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!
FRC Team 972 was founded in 2002 at Los Gatos High School but disbanded after six seasons following the retirement of the head mentor. In autumn of 2015, the team was restarted as "Iron Claw Robotics" by a group of LGHS students who had previously been members of Pioneer High School's Team 668, the Apes of Wrath. Since then, the team has found success at the FRC regionals, qualifying for the World Championships twice, and grown from a group of 15 members to a class of 50 students at Los Gatos High—supported by alumni, mentors, and our wonderful parents and community. More than just robots, we strive to foster passion for STEM among team members and inspire the community through outreach. Steven Dandurand, Co-Captain Alan Sheu, Co-Captain Allison Liu, Curriculum Council Chair Pranav Tadepalli, Programming Director Rebecca Meshenberg, Mechanical Director Angela Sheu, Operations Director Anthony Furman, Programming Co-Lead Faris Raza, Programming Co-Lead Taren Patel, Assembly Lead Yanis Yankauskas, CAD Lead Caitlin Nguyen, Electrical Lead Dante Massaro, Machining Lead Tony Zhou, Finance Lead Leison Gao, Fundraising Lead Katie Guo, Communications Lead Gretel Bachman, Safety and Organization Lead Charles Wang, Co-Captain Steven Dandurand, Co-Captain Daniel Stulski, Curriculum Council Chair/CAD Lead Maciej Buzsko, Programming Director Adrina Tang, Mechanical Director Alan Sheu, Operations Director Maxim Tarasevich, [...]