Excited to be back, yet well-aware of the challenges we would face due to coming back from the COVID-19 pandemic, we set humble expectations for our season and robot. We instantly recognized the importance of a consistent climb and set our initial goals as the high climb while shooting low hub. These expectations were reinforced at our first competition, the Hueneme Port Regional (HPR), and we even started shooting into the high hub as the competition went on. After our average performance, coming in 25th place after qualification matches and losing in the quarter-finals of the play-offs, we came back reinvigorated to improve on our robot. Our unexpected success in shooting into the high hub at HPR inspired us to significantly change our robot capability goals ahead of our next regional, the Monterey Bay Regional (MBR). After analyzing areas of improvement from the Week 1 competition, we set our eyes on a traversal-climbing robot that can shoot consistently into both the high and low hub. Specifically, for the latter goal, we started integrating computer vision into our robot using Limelight, which was the first time we successfully used vision. After much tuning, we became a fairly consistent high-hub shooter. The improvements to our robot paid dividends, to say the least, [...]
Last weekend, our team traveled to Monterey Bay to compete in the Monterey Bay Regional. Unlike at Hueneme Port Regional, almost our entire team went to this competition. On the first day, the pit crew and drive team drove early in the morning to Monterey and set up the pits. Inspection and robot weighing went fairly smoothly, except for a camera module that was causing the current to not properly ground. In between the inspection, we finished attaching our climb mechanism to the robot and performed some system checks with the programmers to confirm that the robot was in working order. After this, we rushed to the game field to calibrate our robot for the field. Field calibration, something our team never had the chance to do in the past, was particularly useful for optimizing the consistency of our vision alignment and planning a precise autonomous sequence. Afterwards, our drive coach and strategy lead toured the other pits at the competition to learn more about our competitors and their robots. They compiled a comprehensive list of teams’ match strategies and robot capabilities. When the practice matches began, our robot did decently well, consistently maneuvering a two-cargo autonomous routine, shooting several upper hub cargo in teleop, and climbing to the traversal bar. However, we were not able to shoot [...]
Class Competition For the class competition, we split the class into four different teams. Each team was given a rules manual and a few weeks to design a robot that fit said parameters, which is a direct representation of our build season process. The purpose of the class competition was to prepare our team for the upcoming competition season. Students took part in the designing, building, and refining process for each of their team's robots, gaining vital technical and teamwork skills. The objective of the competition was to score the most points at the end of each round, which included two teams completing an autonomous and remote control operated period. During the autonomous period, robots scored points for crossing the midline and for depositing wiffle balls into their team's bank. During the remote controlled period, drivers employed various creative offensive and defensive strategies to either deposit balls into their scoring zones or prevent other teams from scoring. As the teams progressed through their builds, many structural, programming, or knowledge based challenges were encountered. The best part about this competition was seeing how each team persevered to overcome struggles and to build a functioning robot. After the class competition, our class collectively became better at problem solving and more prepared for build season. This [...]
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.
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. 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. Our robot design–now that it is more fully fleshed out–has an elevator with an arm attached to lift balls and [...]