cannot see one clean spot as it is either occupied with another chassis, some rev rails, or nuts/bolts. Spreading all these items around leads to not only decreased efficiency as we spend infinite amount of time looking for parts, but also an unappealing place to live for our coach and his family.

    I have reflected on my failures and am working hard to make sure I don't make similar mistakes in the future. It is also time for the rest of the team to reflect on our negligence. After analyzing our weak points, we are slowly working towards fixing the mistakes. As an example, Kenna was able to clean up our table so we could finally see the wood underneath. Our team is now at the Championship level and we shouldn't make these mistakes simply due to laziness. As we continue on our journey it is important for us to grow from our failures and avoid them to reach maximum efficiency.

    Elastics Testing

    Elastics Testing By Ethan

    Task: Test wear and tear on our robot's bungees

    This is the fifth or so article in our series on robotics testing. Today's spotlight will be on the constants of our robot's bungees, and how they're affected by various wear and tear. So, we took three bungees from the same set as the ones on our robot, and placed them in various places: stretched outside, stretched inside, and a control sitting in the robot room. The purpose of this is to see whether or not our bungees merit periodic replacements.

    Procedure

    1. Cut three identical elastics
    2. Leaving one unstretched inside, place the other two stretched inside and outside
    3. Attach your chosen bungee to a 10 lb weight
    4. Positioning your hand 8 cm from the knot, pull upwards, recording this inital position as xi
    5. When the weight barely moves off of the ground, measure the knot-hand distance and record it as xf
    6. Using these values, calculate the elasticity constant for each bungee

    Data

    Run x-initial (m) x-final (m) Δx (m)
    Normal .08 m .151 m .071 m
    Inside .08 m .155 m .075 m
    Outside .08 m .162 m .082 m

    Calculations

    W = 10 lbs = 44.482 N
    x1 = .071 m, x2 = .075 m, x3 = .082 m
    ΣF = Fsp - W = 0
    Fsp = W
    kx = W
    k = W/x
    k = 44.482/x
    k1 = 626.51 N/m, k2 = 593.09 N/m, k3 = 542.46 N/m

    Calulated Data

    Run Elastic Constant (N/m)
    Normal 626.51 N/m
    Inside 593.09 N/m
    Outside 542.46 N/m

    Analysis

    Assuming a standard deviation of 5%, we can perform a one-sample t-test to see if our results are statistically significant. We will test the inside/outside values against the contol.
    Mean = 626.51 N/m
    SD = 31.32
    N = 3
    α = .05
    Ho: There is no significant difference between the unstretched band's elasticity and the stretched bands inside or outside Ha: There is a significant difference between either the band left unstretched and the bands left stretched inside or outside

    For the elastic left inside, we found a p=.2058. For those not accustomed to statistics, this means that there is a ~20% chance that our results come from chance. This is too high of a probability to say whether or not to say that staying inside affects the elasticity of a band.

    For the elastic left outside, we found a probability p=.0433. This means that there is a 4.33% probability that these results come from chance. For most journals, the minimum p-value, or α, is .05 = 5%. Thus, we can safely say that elastics left outside can be damaged and will not work on the same level as the untouched bands.

    Conclusion

    Given that we only found a statistically significant result for the band left outside, we cannot safely conclude much. That being said, these results suggest that we should replace bands before Worlds, as we leave our robot outside, but covered. As well, even with a 20% probability that there isn't a difference for the inside bands, it is still uncomfortable to say that there is absolutely no correlation. For these reasons, we suggest regular switching of the elastics on the robot.

    Importance of Documentation

    Importance of Documentation By Abhi and Tycho

    Task: Explain commits

    As explained in a previous post, we were having many issues with git commits and fixing our errors in it. After a lot of the merging conflicts, we had to fix all the commits without exactly knowing what was being changed in the code. Part of the reason this was so hard was our lack of good naming conventions. Though we always try to make a title and good description for all posts, this doesn't always happen. This is precisely why it is important to check in all changes at every session with good descriptions. Someone had to spend their time mechanically trying to do merge conflicts without understanding the intent behind the code. So it took them longer, they may have made mistakes, an issue fixed by good documentation in the first place.

    This post is dedicated to explaining some of the errors and what the commits true intentions were.

    Stuff:

    That one is mostly about code for the 3rd servo in the gripper open/close methods. It created the servo in pose and added code for it in GlyphSystem2.

    4a6b7dbfff573a72bfee2f7e481654cb6c26b6b2:

    This was for tuning the field oriented code to work. There were some errors with arrays in the way power was fed to the motors (null pointer exception) so I (Abhi) had to fix that. Also, I made some touch up edits with formatting in the methods. After all this, Tycho made (may have edited existing) a method in Pose for Viewforia demo. Minor changes were made to account for this.

    c8ffc8592cd1583e3b71c39ba5106d48da887c66:

    First part was all Argos edits at the museum to make it functional and fine tune some measurements. Second part involved the conveyor belt flipper. Tycho made changes to the dpad up and down to return to the home position rather than carry out complete motion (not sure if this carried over in all the commit mess but it was done theoretically). Driver practice will have to confirm changes.

    Next Steps

    Don't name things badly so this doesn't happen.

    Robot Video Analysis

    Robot Video Analysis By Charlotte

    Task: Determine the acceleration and max velocity experimentally

    To find the acceleration and maximum velocity of our robot we decided to use a method we have learned in our physics class at school: video analysis with Logger Pro. The procedure is like so: Take a video of the robot head on with a still camera. In the video, in the same frame of movement as the robot, hold a known measuring device (ruler/meter stick). Insert the video into Logger Pro, use the ruler tool to set the distance of the measuring device you used to its length and use the point tool to place a point on the same part of the robot (like the front wheel) for every frame. You can see the collection of points in the image below:

    Logger Pro automatically makes a displacement and velocity graph for X and Y. We are interested in the X direction unless your robot is flying. To make an acceleration graph, create a new calculated column that takes the derivative of the X velocity graph. Both graphs are shown below:

    Finally it is time to analyze our data. To find max velocity: use the stats tool on the point where the velocity is done increasing and has become constant. To find the acceleration: in this case the acceleration is not constant, so we are looking to find the average acceleration in the beginning when the robot is speeding up from rest by using the stats tool again on the portion of the acceleration graph that occurs at the same time as the velocity initially increases, right before it becomes constant. These were our results:

    Max Velocity: 1.67 m/s | Average Acceleration: 2.58 m/s^2

    We did this video analysis in order to better understand our robot. We will use this information when we are making code changes to the robot in these last days before Worlds.

    Next Steps:

    We have made determined many aspects of our robot experientially, the coefficient of friction of our internal lift, etc. In the future we will use these skills to find out more abour our robot.

    REVolution on Thingiverse

    REVolution on Thingiverse By Abhi

    Task: Publish REVolution Parts

    Tired of slipping set screws? Want a rigid drive shaft as long or tall as your robot? Have a bunch of REV Rail lying around? Have we got a solution for you...

    Turn your REV Rail into a beater-bar, a drive shaft or a heavy duty hinge with our Spintastic Axializer System … The REVolution System

    Iron reign has developed these parts over the course of this season and they have served as essential pieces of our robot. Now you don't have to worry about snapping axles and those darn set screws. Choose your attachment plate, your internal pieces, and assemble them together! With this system, you robot can be efficient and flashy.

    The parts are avaliable at

    https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2859442

    If you need help with part assembly or printing, please contact us and we will be glad to help. Tutorial videos are in the process of being made. Details about the parts are listed below

    Relic Recovery Reveal Video

    Relic Recovery Reveal Video By Abhi and Austin

    Task: Publish Robot Reveal

    After a season of work, Iron Reign has the final version of Kraken ready for Championships. With it comes a video showing off its features. We filmed it moving in all sorts of ways. We also found pictures from this season of the team's design growth and outreach events, including having fun. You can view it here below!

    Purpose:

    The purpose of this video is to represent Iron Reign as a whole. FTC is not only about the robot but also about the journey there. We showed our thoughts over the season, including outreach events, scavenging polycarb, or illustrating the engineering process of grippers.