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, [...]
We played in our final competition, Silicon Valley Regional, last weekend. Going into SVR, one of FIRST’s most competitive regional competitions, many of us were unsure how we would rank and if we would qualify for worlds. But through our persistence and hard work, we performed much better than we expected. The SVR grind began two weeks earlier, right after we competed in the Monterey Bay Regional. Our performance was extraordinary compared to previous years and we ranked 4th at the end of the qualification matches. We only needed some minor changes to our climb before we focused on improving our cargo mechanism and decreasing cycle times. The weekend before SVR began with a rapid round of prototyping to modify the geometry of the claw. The side plates that held on the shooter wheels would hit away cargo and made it difficult to reliably intake cargo, even with a ball chasing program. As a result, we modified our side plates to include slight cutouts that increased our acquisition zone significantly. In addition, our limelight, which was mounted directly on the claw, got damaged at MBR so we refashioned a new mount that protected it from impact. . Once the cargo fixes were done, the robot was handed off to the programmers so they could finish [...]
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 [...]
Since HPR, we’ve been hard at work upgrading Marinus for our next competition: Monterey Bay Regional. On the mechanical side of things, we’ve redesigned our static and telescoping arm hooks to make it easier to latch onto the rungs in the hangar, aiding in our goal to have a fast, working traversal climb for MBR. For our cargo mechanism, we’ve added a small bump to better retain cargo in our claw as it moves around. There’s also been several minor mechanical fixes such as changing the drivetrain chain to 25H, adding sponsor plates, and improving camera mounts, but in general, it’s been fairly lax for the mechanical team. Our programmers have massively improved the code to take advantage of our robot’s full capabilities. For starters, we can now shoot from the back of our robot, reducing our cycle times and achieving a two-ball autonomous routine. Additionally, we’ve improved our limelight ball-tracking and shooting. Now, Marinus will automatically turn to approach cargo of the appropriate colour, and limelight will calculate distance from the hub to determine the appropriate shooting angle and speed. We’ve also automated our climb to the high rung. We can now climb to the high rung in about 20 seconds, and we’re aiming for a sub-35 second traversal climb at [...]
Last weekend, we traveled down to Port Hueneme to compete in our first regional competition. The week leading up to the competition was filled with challenges, but after finishing up our cargo arm and putting some finishing touches on our climbing mechanism, we packed up for the 5 hour drive. We still had numerous challenges to overcome in the week leading up to the competition. Due to parts being backordered, our cargo arm was coming together slower than expected. The final days before competition were filled with programming and testing of intake, limelight alignment, and shooting. At the end of the week, we had a decent autonomous routine that shot one ball into the low hub and taxied out of the tarmac. Our arm was getting tuned for low hub shooting and the drive team was able to get in some practice time. The climb was also recovering from some roadblocks. After testing our climbing mechanism, we found that the end caps of the thrifty bot elevators were shearing along the 3D printed layers. Our robot dropped like a rock in our first climb, but we redesigned and increased the strength of our endcaps, elevators, and hooks. Going into the competition, we had a solid mid climb and planned to test a high climb on the practice field. [...]
Now that there’s no more stop build day, we don’t have to worry about bagging and tagging or bot anymore, but we’re nonetheless rounding the corner towards testing and practice! There are just about two weeks until our first competition at HPR. The drivetrain is confidently 100% done at this point, with the new wheels and shafts installed. Now our main priority is attaching our other subsystems and getting in a little driver practice as time permits. We’ve made great progress on our climb subsystem over the course of this week. With the exception of the hooks at the top of our climb, the telescope and superstructure have been fully machined and assembled. Programmers have gotten some time to test out their rotation code, and with very little backlash, our climb arm can rotate with PID control to within just a couple degrees! We encountered some stability issues (aka severe wobbling), but nothing an additional support hex shaft can’t handle! With just a couple more days, the entire subsystem is ready to be handed off to the programmers for testing. Fingers crossed for no more mechanical issues or redesigns! The whole CAD for our cargo subsystem has been finalized and approved this week. The structural components have largely already been assembled, and we’re starting [...]
We are about three weeks away from our first competition at LA North! Everyone is working hard to get the robot done by next week so that we have at least a week to test the robot and debug our code. To start week 5, we had a design review of week four. Then, the CADers finalized the climb design for the high rung and the arm for intaking and shooting into the low goal. Following the detailed CADs, the machining team smoothed battery rails and created axles for new wheels, and the climbing mechanism. Throughout the week, the programming team finalized the arm and extender code and updated our ROBORIO firmware. We fine-tuned our PID systems, the limelight, and the shooter subsystem. Additionally, the electrical team wired the superstructure motor, tested, and repaired motors while the assembly team built the frame for intake and the airbrakes for the climbing system. The fundraising team is also dedicating their time to writing grants and managing the Superbowl fundraiser, which was a success. By Sunday, we attached our arm to the robot and we are ready to begin testing! Looking forward to week 6!
We are officially halfway through build season! It has been an exciting and productive week for us as we made significant progress on our robot. We also welcomed two new members to the team! At the start of the week, we held "basketball" tryouts to finalize the human play for our drive team. The CADers worked hard to create different models of climbing mechanisms and the claw arm, which were then prototyped by the assembly team. The machining team successfully completed the electrical board, the drivetrain rails, and other robot parts. As Week 4 progressed, the electrical team and assembly team constructed the drivetrain and attached towers for our climbing mechanism. The team finalized the claw design with a belt intake and flywheel to effectively shoot the cargo, which the programmers finished implementing. To prepare for the upcoming competitions and to make sure assembly goes as smoothly as possible, our team organized all of our supplies and ran tests on our batteries. By the end of the week, we had a fully functioning drivetrain and completed the majority of the pre-programming. We are thankful for our teachers' and mentors' guidance, the dedication of our fellow team members, and everyone who has made build season spectacular. Looking forward to week 5!
We had a lot of fun this week here at Team 972! We’ve made a final decision on our cargo mechanism this Friday. All of this was powered by our prototyping teams making some incredible progress, with multiple designs being rapidly tested and iterated. At the beginning of the week, we had narrowed down our cargo mechanism to either two designs: either an s-shooter with an over-the-bumper intake or an arm, which would function both as an intake and an outtake. CAD for both of these options was made, and after examining the pros and cons of each, the team put it to a vote on Friday. We’re going to have an arm this year! On the machining side of things, we ran into a few hiccups. Both our drivetrain rails and our electrical board turned out to have to be re-machined. Our incredible machining team worked overtime this week, and we’ll have our drivetrain fully assembled by Sunday at the latest. The CAD team is also hard at work integrating all of our final designs, and the programmers are experimenting with Limelight vision on our robot, with exciting results. Now that our robot design has been decided, the team is revving up into overdrive for the next week, [...]
And we’re back for Week 2 of Build Season! It was an exciting week, full of new ideas. Of course, we enjoyed the snacks as well. We began the week on Saturday, January 15, with a full day of prototyping. For prototyping, we split into many groups, with one of two focuses -- climbing in the Hangar or shooting/depositing into the Lower Hub. Our philosophy was “KISS: Keep It Simple Silly”. The week ended on Friday, January 21 with a design review! The groups worked very hard on diverse and unique ideas. One design was an indexer + C-Shooter, which was able to consistently shoot over 4 feet. Another design was the Yanis Claw, which has a consistent intake and can shoot over 4 feet. Fittingly, it was shaped almost like the letter ‘Y’. For climbing, the Pranav Climb was demonstrated, which can integrate with a claw and doesn’t need to switch off but has many moving parts. There was also the Dante Climb, which has fewer moving parts but the arm has to switch off. Other than that, the electrical board CAD has been more or less laid out, progress is being made on the drivetrain, gearbox, and bumpers, and we worked on configuring limelight for vision. We've yet to finalize our design, but we've significantly narrowed down [...]