Monday, January 29, 2018

FIRST Robotics 2018 - Report Four

The week featured more delays and distractions due to weather, finals, illness and a contingent away doing Science Olympiad.  But we kept forging ahead.

Turning parts on the lathe.  This is actually a plastic called Delrin that is being made into pulleys.

Continuing our team tradition of building ludicrously over engineered components, our lifting mechanism takes shape.  Folks, that ain't no wimpy aluminum.

With a bit of lag time before other elements are ready, the build team is making parts for the competition robot frame.  Quality work, no kludge allowed.  And we label them so that they don't get used for other projectes.

Software has a practice course laid out in blue tape.  Naturally they are running into a few gremlins but better now than later.  We hope to have both the competition robot and its sparring partner running at the same time in a week or two.

Approaching the dreaded mid point of build season the team kicked into high gear.  Major mechanisms came together.  Parts arrived.  And the work force grew.  On a team with an official roster of 28 it is amazing to have 20 turn up to work...including another new recruit.  Keeping everyone busy on projects that are coordinated to all come together at the proper moment is a real challenge.  But a good problem to have.  Interestingly we are victims of our own success with regards to team growth. One of our biggest expenses is hotel and food costs at out of town tournaments.  This is a factor in deciding whether we can actually do two events - and finish the season dead broke - or scale back to one and keep some start up money for the off season/early season next year.

After a productive weekend we find our selves at a point where if necessary, three or four days of frantic, caffeine powered work would get us a kludgy but functional robot. With three weeks to go that's not a bad place to be although much work is needed to get anything really reliable.  

Here is the final version of the "Bear Claw" box handler.  When it grabs a box the box is not going anywhere until we let go of it.

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