2017 Season kicked off on Saturday, January 7th. The team went to WCTC to meet up with other teams for the FIRST game kick-off event.
This year’s challenge Steamworks is a steampunk themed game played by two Alliances of three robots each. Robots score points by picking up and placing a 13″ gear, shooting fuel (whiffle balls) into a boiler, and climbing a rope to board the airship. Keeping with the steampunk theme of the game, the field had an airship that was to be board by the alliance. The full game explanation and animation can be found here.
Week 1: Strategy and Design
During week 1, we had to develop goals and needs for our robot. We decided to develop a robot capable of getting gears from the gear slot, pick up fuel from the field, place gears on the peg, shoot fuel into the boiler, and climb the rope. We started building out the playing field items that will be needed to test and practice with the robot. The CAD (Computer Aided Design) team started designing the robot components before we started building the robot. The programming team loaded new software and tested code that will be used during the season.
Week 2 – Design and Prototype
Design work continued and the team started to prototype different ideas for ball collection and chassis design. Different ideas were considered for wheels to use. The control team experimented with different auto-align codes using the 2015 practice chassis.
Design continued this week, however physical building took place in the form of creating supports and cross members. Milling and cutting of the these parts started this week. In addition to this, the Computer Aided Design team continued working with the climbing and a high shooting mechanisms while the programming team worked on code for the tank drive and the ball sucker. The team also worked on gearbox selection and worked out the math concerning strategy. We sent some of our CAD files to our sponsors to be laser cut. The programming team attached our woodbox prototype to last years practice chassis and developed code for ball pick up and shooting.
Week 4 – Fabrication and assembly
This week we received our side panels and other parts from our sponsor GenMet. We started to bore holes to fit for bearings and tap screw holes. Our chassis was now starting to come together and many parts were being assembled. The bot was starting to take shape. The control team still practiced with the previous bot and starting to write code to deploy to this season’s bot.
Week 5 – Control Assembly and Testing
This week the control team was able to install electrical components such as motor controllers, the RoboRio, the power distribution panel, and the radio. The robot came to life this week and we were able to connect the robot to the driver station on the laptop to drive it around the shop. This was a very exciting time! The robot is alive!
Week 6 – Last week! Testing and Tuning
This was our last week to work on our competition bot. We finished up the wiring and programming of our bot. We were able to to take our bot to the Mini-Regional in Sussex, WI. We were only able to run 2 matches there because we had mechanical failures in both matches. We had some weak points with our key stock and sprockets. Good news was that fixed these issues back at the shop and did not figure this out at an actual competition.
Bag Day! – 2/23/17 11:59 pm
This was the final day to work on our robot. After this we will put it in a bag until our competitions.