Articles by tag: organization

Articles by tag: organization

    Organization!

    Organization! August 25, 2018 By Charlotte

    Iron Reign Clutter

    One of Iron Reign's greatest weaknesses is the organization of our physical space. It is rare that our workspace is free of clutter, and it is always difficult to find tools or parts that we need. We often joke that when we put an item down it goes in a "black hole," and you won't be able to find it again. This summer, however, we have made a system to tackle this problem and this season we hope to maintain it. We cleared out the front room and set up some shelves and got to organizing. For anyone looking for certain tools or who doesn't know where to put a tool they just found or used, use the article for reference.


    This is subject to change, but as we begin the season, here is the current shelf organization:


    In the tall black set of drawers, you can find these tools and parts:


  • Top half:
  • Omni Wheels (on the very top)
  • Drill Bits
  • Dremel & Exacto knives
  • Wrenches
  • Screwdrivers
  • Allen Wrenches

  • Bottom half:
  • Servos
  • Torque wrench
  • Bolt cutters
  • Tap & Dice set
  • Extension Cords

  • In the silver drawers on the right side, you can find these tools and parts:


  • On the very top, you can find miscellaneous electronics.
  • Left Side:
  • Pliers
  • Sprockets
  • Motors
  • More motors

  • Right side:
  • Measurement tools & testers
  • USB Adapters (OTG cables)
  • Hardware (screws, bolts, nuts)
  • Wire
  • Zip-Ties

  • In the colorful drawers on the left, you can find these tools and parts:

  • Left side:
  • Mini USB cables
  • Old motor/servo controllers
  • Nuts
  • More mini & micro USB cables
  • Shaft collars
  • Servo cables

  • Middle:
  • Motor mounts
  • Chains
  • Bevel gears
  • Tubing
  • Fabric paint
  • Adhesives
  • Grease
  • REV hardware

  • Right side:
  • Brackets
  • Springs
  • Files
  • Measurement Devices
  • Sandpaper
  • Hand Drills
  • Dremel Kits
  • Rubber Bands

  • We have a long way to go, and we need to put organize these drawers even more and maybe soon label them. If anyone has any questions ask Evan or me (or Tycho if he's home), and make sure you put things back after you use them!

    Post Kickoff Meeting

    Post Kickoff Meeting September 08, 2018 By Karina, Charlotte, Ethan, Evan, Kenna, and Abhi

    Meeting Log September 08, 2018

    Today Iron Reign attended the FTC 2018-2019 season kickoff at Williams High School. After the event, we gathered back at our coach's house to talk about how we might approach this season's challenge. We welcomed prospect team members as well. They joined us in reviewing the reveal video and the games manuals.

    Today's Meet Objectives

    We wanted to have an understanding of the game design so that we could start going over robot designs. To do this we:

    • Watched the reveal video
    • Skimmed through game manual 1 and the preview of game manual 2

    Until we receive the field elements, we will have to plan and strategize using the resources listed above.

    Because we also had new possible team members over, we set expectations for this year. Actively recording our progress and blogging for the engineering journal was heavily stressed. We recognize the importance of having a good engineering journal and how it can help us advance. Our coach's house, the place where we have our meetings, is also cleaner than it has been in a long time after an intense cleaning session. Having an organized space maximizes efficiency, especially with the a larger team. Therefore, we expect for all team members to clean up after themselves and maintain the organization.

    Before we could discuss robot build ideas, we talked strategy. Parking in the crater and the landing zones will undoubtedly be easy to do. Since we know that designing a way for our robot to be able to lift itself onto the lander will be a more interesting challenge and will score us the most points, we will prioritize working on prototypes mechanisms for this task. Finding a way to gently lower down form the lander may be difficult. We will have to consider ways to not damage the robot, wiring, etc. We also agreed that it would make the most sense to have one mechanism that latches onto the hook on the lander, grabs gold and silver elements from the crater, and places these elements into the columns.

    Other topics we talked about include drive trains, problems with trying to create a mechanism that grab both the silver balls and gold blocks, as well as how we would be able to grab them out of the crater without going over the edge of the crater and getting stuck.

    Also, in previous seasons, we have had strong autonomous game, and so we decided to make the tasks in autonomous another top priority. We had our coders start discussing the field path for autonomous. Unfortunately, we will not be able to launch our team marker into the team depot.

    After the end of last season, a storm passed through and turned over shelves, trashing the robo-dojo. Some of our team members cleaned up the tent this afternoon. While it may not seem very important at the moment, this will be very helpful later in the season once we get our field elements for this year's challenge and want to set the field up. While cleaning, they also uncovered old, rusted metal tools and and pieces, which we will now be able to repair and save for future use.

    Besides helping with cleaning the tent, the new members showed a lot of interest in the game as well. They were eager to start building, and actually started creating prototype mechanisms for picking up the silver and gold elements.

    Today's Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    KarinaWorking on blog2:004 hrs
    AbhiAutonomous planning2:004 hrs
    EvanRobot brainstorming2:004 hrs
    CharlotteRobot brainstorming2:004 hrs
    EthanWorking on blog2:004 hrs
    KennaCleaning tent2:004 hrs

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log September 15, 2018 By Charlotte, Karina, Kenna, Janavi, Evan, Abhi, Justin, and Ethan

    Meeting Log September 15, 2018

    Today Austin, an Iron Reign alumni, visited us from A&M! :)

    Today's Meet Objectives

    As our brainstorming and discussion continues, we are putting our ideas into action and making various prototypes and designs. We will continue to work with our new recruits and let them participate in a meaningful way with our building and in getting ready for competition.

    Today's Meet Log

    • Further brainstorming and discussion
    • Taking some inspiration from 30 hr robot reveal videos, we have continued the brainstorming for this year's robot. Our main subjects of discussion are our intake and lift, and some ideas that were thrown around were a conveyor belt-like intake and a lift that utilizes a linear slide which lifts the robot chassis. The details of our brainstorming session can be found at (E-19, Brainstorming Two - Enter the Void).
    • Prototyping and linear slides
    • Today, Abhi worked on a hook for hanging off the rover at first with Styrofoam, and then began a 3D model. Evan started working with our new linear slides (see the picture below); we expect to use linear slides a lot this year, with reaching into the craters and hooking onto the rover. We pre-drilled some holes into these new slides using an optical punch and a drill. Janavi worked with a different linear slide kit, this kit is lighter than our new kit, which is helpful, but it is very delicate and requires precision to put together.
      Evan looking through an optical punch
      Evan with a linear slide
    • Field setup
    • Many of our new recruits returned today and have continued to be active. During the week, we received the field parts, so we had them help us put it together so that they can be familiar with the field design and with certain power tools. They also helped with various devices we worked on, like the linear slides, etc.
      Field assembly progress from our new recruits.
    • Chassis testing
    • We plan to use the chassis we built this summer for preliminary autonomous testing. Janavi and Kenna got Garchomp up and running today and added a better and more secure phone holder so we can run autonomous.
    • Vision and autonomous
    • We began exploring in Open CV so that we can have a visual tool to find the minerals; the algorithms we are exploring can be used for both autonomous and tele-op. We had a discussion on our goals for vision this year, which can be found at (E-20, Vision Discussion). We also began mapping our autonomous paths to act as guides to our coders.
      Open CV progress

    Today's Member Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    KarinaRobot build and team marker design2:004 hrs
    AbhiOpen CV2:004 hrs
    EvanPrototyping2:004 hrs
    CharlotteBlog and brainstorming2:004 hrs
    EthanWorking on blog2:004 hrs
    KennaRobot build2:004 hrs
    JustinField assembly2:004 hrs
    JanaviPrototyping2:004 hrs

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log September 22, 2018 By Charlotte, Janavi, Evan, Abhi, Justin, Ethan, Arjun, Karina, and Kenna

    Meeting Log September 22, 2018

    Home Depot Trip!

    Today's Meet Objectives

    As we are starting to make more serious strides in our robot and strategy, we wish to start passing down knowledge to our new recruits. Today, we are going to continue prototyping with grabbers and various linear slide kits and we need to discuss strategy and organization for this season.

    Today's Meet Log

    • Robot strategy discussion
    • Today we have discussed more about what we want our strategy to look like. An option we are heavily considering is having a non-moving robot, in the sense that our robot is stationary and all game actions are performed using extensions from the robot, using linear slides, etc. We have discussed what game rules we need to consider, like what "parking" consists of during autonomous. For further information, see (E-34, Another Design Bites the Dust).
    • Chassis brainstorming
    • We discussed the chassis design we plan to use this season, and we decided experiment with the BigWheel chassis we build this summer. For more details on this discussion, see (E-23, Chassis Brainstorming).
    • Sorter prototyping
    • We have continued prototyping various grabbing mechanisms with sorting ability, one passive and one active sorter. The passive version we modeled in Creo and printed before practice, and the active was modeled using Legos! Our new recruits have been helping us prototype also, as we have been making a version 2 for the active model.
      Passive model
      Active model
    • New chop saw!
    • Some of the materials we are working with require power tools that we don't have or were damaged by rain. One of the linear slide kits we are working with is stainless steel, which requires a chop saw which we didn't have. We made a trip to Home Depot and bought one.
      Chopsaw in action

    • Finishing field assembly
    • Our new recruits finished up the field today. They ran into some problems along the way, including difficulty with putting on the top part of the lander, improper placement of the wing nuts, alignment of the lander in the foam tiles, and more but were able to overcome these difficulties and yielding a field for practice.
      Our freshman recruits!
    • Linear slide assembly
    • Evan and Janavi finished assembling the linear slides they were working on last week. As we build a chassis (or a wheel-less chassis) we are going to try both types to see how the weight, strength, friction, string tension, and other factors affect our gameplay. A side-by-side comparison of our linear slides cam be found at (E-61, Selecting Linear Slides)

      Battle of the Slides
    • Team marker
    • Karina narrowed down the ideas for a marker and she, with Kenna, has began building it. More about our marker can be found at (E-33, Team Marker Fun).
    • Open CV and our CNN
    • While we are waiting to begin code, we are testing many algorithms in Open CV, so we can accurately and consistently detect field minerals. These algorithms consider shape and color to map points to predict the location of the minerals. While developing Open CV, we have begun the development of a Convolutional Neural Network. Detail of our CNN training can be found at (E-22, CNN Training).
    • Location sensor
    • Today, Justin worked on making the location sensor (our fail-safe in case our encoders fail) smaller and more lightweight to help us meet with this year's size requirements (something we have had trouble with in the past).
    • Chassis testing
    • We tested the different chassis we build this summer on the field to see how they interact with the terrain (aka the crater). We found that Big Wheel was too long and didn't go over the crater at all unless it was backwards and got a running start. Garchomp (with Mechanums) went over the craters fine.

    Today's Member Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    KarinaRobot build and team marker design2:004 hrs
    AbhiOpen CV and build2:004 hrs
    EvanBuild2:004 hrs
    CharlotteBlog and brainstorming2:004 hrs
    EthanWorking on blog2:004 hrs
    KennaRobot build2:004 hrs
    JustinBuild and field assembly2:004 hrs
    JanaviBuild2:004 hrs
    ArjunCode and blog2:004 hrs

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log September 28, 2018 By Charlotte, Karina, Kenna, Janavi, Evan, Abhi, Justin, Ethan, and Arjun

    Meeting Log September 28, 2018

    Coding lessons with new recruits

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Since our overflow of new recruits, we have opened up two other teams 15373 and 15375, which Iron Reign will mentor and lead along with our mentorship of 3732 Imperial Robotics, who has also received new recruits. Today we plan to continue integrating them into FTC; we will begin teaching them the different expectations of an FTC team, including hard and soft skills such as coding and presenting to a panel of judges. In Iron Reign, we are going to continue prototyping various mechanisms we have designed. Also, we are going to get started with coding and autonomous.

    Today's Meet Log

    • Mentoring
    • This week, we had even more recruits join us today, so we decided to run through our Worlds presentation from last year to teach them about the judging process and our engineering process. We set their expectations for what competition day looks like, and what they need to focus on and maintain throughout the season, such as the engineering journal and outreach. We had a long discussion about subteams and we are going to let the recruits explore these subteams and decide for themselves what parts of FTC they wish to pursue.
      Presentation to recruits.
    • Linear slides
    • Janavi continued working with linear slides, which we installed on a bare chassis as well as the hook Abhi designed and printed. Near the end of practice we tested the slide and we found that it worked pretty well but we need additional tests before we can determine whether it will ba a viable option for our robot. To see more information on our linear slides, see (E-,).
    • Secret project
    • Evan worked on a secret project, details will be written about in future blog posts. See (E-34, Another Design Bites the Dust).
    • Team marker
    • Karina continued to work on our team marker. Last time we decided on the design we want to use, and she had put the idea into reality today.
      Ducky incarcerated
    • Modeling
    • Justin 3D modeled and printed wheel mounts for churros and hex shafts.
      Justin modeling
    • Replay autonomous and code mentoring
    • Over the summer, we worked on a new replay autonomous system where rather than coding an autonomous, testing it, then fixing it, we drive the robot in our intended path and that path is automatically recorded in the code. This year, we don't think that system will work, with the heavy emphasis on computer vision and the unreliable positioning of the robot after it drops off the hook on the rover. Also, today we worked with the recruits that demonstrated interest in coding. Abhi gave them a lesson and let them create their very first autonomous program by themselves (but with his guidance of course).

      Today's Member Work Log

      Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
      KarinaTeam marker build2:004 hrs
      AbhiCoding and teaching2:004 hrs
      EvanRobot build2:004 hrs
      CharlotteBlog and organization2:004 hrs
      EthanWorking on blog2:004 hrs
      KennaRobot build2:004 hrs
      Justin3D Modeling2:004 hrs
      JanaviRobot build2:004 hrs

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log October 06, 2018 By Charlotte, Kenna, Janavi, Ethan, and Arjun

    Meeting Log October 06, 2018

    Code Testing with Arjun

    Today's Meet Objectives

    We set up some tables with FTC Starter Kits for our new recruits so we can give them an introduction to building with REV parts. We want to continue research & design and build for Iron Reign. There is a scrimmage coming up in a few weeks, so we want to have a working chassis by then.

    Today's Meet Log

    • Chassis build
    • Kenna and Janavi worked on a chassis. We hope to mount the linear slides we completed last time onto this chassis and hopefully use it for our first scrimmage. We had a frame for the chassis done last time, and this time we added motors and one of four wheels. Hopefully, the chassis will be complete by next week and then we can run some test to determine whether or not it will be a viable chassis for competition use. If we deem that it is worthy, there are a few problems we need to fix before competition day. Notably, the chassis doesn't fit within the sizing cube, as it measures 17 in x 18 and 1/16th in. Our chassis decision process can be found at (E-16, Choosing Drive Train).

      Kenna with the chassis frame (pre-motored)

      Kenna and Janavi installing the motors
    • Engineering journal discussion
    • We discussed what we want to improve in our engineering notebook this year. In previous years, one of our greatest weaknesses has been the lack of mathematical analysis in our blog posts, so this year we are going to focus on doing more parts testing and incorporate statistics and physics from those tests into our blog posts.
    • Intake prototyping and design
    • Ethan has been working on prototyping with grabbers. Abhi designed and printed parts to mount our "corn on the cob" material, and Ethan put it together and made a small frame to put it on so we can test it. To see more about the intake aligner, see (E-31, Designing the Corn Cob Aligner). To see more about "corn on the cob," see (E-32, Corn-Cob Intake).

      Ethan working on the blog

      Ethan with the "corn on the cob"
    • Gantt Chart
    • Today, I made some real progress on our team "Gantt" chart. We hope to utilize such a chart in order to improve team organization and structure. Hopefully, this will prevent certain subteams from falling behind and we will not be rushed right before competitions as that has happened a lot historically.
    • Code testing and CNN training
    • Once he updated the FTC app, Arjun he tested our code with the new update on Kraken, our robot from last year. He also took 72 pictures of the minerals for training of a convolutional neural network. He began compiling those images and will work on the neural network in the coming weeks. See more about our CNN training process in (E-21, CNN Training)

    Today's Member Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    CharlotteBlog and organization2:004 hrs
    EthanWorking on blog2:004 hrs
    KennaRobot build2:004 hrs
    JanaviRobot build2:004 hrs
    ArjunCode updates2:004 hrs

    Project Management

    Project Management By Charlotte

    Task: Improve Iron Reign's team organization and time management

    Iron Reign sometimes struggles with our team organization and time management. There have been many instances where we have fallen behind in different subteams due to this lack of organization. This year, in order to tackle this downfall, we are going to put an emphasis on project management.

    We started a project in a program called Team Gantt. We learned how to use this program from watching the many tutorials in the program and by trial and error. In our project, we have made task groups that represent our subteams, such as build, code, etc. You can see this in the image above, but I did not include the whole chart to not expose any team secrets. A project manager will be in charge of keeping these subteams on track with the chart, and will update it accordingly along with periodic meetings regarding the chart and our progress. Hopefully, this will really help us in our team organization so that we don't fall behind this season.

    Next Steps

    Continue the use of our Gantt chart in order to improve our organization and give us a big-picture view of our progress for the rest of the season.

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log October 13, 2018 By Charlotte, Janavi, Ethan, Arjun, Abhi, Justin, and Karina

    Meeting Log October 13, 2018

    Sumo bots at SEM STEM Spark

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Today we are taking part in a massive outreach event to teach STEM to girls all over North Dallas: SEM STEM Spark. However, we do have competitions/scrimmages coming up really soon, so we wish to get some substantial building done. See more about the event at (T-22, SEM STEM Spark).

    Today's Meet Log

  • Chassis build
  • We scrapped the chassis we worked on last meeting because of it lack of mounting points and poor assembly. Janavi started with just some extrusion rails and mounted some motors and wheels for a new new chassis. Hopefully we will have a working chassis by the time of the scrimmage.
  • CNN Training
  • Arjun continued to work on a convolution neural network, which, once the network is complete, we will compare with Open CV. We have used Open CV for our computer vision algorithms for a couple of years, but we are now looking into other options to see if CNN will be a more accurate method of differentiating between field elements. A summary of our vision decisions can be found at (E-81, Vision Summary)
  • SEM STEM Spark outreach
  • Besides working on the chassis and a CNN, most of us taught and shared our passion for STEM at the event. The event was 10 hours long, so it was a long haul, but we had a really great time and the girls did too.

    Today's Member Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    CharlotteOutreach8:0010 hrs
    EthanOutreach8:0010 hrs
    JanaviBuild8:0010 hrs
    ArjunConvolution Neural Network8:0010 hrs
    AbhiOutreach8:0010 hrs
    KarinaOutreach8:0010 hrs
    JustinOutreach8:0010 hrs

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log October 20, 2018 By Charlotte, Kenna, Janavi, Ethan, Arjun, Justin, and Abhi

    Meeting Log October 20, 2018

    Juggling the minerals

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Our first scrimmage is next weekend, so we need to complete our chassis and some sort of intake system. Every member needs to take on their own portion of the robot so we can divide and conquer to end today's meeting with a working robot.

    Today's Meet Log

  • Mini-Mech chassis build
  • Finally, we have a chassis. We used small mechanum wheels and a small rectangular frame which is very unusual for Iron Reign with our history of 18 in x 18 in robots. The chassis that Janavi build last weekend during the outreach event was a square, but we needed to make it rectangular to make room for motors. See more on mini-mech at (E-42, Mini Mechanum Chassis).
  • Linear slide build
  • Janavi and Justin worked on the linear slides that Janavi has been working on for a few weeks. Before, we had tested and mounted the slide to an existing chassis, but there were some improvements to be made. They changed the length of the linear slide from using 18 in rails to 12 in rails and added stops so that the slide don't slide out of each other. They also strung the slides so that they can extend and retract depending on the direction of rotation of the wheels.

    Janavi, Justin, and some slides
  • Code mentorship
  • Arjun worked with a few members from Iron Star and Iron Core so that they could start programs for the robots they have been working on. A few weeks ago, Abhi gave them an introduction to coding, but Arjun helped them from the very beginning of making a new project and writing their first lines of code. Iron Reign has been utilizing GitHub for many years and we have found it very helpful, so we helped the other teams set up their own GitHub repositories and taught them how to use it.

    Arjun and the phone mount

    Teaching freshmen GitHub
  • Intake system build
  • Ethan and Abhi worked on our intake system. We are using silicone mats for kitchen counters to launch field elements into our intake system. The minerals then are filtered through 3 bars, each space by 68 mm so that balls roll over and cubes fall in. They completed the intake mechanism, but their greatest challenge is fine tuning the sorting bars and finding a way to mount it onto the chassis. Eventually, we wish to make the system pivotable, but for now we mounted it to the chassis so that it is stationary. Details about this intake system can be found at (E-44, Intake Update).

    Intake mechanism with red silicon mats

    Today's Member Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    CharlotteBlog and organization2:004 hrs
    EthanWorking on blog and intake build2:004 hrs
    KennaRobot build2:004 hrs
    JanaviLinear slide and chassis build2:004 hrs
    ArjunBuild and mentoring2:004 hrs
    KarinaRobot Build2:004 hrs
    AbhiIntake Build2:004 hrs

    Off-Schedule Meeting Log

    Off-Schedule Meeting Log October-2 23-2, 2018-2 to October 23, 2018 By Ethan, Karina, Charlotte, Kenna, Arjun, and Evan

    Meeting Log October 21 to October 23, 2018

    Iron Reign will be attending a scrimmage on Saturday, but to attend a scrimmage, you usually have to have a working robot. As of Saturday, we did not. So, a few of our members elected to come in on Saturday to do some last minute robot additions.

    Sunday Tasks

    • Attached lift
    • We've had a linear slide that we've been meaning to hook up to the robot for awhile, and we finally did it Saturday. We mounted it to the front of the robot, as it was the easiest access point, then mounted a motor and pulley on the side to extend it. It worked - and then it didn't - as it tangled itself inside the motor, necessitating a redesign.
      Then we realized a more pressing issue. Since torque is equal to force * arm length (T=FR), and the force on our robot is only the force due to gravity (F=mg), we had a torque on the lift equal to T=mgR. Then, as the lift was mounted at the very end, the torque on the arm was at its absolute maximum. And, while we're confident in our building ability, we're not that confident. So, we realized that we'd have to move the lift closer to the middle to minimize torque.
    • Finished intake
    • On Saturday, we worked on the red-silicone intake system, but there were still issues. We used too-long screws to mount the motor that cut into the sprocket, we mounted the fins a little to far out so that the silicone was running into them and losing energy, and we didn't have a way to mount it. First, we replaced the 15mm M3 screws with 8mm ones, ensuring that there would be no further collision. Then, we removed the beams the fins were mounted on and replaced them with a simple crossbar the we directly mounted the fins to. That way, we could adjust all of the fins at once instead of individually cutting each beam.
    • Second stage
    • Our robot is a little on the small side for Iron Reign. To mitigate that, we planned to add a second stage to the robot for support and to hold components like the second REV hub. So, we started on that, cutting the standoffs, and attaching one side completely so that we could use it as a proto-phone-mount.

    Monday Tasks

    • Moved lift
    • To minimize torque, we moved the lift to the center of the robot. Now, this won't eliminate the torque - one side of the robot is much heavier than the other, but it makes it much more manageable.
    • Mounted intake
    • To have a functional robot, we have to have an intake *on the robot*. We had an intake, but it certainly wasn't anywhere close to being on the robot. So, we mounted a Core Hex Motor to the inside of our robot, attached a gear to our robot then bolted a second gear to our intake. Then, we attached the gear to a churro rail mounted on the robot and moved the motor to where the gears coincided. Originally, we planned to use a 30->90 gear system for a 1:3 gear ratio for a calculated 9.6 Newton-meters of torque, but this systed wouldn't fit within the size constraints, so we had to settle for a 1:1 ratio at 3.2 N*m.
    • Mounted 2nd arm
    • On our other robot, Bigwheel, we mounted the 2nd arm for a future beater bar. Unlike most of our robots, this one is mostly off-the-shelf, with some additional Textrix parts and a REV hub.

    Tuesday Tasks

    • Finished 2nd stage
    • To be able to support our additional motors, we had to add a second REV hub. And, to do that, we had to finish the 2nd stage. This wasn't that difficult, all we had to do was attach a standard piece of REV extrusion to the remaining standoffs, then add a REV hub mount, then mount the actual hub.
    • Reinforced lift
    • Our lift is a little bit wobbly laterally, so we took steps to fix this. We attached a small piece of REV rail to the second stage from the lift to minimize wobbling. This still needs to be worked on, as the rail isn't mounted well, but we'll burn that bridge when we get to it.
    • Strung lift
    • Since our lift needs to extend and retract reliably, we have to use a double-pulley system. So, we strung upwards normally, but then attached another string to a higher up pulley that could pull the whole system back down.
    • Replaced lift motor
    • Our old pulley-motor was an AndyMark Neverrest 60. Now, we have nothing against these motors, but we wanted something that would be easier to connect to the REV hub. So, we replaced it with a HD Hex Motor with a 40:1 gearbox. This actually increased the torque by a negligible amount (from 4.186 N*m to 4.2 N*m), and was a more convenient change.
    • Added scoring box
    • Originally, we cut a box template out of polycarb that was the exact size of two silver particles. Unfortunately, we couldn't find a heat gun, so we had to go back to cardboard.
    • Added intake bar
    • We added the corn-cob intake from a few weeks ago onto this robot so that it can get both blocks and balls from over the crater wall.

    Now, in theory, we have a competition-ready robot.

    Before

    After

    Next Steps

    We still need to program our robot and fix any gremlins that pop up; this will happen at the Friday meet.

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log November 03, 2018 By Ethan, Charlotte, Evan, Janavi, Kenna, Karina, Justin, Arjun, Abhi, and Bhanaviya

    Meeting Log November 03, 2018

    Today's Meet Objectives

    So, we have one week before our first tournament. This isn't great. As you can see on our last blog post, we didn't do amazingly at the scrimmage. So, we have a lot of work to do.

    Today's Meet Log

    First and foremost, we have to work on our presentation. So, we did an hour-long presentation runthrough to ensure all team members had the content down.

    Also necessary for a good tournament is the journal. We've had a consistent 10-20 post backlog since the season started, and we've finally started cutting into it. At my current count, we're down to 7 posts left. So, we're making considerable progress on this front. Ethan already finished our strategic plan earlier this week, so all we have left is to write the blurbs and retag our posts, something we'll do on Monday.

    Finally, in order to compete, we have to have a robot. Now, we have a robot, but it isn't really working. So, Evan and Karina worked on mounting an intake system, as well as reinforcing the center lever. This will ensure that the robot can actually score by the tournament.

    On the code side, Abhi found the coefficients for PID so that he can start autonomous. As well, he started merging SDK 4.2 with our 15k-line base of legacy code so that we can take advantage of TensorFlow. On that note, we discovered that SDK 4.2 comes with mineral detection out of the box with TensorFlow - something that we've been working on since kickoff.

    Finally, we have some good news. Iron Reign has official adopted its first new member of the season: Bhanaviya Venkat. Stay tuned for her first blog post later this week.

    Today's Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    EthanPresentation\Journal2:004 hrs
    CharlotteBlog Backlog2:004 hrs
    KennaBlog Backlog2:004 hrs
    JanaviBigWheel Arm2:004 hrs
    ArjunBlog Backlog2:004 hrs
    KarinaBigWheel2:004 hrs
    AbhiAutonomous2:004 hrs
    EvanBlog Backlog2:004 hrs
    Justin3D Modelling2:004 hrs
    BhanviyaOnboarding2:004 hrs

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log November 17, 2018 By Charlotte, Karina, Kenna, Janavi, Evan, Justin, Ethan, Arjun, Bhanaviya, and Abhi

    Meeting Log November 17, 2018

    Evan working on the robot!

    Today's Meet Objectives

    We are going to discuss multiple facets of our team (presentation, engineering journal, organization, etc) with alumni Jayesh and Lin. What we hope to gain out of our conversation is an outside perspective. In addition to this conversation we wish to continue in our reflection of the tournament last weekend and preparation for our next tournament.

    Today's Meet Log

    • Organization
    • Karina and Janavi spent a large portion of practice organizing all of our parts and tools. They organized our drawers, carts, and tent. Organization has historically been a weak spot for Iron Reign, so this year we really want to crack down on that problem, as discussed in (T-13, Organization!).
    • Superman arm and wire organization
    • Evan, Kenna, Janavi, and Karina were all making improvements on our robot, notably working on problems we found at the tournament last week. These problems mostly dealt with wire organization and our superman arm. Analysis on why the superman arm broke can be found at (E-63, Code Issues Break the Superman Arm). More about how we fixed these issues can be found at (E-65, Arm Repairs).
    • Blogging mentoring
    • Also, Bhanaviya is learning to make blog posts. We showed her our blog post guides and answered any questions she had. Expect to hear from her soon.
    • Alumni Meeting and Feedback
    • The main focus of today's meeting was speaking to our alumni Jayesh and Lin who are both in their sophomore of college. They were both founding members of Iron Reign, they were in their senior year the first time we went to supers. More details on this meeting and our post-mortem can be found at (T-27, Conrad Qualifier Post Mortem - Short Term).
    • Presentation feedback
    • First we discussed our presentation lacked energy and enthusiasm, which is a common problem in our presentations. We have great enthusiasm for our work and progress, but we have trouble expressing it on early morning competition days. This could also be improved by lots and lots of practice, so we don't ever have to focus on our memorization, rather focusing on the expression of our passion for robotics.
    • Engineering journal feedback
    • Also, they provided insight on our engineering journal, which they said needs more cohesiveness between posts. This takes the form of adding links to older blog posts that reference future ones after we have written them.
    • Mentorship feedback
    • Finally, we discussed the new teams we have started, Iron Core and Iron Star, and asked for their advice on how to approach mentoring the new recruits. They told us that rather than waiting for them to seek us out, we need to seek them out, as many of the recruits don't have the confidence to approach us, since many of our team members are upperclassmen. We want to let them know that Iron Reign is here to help them in any way possible and to make our workspace one of collaboration and the transfer of ideas through the teams and grade levels.

    Today's Member Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    KarinaOrganization and Build2:004 hrs
    AbhiConversation2:004 hrs
    EvanRobot build2:004 hrs
    CharlotteBlog and organization2:004 hrs
    EthanWorking on blog2:004 hrs
    KennaRobot build2:004 hrs
    Justin3D Modeling2:004 hrs
    JanaviOrganization and build2:004 hrs
    BhanaviyaLearning to Blog2:004 hrs

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log December 01, 2018 By Charlotte, Ethan, Kenna, Evan, Abhi, Justin, and Bhanaviya

    Meeting Log December 01, 2018

    Today's Meet Objectives

    We plan to prepare for a few events coming up, the tournament we are going to host at Townview and our presentation to the Dallas Personal Robotics Group. As well, we plan to continue building our robot and improve on the superman arm in preparation for our next competition in January.

    Today's Meet Log

    • Hosting a qualifier
    • The Townview qualifier is coming up in just a few weeks, and we are starting to make preparations. Ethan is making a wrap for Cart Bot that emulates an ambulance, so we can stock the cart with tools and drive it around to help teams during the competition.

      Ethan designing
    • Robot materials testing
    • This year, we want to continue our materials testing in order to ensure our robot is efficient. Here is Ethan performing one of these tests, measuring the friction of different materials we might use for an intake system. Further information on the tests can be found at (E-59, Friction Coefficient and Energy).

      Materials friction testing

    • Model updates
    • Justin kept working on the 3D model, which is essential to complete as we are trying to improve the various systems on our robot, especially the Superman arm and other complicated mechanisms.
    • Blog training
    • A universal responsibility for Iron Reign members is writing blog posts. We taught Bhanaviya how to use GitHub and Notepad ++ so that she can write her own blog posts and post them to the blog.
    • DPRG prep
    • Abhi is preparing a demo in preparation for our meeting with the Dallas Personal Robotics Group (DPRG). We are going to show off our robot's computer vision capabilities and the strides we have made to train our own neural network. We expect to receive a lot of specific questions about this. Our presentation will be an hour long. To see how our presentation went, read (T-31, Presenting to the DPRG).

      Today's Work Log

      Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
      AbhiCode2:004
      EthanBlog & Testing2:004
      EvanBuild2:004
      CharlotteBlog2:004
      BhanaviyaBlog2:004
      KarinaBuild2:004
      JustinModelling2:004
      KennaSocial Media2:004

    The Return of BatteryBox

    The Return of BatteryBox By Ethan

    Task: Create a charging station for our phones and batteries

    A long time ago, in a land far, far away, Iron Reign once had a battery box. This was a fabled land, where all batteries remained charged and phones roamed the land, happy and content with their engorged batteries. But, this land was neglected, with the meadows of electricity growing dim, the plastic of the land cracking and scattering to the four corners of the Earth, and those who found their home there lost to the void.

    We have a problem keeping our phones charged at tournaments and in practice. So, we made a simple battery box to fix it. We used an old REV container and cut some spare wood to create dividers, cut a hole for a surge protector, and we were a go.

    Next Steps

    Iron Reign really needs to work on its organization in general, and this was just one way to stem the tide of entropy. We need to revitalize our tournament kits of tools next.

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log December 22, 2018 By Charlotte, Ethan, Janavi, Bhanaviya, Evan, Arjun, and Abhi

    Meeting Log December 22, 2018

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Our goals for today include a battery box, repair and improvement of our intake system, and organization.

    Today's Meet Log

    • Intake redesign
    • On the robot, we are resizing the intake system as a whole so that it folds in completely and fits within the 18 by 18 sizing requirement. Our biggest focus today was on our intake system, notably building a system that deposits the minerals. We plan to create the system out of polycarb, but first we are prototyping with cardboard. There are two versions we have prototyped so far, as you can see below.

      Version 1: too wide and the triangle flaps were improperly cut so the edges interfere with the intake

      Version 2: fixes problems above, with the hypotenuse of the triangular flaps on the main part of the carrier
    • Tournament organization
    • Ethan made a battery box out of an orange REV starter kit and sawed some wood to fit snuggly in order to have some dividers. Finally we drilled a hole in the side for the power strip cord.
    • Neural network training
    • Arjun is working on our neural network for which we need to capture more training data. He is creating a program that will have the robot take pictures & capture the data we need as it drives. We had a bare-bones autonomous for the qualifier, so over the break we want to revamp our autonomous so that we can incorporate the neural network we are training more effectively. To see more about our vision training, see (E-28, CNN Training Program).

      Today's Member Work Log

      Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
      ArjunNeural network data collection2:001
      JanaviPrototyping2:001
      BhanaviyaPrototyping2:001
      EthanBlog2:001
      EvanBuild & Prototyping2:001
      CharlotteBlog2:001
      AbhiPrototyping2:001

    Meeting Log - Dec. 19, 2018

    Meeting Log - Dec. 19, 2018 December 29, 2018 By Ethan, Evan, Janavi, Karina, Abhi, and Arjun

    Meeting Log December 29, 2018

    Hello and welcome to the Iron Reign Holiday meet. We've got a few meet objectives today, namely:

    • Autonomous
    • BigWheel Side Plates
    • PowerPoint Revisions
    • Blog Post Backlog
    • Tent Cleanup
    These aren't all super-top priorities for us, but they all need to get done. And, as we're working with a skeleton crew, we might as well.

    So, first, Janavi, Abhi, and Ethan cleaned the tent, preparing it for autonomous testing. To do so, they got some freshmen to take up their robot parts as they cleaned and organized the field. We were missing a surprising number of tiles, so we had to replace them. As well, the recent rain had weakened the wood lying underneath. We're not going to do anything to fix this right now, but we really should.

    Next, we did PowerPoint revisions. Our presentations have always run over the 15 minute time limit, and we really need to fix it. As well, we want to change our presentation order such that we start off with the weakest award (motivate) and end on a strong note. We deleted about 5 slides, added 1, updated the Townview Tournament slide, and fixed some typos. We figure that this'll cut down our time and streamline the process.

    In the meantime, Ethan updated old blog posts and fixed broken images on the blog. Some examples of this are the Superman Arm's breakage, the old shields, Friction Test, and Battery Box posts. This took a significant amount of time.

    Finally, we had to cut new shields for the robot arms. These prevent the arms from moving back downward, allowing our robot to score in the lander. Evan measured these and melted them today, and plans to cut them next practice.

    Teammember Statistics Update

    Teammember Statistics Update By Ethan

    Task: Look at the commitment changes over time of our team

    It's a new year! And, with this new year comes new tournaments, new experiences, new projects, and more. But, to grow, one must reflect. Iron Reign's had a pretty big year, from going to Worlds to the prospect of a new MXP. And, while we can't analyze every possible aspect of the team, we can look at our stats page and differences from last year to this year.

    We aren't amazing at keeping an archive of our team hours and such, so I had to pull these statistics from archive.org. The first archived version of the page in 2018 was from Feb. 14.

    As of today, our stats page displays this.

    Finally, the statistics page at the beginning of the season looked like this.

    And, the differences between each are below.

    Next Steps

    Iron Reign wishes y'all a Happy New Year! We wish to see progress among us all in these coming months.

    Off-Schedule Meeting Log, Winter Edition

    Off-Schedule Meeting Log, Winter Edition January 03, 2019 By Ethan, Evan, Karina, Abhi, and Arjun

    Meeting Log (Week of)January 03, 2019

    We have quite a few tasks this week, including:

    • Latch design

    • We've had an idea for a latch for a while. We started with the simple hook pictured below, but it was just that, a start. We want to move on to bigger and better things. So, we designed a new version, displayed below the hook.

      This version uses two of the above gears to form the latch. Then, as the robot shifts, the latch becomes undone, allowing the robot to gently fall upon the ground.
    • Latch attachment

    • So, just having a design isn't enough, it actually has to be implemented. So, Evan cut some attachment points that also function as linear slide stoppers as detailed in our last post.

      Then, we attached the latching system to the attachment posts on each side, mounting the latching system as seen here.

    • Fixing superman and wheels

    • While Karina was testing our robot, BigWheel suddenly began to lose friction, stranding itself in the middle of the field. It would only operate if more weight was put upon it. We haven't determined the reason yet; it could be that the temperature caused some strange material effect, but the new linear slides could also have shifted the weight distribution of the robot away from the main wheels. In addition, the Superman arm failed to work. We've narrowed it down to a code issue, but beyond that, we're scratching our heads.


      Karina putting weight on the robot

    • End\Beginning of year review

    • Iron Reign has a tradition of reviewing the performance of the past year; this year I chose to begin it using numbers. I went back in the archives and used the stats page to count contributions from team members. This post can be found here.
    • TensorFlow & OpenCV testing

    • We still need to fully implement gold/silver particle detection, as well as the rest of our autonomous. To begin on this long, arduous process, Abhi and Arjun worked from home to begin vision integration. At the current point, the program detects gold most of the time. We are experiencing a bug in that the telemetry isn't detected.

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log By Bhanaviya, Charlotte, Kenna, Evan, Arjun, Ethan, Janavi, Karina, Austin, Lin, Jayesh, and Omar
    Meeting Log January 05, 2019 Today's Meet Objectives

    Today's goals include lowering the latch on Superman so that it becomes more hook-friendly, taking a team picture, and re-assigning presentation slides.

    Today's Meet Log

    • Fix latch system
    • On the robot, Evan lowered the latch system so that the system would be compatible for the hanging task. After the latch system was lowered, bolts on both sides of the lift system had to be moved so that they would align with one another. See more latch updates at (E-82, Latch Model).
    • Add vision functionality to autonomous
    • In terms of code, Arjun is working on using internal Tensorflow Object Detection code to grab frames for the autonomous to avoid any bugs in the custom code he has written so far. Additionally, he is working on ensuring accuracy in the output of the OpenCV pipeline so that it will consistently sample correctly.
    • Presentation feedback from judges
    • With the alums as our judges, we did a thorough presentation run-through. A critique that persisted from our "judges" was that we weren't as enthusiastic as we could have been. So, we decided that a better way to convey our energy was by finding out a way in which we stood out from other competing teams. One way for us to stand out was the back-and-forth debate between Karina and Evan on Mini Mech vs Big Wheel. Since that interaction effectively conveyed both the iterative nature of Iron Reign's engineering process as well as our team's quirks as a whole. In the future we are going to do many run-throughs to make the presentation informative and crisp.
    • Team picture
    • And last but not least, we took a suitable team picture for our journal - this one encompassing both current and old members of the team.

    Vision Summary

    Vision Summary By Arjun and Abhi

    Task: Reflect on our vision development

    One of our priorities this season was our autonomous, as a perfect autonomous could score us a considerable amount of points. A large portion of these points come from sampling, so that was one of our main focuses within autonomous. Throughout the season, we developed a few different approaches to sampling.

    Early on in the season, we began experimenting with using a Convolutional Neural Network to detect the location of the gold mineral. A Convolutional Neural Network, or CNN, is a machine learning algorithm that uses multiple layers which "vote" on what the output should be based on the output of previous layers. We developed a tool to label training images for use in training a CNN, publicly available at https://github.com/arjvik/MineralLabler. We then began training a CNN with the training data we labeled. However, our CNN was unable to reach a high accuracy level, despite us spending lots of time tuning it. A large part of this came to our lack of training data. We haven't given up on it, though, and we hope to improve this approach in the coming weeks.

    We then turned to other alternatives. At this time, the built-in TensorFlow Object Detection code was released in the FTC SDK. We tried out TensorFlow, but we were unable to use it reliably. Our testing revealed that the detection provided by TensorFlow was not always able to detect the location of the gold mineral. We attempted to modify some of the parameters, however, since only the trained model was provided to us by FIRST, we were unable to increase its accuracy. We are currently looking to see if we can detect the sampling order even if we only detect some of the sampling minerals. We still have code to use TensorFlow on our robot, but it is only one of a few different vision backends available for selection during runtime.

    Another alternative vision framework we tried was OpenCV. OpenCV is a collection of vision processing algorithms which can be combined to form powerful pipelines. OpenCV pipelines perform sequential transformations on their input image, until it ends up in a desired form, such as a set of contours or boundaries of all minerals detected in the image. We developed an OpenCV pipeline to find the center of the gold mineral given an image of the sampling order. To create our pipeline, we used a tool called GRIP, which allows us to visualize and tune our pipeline. However, since we have found that bad lighting conditions greatly influence the quality of detection, we hope to add LED lights to the top of our phone mount so we can get consistent lighting on the field, hopefully further increasing our performance in dark field conditions.

    Since we wanted to be able to switch easily between these vision backends, we decided to write a modular framework which allows us to swap out vision implementations with ease. As such, we are now able to choose which vision backend we would like to use during the match, with just a single button press. Because of this, we can also work in parallel on all of the vision backends.

    Another abstraction we made was the ability to switch between different viewpoints, or cameras. This allows us to decide at runtime which viewpoint we wish to use, either the front/back camera of the phone, or external webcam. Of course, while there is no good reason to change this during competition (hopefully by then the placement of the phone and webcam on the robot will be finalized), it is extremely useful during the development of the robot, because we don't have everything about our robot finalized.

      Summary of what we have done:
    • Designed a convolutional neural network to perform sampling.
    • Tested out the provided TensorFlow model for sampling.
    • Developed an OpenCV pipeline to perform sampling.
    • Created a framework to switch between different Vision Providers at runtime.
    • Created a framework to switch between different camera viewpoints at runtime.

    Next Steps

    We would like to continue improving on and testing our vision software so that we can reliably sample during our autonomous.

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log January 12, 2019 By Charlotte, Kenna, Karina, Evan, Justin, Abhi, Ethan, Arjun, and Janavi

    Meeting Log January 12, 2019

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Today our goals include presentation practice, autonomous testing and fine tuning, and build changes from the newest update of the latch to replacing our REV rails with carbon fiber tubing.

    Presentation practice

    Today's Meet Log

    • Presentation practice
    • With the competition a week away, we are practicing our presentation frequently. Last time we presented, we were a bit all over the place; we talked over each other and stuttered quite a bit. This practice is to minimize these mistakes and finish our presentation in an appropriate amount of time, so we can answer questions.
    • Latch update
    • We finished up the design and print for version 2 of the latch system, and Janavi assembled it. The 2nd version changes the stopping mechanism; the bearings are now in the mount rather than in the actual sprockets. More details on this version of the latch can be found at (E-93, Latch Updates).

      Janavi & the latch
    • Lift redesign
    • Evan and Karina worked on reattaching/realigning the belt drive for the lift. It would go off in unintended angles, the process went smoothly except for the fact that we are going to need to tighen the zip ties by replacing them frequently. See more on the belt drive at (E-87, Belt Drive).
    • Carbon fiber redesign
    • The REV rails for our intake system are quite heavy, so we are building a new intake with its old components and carbon fiber tubing instead of REV rails. Justin designed and started a print for a perpendicular mounting bracket for the carbon fiber tubes.

      Justin modelling
    • Mineral storage
    • To add to the new intake system, Evan is making a new box to store minerals out of polycarb.
    • Autonomous and vision
    • Arjun tested and fine-tuned our computer vision. This vision uses Open CV, taking inspiration from the published pipeline and Doge CV. The vision is working well, so he is integrating it into the autonomous program that Abhi created. Karina and Arjun have been working diligently to test this autonomous so that it is in working condition for the next competition.
    • Side shield design
    • Ethan began the design for side shields, which we are planning to cut out using a laser cutter that is stored in our school's engineering classroom. To see more on the design process of the side shields, see (E-87, Designing Side Shields).

    Today's Member Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    CharlotteBlog2:004
    JanaviBuild2:004
    EthanBlog2:004
    Evan/td>Build2:004
    AbhiCode & Testing2:004
    ArjunCode & Testing2:004
    KarinaBuild & Testing2:004
    JustinModelling2:004
    KennaProofreading2:004

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log January 26, 2019 By Charlotte, Kenna, Ethan, Justin, Arjun, Abhi, and Bhanaviya

    Meeting Log January 26, 2019

    Today's Meet Objectives

    We are going to use our experience from last week to guide our improvement until Regionals. Today we are going to discuss what these improvements exactly entail and outline a timeline for when we need to accomplish these improvements in order to allow adequate time to dedicate to autonomous code and drivers' practice.

    Today's Meet Log

    • Robot repairs
    • There were some problems with our motors: one of the axle hubs is stripped. Though we attempted to replace the axle hubs, Iron Star and Iron Core took brought most of the tools that we need to their competition.

      Karina and the robot
    • Code updates
    • We did a lot of last minute code changes during the competition. Abhi and Arjun cleaned it up and removed legacy code. Autosetup in autonomous, autonomous that works for all sides of the lander, was ditched a long time ago as it was not reliable by the time we needed to test before competition. Now that we have some time before regionals, we are bringing autosetup back. We are taking all of the code we made from scratch during the competition and integrating it into autosetup, which we hope to have ready soon to start driving practice as soon as possible.

      Coders
    • Robot model changes
    • Justin worked on the robot model. We've made lots of changes on the robot in the past month, so besides the changes that we tested on our model, it needed a couple of updates; the upgraded deposit and reinforced Superman arm. The finished robot model for BigWheel can be found at (E-107, Bigwheel Model).

    • Blog updates
    • Ethan worked on the Wylie post and the postmortem, which can be found at (T-38, Wylie East Postmortem).

    Today's Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    AllPlanning Meeting2:10pm.25
    CharlotteTask2:004
    KennaTask2:004
    JanaviTask2:004
    EthanTask2:004
    AbhiTask2:004
    ArjunTask2:004
    JustinTask2:004

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log February 02, 2019 By Charlotte, Kenna, Ethan, Bhanaviya, Jose, Ben, Evan, and Janavi

    Meeting Log February 02, 2019

    Bhanaviya working on the blog

    Today's Meet Objectives

    The DISD STEM Expo took place today. While incredibly rewarding, the experience was tiring, so only a few members made it back for the meeting that took place afterwards. This log will include our objectives and accomplishments from the meetings we held throughout the week after school which include build changes to the depositor, some calculations for analysis various parts of the robot, and preparation for our pit setup at regionals.

    Today's Meet Log

    • Design posters
    • To display this year's accomplishments, we plan to create posters for the pit. The research poster will include a few projects we have done this year including our friction tests, materials test, and torque/gear ratios calculations as well as calculations for the elbow, wheels, and other vital parts on our robot. We will also have outreach posters and a timeline of our robot design. Janavi has been designing these posters based on the journal entries we have made about the tests.

      Ethan and the research poster
    • Design passively-sorting deposit
    • Evan has been working on a mechanical depositor for minerals in the lander. We want to utilize a mechanical part to remove burden from the driver, who also has to worry about alignment with the lander as well as control of the arm. This also removes burden from our coders, who have many goals to accomplish before we will be ready for regionals. Once the initial depositor was built, we did some tests during the STEM Expo, as we had a field set up outside the MXP to show off our robots to all of the kids coming through the booth. The depositor, unfortunately, did not perform very well. The biggest problem stemmed from the elastics that enabled it to be entirely mechanical. If the elastics are too tight, it would not bend enough to let the minerals fall out of the little trap door. If the elastics are too loose, the trap door won't be sturdy enough to hold the minerals in before depositing. We are looking for other options now, and we are most likely going to opt for replacing the elastics with a driver-controlled servo. This will put more of a burden on the drivers unless the coders find the time to program sensors for depositing. Either way, we need more driving practice which we hope to accomplish in the next two weeks before regionals.

    Today's Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    CharlotteTask4:004
    KennaTask4:004
    EthanTask4:004
    BhanaviyaTask4:004
    BenTask4:004
    JoseTask4:004
    EvanTask4:004
    JanaviTask4:004

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log By Charlotte, Evan, Ethan, Kenna, Karina, Abhi, Arjun, Ben, Jose, and Janavi
    Meeting Log February 09, 2019

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Today we participated at a scrimmage held at Woodrow Wilson High School. This was a fantastic opportunity to get some driver practice in real, timed games and adjust for issues.

    Today's Meet Log

    • Hook implementation
    • Since we have made a few changes to the robot, such as adding a servo to our previously mechanical output mechanism, we evaluated how well they worked. We wired the servo and fixed the wiring from the arm that got tangled in the motor using a wire router to take control of this issue. As well, we began auto tuning for the new hook.

      Fire from the forge from crafting the hook

      The burning metal being bent into our hook
    • Driver practice
    • When we weren't making changes on the robot, we were practicing driving. Some difficulties we faced included getting stuck in the crater because of our arm and the disconnection of our hook from the servo horn due to our attachment with zipties. When we got back to the house, we began changes to fix these issues by creating a replacement for the zipties out of polycarb and working on presets to improve the balance of the robot.

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log February 16, 2019 By Ethan, Janavi, Kenna, Justin, Bhanaviya, Ben, Abhi, and Arjun

    Meeting Log February 16, 2019

    So, its the last week before Regionals, so we have a lot of work to do, from robot work to presentation.

  • Linear slide arm repairs
  • We started off the day with working on the elbow for the arm. For the past week, we've been dealing with the gears on the elbow stripping. So, we replaced the gears on both sides, threadlocked the motors so that the shafts wouldn't wobble, and installed upgraded triangular gearkeepers so that that that that the gears would fully interlock, preventing the gears stripping. This process took about 90 minutes per side, taking up time we needed for autonomous. But, our build freeze has persisted - we haven't added anything else. In the same vein, Justin worked on the 3D model, integrating the corncob into the design.

  • Blog updates
  • We're also trying to finalize our journal, so we're finishing up posts. Janavi was working on a post about the research poster; Arjun was working on computer vision posts; Abhi was updating code posts. Ethan was going through and retagging posts so that the table of contents is accurate, fixing the posters we're printing, and updating presentation photos. Janavi and Kenna were also working on the handouts for Regionals.

  • Driver practice
  • Since Karina isn't here, we're letting Ben practice driving. We're consistently getting 2-3 cycles in the lander with him as opposed to Karina's 4-5, but practice will help. He's not all there yet, he crashed the robot somehow, but its a start. We're also working on autonomous delatch and tuning as he drives using telemetry data.

    Today's Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    AllPlanning Meeting2:10pm.25
    EthanEdit blog posts and update posters2:004
    EthanFix robot gears12:002
    Justin3D Model2:004
    BhanaviyaComputer Setup2:001
    KennaDesign handouts2:004
    JanaviBlog posts2:004
    BenReplace gears2:004
    AbhiRobot tuning2:004
    ArjunControl Award2:004

    Off-Schedule Meeting Log - Week before Regionals

    Off-Schedule Meeting Log - Week before Regionals February 19, 2019 By Ethan, Evan, Jose, Charlotte, Karina, and Justin

    Meeting Log February 19, 2019

    It's the week before Regionals, so the house is a flurry of activity - all hands are on deck for every possible facet of the team.

    Monday

    The week started out with three projects. Justin worked on the robot model, taking measurements for the intake and putting the assembly together for six hours, completing the model. Just as he left, Ethan started the editorial review. The goal of the review was to develop a more cohesive journal, a journal that could easily be flipped through. The list of tasks created from this session are below. In addition to this, Ethan worked on making an LED hat for the tournament.

    Editorial Review Listing

    • Unbury $150k grant post, make title "major grant to fund replacement of vehicle" + fix receiving + remove last sentence
    • Add Ben, Jose headshots to organization slide
    • Replace townview qualifier photo
    • Add Microsoft section to stem expo post
    • Add motivate tag, remove connect from drive testing at stem expo
    • Remove all motivate from connect table of contents
    • Bold totals in the iron reign grants post
    • Fix pulley spacers image
    • Fix broken image last meetinglog
    • Remove connect posts from motivate table
    • Add to stem spark post
    • Post summary of motivate and connect 2x
    • Add letters to presentation tabs to indicate award
    • Change decisions to priorities in presentation
    • Remove center photo collector system in presentation
    • Delete slide 38 with wordcloud in presentation
    • Remove what we need help with slide
    • Make text bigger on Connect summary slide, add totals in title in red
    • Update journal summary
    • Make a latch retrospective post
    • Post about rebuilding elbow
    • Fix Woodrow Code blog post
    • Add articulation and drive enhancement posts
    • Make post about bearings in linear slide

    Tuesday

    • Battery Mount
    • Evan worked on a battery mount for the robot. While drive testing, we had found that the battery and camera would fall out under extreme conditions, so we decided to create a new one. Evan cut battery "corners" out of polycarb and mounted them together, ensuring that the battery would stay static in every match.
    • Editorial Review 2
    • Ethan wrote new posts on the history of the latch, the rebuilding of the elbow, connect and motivate summaries, and fixed the above issues from the editorial review. In addition, we rewrote the summary, as we found that it would be heavily considered in Regional judging. Charlotte uploaded old meeting logs.
    • Driver Practice
    • Karina, Justin, and Jose practiced driving the robot. We discovered that the robot latches extremely well with the new hook and that the autonomous delatch works. We also tested the articulation, or poses, of our robot. The only issue that popped up was when the robot moves into deposit mode, it tips toward the side with linear slides, but Karina discovered that if she drives the robot forward at the same time, she can ram the robot into the correct position. Karina got to 4-5 cycles per match with the new updates. This practice was a way to test the strength of our robt - we've had our robot break under stressful situations previously - and this time nothing broke. The biggest issue was that a servo wire on our intake came unplugged, but even with that, our robot still worked.
    • Model Articulation
    • Justin took the last measurements for the model of our robot, then started to take pictures of the articulations we made in the code.
    • Hat
    • We finished the light-up LED hat.

    Wednesday

    • Driver Practice and Autonomous
    • Karina and Abhi worked on the robot. Karina gave advice for improving our robot's articulations to Abhi, who proceeded to fix the code for better driver practice. Abhi also worked on delatch in autonomous, reversing the autonomous driver enhancement code and taking data from Karina's testing. We discovered one new issue with our robot, that the gearkeepers for Superman pop out of alignment after about 100 uses. All we need to do is realign them, and they'll be back to full functionality.
    • Control Award
    • Arjun continued writing the Control Award submission, adding in the new articulations and poses of the driver enhancements. Janavi created state diagrams for the code to add to the submission.

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log March 02, 2019 By Charlotte, Ethan, Evan, Justin, Karina, Janavi, Jose, Ben, Abhi, and Bhanaviya

    Meeting Log March 02, 2019

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Since we qualified for worlds, we are using today as an opportunity to start our Road to Worlds, as the discussions we have today will shape our progress for the next 8 weeks. We plan to start today with a post-mortem discussion regarding our previous competition, and then we will proceed to evaluate our strengths and shortcomings throughout the post-mortem. These lessons will shape our Road to Worlds document, a guide that outlines our major objectives within every subteam of Iron Reign.

    Today's Work Log

    • 15 minute cleaning/organization session
    • Planning session
    • Post-mortem
    • A post-mortem follows every major competition we attend, so that we can put into words and learn from our successes and failures in a constructive environment. We spent most of our meeting today reflecting on last week's regional competition with topics including robot performance, pit conduct, and preparation, and our detailed post-mortem can be found at (E-118, North Texas Regional Postmortem).
      Skype call with Jayesh
    • Presentation post-mortem
    • We discussed (on a Skype call) our presentation with one of our alumni, Jayesh, who gave us guidance and feedback based on a video we took of our presentation at regionals so that we can improve our presentation in the coming weeks.
    • Road to Worlds
    • Following our post-mortem discussion, we booted up our road to worlds doc and began our discussion as to how we will accomplish everything we need to in 8 weeks. Our Road to Worlds document will help increase focus and productivity so we don't lag behind in our progess. See our Road to Worlds at (E-119, Road to Worlds 2019).
    • Further planning
    • If we are going to accomplish what we set out to, it is going to require immense commitment and higher-level planning. We need to decide how we are going to spend spring break, and with a Doodle poll that indicates participation for the next two weeks, we can plan accordingly. We may not have many builders, so hopefully we can do drive practice.
    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    AllOrganization and Planning2:00pm.33
    AllPost-mortem & Road to Worlds2:20pm3.66

    Code Refactor

    Code Refactor By Abhi and Arjun

    Task: Code cleanup and season analysis

    At this point in the season, we have time to clean up our code before development for code. This is important to do now so that the code remains understandable as we make many changes for worlds.

    There aren't any new features that were added during these commits. In total, there were 12 files changed, 149 additions, and 253 deletions.

    Here is a brief graph of our commit history over the past season. As you can see, there was a spike during this code refactor.

    Here is a graph of additions and deletions over the course of the season. There was also another spike during this time as we made changes.

    Next Steps

    Hopefully this cleanup will help us on our journey to worlds.

    Off-Schedule Meeting Log - Spring Break

    Off-Schedule Meeting Log - Spring Break March 08, 2019 By Charlotte, Cooper, Karina, Bhanaviya, BenO, Abhi, Janavi, Jose, Aaron, and Arjun

    Meeting Log March 08, 2019

    Friday
    • Widen Superman
    • Cooper and Ben O widened our Superman wheel from one omni wheel to two. This will improve our robots ability to turn and balance, as just one wheel would dig into the foam tiles due to a smaller surface area and make it more difficult for the robot to turn. Having two wheels increases this surface area, making driving easier.
    • Bill of Materials
    • Karina and Bhanaviya started a bill of materials, which lists each part of our robot and where they are from. The purpose of this bill is to make it easier for the builders to build our second robot as they can easily access the source of each part. See the bill of materials at (E-131, Bill of Materials).
    • Learning to blog
    • Cooper learned to use the blog, and because he worked on the journal on his old team, hopes to apply these skills extensively in the future.
      Tuesday
    • Reverse articulations
    • Abhi and Ben O worked on reverse articulations, which allows the robot to position itself in ways that makes mineral collection more efficient. See more on reverse articulations at (E-139, Reverse Articulations).
    • Drive practice
    • Karina got in some driver practice, which is going to be increasingly important as we get closer to UIL and Worlds.
      Wednesday
    • New VEX motors
    • Jose and Aaron opened up and started testing new VEX 393 motors. We are considering these motors because they are technically counted as servos and could help our intake perform more efficiently. See more at (E-124, VEX 393 Motor Testing).
    • Wiring
    • The freshmen got experience with soldering. They did some wire gender changes for our servo power injector.
    • Email Diversity Director
    • Janavi drafted an email to the diversity director at Worlds to get information about bringing the MXP to Worlds. We would like to share our outreach pursuits to other teams at Worlds as an example of a Motivate team.
      Thursday
    • Elbow model
    • Justin worked on the elbow redesign, which we are modeling to combine many intricate parts on our current robot to one, more serviceable and sturdy part on the robot. We finished the model and began its print. See more at (E-136, New Elbow).
    • Intake prototyping
    • As we are in the process of redesigning our intake to be more efficient for worlds, we are making many prototypes. Since we are planning to design the new robot where the elbow can flip in both ways for intaking, we need an intake that works when flipped both ways. Aaron prototyped an intake mechanism that rotates while keeping the sorter oriented correctly as proof of concept.
    • Finalize and send email to Diversity Director at Worlds about MXP
    • Friday
    • Work on robot model
    • Balancing adjustments
    • With our new reverse articulations, Abhi and Ben O have been tuning the PID constants in our code to improve our robot's balance, as each articulation has its own center of gravity.
    • Restock polycarbonate

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log March 16, 2019 By Charlotte, Janavi, Aaron, Ethan, Justin, Bhanaviya, Beno, Abhi, and Karina

    Meeting Log March 16, 2019

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Agenda

    Objective Summary

    Our main objectives for today are to gather and assemble the parts and subsystems needed to construct our new robot as well as continue the improvement of our robot's balance programmatically.

    Today's Work Log

    • Beginning of new robot build
    • Aaron and Justin began working on our new competition robot. Justin designed and cut a polycarb base and Aaron assembled the elbow piece and both wheels. The polycarb base will be the structure of the robot, connecting all of the subsystems together.
    • PID Tuning and Reverse Articulations
    • Abhi and Ben O have been tuning PID gains for autonomous and the presentation of our robot. Today, we focused on balancing our robot while the intake is fully expanded and the chassis is vertical without superman. This task is extremely complex considering the tiny balancing point and the height of the center of mass when the robot is extended in such a way. Also, since adjustments to our elbow, we are in the process of creating new reverse articulations. These allow the elbow to bend in the opposite direction as before to remove burden on our drivers.
      Abhi balancing robot before PID adjustments
    • Bill of Materials
    • Bhanaviya and Karina continued to work on a bill of materials, which can be found at (E-131, Bill of Materials). This is a continuation of progress made during spring break, and such a record will make it easier to build our second robot, as builders will have easy access to each part we need and where to aquire such an item.
    • BigWheel cutaways
    • Ethan made some cutaways using PTC Creo and Autodesk and our robot model, which required him to convert the file to .dxf in a certain articulation and then into an Illustrator file. This will allow us to better illustrate and document the design of the robot.
      Cutaway of BigWheel in Illustrator
    • Intake analysis
    • Karina took some videos of our intake system to analyze its efficiency. Notably, we want to measure the time it takes a mineral to travel through our corn-on-the-cob intake and thus determine the lag that occurs in this process. This will guide our redesign of our intake mechanism. In the next week we will perform this analysis, which can be found at (E-132, Intake Speed).

    Today's Member Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    AllPlanning Meeting2:10pm.25
    AbhiPID tuning and articulations2:004
    Ben OPID tuning and articulations2:004
    EthanCutaways of BigWheel model2:004
    AaronSubsystem assemblies for new robot2:004
    CharlottePlanning and blog2:004
    BhanaviyaBill of materials2:004
    KarinaBill of Materials and intake analysis2:004
    JanaviBlog2:004
    JustinPolycarb base measurements and cut2:004

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log March 20, 2019 By Bhanaviya, Karina, Evan, and Justin

    Meeting Log March 20, 2019

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Objective Summary

    We plan to build the base of the chassis for the new robot, mainly by aligning the new REV rails with the polycarb base build last meeting.

    Today's Work Log

    • Layout the base of the new chassis
    • Karina, Justin and Evan measured and cut out rails for the new robot. Designing a new layout was a matter of deciding the REV Hub placement so that it did not interfere with the elbow motion. Since the chassis base holds all the subsystems together, it needs to be laid out such that all the rail and bolt alignments are able to support the structure of the robot.
    • Mark and drill holes for new corners and rev rails
    • Justin worked on creating new corner pieces for the new chassis. These were larger and more rounded in order to create a stabler base. Additionally, they had more holes drilled into them in order to be compatible for the c-channel. The holes also serve as a means for supporting the LED Strip. Karina and Evan also drilled the new REV rails so that they would align with the new chassis.

    • Replace gear sprockets
    • In order to switch from 60 to 1 standard gear boxes to 20 to 1 orbital motors, we replaced the gear sprockets with larger ones. This is because the new motors are much more robust and as such it would be ideal to employ the use of larger gear sprockets capable of supporting the motors' weight.

    Today's Work Log

    < tr>
    Team Members Task Start Time DurationAll Planning Meeting 5:15 .15
    Karina Drilling REV rails and base layout 5:30 3
    Evan Drilling REV rails and base layout 5:30 3
    Justin Create new corner pieces 5:30 3
    Bhanaviya Replace gear sprockets and Meeting Log 5:30 3

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log March 22, 2019 By Bhanaviya, Janavi, Abhi, Arjun, Ben O, Paul, Ben B, and Cooper

    Meeting Log March 22, 2019

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Agenda

    Objective Summary

    Over the course of today’s meet, we plan to create new axle pieces for the big wheels of the new robot, calculate torque for Superman, improve articulations, and create a reveal video for Mini Mech.

    Today's Work Log

    • Create new axle-holders
    • Cooper and Ben B worked on creating new axle for the big wheels of the new chassis. Since we replaced gear keepers last meet, we will need to have axle pieces that can support the weight of the new gear keepers and the wheel. Ben worked on soldering the pieces while Cooper helped ensure that the pieces had enough room to be mounted on the chassis.
    • Improve articulations
    • Abhi, Arjun and Ben O worked on merging all of the Pull Requests that they have made over the past few weeks, ensuring that they work together with each other and the existing code base. They also refactored our Articulation code to make it easier to use and understand. Additionally, they added support for State Space Controllers. State Space Controllers are advanced control loops which perform complex linear algebra over input matrices to find outputs. These can be used to make our articulations more efficient, as well as help with balancing on two wheels.
    • Calculate torque for Big Wheel 2.0
    • Janavi worked on calculating torque for the different subsystems of the new robot. Since Superman has had some balancing issues in the past, calculating torque and understanding its degrees of freedom will enable us to ensure that its center of gravity is stable. She also calculated the torque for the lift to ensure that the linear slides don’t extend too far out and cause the robot to tip over.
    • Create a reveal video for mini-mech
    • Paul created a reveal video for Mini-Mech. Since Mini-Mech played an essential role in us choosing our wheels and chassis design, it was only ideal to acknowledge its existence with a reveal video of its own. This video will also come in handy when attempting to see just how out iterative our design process has been.

    Today's Work Log

    Team Members Task Start Time Duration
    All Planning Meeting 5:15 .15
    Janavi Calculate torque for new design 5:30 3
    Bhanaviya Meeting Log 5:30 3
    Abhi Improve articulations 5:30 3
    Arjun Improve articulations 5:30 3
    Ben O Improve articulations 5:30 3
    Cooper Create new axle-holders 5:30 3
    Ben B Create new axle-holders 5:30 3
    Paul Create mini-mech reveal video 5:30 3

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log March 23, 2019 By Charlotte, Ethan, Bhanaviya, Karina, Jose, Justin, BenB, BenO, Arjun, Cooper, Paul, Abhi, Janavi, and Aaron

    Meeting Log March 23, 2019

    Today's Meet Objectives

    Agenda

    Objective Summary

    Today, our main goal is to finish the chassis of our new robot, as well as identifying and fixing the error in our code that stops the OP mode that lets the intake extend into the crater.

    Today's Work Log

    • New robot chassis build
    • Justin, Ben B, and Jose installed the axle mounts (which have finished printing and being welded) and the second wheel). We installed the drive motors, fully assembled, and put together the drive change. Our chassis is complete except for the Superman arm, as those parts we started printing today. The print broke because the printer was on the wrong setting, rather than setting a base, the print pulled up. The new print should be finished in time to do the assembly of superman during the week.
      Chassis before installation of drive motors
      Ben B cutting the main drive shaft
    • Sorter assembly for old BigWheel
    • In order to do drive practice with our old robot, Aaron and Cooper did some fixes to the intake for it to be functional again. While this is not the sorter we will use on our new BigWheel, so we can get some much-needed drive practice next week.
      Cooper with the sorter pre-assembly
    • Identify and fix code error
    • The code team has been trying to identify a code error since yesterday so that they can continue fine-tuning autonomous and the robot won't malfunction while deploying in the crater. We also need this part of the code to work for drive practice that we hope to get next week. After some thorough searching, they found the error to stem from a missing break function that was supposed to occur between the case for deploying and for reverse driving.
      Arjun looking for the error
    • Robot manual and team summary
    • Ethan worked on the robot manual, which is a brief but incredibly detailed guide of the subsystems on our robot. This will be put in our journal for the judges to read. We also updated the team summary to make it more concise so it is more easily digestible for the judges. Finally, we made a fold out for our journal to show the judges our outreach in a succinct manner.

    Today's Member Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    AllPlanning Meeting2:10pm.25
    NameTask2:004

    Meeting Log

    Meeting Log April 13, 2019 By Bhanaviya, Ethan, Janavi, Evan, Karina, Justin, Abhi, Jose, BenO, BenB, and Arjun

    Meeting Log April 13, 2019

    Compete at the REV Scrimmage and do final changes on our robot in build and code before Worlds.

    Today's Work Log

    picture of agenda
    • Change code presets
    • The code team worked on changing the presets for the hook-servo and the Superman arm to ensure that the hook was low enough to latch and so that superman is low enough to deposit minerals in the lander accurately. They also lowered the range of the intake so that our intake system can pick up more minerals without causing the robot to collapse from the pressure caused by the intake.

    • Get range of servos and lower the elbow shaft
    • The build team lowered the elbow shaft so that it was at the right level to latch and so that it was parallel to the mounting bar. They also used the servo tester to get the range of servos on the hook to ensure that the hook was able to latch on accurately. They also lowered the elbow shaft so that it was at the right level to latch and so that it was parallel to the mounting bar. They also used the servo tester to get the range of servos on the hook to ensure that the hook was able to latch on accurately. Subsequently, they attached the control hub in the place of the REV expansion hub and the phones.

    • Create a business card
    • Finally, we created a template for a new business card. It will be unvealed at Worlds.

    Today's Work Log

    Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
    AllPlanning Meeting2:10.10
    EthanBusiness Card2:002
    JanaviBusiness Card2:002
    EvanLower elbow shaft & Attach Control Hub2:002
    KarinaLower Elbow Shaft & Servo Range2:002
    JustinLower Elbow Shaft & Attach Control Hub 2:002
    AbhiCode Presets2:002
    JoseLower Ekbow Shaft & Attach Control Hub2:002
    Ben OCode Presets2:002
    Ben BLower Elbow Shaft & Servo Range2:002
    ArjunCode Presets2:002
    BhanaviyaLog & Business Card2:002