Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Build Update Day 4

The 1st week is moving along. We're four days in and I think we are finally starting to really understand some of the problems that we will face with our sub-systems.

The collector group began working on prototyping a spinning tube collector for the ball. This simple prototype will let us learn about how the ball is going to compress in our collector and conveyor systems.

The shooter group was attempting to get our prototype running today but it didn't get finished in time. Tomorrow night we should have a working prototype.

The bridge problem is still a large problem. It's a lot harder than it looks to reach up and pull down a 26" bridge with a heavy robot on the other side while not extending past 14" from the frame. This may not even be possible, but it's worth looking into. If anyone has any ideas please share.

The chassis construction has began with the construction of the wheel drops. They will allow us to climb over the barrier. We know the bridges make it easy but if there are already robots using them we don't want to be locked on to one side of the field and going over the barrier will be far faster. We should probably look into vibration dampening for our electrical system, after the initial test of a curb climbing robot last night. We built the sample barrier today and it's a really large climb and fall for the robot.

The programming team is getting up to speed with the new command and subsystem structure. This should be make certain things really easy but there is still a learning curve we have to overcome. I think the beta test teams have a nice advantage because of this. We also have finished wiring most of the kit of parts electrical components with Anderson quick disconnects. This will make putting together the electrical system much easier in the coming weeks.

The logistics teams are hard at work.  We are starting our chairman's essay and ensuring that we represented on many of the FIRST related sites like FIRSTwiki.net. We are also gathering initial scouting information from the teams that will be attending our regionals. 

We're making a lot of progress but we quickly need to get the design ideas finalized so we can work on the detailed design of the robot. Tomorrow at 3:30 we will hold our 1st design review of the year. We'll go over each subsystem and discuss what has been accomplished, and where the design is headed. We'll also discuss different potential features and designs of the systems and their trade-offs.

- Allen

"The critical thing about the design process is to identify your scarcest resource. Despite what you may think, that very often is not money. For example, in a NASA moon shot, money is abundant but lightness is scarce; every ounce of weight requires tons of material below. On the design of a beach vacation home, the limitation may be your ocean-front footage. You have to make sure your whole team understands what scarce resource you’re optimizing." - Fred Brooks,

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