Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Day 24: Entering the 2nd half of the season

Most of the past few days has been lots of CAD work for the subsystem teams. Getting the first major subsystems ready to be sent to our laser sponsor, Solarcraft, and we are just about there.

What's next

  1. CAD/Production for the tailgate and winch (lifting device for a partner robot)
  2. CAD/Production for the hooks and hooks mounting
  3. Intake iterations and tweaks to keep improving it
    1. sensor integration
    2. impact testing
  4. Tons of assembly and in house parts manufacturing 
  5. Lots of details
    1. Handles
    2. Patch panel for ether net and USB cables
    3. Air tank mounts
    4. sponsor panels
  6. All the programming

- Spectrum

“A Clear Vision, Backed By Definite Plans, Gives You A Tremendous Feeling Of Confidence And Personal Power.”- Brian Tracy

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Day 22 & 23: Next Intake working well


The new intake prototype was the main focus for testing this weekend. We only CAD enough of it so that we can assemble and build it quickly.

When we first tested the intake it would jam. You can see some of the intial testing on our build gallery. http://photos.spectrum3847.org/2018-FRC/Build-Season/2018-Build-Season/

This weekend we removed the bumper which will force us to have a bumper gap in the front and back of our robot that we don't really want to do but it will let us intake far better. We also swapped one of the fairlane wheels that was intaking for different wheels and that stopped our center jam problem since now the other wheel can slip and the fairlane wheel can go over the corner of the cube and intake it happily. 

The gif below shows the much improved and non-jamming intake. We are very pleased that the intake is able to lift the cube up while it's in taking.

Drive Train

Drive train CAD is nearly ready to be sent to our sponsor for laser cutting, we still need to lighten some of the parts


Arm is also getting ready to be send to our sponsor as well.

- Spectrum

“A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” – Max Lucado

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Day 21: Hook Prototype and Intake Testing

Hook prototypes

We are working through some basic routed hook prototypes to see how the pneumatic fold out will work on the robot. We also hung some sandbags from the wooden one to see where it would start failing first. This is mounted on the back side from the intake version in this case, but the real robot would have the hooks on the same side as the intake but to the outside of it.

New intake almost ready

Tomorrow we will have the new intake mounted to the fake arm and we we'll test how well it works. The plan was to dramatically simplify the intake while keeping the contact points similar to our previous intake. This version keeps the motion of the front wheels from our previous intake close to unchanged and leaves room for the cube to rotate behind the wheels that we found was helpful for getting the cube square. 

Team Update 6 - G25 Rewrite

Make sure you have read Team Update 6. It includes a major rewrite of G25 in relation to how robots can interact with the scale. This clarifies exactly how teams can place cubes on the scale and how the penalties for moving the scale with your robot will be enforced. Robots that put mechanism above the scale will have to be careful that they don't lower the scale or hold the scale down with their mechanism. 

- Spectrum

"If you can laugh together, you can work together."- Robert Orben

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Day 19 & 20: Other Teams' Vlogs and Updates

Vlogs and Video Updates from other teams

A ton of teams have been making build Vlogs this year on YouTube but they aren't the easiest to find. We've compiled a big list of Vlogs and video series from teams around the world.

Other Teams Build Vlogs Playlist
272: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CD4iPZcj74
334: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyOXTCIjyfo
365: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=496RRoYpwtU
399: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7Lw-LCgtMs
558: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZx7BUfi53w
687: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cWva4QJGZY
694: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zyyKY_Ka-w
1684: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EY88kJjXV9g
1712: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1oQw6fIo5Y
1737: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwU8V-jW94s
1792: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKWZfvBeOL4
3005: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hx1IvKJGB9E
3100: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6RO51UAsxw
3374: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFm_RRJJG08
3414: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPg2JGypZQw
3952: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySllR4WjDGY
4134: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEZJn2e0wIw
4584: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aj_KUzIhHCQ
4561: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95d1DP-XUPI
4904: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r_UV0YxXgQ
5090: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gW-BVtJUuw
5333: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3btQJW2Rqgc
5700: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_u4ojStVtKU
5800: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqHLDdFb3cs
5951: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTm76EvufWU
6418: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAy5PulEeQM

There are almost certainly more teams putting out cool content, so if you know of any we missed send us a link so we can add them to the playlist. The playlist only includes one video from each team to start but we'll try to add more as we find time.


The CAD for our extending arm is moving along, we have bearing placements mostly finished and the gearbox packaging for the extension is all done on the arm sheet metal.


Initial electronics layout is starting to take shape.

- Spectrum

"Friendship consists in forgetting what one gives and remembering what one receives." – Alexander Dumas

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Day 18: 4 Bar No More

Today was probably the end of the our 4 bar intake prototype. We had some goals for the intake design and it does meet some of those goals but we believe we can get comparable performance from a much simpler intake design. As we tweaked this design the best grip and intaking occured without the rear wheels even touching the cube and if you don't need the rear wheels than you don't need the 4 bar.

Pneumatic Punch

Since the first week we knew that if we couldn't get the intake wheels to launch a cube the way we wanted we'd probably need to use a pneumatic punch. We had done some very basic tests the first few days of build season but we hand't mounted a cylinder to an intake until tonight.

This is a simple prototype but it shows the proof of concept to allow us to punch the cube up and in to the scale or to the back of a switch plate.

- Spectrum

“It is a mistake to think that moving fast is the same as actually going somewhere.”  - Steve Goodier

Day 17: new wheels

We received our Fairlane wheels in the mail today. These are the 20A Nitrile durasoft wheels.

They hold the cube far better than the our previous attempts.

- Spectrum

"If you have no critics, you’ll likely have no success." - Malcolm X

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Day 16: Virtual 4 Bar Intake Clips

Intake prototypes are finally running, took a little longer than we wanted with the ice days last week. It's working well for most cube orientations but we still aren't full go on this version of the intake. 


Grabbing a cube

Intaking a cube

Grabbing an 11" wide cube

More photos and videos are on our build season photo gallery, http://photos.spectrum3847.org/2018-FRC/Build-Season/2018-Build-Season/

We have the intake mounted on to our mock arm and will be testing tomorrow how well it works at an angle. We have some ideas for how to improve in-taking at a steeper angle or possibly reducing the angle. 

Other intake prototypes

If you're interested in other teams' intakes take a look at a quick playlist we put together of dozens of videos that show possible cube intake designs. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTocT0DivsNkwi9s1elL-6knGA8SSbs8a

There isn't one perfect intake for every design find that one that integrates with the rest of your design. 


The CAD for the arm is coming together. 

- Spectrum

"Be so good they can’t ignore you." - Steve Martin

Day 15: More CAD

Hook geometry to starting to take shape. We love this video by Adam Heard and 973 for designing pneumatic linkages. 

Drive train is moving along, it now has a belly pan and more holes

Arm pivot is more flushed out, we'll be using a colson dead hub in a way it wasn't designed for but it should serve us well in this new role. 

- Spectrum

“Love life. Engage in it. Give it all you've got. Love it with a passion because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it.”  - Maya Angelou

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Day 14

Drive Train

Drive train CAD is starting to progress. We'll get the gearboxes and belly pan on over the weekend, and start working on the mounting points for the A F-frame. 


The prototype virtual 4 bar intake is progressing, but we still haven't gotten fully functional. Ideally this weekend we have version 2 to the point of collecting cubes. We'll need to make a decisions to continue optimizing this design or change course soon. Luckily the intake doesn't have to slow down progress on the rest of the robot.


Cable management is going to be a big issue for when we have the tailgate and winch installed in the robot. The rope needs to be able to move and extend with the arm during the match, and then pulley free from the arm to allow the winch to pull directly to the hook. Today we prototyped lexan flaps that are close with Velcro. The rope will ride in these flaps through out the match and then be able to pull open the doors once the winch cable is under tension. As for allowing the cable to extend and retract we are going to prototype a system that uses a coil of pneumatic tubing to spring the rope back when it's not in tension, the pneumatic tubing coil should arrive on Monday.

- Spectrum

“I’ve seen how you can’t learn anything when you’re trying to look like the smartest person in the room.” - Barbara Kingsolver

Friday, January 19, 2018

Day 13: Intake motion and Drive Train Speeds

We did have our first meeting back after the winter storm. Most of the team spent the day at Memorial Hermann Hospital getting a tour of the new "da Vinci Xi® Surgical System." We were able to see real world applications for the technology that we learn in FRC. We should have photos soon.


We progressed on the virtual four bar intake. This prototype has some issues and we have begun building the 2nd version to fix most of the problems. The gif below show you how the arms actually move. 


We are also looking into systems for folding out our climber hooks and also keeping our tailgate winch cable organized while it is attached to our extension arm, our current plan is use coiled pneumatic tubing to allow the cable to stretch and retract as needed before pulling it in to tension at the end of the match. 

Drive Train Speeds

This is our current drive train gearbox plan. This may still change but we are looking to be very fast this year. The amount of full field runs may down this year but it is very possible that we will crossing the field width wise regularly from portal to scale.

- Spectrum

"Through my education, I didn't just develop skills, I didn't just develop the ability to learn, but I developed confidence." - Michelle Obama

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Day 12: Second Ice Day

We couldn't meet Tuesday or Wednesday this due to hazardous road conditions and closed highways.

We are too the stage we call Block CAD. None of parts are how they would actually be manufactured but they are more than just two D sketches. If we have prototypes CADed of the systems we can use those as place fillers but a lot of the elements are just simple extrusions based on our previous sketches. This stages helps get robot from just a bunch of collective thoughts to something with a little more detail. You can start seeing in 3D where you care going to have packaging problems and where you need dedicate more thought to your final solutions.

Side view of the robot with the arm in multiple positions. The final intake won't have motors sticking out the top to allow it to flip from side to side. 

Side view of the robot with the tailgate attached and shown in the up and down positions.

Head on view with the arm straight up. Easy to see how a fold out hook will be able to latch on to the square tubing of the rung. 

 Head on view with the intake tilted at the frame perimeter, this is if we are potentially reaching over another robot that is already hanging to grab the rung.

 This position show the length of the robot during it's curled position. The final size will add a few inches for bumpers and any length that we make the hook. 

There are still tons of details to iron out with our systems.

Robozone Podcast

If you're looking for more FRC content check out the Robozone Podcast. Gives a bit of insight into FIRST in Michigan and their 500+ teams but also just general FRC information that is great to know.
The 2nd episode of this season was released yesterday.


You can also subscribe to their RSS feed in slack to get updates that way.

- Spectrum

"If you can’t understand it, you can’t change it." -Eric Evans

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Day 11: Ice day in Houston, this is weird

We actually didn't meet for the first time in recent memory. The roads were iced and we have a deep freeze for over 24 hrs which rarely happens in Houston.

Since we can't work on our prototypes, we wrote out our entire current robot plan also their is some updated CAD of the virtual 4 bar intake at the end.

Robot Plan

Drive train and base

- 28.5" long by 24.5" wide
- 4 wheel drive, 6" omnis
- 2"+ ground clearance, it won't be great over the corner but shouldn't get stuck. Should be fine up the platform.
- Not great up steep ramps but steep ramps are bad anyway. Arm may help us out of weird end game situations, forcing it in to the ground, etc.
- current plan is to go with a sheet metal inverted west coast drive (cantilevered wheels on the inside, like 118 last year) to get us a bigger belly pan. 24" is small, our normal wheel wells wouldn't leave us much room and vertical electronics are annoying.
- small size let's us drive under the scale when needed and through the null territory without getting in the way of a partner scoring on the scale. (Also drive under opponents scale if you want to risk it)
- Small size makes it easier for us to get on to tailgates (lifting platforms)
- omnis makes it real hard for us to tip sideways, arm can right us if we tip forward or backward, hopefully we don't need to do that ever.
- 6 miniCIM drive train
- balls shifters
- 5-7 low, 14-16 high gear, need the high gear for portal cycles.(those aren't set and will probably change as we run the numbers better)
- a frame for the arm also acts as frame members


- pink style arm
- single big rotation joint (about 28" from the ground)
- single telescoping extension
- all sheet metal, all bearings for extension.
- 3x 775pro on the arm with a disk brake so we aren't stalling the motors much. Gearing allows us to curl for the climb when we aren't lifting a partner.
- 1 or 2 775s on the extension, not climbing with the telescoping stage, just hanging from it (has to be able to hold the wait of the robot but not lift it)


- able to intake from both sides of the robot when the arm flips over
- still prototyping our final solution but worst case it's some version of a sideswipe intake (1114 2015). We want to get the virtual 4 bar intake(look below for a CAD sketch) working but it's definitely more complicated but it should let us intake 11" cubes easier.
- Every cube in this game matters and time wasted trying to turn cubes is time not spent score. Drivers may be able to just approach cubes from a different angle to avoid the 11" face but probably not everytime.
- intake is 2x 775pros, one for each side so we can spin the wheels at different speeds to help with I taking.
- wheels should be able to launch cubes 2-3' for pushing them up to the scale (arm will rest them on the side of the scale for up tilted scales). May include a pneumatic punch if we need more height/distance.
- intake opens and closes with pneumatics, let's us drop cubes and place them nicely.


- hooks hard mounted to the arm extension. One on each side we can grab the square tubing from either attack direction.
- hooks fold out or extend to give us more reach for the bar then we get from the single extension.
- solo climb is a curl. That way we can climb second and as long as we can reach the rung we can curl away from the already hanging robot and both get points.
- dual climb is a forklift tailgate that folds out the front of robot, forks are stored along the a-frame for the arm.
- winch is attached to the tailgate so we can get our winch pull location as close to our partner as possible so our climb doesn't lean as much.
- forks have tread or other traction on them so robots don't slide off
- forks have ramps on the sides of them so teams can drive over them.
- some type of retaining bar goes over the partner so they can't tilt off, this won't need to actually tighten to their robot, just prevent them from tipping up.
-winch cable gets mounted to the same hooks we use for the solo climb, as we winch up the arm is back driven to allow us to get it height.
- winch is 2x 775pros
- tailgate and winch can be detached easily match to match, so we can be lighter when we don't need it.


- own our switch and the opponents switch as fast as possible and maintain the lead.
- run cycles from portals to op switch and to the scale.
- climb around partners if needed, lift a partner if that's needed as well
- able to pull from the cube zone without knocking to many cubes out of the zone
-able to quickly grab cubes our opponents knock out of their cube zone.
- have third partner maintain your own switch lead and score at least 3 cubes in the vault.
-scoring on switches under defense will be hard since you have to get your bumpers touching the fence to be able to score (reasonably). Lots of spin moves.
favorite alliance task breakdown right now.
1. Score in op switch and the scale, defend them from scoring in their switch.
2. Score in the Scale and your switch
3. Score in your switch and vault, defend your switch
How much time each of those teams spends on each of their tasks and how efficient they are will decide the game. May need to call audibles and have #1 come back from far side and score your own switch to maintain ownership.

Intake CAD

The red sketches show the belts and shafts that would spin the wheels powered by the VP 180 degree adapter. The orange shafts show the movement of the two arms that will move the wheel plates in and out to compress the cube this is powered by a pneumatic cylinder since we only need about 90 degrees of rotation which is 45mm of belt travel. The green sketched belts are used to keep the wheel plate perpendicular to the motor mounting plate those 4 pulleys are directly mounted to the plates they are near and don't even touch the shafts they are around. Note these belt distances are done in CAD yet, this was just to figure out the stacking of all of the components. Many of the distances will change, for bolts, etc.

This gives a large range of open and close in a very small vertical displacement of the wheels.

Most of these pulleys will be printed, if needed most of these can be made from the hex versions but would required cutting a bearing hole into them.

This will allow us to adjust how far we close and open the claw by allow us to adjust hard stops on the pneumatic cylinder motion (or arm motion). 

- Spectrum

“Friends share all things.” - Pythagoras

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Day 10: Wooden Chassis

Quick update again today. We are continuing some of the testing and finally deciding on a drive train. We didn't want to rush into our drive train design this year as we knew it could change a lot based on our robot design.

We still have some testing to do to make sure we can make the configuration we want work but we should be able to start getting it fully CADed this week.

 We also mounted the wooden arm on the robot base to make sure we will be stable with such a small wheel base (28.5 x 24.5). We added some weight (sand bag) to the arm as well to see if it looked like it would be unstable when we are holding a cube above our chassis..

The intake prototype is still in the works. Our 3D printer had some issues so it was slow going get all the pulleys we needed printed for the testing.

- Spectrum

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” - Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Day 9: Climber Progress and Intake Prototype CAD

Just a short update of what we are working on. 

Our current plan is to have two seperate climbing methods depending on if we need to lift a partner or if we can climb alone.

With a partner we will use our fork lift and winch to lift both our robots at the point between the bumpers. This will let us reduce the amount of tipping during the lift.

When we climb alone we will use a curl at our arm joint so that we can curl away from any robot that has already climbed or if they have bars mounted to their robots.

Intake Prototype
Our intake prototyping has gotten a bit more complicated to be able to meet all our requirements. It uses a virtual four bar belt and a pneumatic cylinder to move the pivots and compress the cube. It also has multiple co-axial movements.
Should have it built tomorrow if we are able to print all the pulleys we need for it. 

- Spectrum

"You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist." - Indira Gandhi

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Day 8: MCCC and lifting prototypes continue

Lifting Prototypes

We purchased a lever chain hoist this morning so that we could test different lifting concepts without having a robot cable of lifting another just quite yet.

Keeping a partner level is definitly going to be a challenge. We are going to continue working on our retaining device as well to help hold our partners securely close to our bumpers. We do have tread on the two forks that we have under the partner robot as well.

The robot with the arm weighs ~120lbs, the robot with the vise mounted to it weighs 140lbs. 
We will also need to make a robot with a higher Center of Gravity (CG) than this current partner bot. As the CG of a partner that you are attempting to climb is going to be very important. 

MCCC 2018: Minimum Competitive Concept Competition

East Texas hosted 3 Robot in 3 Days teams and 118's Everybot team this year and they all headed to The Woodlands, Texas home of Texas Torque World Headquarters (FRC#1477) and had the first ever MCCC. A true "Week 1" competition. We had several of our alumni and friends up at the event and we were able to secure video of several of the matches. 

The fields were only the wooden version and weren't setup up perfectly (lacking exchange/vaults) but it gives you a good idea of how some matches may go. You can learn a lot from watching real robots play that you may not notice when you simulate in your head or with humans.

Match 1

Match 2

Match 3

Match 4

Take Aways (some we already knew, just confirmed)
  • Scoring in the scale is difficult but if you can do it, even one cube could win you the match. So finding a way to do it will help win you a lot of matches
  • Defending your switch is going to be difficult. Your opponents have 11 of their cubes on that side of the cube all in easy to remove portals and you'll need to be able to ground collect and score or defend against them to keep your switch safely in your control and getting your alliance points
  • A great intake will make your robot much better than a great lift/arm/shooter/etc.
  • The cubes like to slide on the carpet so test intaking by pushing your prototype towards the cube and not the cube towards the prototype.
  • Climbing points will be important and it's a hard task (they also only had a week so we can cut them slack)
  • Vision will be limited around the switch and scale. Camera feeds and sensors will help make your drivers' jobs much easier
  • Scoring a lot of cubes quickly will win you matches (seems obvious but we like to repeat the obvious)

- Spectrum

"Competition helps people figure it out." - Brian McBride, U.S. Soccer Player

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Day 7: Power Up Tips & Resources plus some of our prototypes

We are a week into the season and a bunch of resources, examples, and documents have been published about the game. We're also giving links to some of the robots we have been looking at that have inspired us so far.

FRC Official Power Up Rules Updates

EWCP Basic Bot Design 

Design Resources

Electrical Tips

Q&A Link

  • https://frc-qa.firstinspires.org/
  • If you have specific robot or rules questions its better to ask a mentor team then the Q&A. Then where you think there might be two interruptions of a rule or corner cases for a rule that is when you should ask the Q&A for clarification. 
  • Reading the Q&A is a good way to see how the rules will be enforced and get some ideas of how the game may be played.

Robot Examples

Snow Problem


Inspiration from Past Robots

Prototypes we are working on

Active Retaining Mechanism

This is for making sure our alliance partners don't slip down our forks while we lift them up into the air. The test robot there is our 2013 bare chassis with multiple weights, a vise and a broken arbor press mounted on top. It weighs in at 143 lbs. If we can lift this we can lift nearly any robot this year (CG could be an issue with some very tall robots). 

Fourbar intake mechanism.

Inspired by the 1538-2015 intake we have a team looking at a double 4 bar intake. If we finalize on this, our robot could have a large arm joint, a telescoping extension, 2 four bars, and a wheeled shooter we are pretty sure that wins us FRC Bingo (1323's 2012 robot with a turreted shooter on a four bar is close though).

Linear compliant intake

This intake uses linear rails and chain linking the two arms together to keep them centered to allow the intake to adjust to the different cube geometries.  We'd have a pneumatic actuator to open the claw to make mid field cube acquisition easier. We noticed the cubes like to slide away form a lot of intake if you don't have a wall behind you.

 The Prototype Robot

We are converting our 2014 practice chassis into a prototype for this robot. Mainly because it's 28" long just like our current planned robot. We added a quick 2x4 A frame and Arm mock up to lets us see the geometry that we are working with. The shoulder joint is off axis with the arm to allow the extension to go through the joint without having to two separate pivot arms clamped around the extension tube like 233 and 2168 example arms. This will present slightly different heights to each side of the arm's motion but with much of this game relying on imprecise movement (place a box in a 3' by 4' plate) it shouldn't effect us too much. 

Three Day Weekend

We get to do a lot of robots over the next 3 days so we should have more test video up in the next few blog posts. 

- Spectrum

"Steal from the best,invent the rest”

Friday, January 12, 2018

Day 6: Redesigns coming early this year.

We're not sure if you call it a redesign when you never really started designing the first option. Today's design meeting led us back to our priorities of scoring cubes as fast as possible. Time is points in this game and the faster you can score cubes the more matches you should be able to win.

There are 4 distinct cube scoring areas for each alliance.
  1. Exchange
  2. Your switch
  3. Scale
  4. Opponents switch
Three out of the four tasks are better suited to a shorter robot that can pick up cubes on one side of their robot and drop them off on the other at 2 different heights. Stopping your opponent from owning their switch is just as valuable to you as it to own your own switch since it's a plus 1 point differential for every second you prevent them from owning it.

So having a shorter nimble robot that can score quickly in the 3 short zones while still assisting with the scale is a valuable robot for any alliance.

Here is a quick Solidworks sketch that shows how a robot might be built without a traditional elevator to complete the low tasks efficiently while still being able to put cubes in the scale. This design is heavily inspired by previous season robots from 233 and this past pre-season robot of team 2168.

All the dimensions haven't been worked out yet but this gives an idea of a possible configuration. The 5 pink lines are 5 different positions of a retracted arm. The orange line shows an extended arm. In the full retracted position this arm doesn't break the 16in frame extension rule and the only time you need to extend is when you are pointing almost vertical to be able to eject a cube into the scale. We may also experiment with being able to shoot cubes into the scale as well so we can be faster and not have to extend every time we place a cube in the scale.

The current thought is we can also get away with a smaller frame with this design. Somewhere around 28"*24" instead of the full size 33"*28".

Clamping a partner

This new robot doesn't easily allow an integrated elevator/climber solution (not sure any elevator/climber is going to be that easy) so we need a new way to try to climb with our partners in nearly every match. JVN and the Robotwrangler's Hierarchy of Climber Types is a great read about the potential various different climber options. Our original Tailgate climber was a 13 on the scale. It relied on our partners driving on to the right spot for us to lift them and us both up. Our new idea is to try to go one up on the hierarchy and be a "14. Help-A-Fridge Climber" where we are able to clamp onto a partner robot and bring them up the scale with us. This would also let us potentially be something similar to a "7. Versatile Basic Climber" where we clamp on to our partners and they climb us both up. 

The idea is to have fold our forks that we drive under a team and then a top clamp that we are able to clamp down on a partner.

Vacuum Cube

- Spectrum

Efficiency is doing better what is already being done. - Peter Drucker

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Day 5: The Q&A is open

Today brought the first clarifications of multiple rules from the GDC in the Q&A.

Climber/Bumper Questions

Two critical Q&As are Q4 and Q8. They clarify the definition of a floor and how the robot will be transposed to the floor.

With these rules, its now okay to lower a tailgate (what we call a panel for lifting another robot) to touch the carpet in the platform zone and then lift them up on that tailgate.

This is good news for a lot of designs.

Climber Sketches

Before those rules came out we were working on a way to climb with a partner that didn't need to have the ramp on the carpet. This was the hook design we came up with. It can be improved by coming into the rung from the top and then backing up to secure yourself but we don't have a sketch for that yet.

Design Review is tomorrow.

We'll be doing our design review tomorrow. We have taken this season slower since in the past we have been hasty in our decision making. We'll reevaluate where we stand after 5 days of thinking and dreaming about how Power Up is going to be played.

- Spectrum

"Move fast. Speed is one of your main advantages over large competitors." - Sam Altman