Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Day 32: Sheetmetal should be in tomorrow

Look for our big blog post tomorrow night after we get our sheetmetal back.

We have been preparing all our parts to assemble the robots once we get our parts back tomorrow.

We have been printing parts including a nice camera mount.


Also preparing our shooter motors with encoders and making the cabling nice and neat.


- Spectrum

"Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting." ~ Elizabeth Bibesco

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Day 30: Superbowl Bot Building

We are still working on getting our parts ready for the sheet metal delivery.

We have our gears and wheel modules ready to be bolted up to the sheet metal when it arrives.

We also have powder coated Versaplanties for the competition robot ready to go as well.

- Spectrum


“The implication of this might surprise you, though: when the tough parts come along, the rejection and the slog and the unfair bad breaks, it makes sense to welcome them. Instead of cursing or fearing the down moments, understand that they mean you've chosen reality, not some unsustainable fantasy. It means that you're doing worthwhile, difficult work, not merely amusing yourself.” - Seth Godin

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Day 29: Adventures in Making a Rack and Pinion

Now that sheet metal has been sent out, it's finally time for us to buckle down and figure out some of the smaller parts on our robot. Among these smaller parts is the plate we plan on using to cut off individual lanes in our three-wide shooter.

CAD model for said plate

Our plan for actuating this plate was to have it driven by a REV Smart Servo mounted in the inside of our shooter tower via a rack and pinion. This seemingly simple task proved to be the cause of numerous attempts to fix open contours in Solidworks before realizing that rack teeth do not, in fact, use the same profile as gears and are simply trapezoids. With the annoying geometry problem out of the way, the question then arose of how to know what dimensions define these trapezoids. The annoyance was further exacerbated by REV's use of the metric module to define their tooth spacing instead of the diametrical pitch more commonly used in the imperial world. 

After a number of google searches (including re-learning what such technical terms as "diametrical pitch" even mean), we eventually discovered a useful whitepaper on the Iowa State University website which outlines how to design gear and rack teeth given certain parameters for your tooth profile. After copying their spreadsheet maths into our Master Sheet, we were able to successfully model our rack. A copy of our spreadsheet can be downloaded here.


Sample spreadsheet outputs for REV Smart Servo pinion

The rack tooth designed from the above spreadsheet data

Closeup of rack and pinion

-Will S, Spectrum

"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." - Frank Herbert

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Day 26: Preparing for Sheetmetal

With the main sheet metal order sent off to our sponsors we now have to prepare all the rest of our parts.

We began making some new shooter rollers using white silicone instead of black latex.




We also have been organizing all our subsystems and doing inventory to ensure there is nothing we need to buy for either the real robot or the practice robot.



- Spectrum

“It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.” ― Lou Holtz

Day 25: 2017 Spectrum CAD Model

2017 Spectrum CAD Model - "Gamma Ray"

Our main sheet metal order for our robot has been sent over to our wonderful sponsor Solarcraft Inc. So that means are robot CAD is nearly complete. It's still missing a few details but largely the mechanisms are complete and assembled in CAD. We are releasing all of our CAD this year every week and this week we are even uploading a STEP file so you can view our robot model in any CAD package that you choose.


Full CAD Model STEP File

Full Solidworks Models can be found on our website.

Items still missing from this CAD
- Lexan for the entire Fuel Tank on the robot
- Some wheels on the intakes and back elevator
- All the belts and some of the chain runs are not shown in the model
- The bumper noodles and cloth
- Parts of the climber that will help align up to the rope (we are planning to use some type of velcro)

Gear Intake

Our gear intake subsystem showed the most improvement over the weekend. It's a simple solution to a complex problem. The main concept is a thin material slides under the edge of the gear and then a roller brings the gear in to place. We are using a BAG motor with a Versaplanetary to power the roller and another BAG motor and Versaplanetary to raise and lower the entire mechanism. This mechanism folds down between the bumper gap that is open for our Fuel intake.

Mecanum Intake

Our mecanum intake will allow us to gather far more balls then just using the intake between our bumper gap and also lets us gather balls that may be directly against the wall. We are raising and lowering the intake using pneumatics but we also have two gas springs on the mechanism so if we ever lose air pressure during the match our intake will default to the up position. This should allow us to continue scoring gears the more important game pieces even if we have a pneumatics leak.

Final Thoughts

Let us know if you have any questions or suggestions. We are sharing our progress to hopefully inspire more teams but we also would love feedback. If you see something we are doing and think we can improve please let us know. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Adrienne Emerson - This Is How I Work

This week, we’re featuring Adrienne Emerson, an important mentor to many students and the community. Her love for engineering began in high school when she joined her school’s robotics team. She has been hooked ever since and continues to inspires her students with her passion. Adrienne expresses her adoration for robotics and helps us to understand her dedication towards her team, The Robowranglers. Make sure to learn more and gain insight on her life in and out of the lab below!

[Responses from October 9, 2016]
Name: Adrienne Emerson
CD Username: Adrienne E.
Current Gig/Job: Director of Robotics 9-12 at Greenville ISD
Alma Mater/Degree: Bachelors in Applied Math and Statistics, Clarkson University and Masters in Secondary Education, Texas A&M Commerce
Current Team(s): 148 The Robowranglers 2010-Present
Former Team(s): 191 The X-Cats 2000-2002, 229 Division by Zero 2003-2006
Location: Greenville TX
Hobbies: Cooking, Traveling, Playing with the best cats in the world (Tornado and Tumbleweed)

What inspired you to do what you do? Tell us a story.
I’ll never forget joining the X-Cats in high school. I was in 10th grade without a single clue what I wanted to do after high school. A couple of my friends had been on the team in 9th grade. They said I should join because then I could come to Disney World with them! That was enough of a hook for me. I interviewed for the team and was placed on the drive train sub-team. I worked very closely with 4 mentors from Xerox Jan Eldrigde, Jeff Huspen, Ron Dukes, and Ellery Wong. They are what inspired me. They pushed me to be curious, learn by doing, and to be confident in my skills. As cliché as it sounds, they changed my life. After being on 191, all I wanted to do was give back to students the same experiences that I got to have in high school.


What is your day job, and how’d you get there?
Currently I am the Director of Robotics 9-12 at Greenville ISD. I oversee the Intro to Engineering courses, The VEX program, and the FRC program, as well as organize all of our VEX events. I’ve previously taught Algebra 1, Geometry, Math Models, and Pre-Calculus.
How I got from New York to Texas is a classic, know the right people, in the right place, at the right time. After college I worked for 3.5 years at a glass manufacturer, Guardian Industries. It was a great experience and I learned a ton, but after 2 years on a swing shift I was ready to move on. The Robowrangler lead engineer John V-Neun and I went to college together and their robotics teacher had just left the school. The GHS principal asked John if he knew anyone that could teach math and lead the robotics team. I interviewed about week later and got the job!

What is your favorite story to tell about robotics?
All my memories from our team trips to China the past 2 years are definitely my favorite stories to tell. It’s amazing to watch the 148 students (and all the international teams) work with teams from China, develop friendships, and help build robots. The best part of those trips has been watching how much the student’s leadership skills grow in just 2 short weeks. And of course, I love how much closer we grow as a team while we are there.


If I had to narrow it down to one story it would be this past year. 148, 987, and 694 were on a 6-hour bus ride to go see the Yellow Mountains. To pass the time, we took over the microphone on the bus and took turns doing karaoke. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.


What's your favorite robot that you didn't help build?
This was probably the hardest question on the whole survey. There are so many to choose from.
I finally decided on Ratman and Bobin, the 2015, FRC#4587 Jersey Voltage robot :P


In all seriousness, our whole team was really flattered by this robot! It was awesome.
What apps/software/tools can't you live without? (Work/Robotics/Home)
Google Drive, Excel, Slack, Spotify, Amazon Prime

What's your workspace setup like? (Work/Robotics/Home)
The robotics program at Greenville just got a new home in a brand new Career and Technology wing of our high school. My classroom is a great space with a standard teacher set up, desk, computer, projector, & document camera. The best part about is that there are whiteboards everywhere, and my coffee maker is within arm’s reach.


I spend most of my time in our robotics lab, which is basically a dream come true for me.


What do you listen to while you work?
Any old school music I think my students should love as much as I do.

What’s your schedule like during build season?
Monday, Tuesday, and Friday:
I get to work about 8am and have class until 3:50pm. After school I usually hang around the lab for some quiet time, try to catch up on anything school or team related, or I hang out with our
VEX teams if they have practice after school. Our team mentor dinner is from 5:30-6:00, and our whole team meeting is from 6:00-10:00pm.

Wednesday & Thursday: After school I typically take the night off from team stuff and go to bed early!

Saturday: I usually get to the school an hour or two before the rest of the team to open the building, clean up and get things ready for the day. Our scheduled meeting is from 1:00-10:00 pm but we are rarely out before 11 or 12.

Sunday: We try to take Sunday’s off as a whole team and I try to catch up on home life with lots of kitty cuddles.

                 Tumbleweed and Tornado

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Being Awesome.

What's the best advice you've ever received?
Fake it till you make it - My Mom

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
True Crime podcasts (Serial, Undisclosed, Truth & Justice, etc.)

Fill in the blank. I'd love to see   Clint Bolinger 2337   answer these same questions.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Day 21: Three weeks down

Here is are nearly finished drive train and bumpers CAD.

There are still some big issues with the robot to be worked out but we are also working through some small details as we move towards final CAD to be sent to our Laser cutting sponsor.

Little Things
- Handles
- Pneumatic gauge and release valve locations
- Bumper Latches
- Pneumatic tubing runs
- Wire runs
- How the battery connects to the breaker
- Motor wire runs and zip tie locations

- Spectrum

“A thoughtful question often goes directly to the heart of the matter and ignites the creative mind to newer greater ideas.” - John Reyes