This week the team continued to manufacture additional pieces for the subsystems of the robot. They used various machines such as the bandsaw, chop saw, mills, lathes, CNC lathe, Velox CNC router, and the 3D printers. They had made everything from milled aluminum to 3D printed spacers. The majority of the parts were completed, and with these completed parts, they started to assemble and wire several components of the robot such as the shooter, intake, and the indexer.
This fifth week of build season, the team has been working on finishing all of the subsystems to be ready to put together, which includes the elevator. The elevator, which is 3 stages tall, will extend during the endgame, to allow us to earn more points by hanging on the generator switch. So far, the team has completed two of the three stages. However, an error with the 3D printer has slightly halted the team’s progress. Still, this is an only slight concern and is something that they can quickly fix, finishing the assembly within the next meeting or two.
This week, the software team was hard at work getting the robot up and running. The build team implemented a lot of new functionality, such as a turret (mechanism that allows the shooter to rotate independently) and the completed frame of the robot, so the software team coded and tested for much of the week. They also wrote a program that allowed the robot, using vision processing, to track the “power port” in real-time. The program was successfully tested, and they are now exceedingly close to creating code that would allow the shooter to adjust velocity to create a perfect shot every time. Also, they are now able to drive the robot and use the shooter's feeder mechanism. Once they had these capabilities up and running, they tested the robot's overall abilities. In parallel, the team also continued to work on creating an LED visual interface for the robot and work on using the Pixy Cam (camera with a sensor) to track the “power cells” on the field and use them for intake.
Name: Tom Calzini
Title: Safety Captain
Years on Team: 4 Years
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: “Safety (training the team for tool use and to ensure that the shop
poses no threat) and Mechanical”
Impact FIRST has had: “It made me realize that mechanical engineering is something that I do want to go into and that some of these people I will keep as friends in college and beyond”
Favorite 4909 memory: Detroit 2019
Plans After High School: College to major in Mechanical Engineering with a double minor in Biomedical engineering and nanotechnology
Ideal Job: prosthetic developer
Throughout the week, team ops has been focusing on brainstorming ideas for fundraising, community outreach, and ways to win awards. They have been focused on preparing for the Judges’ presentation. The judges’ presentation is a team interview which helps the judges decide whether they are qualified to deserve an award. The team has been preparing for this interview so everyone will be able to present the most excellent qualities of the team and answer any questions that follow after the presentation. The judges’ presentation is used by the judges for the recipient selection process. The team has been working very hard to compile all of the information that may be needed.
Hopper and 3D Printing:
This week, a few members of the team have been learning how to use the new 3D printers in the shop. With a new school came new technology and a space to help the team reach its highest potential. With the new 3D printers, they have printed sets of polycord rollers for the hopper. The hopper is an intermediate section of the robot that will move power cells (balls) from the intake to the indexer. They learned how to do some minor maintenance on the printers such as changing the filament, zeroing it out and learning how to manually change temperatures. They also worked on an indexer, which carries the power cells (balls) from the robot’s hopper to the shooter.
This week the newer members of the team have been making heavy metal parts. They had been guided by team mentors on the proper use of the machines and now are working on making the parts. They have made various parts for the lift, the intake, shooter, chassis, and storage. Not only have they made parts for the robot, but they have also been learning how to program, CAD, and understand the “operations” of the team itself.
This week, we worked on power cell detection with a pixy cam, distance detection with an ultrasonic sensor, and LEDs. A pixy cam is a camera that can run a built-in object detection program. We are using this to detect a power cell, allowing us to greater simplify how we collect balls autonomously. Next, we worked on LEDs, which will help us relay information to the drivers or just have festive colors during our matches. Our work on ultrasonic sensors will tell the robot how far away a wall is at any time; this helps the robot determine where it is on the field and how it is oriented during the autonomous period, helping us score points quickly and efficiently. All of the progress we’ve made will set us up for success in our first competition.
Name: Sriram Krishnamoorthy
Title: Programming Team Member
Years on Team: 4 Years
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: “Software, image processing, fine-tuning subsystems”
Impact FIRST has had: “exposed me to a world of engineering, design, and helped me meet people that I never would have known otherwise. It inspired me to pursue software”
Favorite 4909 memory: “Programming vision processing at 10 PM”
Plans After High School: Become a computer engineer and start my own business
Ideal Job: CEO of a huge tech company
For the Intake group this week was one filled with lots of learning and growth. The group continued to build a prototype. They focused on assembling a Versa Planetary Motor, which is a motor used to rotate an object. The older team members have been guiding some of the newer ones for assembly.
Throughout the past week, the team manufactured the pieces needed to assemble the drive train. In order to get a precise cut, they used the Velox CNC — a machine used to cut materials, like wood, with great precision. In addition, they custom cut their own Gearbox plates. These plates were created so that they could mount Falcon 500 motors (brushless motor that spins objects) onto the drive train, allowing them to achieve a speed of 15 meters per second.
This third week of build season, the shooter team designed and prototyped the indexer: the part of the robot that holds the power cells (balls) before they are shot out. They went through a few different ideas before finally deciding on one specific, improved design. The group is excited to create the final version to go on the robot in the coming weeks.
This week, the software team started to work on the PID, a program that helps the robot drive in autonomous mode and sense the distance the robot travels. They have also been working on controlling the velocity of the shooter mechanism. Lastly, the software team has finished writing the code for the sensor to detect which color the control panel (colored disk) should stop on to activate stages of the shield generator.
In addition to working hard on the robot the team has been working on a few fundraisers to help raise money for upcoming expenses. The team is currently selling raffle tickets for a chance to win a brick of 300 $1.00 scratch tickets. Only 125 tickets will be sold for each set of scratch tickets. If you are interested in purchasing a ticket to be in the drawing you can email the team at email@example.com. We will also be selling tickets outside of local stores in Billerica, make sure to check out our social media for more details.
The team is also working with Panera Bread to put on a restaurant night. The team will be hosting this event on Thursday February 13th, from 4-8 PM at the Panera Bread location in Billerica MA. In order for the team to raise money a photo of the flyer must be shown when the order is taken. It can be a physical copy of the flyer or a digital copy from our website or social media. We can't wait to see everyone there!
Name: Jeff Davis
Title: Co-Robot Lead
Years on Team: 4 Years
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: “Team organization, meeting planning, and electrical”
Impact FIRST has had: “ FIRST made me more confident in my leadership abilities. It helped me figure out my future career path and focus my passions”
Favorite 4909 memory: “The team's snowball fight”
Plans After High School: College (attending WPI) as a robotics major and working as an intern during his time there.
Ideal Job: Disney Imagineer
Throughout the past week, the team tested the accuracy of our shooter prototype from various distances (30 in, 10 ft, 35 ft). They changed the motors to more powerful ones as well as modified the shooter itself to optimize the shots. While testing, the team also mimicked possible robot heights for the shooter to run at.
Initially, the team had decided on a short robot. Due to this presumption, they had decided to attach an arm onto the robot to climb. With various iterations of the other subsystems, the team decided that it would be best to have a taller robot design. This opened up many options for the climber design. The team is currently in the process of redesigning the climbing mechanism.
This week, a design was decided on for the intake. The team created a prototype and is currently putting prototype in CAD. The intake mechanism will extend over the robot’s edge and use wheels to spin “power cells” into its indexer.
The indexer functions as an intermediary between the intake and shooter components. When the short robot design was in play, the team created a “washing machine” type design where the balls would move in a circular motion until they need to be shot into a goal. Now, with a taller robot design, the team designed a CAD model for a conveyor-belt-type mechanism to feed balls from the intake up to the shooter.
The first week of this FRC build season was a week for the software team to experiment with sensors and technology that proved valuable this year. They started by experimenting with a color spinner, which will help us handle the color wheel in-game. We programmed the color sensor to recognize the four colors and alert them in the order they spin.
We also continued coding subsystems such as the drivetrain. With the newer members learning and contributing, we created the basic framework for another drive system. The Limelight (the team’s primary robot vision tool) also received an update. The software team set it up to track the "power port," the place where the robot needs to shoot the "power cells," in 3D; it can also chart the robot's field position. As the week comes to a close, the subteam is fine-tuning the Limelight camera to track the target's angle and distance.
Our seventh annual build season has kicked off! The team is now 33 members strong, and we have hit 30% female participation and 45% people of color. On the first day of build season, the team separated into groups to discuss designs for the four subsystems: intake, climber, shooter, and wheel spinner.
The intake group’s responsibility is to capture power cells(balls) in the fastest way possible while holding the maximum amount of power cells. Some of the ideas included a vacuum system, two wheels spinning towards each other, and a horizontal bar spinning with wheels perpendicular to it. They looked at some of the intake systems on our older robots for reference. For now, they are committed to the spinning horizontal bar design and are currently in the prototyping phase.
The main task of the climber group is to design a mechanism for the robot to be able to climb the shield generator(structure to climb on) in order to score additional points. First, this group began brainstorming several designs, keeping in mind that the mechanism should be under 2 ft in order to navigate around the field. The mechanism would have to extend 6ft in order to hang on the shield generator. After a discussion, the group narrowed it down to two designs and will soon move on to the prototype designing stage.
This week, a section of the team worked on designing a mechanism that would be able to manipulate the control panels. This subsystem of the robot will be responsible for rotating the control panels(colored disks) a certain amount of times to activate stages of the shield generator(climbing structure). The software team is working on writing code that should be able to detect which color the control panel should stop on in order to activate the stages. This team is designing their top ideas in CAD(Computer Aided Design). The group is still on the CAD stage.
The main task of the shooter mechanism is to shoot power cells(balls) into the power port to score points. This group came up with six design ideas and narrowed them down to two using a pros and cons list. This allowed them to pick the best out of the two designs, start a CAD model, and build a functioning prototype. By testing it, this group has been able to make alterations to the prototype as well.
Name: Robert Lee
Title: Team Member
Years on Team: 4 Years
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: “Inventory management and parts storage.”
Impact FIRST has had: “An introduction to working with a team/work environment. It also taught me how to rely on other people and work alongside them.”
Favorite 4909 memory: “Working with poly cord freshman year.”
Plans After High School: Attend Fitchburg State for a masters degree in criminal justice
Ideal Job: Law enforcement or working for FEMA/disaster planning