Monday, January 16, 2017

FIRST Robotics 2017 - Build Season Week One

We had a few bumps in the road but have made good progress.  Regards the former, we lost one work day due to weather, and had some of our parts go missing for a while.  But as was the case last season we get a lot done on Saturdays.  We in fact have our three main systems all working in prototype stage and have our competition drive frame and electronics partly done.

Evolution of a robot.

The game this year involves manipulating these big plastic gears around.  We have to deliver them onto this springy thing.

We also have to collect the gears.  Our system for doing this involves having them drop down between these two plastic plates.  The back plate is designed to be springy and flexible so as to encourage the gear to rebound down into the space.  Oh, that's just not true.  We did not design it that way we just built it out of scrap stuff on hand and noticed that function as a happy accident.

Another feature of the challenge involves tracking with a light sensor.  The "target" area has reflective tape on it.  I just happened to catch a good flash off it with this shot.  The on board cameras of the robot will also be looking for this.

The final version of course will have a polycarbonate front plate.  Here we were just mocking it up built on last years drive frame and using plywood.  The gear holder is also wood at present, but does function to cleanly drop the gear on cue.

Another aspect of the challenge involves, not kiddin' here, the robot scaling a rope.  So, about 120 pounds hauling itself four feet up in the air in fifteen seconds.  We actually had parts on hand that let us build this proof of concept lifting device.  

It is helpful to have great big ceiling beams when you want to test a winch.  It lifted more than the required weight and at a very brisk pace.  

Wooden prototypes are OK, but the process of converting over to nice neat finished work will take us a few weeks, even if unexpected difficulties do not arise.

They always seem to.

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