On the first day of build season, the team discussed ideas for our drive train and later discussed way to climb or rise up to level 3 of the habitation zone. At the next meeting, the team split up into four groups: elevator, hatch panel manipulator, cargo manipulator, and drive train. Our three build leads took on these tasks. Meanwhile, the team’s two robot leads worked on the drive train.
The main task of the elevator sub-group was to determine how the robot would lift the game pieces in Destination: Deep Space. This includes the cargo (13 in. balls) and hatch panels (19 in. circular cutout); the cargo and the hatch panels must be placed at various ports on the rocket ranging from about 2 ft. to 7 ft. We brainstormed basic ways to score in the highest goal, as that would be the most difficult. Having the ability to score in the highest goal would mean the robot could score in the two goals below. As a group, we came up with 3 major ways to complete the task. Shooting the game pieces, lifting the game pieces with an arm, or lifting them with an elevator. We quickly eliminated a shooter because it is not logical to launch the hatches into the air, so an elevator or arm was required to place the hatches. In addition, using an elevator or arm would be more accurate for scoring the cargo into the hole. We then discussed the pros & cons of both options. We ultimately chose the elevator due to the fact, we have built an elevator before. As a team we have an idea of what works, and what doesn’t. In addition it is faster than an arm, and more realistic to build. After our final decision of building an elevator was made, we began getting specific and putting our ideas in CAD (Computer Aided Design), a program that allows users to create accurately dimensioned models and manipulate them in 3D space on a computer.
Hatch Panel Manipulator:
This week, a section of the team worked on designing the “Hatch Panel Manipulator”. This is a subsystem of our robot that will be responsible for picking up, holding, and depositing hatch panels in a designated area. A hatch panel is a big circle of lexan; it is 19 inches in diameter, 3/16 of an inch thick, and has a 6 inch hole in the center. The task is to move these from specific pick-up areas to designated ports, thus plugging holes in game field elements. To come up with ideas, a tactic called “Brainswarming” was used. This involves large quantities of ideas being written down and discussed; after a large sum of ideas are presented, the group begins to pare down on the number until only a few remain. These are then weighed for pros and cons and a final design is then fleshed out. In order to pick up the hatch panels, we decided to go for an approach that includes the manipulation of the hatch panel using mechanical arms. This idea will continue to be refined, prototyped, and finalized over the next week.
This group began with brainstorming ideas to intake the cargo by drawing in the engineering notebook. We came up with an idea which included two arms with wheels at the end of each intake the cargo. Our sub-system group started to CAD our design on the computer.
Over the past week, the software team has been working on writing basic code for the robot and began to delve into some of the team’s more complex goals as well. In order to be on schedule with the mechanical team, the software team has written the drivetrain code for the robot so that when the chassis is completed, the code can be tested right away. Similarly, after analyzing the game during Kickoff, it was clear that line tracking and vision processing are going to be vital in order to be an elite team. As a result, members started to test around with various sensors to see which would help the robot stay in line with the white tape on the floor. The software team was able to configure a photoelectric sensor which could detect if the robot was on the carpet or on the white tape. Through this, the team is prototyping with a practice robot so members can later implement this into the competition bot.
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