2012 Build Season: Week 6

Design & Build by David C.
Tuesday – The build team continued to pursue our new last-minute design change. Looking at last week’s post, it does not seem too specific, so I will fill in the spaces just a bit more. The new design is meant to resolve the issue of the foam basketballs climbing over each other and sticking to one another in the robot. Rather than having everything situated in the tower, we plan to have a hopper on the back of the robot that will freely hold the three balls we collect; they will stay there until we are ready to feed them one at a time into the tower. The claw has been redesigned so it can pick up balls more efficiently, but it is still undergoing revisions. Things are looking very well so far.

Thursday – Thursday’s build night left the team in high spirits, as Daisy was brought out for the first full test. The shooter was quite consistent and the drive system was performing up to expectations compared to a previous driving test. In the shop, the robot underwent several motor swaps, the claw has yet to be fully attached to the robot, and the shooter needs fine tuning. Aside from a few loose PWM’s and exchanged parts, Miss Daisy is looking fine.

Friday – Back in the shop, Daisy is still going through some tweaking and reassessment. The shooter needs to be adjusted slightly in order to prevent unexpected curveballing, and the claw is getting close to being attached to the robot. In addition, we began taking the dimensions for bumpers from the CAD team. On the side, Team #341 is working on our mobile museum project. Our team received a grant from Dow Chemical Company, and we are currently putting together a mobile learning center for community demonstrations. The museum includes several small robots and a field in order to show how cool robotics can be, specifically targeting the younger generation. We’ll also have displays and computer-aided learning stations where people can learn more about robotics holistically, as well as aspects such as pneumatics, electrical boards, and the design processes.

Saturday – Saturday began with more finalization of the robot. The claw design was finished and the claw was attached to the bot.We are very satisfied with its performance. All that remains is the hopper, or “armor” as some coaches call it (it seriously looks like armor; it’s pretty awesome). This will be our way of handling the balls during the tele-op period although a few kinks need to be worked out. Another round of testing was conducted at the end of the day, and Daisy seems to be moving smoothly and shooting consistently. Miss Daisy 2012 is almost complete, and it’s just about game time!

CADby David S.
Although the official FIRST Build Season period of six weeks is over, the CAD Team is still hard at work finishing up final robot touches to perfect the model. This week, we have finalized models for all sub parts in the robot, created some last-minute parts to be added onto the robot, and added some final assemblies that were not created earlier. But before the robot was bagged and tagged, the team took pictures of various parts of the robot in varying levels of detail. This allows us to observe the robot and identify parts or systems that are left to be created and create them, albeit without specific measurements. For instance, the build team in conjunction with the media team and the CAD team coach remodeled the cover for our robot. Originally, this was to be made with coroplast, but those prototypes revealed that the cover would interfere with robot functions, mainly the running of chain. Also, the team found that certain parts would need to be sturdier. As such, the build team made the parts that needed to be sturdier out of lexan, which is much more resistant to force and change compared to coroplast. But this means that the CAD team had to model these parts, for which we luckily had measurements.

CAD has also been working on our final wiring and pneumatic assemblies. As these are not exact compared to the robot, the team has no need to take exact measurements, which would be impractical anyways. While that is completed, the CAD team has also fixed various issues found while doing test renders of our robot, which mainly consisted of visible sketches and duplicate parts that were to be deleted.

Finally, the CAD team has also continued work on the Robot Binder. This binder, as stated earlier, was meant to our attempt at winning the Robot Design Award, and it showcases numerous sub-functions of our robot, with planar views, ISO’s, and physical pictures. Ultimately, his week has been the final stretch for CAD.

Animation by David S.
The animation team has made some very good progress over the last few weeks. We have basically finished modeling all items and characters that are to be used in the animation and are working on the finishing touches of texturing and arranging various scenes. We initially ran into some issues with “rigging” the model of the main character (giving him a skeleton and telling the software how that skeleton affects him and makes him move), as even some of the best of the team were rusty on how to do this. After some research, we were able to figure out the most efficient way to do this, and even learned some new techniques to improve our work. With this rigging as well as the scene composition nearing completion, the only remaining step is the physical animation step. This may prove to be the hardest challenge yet, as getting everything we want to show into the 30 second time limit is always quite difficult. We hope to have the animation finished and rendering by the end of this week, and are working hard to achieve this goal.

Media by Danielle G.
For the 6th week of build season, the media team worked hard on documenting the final efforts of the team. We filmed the testing of the robot in our Audion. We also worked on our second to last Vlog for the year. For this Vlog, we created a humorous Valentine’s themed segment. We also created a short film to thank our sponsor BAE for their support and funding throughout the season. With things winding down, we changed our focus to the creation of our Daisy Awards, which we plan to give to other teams during competition. These Daisy Awards are meant for our team to celebrate the achievement of others. We have also been busy creating or print design materials including buttons, pit posters, and pit banners. All in all, we have had a very successful week!

Web by Emily O.
A few minor updates occurred this week. The team’s week six vlog is now up on YouTube and the site. In addition, we have gone through all of the emails received for our Team in a Box and picked out some of the best to put on out web site. The best replies of the past two years are now updated on the site!

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