Team 4909’s 2022 Robot Reveal Night was a success! Many of our friends, families, and sponsors took time out of their day to hear an overview of build season and see our robot “Pandora” in action. The night consisted of our team leads highlighting their specific responsibilities including managing the build process, building of the subsystems, programming the robot, and a Team Operations update. The audience was able to gain insight into what it took to build the robot and each of our subsystems; the intake, the shooter and singulator, the turret, and the climber. After we finished talking about the robot, we did a Granite State recap and conducted a robot demonstration by simulating an official match. We successfully scored cargo into the hub and climbed the hangar. Thank you to everyone who attended and we appreciate your support! Please see below for some pictures from the event.
This past weekend, Team 4909 traveled to Salem, NH to attend the Granite State District Event. We arrived at Salem High School on Thursday to get our robot inspected and set up the team's pit. The pit is the area where teams keep their robots between matches and is also where they hold all of their tools and spare parts.
The competition officially began last Friday with 39 teams from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Vermont participating. Matches are played with a “Blue” alliance of 3 teams competing against a “Red” alliance of 3 teams. All alliances are randomly assigned and alliance configurations are different from match to match. Each team plays 12 qualification matches over the course of two days. After the team’s qualification matches, we ended up in 12th place!
The elimination rounds began with the top 8 seeded teams picking two other teams for their playoff alliance. In regards to alliances, because of the team’s success in qualifying matches, we were given the opportunity to be the first pick by the 3rd seed alliance captain, Team 131 CHAOS from Manchester, NH! Their second pick was Team 6690 MV roboPride from Concord, NH. Unfortunately, we lost in the semi-finals against the first seed alliance.
Even though we were not able to make it to finals, we were extremely excited to bring home the Entrepreneurship Award! According to FIRST Robotics, the Entrepreneurship Award is given to the team that “develops a comprehensive business plan in order to define, manage, and achieve the team’s ongoing objectives. This team displays entrepreneurial enthusiasm as well as demonstrates the vital planning and business skills to ensure a self-sustaining program”. Evaluation is based on the team’s ability to explain to the judges how their plan helps to ensure the team’s continued participation in FIRST. This includes how their business plan is organized, how the team makes decisions and divides their workload, how the team keeps students, mentors, and sponsors actively engaged, how they recruit and train future team members, and how they celebrate success and document lessons learned to prevent repeating mistakes. According to the Judges, our team “Displays entrepreneurial enthusiasm as well as demonstrates vital planning and business skills to ensure a self-sustaining program. This team had an infusion of 8th-grade students last year and quadrupled in size. Students operate the team as a small business and they have a solid business plan to back it up. They make a point to create a safe and inclusive space for their members”. We are so proud to have won this award for the first time in Team 4909’s history!
The team’s next competition is the NE District North Shore Event, which will take place from March 18-20 at Reading Memorial High School in Reading, MA. We are excited to compete again and hope that you will join us!
Last week, members of the shooter group discovered that the shooter was not working the way they intended; each piece of cargo flew with a higher trajectory than planned, and shots made from farther away were inaccurate. To combat these issues, students added another flywheel opposite the first one. With this addition, the rotational velocity would be negligible and the ball would not spin as it traveled to the Hub. In the days leading up to Week 0, the members focused on mounting the new flywheel and began to fix the singulator, which connected the intake and shooter subsystems. At the Week 0 competition, students quickly realized that the limelight was not synchronized with the robot, allowing them to only make shots from the Fender (area by the lower exit of the hub). Before matches started, another issue arose - the cargo was touching the flywheel while being held by the robot. To compensate for this, the indexer wheel had to be run slightly backwards. Due to several other complications, the team was not able to make it very far in the competition, but the goal of Week 0 is to learn, and members have been making adjustments to the shooter subsystem all throughout this week.
Last Saturday marked the official end of the 2022 Build Season! Team 4909 is excited to show off our new robot to our sponsors, parents, and the rest of our supportive community. Every year, following our 6-week build season, the team hosts a Robot Reveal Night; a momentous event to celebrate our robot’s completion. During this event, guests are encouraged to meet the team, our mentors, and watch our robot in action. This is an exciting occasion for everyone, and it is a time for everyone to reflect on how much time, effort, and support it took to accomplish this goal. We also use Robot Reveal Night to express our gratitude to everyone who provided us with the resources needed to make this possible. We could not have developed our robot without all of your contributions, from financial assistance to helping fabricate robot parts and supplying meals on days when our students and mentors worked long hours. Team 4909 is truly appreciative of all the consistent support you have given us throughout the 2022 build season. For more information about Robot Reveal Night, please see the invitation below.
This week, the Intake group finished assembling the intake mechanism. Members integrated the subsystem to the robot to analyze problems it may be having with movement. Students began to brainstorm solutions to these issues and started executing them by making new parts such as spacers. As these parts were connected to the robot mainframe, members started to figure out the wiring and electric components of the robot. Over the course of next week, the group plans to continue testing and fixing bugs to enhance the intake’s efficiency and reliability.
After several weeks of designing, the shooter group finally began manufacturing parts this week! Last Saturday, after finishing designs for the lightning cut-outs for the two shooter plates, students started to cut and create the parts using the Velox Router. Unfortunately, just a few seconds into the process, the spindle broke, leaving members with two aluminum sheets, and nothing to cut them with. However, with just a few phone calls, the team was able to get in touch with another FRC team, Team 125, who was able to help the group out. Thanks Team 125! On Monday, members received the plates and mounted them on the main robot frame. Students continued manufacturing and mounting parts all week, several new parts everyday; limelight, indexer wheel, flywheel, hood plate, pneumatic cylinders, support shafts, falcons, versa planetaries, and several sheets of lexan. With preliminary manufacturing now completed, the group is waiting for the software team to test the subsystem and eliminate any flaws that may be present before Week 0.
At the start of the week, the software team began wiring the robot. Most of the power wiring is completed, but there is some CAN wiring remaining that needs to be done. On Tuesday, members tested Falcon 500 motors on the drive train. Thursday was spent redoing the power wires and setting up various sensors for the robot. Students set up a color sensor that can detect the RGB values of an object, and implemented some code that allows the robot to determine the color of collected cargo. Members also worked with infrared sensors, which would allow them to know the location of cargo in the robot. On Friday, the group successfully set up multiple infrared sensors and worked on the drivetrain for the final robot.
Name: Alexander Ivanov
Title: Mechanical Team Member
Years on the Team: 4 years
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: “For the past two years I have spent my time working on shooter systems. Last year, I was the build lead of the shooter system. Unfortunately, there weren't any formal competitions during the 2021 season so my design was never used for the game.”
Impact: “My interest in robotics has been around longer than I have known about FIRST, and at some point, it refined into the desire of wanting to work with prosthetics. I joined Team 4909 soon after and, out of curiosity, found out what 'Bionics' is. As fate would have it, Bionics was the exact field of study that I wanted to work in. Besides discovering the name of what I wanted to do, FIRST has granted me the opportunity to learn and practice vital skills in CAD design and manufacturing using manual and automated devices.”
Favorite 4909 memory: “We were in a competition, and in the pit, the elevator mechanism failed, causing the springs to release. What ensued was a 1x1 beam of aluminum launching into the ceiling with a lot of people to bear witness in the resulting hole in the ceiling. Terrifying at the time, but absolutely hilarious upon reflection to this day.”
Plans after High School: “Go to college, travel the world, enjoy life.”
Ideal Job: “Prosthetist”
To start off the week, the intake group completed their CAD design by finishing up any remaining tasks from the prior week. On Thursday, members began manufacturing parts, starting with standoffs and the bars for the four-bar linkage system for collecting cargo. Students are going to continue manufacturing parts and assembling them as they wrap up the week.
Name: Siobhan Tolleson
Title: Mechanical Team Member
Years on the Team: 1 year
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: “I do machining. It's the most interesting part of robotics that I could quickly pick up and enjoy doing.”
Impact FIRST has had: “Even though robotics takes up a lot of time in addition to my other after-school activities, it has provided me with a place to put my skills to good use.”
Favorite 4909 memory: “I really liked making a part completely by myself this year. Even though I asked a lot of questions while making it, I'm proud to say I did it entirely on my own.”
Plans After High School: “I plan to attend college to pursue some combination of mathematics and computer science.”
Ideal Job: “Something related to computer science and math. Possibly a programmer or mathematician.”
Throughout build season, Team Operations has been working on rebranding the team by changing our logo to accurately represent 4909’s image. The team has continued to create and release safety quizzes each week. Read more about our safety program in our website’s safety section. Members have also been working on our submission for the Woodie Flowers Award. The Woodie Flowers award recognizes an FRC mentor who demonstrates “gracious professionalism” and inspires students in the principles of engineering. Team Operations has also begun to prepare for the competition season. This includes writing our team business plan, safety plan, and more. In addition, the group has been planning outreach events and fundraisers, so be on the lookout for more information in the coming weeks!
The shooter group has made a lot of progress with their CAD and started manufacturing parts this week. The beginning of the week heavily focused on making progress in CAD. Members designed the pneumatic system for the two-position flip-up hood, and added a motor and pulley for the indexer wheel. The group determined the best way to mount the shooter onto the robot by making custom gussets and creating a mount for the light. Students worked with the software group to add sensors such as a color and beam break sensor. At this point, the shooter design is complete, so members have started manufacturing parts like box beams, hex shafts, and support beams. The intake and climber subsystems have been integrated into the shooter CAD, and students are finalizing their designs today with design reviews.
This week, the intake group finalized the geometry needed for the four bars used to deploy and retract the intake to fit inside the robot. Members then integrated the intake assembly onto the final robot CAD. The group looked at different options for gas shocks, and after testing a few out, ultimately decided which one best fit the group’s needs. After color-coding the shafts and other parts of the intake, the group attached multiple components including a neo 550, compliant wheels, and belts. Before installing some of the components like the belt, the team had to design and add on spacers. Members calculated the gear ratio for the neo and decided the placement of the mechanum wheels so that they center the cargo as it comes in contact with the robot. At the end of the week, the group discussed where to place the piston on the intake so it can extend and retract.
The climber group spent this week redesigning the hooks the robot will use to climb the hangar. On Monday, members split into three groups; two worked on static hook designs, and one worked on a dynamic hook design. After discovering their designs did not work halfway through the week, the static hook groups decided to brainstorm alternatives. The static hook is now complete in CAD, and members have been fixing some bugs in the dynamic hook CAD. The team plans to hold a design review for the climber subsystem next week.
Name: Tanmay Sonawane
Title: Mechanical Team Member
Years on Team: 3 years
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: “I am a member of the intake group.”
Impact FIRST has had: “Robotics has been a great after-school activity. I got to know about robotics through Mr. Flanagan and I feel that I made a good decision by joining the team. I have learned the importance of teamwork and how various engineering tools are used. It is still astonishing to me how high school students, with the help of a few mentors, can build such a complex robot.”
Favorite 4909 memory: “Working on Control Panel Manipulator in 2021 season.”
Plans After High School: “I am planning on going to college, most likely UMass Lowell.”
Ideal Job: “Data Scientist, but it can change.”
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