It's 2021, and all of us are finally back in person! For the past several weeks, we've mostly been doing some organization, but we also hosted a weekend workshop for students to gain some technical experience. Outside and in the metal and wood shop, students learned about the use of power tools such as the jigsaw, drill, sawzall, circular saw, and the miter saw. After power tool demonstrations from our leads, we got to try them out for ourselves. We cut pieces of wood using the circular saw and drove wood screws into them to connect the pieces. We also learned to use the drill press and rivet gun. Inside the classroom, there were four stations: electrical basics, electrical components, robot demonstration, and CAD. At the first station, students learned to crimp wires and solder, and at the next, we learned about the various electrical components onboard the robot. Right after, we learned more about the functions of remote control software and drove around a robot. Finally, we used Onshape to create small designs and cutting them out using the laser cutter. With basic training finished, we'll be continuing with advanced training, where students will learn to specialize in a specific area of robotics. We're looking forward to later activities!
The end of the year is quickly approaching, and despite the circumstances, we were still able to do some robotics activities. Earlier this semester, we wrapped up our first Hackathon, where we gave small groups free rein over what they wanted to make. Currently, we're working on our second Hackathon, which involves building a robot to play a game where it earns points by moving and stacking blocks in a designated area. Now that many of us have returned to school, coordination have gotten much easier, and we're finally able to work on our projects as a group. Hopefully, we're able to finish assembling and programming the robots and play the actual game towards the end of this month. In other news, going back in person means that we've been able to resume some of our fundraising activities. On May 8, a group of students went cold calling, and on May 15, there will be another round with a separate group of team members. Student elections are also being held on May 10, and although we're a bit sad to see our treasured seniors go, many returning members are running for leadership positions.
The robotics team is holding a fundraiser at the Blossom Hill Chipotle! Support the team by going to 640 Blossom Hill Rd in Los Gatos on Monday, December 7th between 5:00pm and 9:00pm. When you order, show them the flyer or tell them you are supporting the team, and 33% of the proceeds will go to our team. Also, you can order online and using the promo code BMHKTMX.
Team Iron Claw is extremely saddened to announce that we will not be attending any official FRC competitions this season since all FIRST events from here on out have been officially cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. An official statement from FIRST reads: It is with deep disappointment that I share an update on the immediate suspension of the current FIRST season and the cancellation of both Championship events. Thank you to our sponsors and everyone who supported us this season.
Unfortunately, we have learned that both competitions we were planning to attend, San Francisco Regional (March 19-22) and Silicon Valley Regional (April 1-4), have been indefinitely postponed as a precaution to the spread of COVID-19. Postponing suggests that it will be held in the future, but FIRST has not given out any additional information. We have worked extremely hard on our robot, and there is a possibility that we will participate in a different regional. We'll be providing updates as the situation unfolds.
While we did not meet as often as we wish we could, students got together over our February break for a few days and got as much done as possible! Thus, here is our brief blog post. Our mechanical team has been working very hard to put together the rest of our mechanisms. Our intake, indexer, and shooter have now been successfully mounted. Our climb is assembled but we plan to test it on one of our older robots before attaching it to our current one. Our programmers have started rigorous work on our code and we hope to do more work on the sensors we plan to mount. That being said, we have a few finishing touches to do on our electrical board. Our entire superstructure is able to be flipped up, giving our team easy access to the bellypan where all of our components are. That being said, we have begun connecting the motors on our superstructure to our electrical board below. Since the wires must be longer to compensate for the flip up, we are held up because we have run out of wires. Nevertheless, we are excited to hand over a complete robot to our programmers soon, as we intend to finish by March 6. We wish everyone else a productive eighth week! [...]
Continuing our blog post from last week, we have more to say on the programming aspect of our team. Separate from the robot itself, some members have worked on Autodesk Synthesis in hopes of simulating our robot on a CAD model of the field without having our physical robot up and running. While they were able to generate the field, Synthesis proved to be difficult to work with and we hope to make more advancements soon. Additionally, we have begun work on our scouting app for this season and it will be similar to the one we used last year. In regards to the robot itself, our programmers have tested our color sensor on our rotating indexer (see previous blog posts for more details on this mechanism). The sensor was able to detect yellow and blue through the polycarb used on the mechanism and could determine if each spot was empty or contained a ball. Students were also able to view how many balls were stored and the data could be viewed on a shuffleboard. Our mechanical teams made progress as well. Machining is complete! This was also thanks to the machinists who did the CAM for all of our CNC parts and the students who worked on our shopbot. Now, all of our parts are organized and have [...]
Since last week, prototyping has been finalized along with the CAD of our superstructures. We are now moving onto finalizing as much of the entire robot CAD as we can. We had issues involving the general packaging of all of our components, but a few tweaks to some positioning has solved these conflicts. Since the CAD process is pretty much complete, our CAD team has continued making part drawings for our manual machinists to make using either a mill or a lathe. To maximize our efficiency and hone in on the most crucial parts to machine, we created a parts-to-machine list that sorts all of our manual parts by subsystem. We also kept to our organization system, ensuring no duplicate or lost parts. On top of our leaps in machining progress, we are excited to begin some of our assembly! While we have not finished the parts on our parts-to-machine list, we have given as much as we could to our assembly team in hopes that we will be able to test mechanisms separate from the entire robot. Our programmers have done a lot of work this week as well. We have tested our shooter and worked on adjusting motors and speeds. In regards to autonomous, we have compiled a list of tasks we hope to do during [...]
To begin, our primary focus during the week was our CAD finalization and tuning of our drivetrain. We considered our overall packaging and how each of our mechanisms would fit together. We had to account for the amount of space we had available on our drivetrain, while keeping the accessibility of the electrical board in mind. We settled on a large billet to attach all of our mechanisms to, which would be capable of flipping out in order to service electrical components. From there, we had to decide how we wanted to climb and where it would be on the robot. We designed a telescoping arm with two strings in order to hook our robot onto the bar and lift ourselves with a winch. We tried to limit how much space it took on the robot to account for the size of our indexer and intake. We finished up the drivetrain assembly, checked our electrical board, and then finished installing pneumatic components. Afterwards, some of our mechanical team and programming team began drivetrain testing. We discovered an issue with spacing in our gearboxes, but it was soon resolved and testing continued. As we begin week four, we hope to begin machining the parts for our final mechanisms and begin assembly on the superstructures of our robot. [...]