It’s beginning to look a lot like a robot!
Over the last two weeks, our team made tremendous progress on this year’s robot. First, we finished mounting and wiring up all of the control system components on this year’s new chassis. In our last update, we mentioned making extensive use of 3D printed components. Since the robot will be driving across many obstacles in this year’s game, we wanted to keep the electronic components mounted up high to ensure the robot had ample clearance. To accomplish this, we did away with a traditional robot belly-pan and manufactured 3D printed clips to mount speed controllers directly to the drive motors. We also designed and 3D printed gearbox motor plates with integrated servo brake mounts. After the field parts were completed, we spent some time driving the chassis over the defenses. It sailed across the ramparts, moat, rough terrain, and rock wall with ease. The wooden defenses started to fatigue and break from repeated abuse before the drivetrain showed any signs of wear itself.
At the start of week three, we finalized the CAD drawings for the robot’s intake system. Since the intake extends outside of the robot, we decided to cut the parts out of 1/4″ aluminium sheet metal so it could stand up to collisions and rough play. Our sponsor Becton-Dickinson (BD) was up to the job and able to cut the parts for us before the weekend! We spent Saturday and Sunday manufacturing and installing the rest of the components needed for the intake and its arm assembly. At the close of Monday of week four, we installed the motors, belt run, roller, and potentiometer (on its own 3D printed mount) needed to complete the intake. Our driver got a little bit of practice time in, chasing boulders around the shop and picking them up.
Meanwhile, the awards subteam was busy finalizing the team’s Chairman’s essay and two Woodie Flowers Award entries, which were submitted before the February 4th deadline. They then started working on the presentation components, keeping with the medieval theme of this year’s game and our essay. We placed the order for our team standard, which is the flag that will be flown above our team’s player station whenever our robot is playing in a match. The Entrepreneurship Award is due February 11th, so we started working on updating our business plan entry for that award as well. We have also been continuously working on a build season journal to keep as a record of the progress made during each team’s meeting.
On the scouting subteam, the Android scouting application is functionally complete. Arjun, our lead developer, is making user experience enhancements and starting to look into ways for us to better visualize and analyze the collected data.
We spent some time this past weekend strengthening parts of the intake arm assembly. After all, it’s better to break things and make the necessary modifications to improve them now than in the middle of a competition! On Saturday we also had a productive programming session. After adding a gyro to the robot to complement dual drivetrain encoders, a new algorithm to keep the robot driving straight worked even when driving over some of the defenses. With this ability in place, we started programming autonomous routines and almost have our primary one complete. Mike, our engineering mentor, visited the school on Sunday and worked with us on the development of the robot’s hanging mechanism. Featuring constant force springs and gas shocks, we’re excited to see the design spring to life!
Stay tuned as we enter the final two weeks of build season. Stop build day is February 23rd and we’ll be revealing our completed robot shortly thereafter!