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!

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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).

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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.

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Build 1-25-11

Today, we added a third line-tracking sensor. After coding it, it now tracks till the end every time. Additionally we coded a toggle button on the joysticks for a piston.

The minibot crew also made headway with designing and prototyping a robot today. Hopefully we will get a working prototype soon. 😛


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Build 1-24-11

Today, as usual, we got a lot done. The coding errors have all been ironed out, and the robot works flawlessly with the driver station. We also got to test our new high torque servos! We plugged them in, gave them a run, and guess what? They are only 2-way servos! We could only get them to stop at two spots: far left, and far right. To resolve this problem, we connected a spike relay to the servo power cables, so that the servo only has power when we give it power. Now,it works just like a continuous servo.

Also, our team came up with many minibot designs today. Soon we will building prototypes of these designs.

Finally, we had the chance to test our line tracking code. Currently, we have  some bugs to iron out, since it only works about half the time. We also discovered the speed of our bot. In the video below, the speed is only at 40 percent of its potential.

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Build 1-22-11

Today, we toured the workshop of FIRST Team 75, the Robo-Raiders. Afterward, our electrical guy, Szymon, and I went to the shop to work out some kinks in the control system. With the help of a few team members on Chief Delphi, we recoded everything, so it would not conflict with the driver console.

Also, team members Christina and Adam glued all the noodles onto our bumper panels, so on Monday we can cloth them up! 😀

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Build 1-21-11

Today, we finished reassembling the robot, through the finalization of the pneumatic system. We also did some initial autonomous testing with line tracking.

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Build 1-20-11

Today, while the programmers took a break, the electrical and game-piece building went into high gear. The entire electrical system was rewired, and rearranged in such a way that everything would fit on the robot. This way, we can start to test the autonomous code tomorrow! The scoring poles were all cut and glued together today, as well. When we have the time, these poles will be screwed onto the alliance walls.

Additionally, the bumpers should be ready to go by tomorrow. We already have one built, and the rest of them will be assembled tomorrow and Saturday.

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Build 1-19-11

Today, we mounted the line sensors, and programmed code to get the sensors to track a line, in theory. We are waiting for all the electronics to be strapped to the robot, in such a way that the motors won’t rip the wires to shreds before we can test it on the ground. A video of the process should be expected tomorrow or Friday.

Also, the game field assembly is up and running, and should be done soon.

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Build 1-17-11

So, today was a very full day! FIRST Team 3637 visited, and toured, two of our Mentors’ businesses. First, we went to Paul Bamburak’s company, Alpha Automation. This company specializes in circuits, control systems and automation. We saw many cool things, like the PCB Board Machine, (video below) which made PCB boards without the need of a person soldering on each individual component. For example, there is a product that is used to determine if a child will get a head injury from falling from a certain height, on a playground surface. We also got to see prototypes in the next room, being made to control stage props in a theater, using Mecanum wheels.

Next we went to Haskel Zeloof’s company, Diversatech, to see the shop, a prototype design for our scissor lift and demonstrations of the Waterjet and CNC Turret punch (videos below). We also got to see one of our brackets being Waterjetted. After the tour, we discussed our scissor lift with an engineer known as “Mud Dude.”

Later, we went to lunch at a Chinese restaurant, discussing the issues and planning for the work that we were going to do in the workshop later. We arrived to find that nothing was working on the robot. We later diagnosed that the entire digital sidecar was dead. After swapping out the digital side car for the spare, we jumped the PWM Servo pins, and successfully were able to control our servos.

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Build 1-15-11

Today, we worked on pneumatics, servo’s and manipulator designs. We had additional mentors in the shop today, including Jim Vena (AKA “Mud Dude”), and Alex Michalski. “Mud Dude” can be seen in front of the blackboard, and Alex is seen assembling a prototype manipulator. Below is also a video of our pneumatic test, in which we successfully were able to control a pneumatic cylinder.

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Build 1-14-11

Today, we soldered up the magnetic rotary encoder, and programmed a small real time script in order to get feedback from it successfully. We also got our line trackers powered up, but it looks like we are going to need optical isolators, so we can get them to work with our digital sidecar. Lastly, we started putting together our pneumatic assembly.

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