We may have been a bit ambitious with our plans to build two robots. Our new plan is to build only one ball collection and accelerator system which can be easily swapped between drive trains.
The systems-electrical subteam finished assembly of one electronics box and mounted it on a chassis. They are now building another electronics box for our second drive train. Software design is complete. Students are now writing programs to operate robot components.
The chassis/drive train team learned that you can’t anticipate everything in your CAD design. Even though the chassis was constructed as designed, there were construction challenges. Two frame supports were removed due to alignment of the gear boxes. Our strategy of making two drive trains will allow us to test different wheels. Pneumatic wheels were installed on one drive train and regular wheels on the other. We will have to determine which provides better locomotion while keeping in mind the how much weight the different wheels add to the robot.
The ball accelerator sub-team had to rethink their design. As a result of the precision required by original accelerator design, they decided to construct a simpler system.
By the end of next week, the team plans to have a fully functioning robot and be practicing our driving skills.
We used our CAD drawings to cut chassis frame parts. Thank you to Superior Joining for welding the over 70 joints together. We are now working to attach wheels to the frame and mount the gear boxes and chains that will drive the robot.
The electrical team is finishing up the modular electrical box. It will control the robot’s operation.
The ball capture and pick-up sub-team cut out all of the pieces to their appropriate lengths. Additionally, students used the band saw to cut pvc pipe into rings. We glued these rings in another piece of pvc pipe. We will use this part to safely hold the polycord which pulls the balls into the shooter system. Several of our team members also participated in the driver competition.
The ball shooter sub-team has been working on the accelerator to fire the balls. The motor still needs to be attached. Next is testing our design.
The animation team has bee brainstorming on designs for the main character that will be featured in our animation. Also, we have been coming up with ideas for characters that will be in the background of the video. Right now, we are planning on making the background characters look somewhat like each member of the team. We hope this will add individuality to our final product.
Choosing the right drivers is an important part of our game strategy. Team leaders Eli and Mark developed a rubric for comparing driver skills. Potential drivers used last year’s robot to:
- Drive between cones, both forward and backward.
- Drive blindfolded while getting directions from a team member.
- Drive as close as they could to a marked line without going over it.
The goal of these tests was to evaluate the potential driver’s dexterity, communication skills, and ability to deal with stress. We will announce our robot drivers to the team in the coming week.
This week our team worked to finish all our pre-construction tasks including CAD designs, systems requirements, and playing field construction. We also started assembling some parts such as an electrical box and the ball accelerator.
The electrical and programming team is working on software design. They create the design to define the logic needed to operate particular robot subsystems. Each subteam will use their software design and convert it into the code the controls the robot. Students are wiring a standard electrical box power which includes a distribution board, control, and all the electronics for robot. The wiring translates the inputs and outputs into actions such moving the arm up and down or the drive train backwards and forward.
Our robot design includes a camera mounted atop the shooter. As the shooter moves the camera will focus on a special light reflecting tape that marks the target. By centering on the tape, we can accurately aim our shooter and hopefully score baskets.
This year our plan is to have a few student programmers assigned to each subteam. To make sure programming is consistent between subteams, students and mentors developed a systems requirements document. This document spells out all electronic and programming needs. It specifically lists all necessary electronic equipment such as motors, controllers, wiring, sensors, and photo eyes. It also clearly defines the programming associated with each component of the robot, including manual and automated controls.
The CAD team is finalizing dimensions and adjusting parts so everything works together. Students finished the frame, and ball loader designs. They are still working on the shooter and arm extension design. Based on the CAD drawings, drive team members cut and labeled aluminum tubing prior to sending it for welding. Superior Joining Technologies is doing the welding for us.
During Week 3 the teams presented the individual designs to GE for a design review. Each team also worked on CAD models and started prototyping. Construction of the practice field bridge and barrier were completed.
The electrical team completed CAD drawings of electrical boxes. They continue to work with other sub-teams to confirm motor needs and plan to order all remaining components this week.
The programming team is working to complete the systems design document. They are also programming the X-Box Kinect which will be used during the Hybrid portion of the competition.
The Drive Train/ Chassis completed rebuilding improved gearboxes. Their next step is to build the frame.
Special Ops 1, Balancing and Bridge Management completed the CAD design of the appendage to lower the bridge. Next step is to complete prototyping.
Special Ops 2, Ball Capture and Pickup, completed 90% of the CAD design. The objective for next week is to complete the integration with other systems and complete the prototype.
Special Ops 3, Ball Shooter, completed a prototype shooter design and found that it had a fairly good average. This week’s task is to complete the CAD drawing of a ball accelerator.
The animation team worked on the assignment: to create an animation that demonstrates a way to improve the education system. So far, they have decided on a story line and completed the story board. Next they are working on character modeling.
Team 2039 is off to a good start. We decide it is important for our robot to be maneuverable, to easily pick up balls, and to accurately shoot them in baskets. With this in mind, we formed several subteams:
- Electrical & Programming
- Drive Train & Chassis
- Special OPs 1 – Appendages & Ballast
- Special OPs 2 – Ball Capture & Pickup
- Special OPs 3 – Ball Shooter
- Public Relations & Organization
We also have a temporary systems team that is working to integrate the work of the design/build teams.
The Electrical Team is working to house all the electronics in a sealed house, this will protect them from dust and metal shavings that have cause problems with the systems in past robots. Programming has not started yet, but the team is brainstorming ways to use the camera to detect many attributes of our targets like angle, position, and distance using special computer software connected with our robot in new ways.
The Drive Train/ Chassis sub team worked with Inventor to design the frame while implementing a well learned design lesson. Next week we plan on cutting and welding, and hopefully prototyping our frame.
Special Ops 1 has designed an appendage to assist in the collection of balls on the field, based on an idea by lead mentor Adam. The appendage is made up of two spirals, one for the front-leftcof the robot and another for the front-right. These spirals are going to be made of PVC and then provided a thread of something like surgical tubing which will twist such that, when both PVCs are attached to motors, the ball would hit a pipe and follow the surgical tubing into the middle. We also designed a ballast that will automatically move a large mass such that the robot has better balance.
Special Ops 2 met and discussed ball pick up and handling strategies. We made several plans for the storage of the basketballs and reviewed the pros and cons of each. We also spoke with Special Ops 3 and went over space constraints within the robot.
Special Ops 3 began to prototype different shooter designs. We started a CAD drawing of a ball accelerator. We also build a gear box to launch balls.
Team 2039 launched its 2012 build with a kick off meeting at Eigerlab. In the morning, students and mentors watched the kickoff ceremonies that introduced this year’s game: REBOUND RUMBLE. They devoted the afternoon to developing robot design ideas and game strategies.
Parents joined in by planning construction of a playing field which we will use to testing our robot design and practicing our driving skills.
The Rebound Rumble robotics game is played between two Alliances of three teams each. Each Alliance competes by trying to score as many of the basketballs in the hoops as possible during the 2-minute and 15-second match. Balls scored in higher hoops score Alliances more points. Alliances are awarded bonus points if they are balanced on bridges at the end of the match. In matches where opponent Alliances work together to balance on the white bridge, all participating teams earn additional valuable seeding points.
Though most construction is complete, the team continues to optimize the robot’s operation. Most of this work falls on the shoulders of our programming team: Their work this week included:
- Completing the logic for the solenoids that controls that open and close the robot’s “claw.”
- Wiring the line sensors that control the robot during its autonomous mode.
- Troubleshooting drive issues, i.e., fixing a damaged motor controller.
- Developing programming logic for the mini-bot deployment.
Our competition drive team started practicing their robot moves.
As arm and drive train construction is mostly complete, the programming team installed wiring and controls. They are now writing the code that will manage the robot operations.
We’ve redesigned our minibot yet again. The new design takes into to account engineering principles discussed during our design review at GE Aviation.
Students also evaluated potential drive team members based on interviews and a skills test. Our drive team members are Ty, Jeff, Brendan, and Karl.
Special Ops Team 1, the “arm” team, attached the robot arm to the drive train. They are now adjusting arm’s linkage so that it will fully retract within the robot body when not in use.
Special Ops Team 2, the “minibot” team, is still working to optimize the minibot design. They have agreed on four inch wheels with a 90 degree orientation. And they modified the gear boxes to increase speed by removing gear stages.
The Programming Team is wiring the drive train and arm. Because the robot drive train is complete, students working on this team were assigned to other projects
Students also worked on projects not associated with hands-on robot building.
- Because GE Aviation graciously offered to perform a design review, sub-team captains are putting together a power point presentation that includes CAD drawings, calculations, and solid descriptions as well as game strategies.
- Other students are constructing a battery charging station. The robot operates off of one battery, but it may only have sufficient charge for one competition round. The team designed the robot so they can easily swap out batteries. Our new station can charge up to six batteries at a time.
- A third group of students put together a “test” to help the team choose who will drive the robot during competitions. It includes an interview, a problem solving components, and a manipulative game to check dexterity.
- And yet a fourth group of students is preparing our submission for the Wisconsin Regional Chairman’s Award.