Friday, January 22, 2016

FIRST Robotics - Progress Report Two.

Evolution of a robot.

Two projects growing together.  On one side we have the software and electronics groups working on the competition level setup.  For test purposes the board is still set up with some simple motors.   Note the pneumatic cylinder and compressor on board.

Elsewhere the mechanical team has the competition frame, motors and gearboxes together.  The challenge this year includes crossing multiple obstacles.  One of the harder ones is a 4.5 inch solid bar. Our solution is a separate elevated "crawler wheel" up front that walks the front of the robot up the wall a couple of inches...then gun the motors and fly over Dukes of Hazzard style!

As a solution it is elegant in its extreme, almost dumb simplicity.  Of course much refinement needs to be done and the mounting for the wheel (or wheels?) will all be solid metal soon.

By the way there are no "secret weapons" in FIRST.  Teams are pretty much open about what they are working on and we in fact had a couple of adult coaches from established teams helping us out at times.

Alas, when we tried to put the mechanical and electronic elements together the usual thing happened...the software froze up again.  Frustratingly this cost us an entire build session.  A robot with non functional software is in effect, a giant paper weight.

Eventually of course the software decided to behave, and we put the frame and the real electronics together.  Next step was adding a second crawler wheel, which enhances climbing abilities nicely.


It occurred to us that the crawlers might also pick up the ball and deposit it on board.  After various tests it turns out to be true but only with a sweep arm that pushes the ball onto the wheels.

Next step is a pneumatic kicker to fire the ball into a goal.  Initial tests are promising.  One week and 5 days into the build season.  So far......I think OK?

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