Monday, February 20, 2012

Day 45: Introducing Benjy

Even though the team is working tomorrow my blog says day 45 so now its time for everyone to meet Benjy, Team 2059's 2012 robot:
Not to bad for breaking in 15 new student this year.
6 wheel westcoast drive(which is a first for me as well as the team) using 6" Performance wheels as well as a custom gearbox. The white things on the front are Delrin skids(subsystem 6) which were added when we had to change from 8" wheels to 6" ones. The bearing blocks were made of ABS but they all broke over the weekend as I mentioned earlier and will have to be replaced.
Collection System:
Bottom roller is powered by a 550 in a 26:1 gearbox and the rest of the rollers are powered by a 550 in a 64:1 gearbox. Krunch students(old and new) will notice that the rollers are basically shorter versions of the rollers on Krunch 12. We did them a little differently but the overall concept is the same.
Two 6"diameter cardboard(yes cardboard, we got it from a McMaster shipping tube) rollers are bolted to 6" KOP wheels which are driven by 2 Fisher Price motors attached to CIMple boxes. The creative part of it is that the bottom FP drives the top roller and vice-versa. This was done to increase the speed closer to the level we had on the prototype.

Bridge Manipulator:
It is still a work in progress but you can kinda see it in the first photo. It should work once we get it all together but that may not be until we get to Palmetto.

Overall I think the team performed very well this season. We could have worked a little faster and been done a little sooner but you can only do what you can.  See everyone at Palmetto and North Carolina.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day 43: BBQ and Bots

Today we worked for 12 hours and made a lot of progress. We got the final pieces of the frame finished which allow us to mount the bumpers. The wood was cut and one of out parents sewed the number on to the bumpers so the team should be able to put them together tomorrow. We also got subsystem 6 fabricated and mounted on the robot, more on that later.

The software team started working with the camera tracking on the actually shooter and had some success, but it wasn't working as well as we would like. There is a couple things they need to change in the software that should make it work better and hopefully they'll be able to do that tomorrow.

This year we're using pneumatics, which we didn't last year and I haven't since '08, but over course everyone still turns to me as an expert. After a 10 minute refresher I taught a couple of the freshman about the pneumatics and got everything mounted on the robot minus the cylinders and the solenoid. We're still missing a couple of pieces but we're going to borrow them from another local team and then order some and give the new ones back to the other team.

After dinner, which by the way was some great North Carolina BBQ, we got done to actually testing the robot. With subsystem 6 we attempted to drive over the barrier and we ran into a couple of problems. The two big ones are we can't get over the barrier and we cracked all of our ABS bearing blocks. We were planning on getting aluminum ones made and now we don't have a choice.

The team is meeting for 9 hours tomorrow but I have to study so I won't we back till Monday.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Day 42: Driving?

I started out today with an interview at Altec. I think it went well but the best part was the tour of the facility. They had all sorts of cool machining equipment from laser cutters to cnc breaks to a huge powder coating oven it was amazing. After I got back I was pretty tired but I toughed it out and went to the meeting tonight.

The robot is basically ready to go and tonight the team mainly finished wiring and installing the bumper mounts. There isn't much else to report except that we'll be working all day the next two day to get enough practice in before we bag. I left a little early so hopefully the code got done and the robot got driving and if it didn't it will tomorrow morning.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 41: Electronics

Last night the team got the shooter mounted to the robot and decided that a feeder wasn't necessary. I won't go into details but after they explained to me I don't believe that it will work but I'm willing to let then try.

Tonight the electronics team worked on get the electronics mounted and wired on the robot. The mechanical team worked on bumper mounts as well the motor for the lazy Susan.

Unfortunately it doesn't look like the robot will be ready be Saturday so we won't be able to attend the scrimmage. I know I mentioned this earlier but it was official tonight. It kind of pisses me off because we were in this situation last year and we won't have any time to practice, but you work with what you got.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day 39: Cupcakes

Tonight a couple of parents brought some cupcakes and most of them were eaten by the mentors.

Other than that the new gearbox plates came in and we finally got the drivetrain done. The electronics board got wired and we should be able to mount it tomorrow and get it wired in. The shooter is coming along decently but we continue to run into a lot of problems. We put the chain on, I'm actually pretty good with #35 master links, and it actually worked nicely when we tested it. One of the problems was the duct tape so the student took it off, which I wasn't to broken up about.

We're almost there but I'm not sure we'll be ready for the scrimmage on Saturday which I'm kinda upset about since I pushed to have it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day 38: Duct Tape and AMPs

I got to the meeting a little late tonight to see that the team was struggling changing out the FP motors in the AndyMark planetary for the 0673s we got over the weekend. Basically they had just found a random FP pinion and press it on only to find that when they ran the motor it stalled and almost burned out. I of course knew what the right pinion looked like and everyone else was shocked to learn that it was the one that didn't fit through the hole in the mounting plate. I explained that that is how the AMP is designed and one of the other mentors complained and tried to find a way around it. Just when I was on the verge of screaming at him I told everyone to go away and that I would handle it. Not surprisingly the job only took like 15 minutes for two motor when it was done right.

The students got the polycord onto the collection system and we were able to get a ball to go all the way to the top. They also began to work on the bumper mounts and hopefully we'll have at least one set done by ship stop build day.

Finally, tonight the shooter team made some good progress. They changed out the smaller PVC rollers for larger cardboard ones similar to the ones we used on the prototype. They also are doing some strange things with the power transmission to make them spin faster. It is actually a good idea but I still kinda think they are crazy. Back to the rollers, you'll never guess how they are attaching the cardboard to wheels spinning at around 1000 RPM, duct tape. Now when I was on Krunch we never used duct tape on the robot because it looks terrible. These students seem to disagree with me on that but as it is there robot I guess I'll let it slide even if I'm linked to an ugly looking robot.

That's about it for tonight, hopefully we'll get the electronics on tomorrow night.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day 37: Speculation

The team meet for four hours today but I wasn't there because I had to study so I will do some speculation of what went down today. Hopefully all of the chains are on the drivetrain, the shooter was finished being assembled, and the collection system is all together. I guess I won't really know until tomorrow, but we're running out of time none-the-less.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 36: All Day

Today the meeting began at 9 am and as I am writing this is still going on for at least another half an hour. When I arrived I found that the collector was mostly done and that the Banebots motors were mounted to the gearboxes. Unfortunately they mounted 540s to the gearboxes, which are illegal this year, rather than 550s. When I told the students this they seemed shocked and admitted that they hadn't read the rules this year.

Quick tangent: It's week 5 and you haven't read the @#$&ing rules, I mean if it wasn't for me having reading the rules we would probably have tons of violations on our robot. It really aggravates me beyond belief because they manual was only like 7 pages and it would have saved a bunch of time today.

Tangent over, they replaced the motors and got to work on the shooter. Most of the shooter got done today but it won't be ready to mount til tomorrow because some paint has to dry overnight. The drivetrain is about 80% complete and we're getting the 2 correct gearbox plates on Monday or Tuesday so we'll be driving by then at the latest. The cad team worked on subsystem 5 as well as some changes to the drivetrain.

Finally we were able to get two 0673 Fisher Price motor from another local team, which by the way I have the part number memorized because I read the manual! I got a nice bruise on my hand when I had to help a student remove a hub from a shaft and a cut on my other hand while putting a gearbox together.

Short meeting tomorrow, but I have to study so I won't be there.

Big thanks to FIRST team 3459, Pyrotech, for the two FP motors.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 35: Late Night

Tonight I had Hillel so I didn't go to the meeting but I do know what happened.

The parents had a meeting to discuss the restriction that have been placed on us by our host, but since the robot will should be done by next Friday so it won't be that big of a deal. Other than that the team faced a couple of problems with the robot but I think they can be easily worked around. I'm kinda glad that I had something tonight because the team planned to work to 11 tonight and then work 12 hours tomorrow so its going to be a long weekend.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 34: Back to Work

Today I returned to the meeting after two days of studying. The final drivetrain parts came and all of the wheels have been treaded. It wasn't the best treading job I've ever seen, a number of former Krunch students are better, but I would give them a B.

In other news the collection system is mounted and the final parts were being fabricated. The shooter is coming along well and could be ready, minus one piece, this weekend. Other than that the electronics were laid out but won't be mounted until the rest of the robot is done because the electrical components and metal shavings aren't good friends.

I helped the business team finish up 5-year business plan. Hopefully they'll get Chairman's done cause it's due next week. For some reason 2059 has an aversion to getting thing done early so we can spend time refining them. It happened last year and it happening again this year because as of tonight we have 3 or 4 paragraphs of the Chairman's essay done while many teams already have the essay written and refined.

Another thing that 2059 has trouble with is using tool the right way. When I got to the meeting tonight the students were thinking of cutting key stock with a cut-off wheel. Luckily they came to there senses and used a hacksaw. Tonight we broke two taps, a drill bit, and a hacksaw blade. Rich, our lead mentor, is pretty chill and wasn't too upset but I would like to see Coach react to a hand full of broken parts in one night.

That's about it for tonight, It should be a busy weekend.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 32/33: Break

Tonight the whole robot broke!!!

Just kidding, I'm taking a short break from robotics so I actually don't know what happened tonight. Two reasons for my break ,1, I have a test on Thursday and 2, It's a stressful time in the season and everyone needs a break.

I'll be back with a more meaningful update when I return to meetings on Thursday.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Day 31: Its that time of the Season

Another weekday, another new student.

Tonight the team continued to work on retrofitting the gearboxes and working on the collection system. The girls worked on button designs and had a contest to see which one more people liked. We're running into some problem with getting the roller hubs finished cause for some reason we only told the shop to do them half way knowing full well it would be a PITA to finish them.

As for me I'm not feeling that great today and might take tomorrow off.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day 29: A lot of Problems and some Solution

This morning I ran the Krispy Kreme Challenge so I was a little late to the meeting. The first thing we had to do was move some stuff out of the build room because our host Inserv is redoing some of their building and we had some violations. None of them were too serious so it wasn't that big of a deal.

When we finally got down to working on the robot that is where the problems began. Our collection system is mounted between two cross members on the frame and despite mounting them three or four times we couldn't get them to line up right. That had an easy solution which is to mount the collection system and then mount the front crossbars. We got some more machined parts today including the final parts for the gearboxes. When we tried to assemble them we found that some of he holes on the output plate were 3/16" off which basically makes the plate worthless. I'm not sure how you mess something like that up but we're probably just going to get a new one machined and work with the a modified current one for now. The last problem was the PVC pipe we got for our rollers last week was too big and so we had to try to find some pipe that would fit. Two of our students went to Ace and found the right pipe but they didn't have any money so they had to call our lead mentor and he went out and bought the pipe.

Those were really the main problem we faced today but they all just seemed to come one after another. Other than the problems we actually got a lot of work done today. Parts of the collection tower were fabricated, the software team created code that used the camera on our prototype shooter to make over 80% of our shoots. They also taught some of the freshman Labview which will be good for the future.

The Hitchhikers don't have a full team meeting tomorrow so I guess I'll just enjoy the Super Bowl after I study.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 28: Framing

I feel like this is getting repetitive but tonight we had another new student join the team. A little back story before I continue with what happened at tonight's meeting. Last year we had 11 students from 4 school and 8 of them were juniors, now there seniors. Knowing this we looked to partner up with a local school and eventually choose Athens Drive High School, who's school color conveniently matched our team colors. It took a while to get everything worked out but we were able to work everything out at the end of last year and last week our current Athens students had an interest meeting at school which attracted 25 new students. 3 of them have now joined the team and I would expect most of the rest to join next year.

And know on to that robot we were supposed to be building. Tonight the frame came together really nicely and it looks really good minus all of the fingerprints. It should be finished up tomorrow and then we're just waiting on a couple of shaft and wheels to come in to finish the drivetrain. The students also started working on the collection tower and that should be finished up tomorrow as well.

Other than that the parents continued to work on planning the Palmetto Regional trip as well as some spirit stuff.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day 27: Sanding and Filing

Once again we got a new student today which bring our total to 22 or twice the number of students at the end of build season last year.

Tonight we did a lot of sanding and filing, as the title says, as well as some cutting. The base plate was finished and the gussets were sanded by the girls. The two new students did a lot of manual filing on a number of items. The software team finished data collection for their distance graph and explained to me at the end of the meeting that we need like 10 formulas in the software to make it work with the graph.

In other news we had to made a couple of quick design changes due to some parts still being out of stock. These changes resulted in a new subsystem being added to the robot. Unlike subsystem 5 I actually have a name for this one I just don't feel like sharing it.

Tomorrow we will really get down to fabing the robot so we can have it working by the beginning of next week.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 26: New Student

Tonight we got another new student which bring our total to 21. I didn't get a chance to meet him or her because I wasn't at the meeting tonight. Hopefully the team got some good work done tonight.

In other news Swamp Thing released an awesome teaser which I'm sure none of my students saw because none of them are on Chief Delphi.

Thats about it for tonight unless everyone would like to hear about my dynamics homework.