2013 Build Season: Week 1 & 2

2013 Build SeasonWeek 1: Design & Build by Willow B.
Before the season kicked off, we had countless, exciting conversations about what this year’s game could possibly be. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but we didn’t think it would be something nearly as insane as picking up and shooting frisbees and climbing a giant pyramid. The initial reaction that many of us had was simply: “What…? How?” That wouldn’t solve the many problems we had in front of us though. After hours of brainstorming and designing, we knew what we wanted to do; we just didn’t know how to do it. All we had really ruled out by the end of the first day was a quad-rotor, as epic as that would be. We then set about designing mechanisms, and found that there was a lot of prototyping that needed to be done. The conclusion that many of us had reached by the end of the first week of designing was that this was a seriously difficult challenge. We’re still off to a good start, and everyone knows that daisies have to put their roots down somewhere.

For the mechanical team, the first week of build season can usually be described with one word: “prototyping.” On Monday, we burst into the shop eager to dive into the mayhem of various saws and the scent of saw dust and tap magic. While a crew put together the field goals, others started prototyping intakes, magazines, and shooters. By Thursday we had done two informative prototypes of the intake. On Friday, we were on the third prototype for the intake, and had it om-nom-nom-ing frisbees the same way the claw om-nom-nommed balls by the end of build season last year. The only issue—much like last year—is funneling. Magazine and shooter prototypes were also started and worked on both by design and mechanical, and we are confident that there will be working prototypes soon. At the end of the week, we still didn’t know how to fully construct the robot, but progress was being made on the individual mechanisms. We hadn’t built a drive or a climbing mechanism. We were beginning to realize exactly how difficult this challenge was turning out to be. Still, if it was easy, it wouldn’t be FIRST, and the mechanical team already knows how fun this year is going to be.

Week 2: Design & Build by Willow B.
Sunday: A few students and mentors got together to design a climbing mechanism that would achieve the difficult task of climbing the pyramid. We were torn between two ideas, and decided to continue our planning on Monday.

Monday: Today was a shop cleanup day, and a crew of students made the shop look like build season had yet to start, which we made sure the change the next day. The design team also decided to go with another design for climbing.

Tuesday: We had made countless prototypes on the intake, and we had a working shooter prototype. All that had to be done was a few tweaks. Many of us are already feeling the pressure of time, and we still have yet to start on a climbing mechanism.

Thursday: By now, many of us have set up second homes in the shop. The prototypes are coming along, and the shooter is working consistently. We just need to improve the accuracy. The intake has become slightly more problematic, as we are trying to funnel two frisbees in eleven inches. By now we have made over six prototypes. Nothing we have tried so far has been able to fix the issue of two frisbees getting jammed when they enter the robot. The intake crew is far from giving up, but at the moment it seems like our brains are more blocked than the frisbees that keep getting jammed in the intake.

Friday: Today we were thrilled to get all of our prototypes working. The intake was finally able to take in two disks at the same time without jamming. We got the magazine working, and the shooter achieved increased accuracy, to the point where we could hit every shot from where it was. We still don’t know how to incorporate the climbing mechanism idea into the robot or how to fit all the prototypes together, but it seems like we are making good progress.

Saturday: Today we redesigned the robot completely. We are able to fit all of our prototypes into one killer design. We’ve nicknamed it “Destroyer Daisy” because of the CAD model’s tank-like appearance.

2013 Build SeasonMedia by Emily O.
This season the media team is focusing less on our (previously) weekly blogs and more on the development of our mobile museum project. We have dropped the publication of our vlogs down to a bi-weekly basis in order to allocate more manpower and resources on our other projects.

Nevertheless, our first vlog of the season should be published this Saturday! We are very excited for our “Super Mechanics” sketch, which highlights some members of the mechanical team and their strange powers. Part of this sketch is going to be the intro for our videos for the rest of the season. Also, we have many interviews with people on all parts of the team, asking what they think of the new game.

So, what is the mobile museum? Well, we are creating an interactive display on FIRST and our team with a student-designed game and robots. The media team is specifically working on producing videos to add to our interactive displays about FIRST, our game, electricity, simple machines, and pneumatics. Right now we are finalizing our scripts and creating storyboards for the videos. For every video, our narrator will be assisted with a character, the expert of each topic. The animation team is helping us in this endeavor.They have already finished our robot, Sparky, and are now creating the elephant, whose expertise is pneumatics. Next week, we hope to start filming!

CAD by Pranav K.
During the first two weeks, the CAD team worked in conjunction with the Design team and the Mechanical team to prototype various parts of the robot. We mainly focused on the frisbee intake and our shooting mechanism. Before that, our whole team brainstormed various ideas for how we would accomplish this year’s tasks. We had the team split up into various groups on the Sunday after Kickoff to brainstorm and design their own version of how they think the robot should look. The Design and CAD teams met separately on the next few days to consolidate the multitude of designs in the hopes that we could determine which mechanisms would best fulfill each of the given tasks. We decided that our drive train would be a six wheel drop-center system, but we later changed it. We mainly focused on our shooting mechanism (i.e. how we would eject the frisbees from our robot). We entertained the possibility of a variety of mechanisms, including a one-wheel shooter, two-wheel shooter, linear shooter, and flicker. The design team considered the benefits and detractors of each concept while the CAD team helped them visualize the various ideas by creating rudimentary CAD models. Once both teams decided on what concepts we should have explored, the CAD team switched its collaboration from the Design team to the Mechanical team. Since then, we have been helping the Mechanical team prototype different robot systems like intake, shooting, and disk handling. We have created and edited many CAD models with members of the Mechanical team, and then helped them build several prototypes per system.

Animation by Sarah A.
During the past two weeks, the animation team has continued working on parts and characters for the mobile museum. This is great practice for the new members and also serves the purpose of teaching them about each of these parts and how Maya works. We are almost finished modeling all of these parts and the next step will be putting them together and animating. We are very excited to see all the pieces come together!

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search