We had a great start to the 2020 build season. On kickoff, some of our members headed to Pioneer High to watch the stream and get our kit of parts. Once we got the entire team at our classroom, we went over the release video and game pieces before hanging out and eating some food. After, students had some time to read the game manual before jumping right into strategy discussion. Compared to last year’s game, Deep Space, Infinite Recharge seemed more daunting, since there seemed to be more complexity in regards to the overall game concept. This year, there are three stages in a match. Each stage, teams have to meet prerequisites before being able to start the next stage. Because of this emphasis on the game pieces and the importance of the endgame (another climb), we had to consider many different options in regards to general strategy and what kinds of mechanisms we wanted to design. We spent the first two days focusing and deciding on strategy rather than design. Once we came to a decision with the votes of our DVC (Design Voting Council), we were able to move onto design brainstorming. We settled on prioritizing the designing of a climb and a shooter for the game pieces. While a majority of our team came [...]
Since we secured a finalist position at the Silicon Valley Regional, our team qualified for the World Championships in Houston, Texas, which took place from April 17th to April 20th. In the weeks leading up to the championship, we held a team-wide fundraising effort to meet the high cost of bringing 21 students and a robot across the country. We ended qualifications with a 5-5-0 record. Overall, we were very satisfied with our experience at the Houston Championship; it was a great opportunity to learn from and compete alongside the best teams in FRC. After Houston, we discussed the Championship as a class and listed some valuable lessons to apply in future years. After returning from Houston, our team held student leadership elections in order to choose our mechanical director (Brady Ankenbrandt), programming director (Holden Adamec), operations director (Daniel Stulski), and team captains (Cathy Wang and Charles Wang). After presentations from each candidate, a classwide election was held, and the votes were tallied up. Once the new captains and directors were confirmed, they met with the previous year’s captains and directors to decide on subteam leads. As the school year came to a close, we organized a list of potential summer projects to work on during the break. With the help of some alumni, we were able to get [...]
Our first competition was the San Francisco Regional. We ran into technical difficulties, particularly with the electrical board. Our planning for assembly was not up to par, so we were faced with mechanical issues as well. From there, we knew what we had to do in order to perform better at the next competition. Although our performance at SFR was not as successful as we had hoped, we agreed that this was a stepping stone we could utilize in order to learn from our mistakes. Putting this into practice, we spent a lot of time in the two weeks before our second competition testing and refining our mechanisms on our second robot. By the time of the Silicon Valley Regional, it had become clear that all of the hard work we put into preparing had paid off: our robot ran much more smoothly, and we had improved to the point that we were the number one robot for delivering cargo. After 80 qualification matches, alliance selection began and our performance earned us a spot alongside the fourth seed alliance, headed by Team 604. In the playoffs, we made it through the quarterfinals and semifinals to ultimately compete against Team 254, one of the best teams in the world. Although we ultimately lost against them, as a result of [...]
Now that Week 6 and the entire build season is over, we have finished our robot and bagged it! We had a lot of work to do this week, but everybody contributed and we managed to accomplish all of the goals we planned out in Week 5. At the beginning of the week, our programmers worked hard to finish up our drive code and vision/alignment systems. Later in the week, we held our driver tryouts in order to choose our driver and operator. We finished the assembly of our robot and were in a bit of a time crunch to tie up a few final loose ends on the very last day, but we powered through and got it done. Our first competition is San Francisco Regional, and we’re hoping for a good performance!
As Week 5 comes to an end, we only have one more week to work on our robot before it’s bagged and tagged. Although all of our mechanisms have been machined or assembled, we still need to attach them to our drivetrain and begin testing all within the next week. For now, we finalized our CAD this week, so we are ready to continue assembly and testing. We also tested our drivetrain in order to make sure it’s running properly, and hope to test our other mechanisms in Week 6 as well. We have quite a bit of work cut out for us, but with our increased efficiency and the longer work hours that inevitably accompany the end of build season, we should be able to pull it off. Be sure to tune in next week for DESTINATION: TESTING AND BAGGING.
We’re currently behind but catching up fast. Even though there’s only a little over two weeks left in build season, we still have about half the number of hours remaining. I guess that’s what happens when our schedule is heavily skewed toward more hours at the end of build season. Going into Week 5, we have a driving robot, which is a big milestone in build season. On the mechanical side, our CADers have been working on our elevator mechanism and the elevator carriage. Instead of the monorail elevator design we used last year, we are making an elevator with two rails parallel to one another–a design that proved successful in 2018. CADers also worked on gearboxes and other integrative components to finish our mechanisms and overall design. Meanwhile, our machinists have worked on brackets, hex hubs, and elevator rails (which they are still working on). Assembly and electrical members have focused on building our chassis from our machined drive rails and constructing our electrical boards. We chose to build two robots this year, and currently our first robot chassis is fully assembled with an electrical board, while our second robot is slightly behind without attached electronics. Having learned from our mistake of using a slanted electrical board last year, [...]
Summary of Week 3: Lots done, lots to go. The main focuses this week were CAD and manufacturing. Our robot CAD is nearly complete, and we have manufactured our robot’s drive rails and brackets for the chassis. Meanwhile, programmers created our state-space library and wrote the code to control our elevator and wrist mechanisms. With the confirmation of design came the beginning of fabrication, with students working diligently in the metal shop to make drive rails for the drivetrain. We were able to begin working on the drivetrain fairly quickly, as we used a parametrically CAD-ed chassis made during the offseason to save valuable work time. Although the final robot CAD is not done, we have made progress in fully designing the individual mechanisms and planning how they fit together. We are especially emphasizing discussion and design reviews in order to ultimately have a better product. [/fusion_gallery] The CAD team worked vigorously this week to transform our CAD from a mock elevator on a semi-complete drive base into a full robot design complete with a drivetrain and mechanisms. All that remains is a few refinements: brackets, size adjustments, and mounting holes. [/fusion_gallery] Our robot design–now that it is more fully [...]
This week, we have made a consensus on the overall design of our robot, consisting of a four-wheel mecanum drive train, v-block hatch intake, and mecanum rolly grabber intake for cargo. The v-blocks and a tray for cargo are planned to be mounted on an elevator to bring the game pieces to be deposited at different heights. We decided to go with a mecanum drive train rather than our usual west coast drive because it helps with precise alignment on the rocket and cargo bay. With the confirmation of design came the beginning of fabrication, with students working diligently in the metal shop to make drive rails for the drivetrain. We were able to begin working on the drivetrain fairly quickly, as we used a parametrically CAD-ed chassis made during the offseason to save valuable work time. Although the final robot CAD is not done, we have made progress in fully designing the individual mechanisms and planning how they fit together. We are especially emphasizing discussion and design reviews in order to ultimately have a better product. [/fusion_gallery] Once our programmers were familiarized with our mechanisms and new code structure, the delegation of tasks began, with small groups of 2-3 people being assigned a subsystem [...]
Our fourth build season began on Saturday, January 5th. Throughout the week, we have been familiarizing ourselves with the 2019 FRC game, DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE. On Kickoff day, our members met up at 6:40 AM to attend the local FRC Kickoff event at San Jose State University–not too fun if you’ve been sleeping in all break. Later, after getting the team together and having social time over brunch (thanks Brian, we love your tacos!), we delved into the game further. [/fusion_gallery] Deep Space involves placing cargo (bouncy kickballs) and hatch panels (polycarbonate disks) into holes on two “rockets” and a “cargo ship.” We noticed that the ball’s movement is unpredictable and that both game pieces require precise maneuvering. Compared to last season, scoring points will be more difficult and time-consuming. There are many viable approaches for scoring points in this year’s game, so we prototyped mechanisms for multiple strategies before deciding on one. For the next few days, we brainstormed, prototyped mechanisms, and experimented with a mecanum drive train. For both hatch panels and cargo, we made an intake prototype with v-block clamps, modeled after v-block vices used in manufacturing to hold circular objects. The mechanism clamped both game [...]
Houston Recap: April 18-21 The success of the 971-972-973 alliance at the San Francisco Regional qualified our team to go to the World Championship hosted in Houston, Texas. The event ran from the 18th to the 21st of April. Leading up to the trip, we committed to raising funds in order to accommodate them for the costs that we would take on. Unfortunately, we couldn’t bring everyone to witness this landmark for our team due to logistical factors as well as the prospect of missing school. The plane rides to Houston went without a hitch. We placed in the top half of Roebling as a result of our performances in the ten matches, which was our division. We competed with and against very accomplished teams from all over the world. The event was a great opportunity for us to learn about other great robotics programs. This was also a great opportunity for the team to bond, and we are continuing to use what we’ve learned from this experience. Start of School: After the summer break, Team 972 resumed its technical activities, beginning with advanced training. Each student chose a subteam, and the leads for each respective subteam began teaching new members the material required for build season. Programmers learned the basics of Java, [...]