STEAMWORKS Kickoff 2017

Kickoff is like a robotics team’s Christmas. On January 7th, the Daleks gathered close in the early hours of the morning, some still in their pajamas, for the day we’d all been waiting for. The build room was our living room, the projection screen our Christmas tree, and as for the gifts, there was only one- but one was all we wanted. The task reveal for STEAMWORKS, the FRC challenge for 2017, was only moments away. While others sang along to the music parodies other teams had submitted, a small group of members lined up for a picture with our team’s photographer. These members were responsible for the Daleks’ 2017 Safety Animation, which had just been awarded runner-up recognition for the FIRST Safety Animation Award. As congratulations went around, the lights dimmed, and the voices of the FIRST directors filled the room. After a brief introduction, the task reveal was broadcasted to the viewers. The teams would build a robot to fuel an airship through high goals, low goals, gear placement, and rope climbing. Our eyes went wide as we discovered that the human player, for the first time ever, would be a live participant in earning points during the More

Community Outreach

While most robots are in sleep mode post-competition season, the same can’t be said for Team 3637. When we aren’t exterminating our obstacles and challenges, we can be easily found out and about in Hunterdon County. Our most recent expeditions brought us to the 4-H Fair, Community Day, and the Hunterdon Chamber of Commerce’s Business and Home Expo.

In the midst of the August summer’s haze, The Daleks ventured out, Hexcalibur in tow, to the 4-H fair. We were given an area to set up, which we filled with a simulated match courtyard, the robot, and various informational items about the team, such as pamphlets and buttons. As people flooded in, children were beckoned towards our area, invited to play a game of catch with Hexcalibur as it showed off its maneuvers on different types of terrain. In the meantime, several members discussed the team with parents in regard to events, goals, our mission, and competitions, while others introduced the group to potential sponsors. Though the sun made us sizzle, we couldn’t have had a better time, and went home feeling satisfied all four days of the splendid event.

A few weeks later, Raritan Township Community Day rolled around, as … More

Brunswick Eruption 2016

The team poured in, bright but bleary-eyed, at approximately 8 a.m., and opening ceremonies were kicked off by the national anthem not twenty minutes later. We snapped our heads towards the game schedule and found we were immediately engaged, scheduled to compete in the first qualifying match of the day. At 9 a.m., Hexcalibur had emerged from hibernation and taken its stance on the field, decked in red alliance bumpers and blinking reverently. The timer sounded, and in a flash, our alliance was victorious 72-60, but the drivers hurried to escort the robot back into the pit. Upon inquiring with the chiefs, it was found that Hexcalibur’s swiss was not functioning during the round, despite a splendid performance. Further inspection revealed that a sensor was loose in the snowblower motor, and was hastily repaired. Even so, we suffered defeat in the following two matches, but returned triumphant in the fourth and fifth, finishing the qualifying games in 6th place, making us alliance captains for the elimination rounds to come.

From the 41 participating teams, we selected our gracious hosts, Team 25, Raider Robotix, and Team 533, The PSIcotics, to ally with us in the upcoming matches. Before the games began, More

Postseason Projects

Although the robotics season has ended, the Daleks have had a busy couple of months. Once again, Team 3637 participated in Hunterdon Central’s annual Family Science Night to open the minds of children and adults to how awesome science really is. Hexcalibur made an appearance there as well as at Central’s STEAM showcase, where people and organizations displayed their creations to the public.

In May, The Daleks also participated in Relay For Life, an event that raises money and awareness for cancer research. This year we were again a “Rising Star Team,” recognized for raising over $1,000 to EXTERMINATE cancer.

Team 3637 will hold a “boot camp” for our FLL teams in August, and we look forward to another great season with our youngest local FIRST participants.… More

The Fifth Week of Build

by Matt P.

All of the Daleks are hard at work. Currently, the technical team is refining multiple portions of the robot and fitting them all onto the robot. A pneumatic system is being designed to help with some of the robot’s functions. The group working on that will be figuring out where the air tanks will go, how they will run the piping, and they will mount the compressors and the solenoids.

Another group is working on a trigger system the finalize the robot’s ability to fire. The roller mechanism is also being revamped, by adding attributes like a new leather coating to help the robot actually pick the ball up. On other portions of the robot, the all-important bumpers and mounts are being added.

The electrical team is also working tirelessly on its portion of the robot, getting power to different parts and getting new portions wired in and mounted. This team has begun to get power to the analog breakout board and is adding a reverse pin mount, and working on the logistics of the camera.

Programming is working on writing and refining robot code to make it work. Arguably one of the most important parts to … More

The Fourth Week of Build

By T.M.

As Team 3637 breaks through the first month of build season, Tech is breaking through plexiglass, steel, wire, and code to make improvements on all parts of the robot, while Non-Tech is working hard on tee-shirts, logos, and public relations.

Electrical is working with the plexiglass for a two-level wiring system, allowing for space and protection of the systems.  Holes are drilled into the sheet where the electrical components can be put through, and the main gears of the launching mechanism can be attached.

Mechanical has a drive train completed and is finishing up the final aspects of the robot to be mounted on the chassis. This includes the catapult arm, launching mechanism, and retrieval arm. A prototype of the retrieval arm is being tested along with other modifications.

One group that sometimes doesn’t get as much recognition is Programming. They have been working tirelessly updating software and programming the robot code, drive code, and configuring the robot components. Members have been inputting programs and code for the robot as well as testing different settings of the drive gear and wheels. Vision targets are also being set up for the programming of the camera.

The team is moving … More

NJ Regionals 3-5-11 Day 3

Today was a very fun day! We only had two matches and unfortunately we lost them both. The first match we realized that the changes to the Tele-Op program perfected our drive and were were about to score a third piece before the other team had scored their first. To all the Daleks out there, I am proud of you all!  Below are pictures and videos from today. A list of the pictures can be found HERE!

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NJ Regionals 3-4-11 Day 2

Today was a VERY tiring day. We had many matches and as a team we succeed our goal. Our robot was hitting autonomous perfectly and we perfected the art of feeding a tube to a robot. We have 4 seeding matches tomorrow and we hope to score top row logos in each round! Below are pics and videos of today’s competition. The images in a list can be found HERE.

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NJ Regionals 3-3-11 Day 1

Today was a long day! Our team’s robot started on the weak side. We had to recalibrate the line sensors and remake part of the claw since the tubes are bigger than the ones we practiced with and it made the claw extend to outside the bumper perimeter. Pics from today are below. Also the images are in a list HERE.

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Robot Dropoff 3-2-11

Today we dropped off our robot and tools in our official pit box.  Also I would like to thank Tyrrell Tech for printing us a free banner. It looks AMAZING!… More

Build 2-22-11

Today was the last day, and by far the most stressful. With the new cRIO firmware, our sensors began to act erratically at random times. And, the firmware decided to corrupt and cause dangerous actions, such as causing the drive motors to spin in opposite directions at full speed by themselves, nearly killing half the team. Of course, though, we were wearing safety goggles 😉  Additionally, we bagged and suffocated the robot, as you can see below:… More

Build 2-21-11

Today we finished building and wiring the robot. This left autonomous. We were able to successfully program an autonomous mode that worked just about every time. Additionally, we finished the drivers console. It is made of plexiglass, which looks really sharp. 🙂

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Scrimmage 2-20-11

Today we went to a pre-ship/bag scrimmage. Here are a few pics:

Pictures can be cycled faster by clicking on them.… More

Build 2-19-11

Today, our team finished switching out the ultrasonic sensors, and added a gyro to the scissor lift. The gyro didn’t work so team 75, the RoboRaiders, offered to give us their KOP gyro. Additionally they gave us TWO KOP s ball screws! Thanks Guys!
Our operator console team finished making the Plexiglass sheets, and now we just need some Plexiglass glue to finish building it.… More

Build 2-18-11

Today was a long build day. We rewired ultrasonics for the 3rd time, as we had given up on getting the Parallaxes to work. We replaced them with Vex ultrasonic sensors, which, thankfully, work. Additionally, we had a separate team work on creating a driver’s console. We are making it out of the extra plexiglass that we had. That stuff was ancient as well, so the protective adhesive was hard to peel off. The team had to spend a few hours just to peel off one! I myself programmed autonomous fully. The code, theoretically, should work after it is calibrated to real sensor values, instead of only pseudo values. Significant work has been done on the minibot deployment system, and it is expected to be done soon. We are hoping to get it on before we run out of time.

Pictures can be cycled faster by clicking on them.… More

Build 2-17-11

Today, we worked on getting the WiFi to work on our robot. As of now, we still can’t connect via WiFi. We also ran our robot through the inspection list, and it seems that we’ll pass! I hope to dedicate tomorrow to autonomous.… More

Build 2-16-11

Today, we added a second pin onto every ultrasonic sensor. Also, we wired our crossover cable from the camera to the cRIO. The Chairman’s Award (the rookie all-star award) is finally submitted, so now we can focus on other things, such as finalizing the minibot deployment system. All that is left is now to program autonomous, which could be problematic with the ultrasonic sensors still not working.… More

Build 2-15-11

Today, we finished wiring the ultrasonic sensors, and also the power cord from the camera to the power distribution board. I tried programming the ultrasonic sensors, but it appears that the cRIO doesn’t like switching back and forth, between in and out, on a digital interrupt. We’re going to need to make each signal wire go to two different pins, so I can ping and receive the echo.… More

Build 2-14-11

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Today, we finished the wiring on the CIMs and Jaguars. We also started mounting and wiring the ultrasonic sensors. Vinyls were also made for our school’s name, and for the “Remove before Flight” lettering, for the shipping transportation. Additionally, we re-drilled holes for the battery plate, which was in the same spot that the CIM motors were in.… More

Build 2-12-11

Sorry for the delay on this and the following few posts! I’ve been really busy. So today, we added on two more Jaguars and two more CIMS. We also added encoders onto the drive shafts.… More

Build 2-11-11

Today we moved the robot, from the workshop at a student’s house to a workshop at school. We will be there for the remainder of the build season. In order for the school’s workshop to suit our needs, we had to move all of the workbenches in the workshop out of the way. We were quite surprised with what we found beneath those workbenches, as it seemed that some ancient historical artifact had welded itself to the ground. We couldn’t even scrape it all off! A video of the robot’s trip to the school’s workshop will be posted later, after an accelerated video and a post-processing video stabilization.

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Build 2-8-11

Today, we packed up the entire workshop, preparing  for the move to the school tomorrow. Below is the robot in its transportation state.… More

Build 2-7-11

Today we switched out the limit switches for gyros, so that we could have more precision with the arm. We also added the camera, with mount, to the arm. Additionally, we finalized most of the changes to the robot, and should be ready to bring it back to the school tomorrow.

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Build 2-6-11

Today we zip-tied down all our wires, so the wiring is really clean-looking! We also did a lot of high peg testing, and it is getting both easier and faster to hang a peg.

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Build 2-5-11

Today, we got a lot done. We started out with a new wire, and wired up all the motors. We also wired up all the limit switch sensors, and finished plumbing. After completion, we ran into a problem. A window motor would lock up! We later found out that it was due to the locking pins inside the motor, which we removed. Now, it runs like a charm. 🙂

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Build 2-4-11

Today, we plumbed most of the robot. We did an air test, and the newly-fitted gauges look sweet in the scissor brackets. We also started to wire the robot, only to find we didn’t have 12 gauge wire. So, we can’t wire any of the Jaguars, or any of the motors. First thing tomorrow morning, we plan on going out to buy 12 gauge wire, and finally wire the robot!

Pictures can be cycled faster by clicking on them.… More

Build 2-3-11

Today was great! We got a lot done. The electric drop sheet was completed, and mounted on the robot. Additionally, the entire scissor assembly, and arm, are now mounted on the robot. All that is left is the plumbing and rewiring. After that, we should be ready to do testing! Below are all the pictures of the scissor lift and arm. Additionally, there is a video of the gripper mechanism in action.

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Build 2-1-11

Now that everyone has finished their finals, we all have much more time to work. Today Szymon and I ripped apart the entire robot to add a new bottom, and the new scissor brackets/standoffs, onto the robot. Tomorrow, we will finish laying out the electrical system, and permanently mounting it. The robot is starting to look really fancy! 🙂 I can’t wait, because tomorrow we are planning on mounting the scissor and arm.

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Build 1-29-11

Today, the bumpers were finally completed! Our robot looks awesome! Additionally, we wired and programmed limit switches with a window motor, which will be controlling our scissor lift. The scissor lift itself is nearly finished, and should be on the robot by Tuesday or Wednesday. The minibot was also cut down in size, so it now fits inside the legal size constraints. And, I am proud to say, it still climbs!

We will be on break from building till Tuesday (end of exams).… More

Build 1-28-11

Today we worked specifically on the minibot, and as a result got a successful prototype. Additionally, we found out that our little servo setup isn’t legal, as well as the voltage regulator we are using to power the servo. So, we now have to scrap those, and find a whole new set of servos. We also attempted to get it to work without a relay, by switching the servo direction constantly. But, that didn’t work well enough, because if one packet was dropped from the driver station, it would move all the way to the other side.