Saturday, September 12, 2020

Virtual Pit

What is a Virtual Pit?

A virtual pit is an online meeting session for members of the robotics community to come talk to a robotics team about their team and their robots. Virtual pits attempt to emulate the interactions that would normally happen during a competition at the team’s pit. Virtual pits give more people the opportunity to learn from teams around the world.

Spectrum’s Virtual Pit Meeting Information

Date: Third Saturday of every month

Time: 11:00 am to 1:00 pm (Houston - US Central Time Zone)


Spectrum plans to post recordings of our Virtual Pit sessions to our youtube page.

Other Virtual Pits

ChiefDelphi Thread

NASA Alliance Project Virtual Pits Page

Thank you to the Robonauts FRC#118 for developing and modeling this idea.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Spectrum Robot Design Review Videos

While we moved our meeting to virtual sessions, we have been doing design reviews or design overviews of all of our past robots. Today we finished the series by doing a design review of our 2020 robot. Below we will link to the full youtube playlist and to each of the videos for our 2012-2020 robot. (While 3847 existed in 2011 we weren't Spectrum until 2012 and we don't have any CAD for the 2011 season).

Playlist -

Ultraviolet 2012

Gamma Ray 2013

Infrared 2014

X-Ray 2015

Ultraviolet 2016

Gamma Ray 2017

Infrared 2018

X-Ray 2019

Ultraviolet 2020

We have also added a few other videos to our youtube channel and will continue to do so while meeting virtually. If you want to be notified of new content to subscribe to our youtube channel or follow us on Twitter.

- Spectrum

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Chairman's Award - Houston 2020

We were honored to receive the Chairman's Award for the suspended Houston 2020 District Event.

Here is our 2020 Chairman's Video.

Congratulations to the other FIRST in Texas District Chairman's Award Winners!

- Spectrum

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Spectrum 2020 Design Slides

Throughout the season we kept a design slide deck that allowed us to keep notes and document our designs and ideas. We are releasing this to the public so people can see how some of our ideas developed. We did go back through this document to add a few slides that were based on notes in other places and it was updated throughout the season so some of the kickoff area slides aren't really from kickoff.


Friday, March 6, 2020

Everybot Progress Photos + Gluing Balls


Our Everybot project should be driving next week. We made a few changes from the original design already but overall, it's mostly stock. The two biggest changes are it has a NEO for a climber motor and only has one set of gear on the arm.


Ball Glue

Team update 16 has a link to a ball repair guide for events. We wanted to test the glue that is specified and see how repaired balls felt. We bought the glue and repaired a ball and left it overnight. It seems to seal up the cuts pretty well but with our first test ball, it didn't cause the cuts to become airtight again so the ball was still easy to compress, similar to before we glued the cuts. The places that are glued do feel a bit harder, then normal places on the ball. We glued the rest of our cut-up balls today and we should be able to test shooting them next week. (we are taking the weekend off, everyone needs a break)



Wednesday, March 4, 2020

VP Ratchet Climber Lock

Many teams have asked us about our climber break from last season. We mentioned possibly using it this season and showed a small CAD image.

We want to give a full story into the development of this break.

Last season we planned to use the VP ratchet in a normal way and have a cylinder pull a string to disengage the pawl.  When we did that we either could disengage the pawl or couldn't engage it properly. We also heard of people breaking the pawls.

While at champs we were looking for a way to brake our climber that didn't use the pawl. SOTAbots (FRC#25570 were in our division and they had a great climber break that they showed us. Here is a picture we took.

We worked in our pit to make a version of this but we couldn't custom make the parts they did. So we removed the out shell of the ratchet and just used the spacers. We also tried to use a normal bolt but we broke it, so instead, we just use the pneumatic rod end directly into the ratchet. We found that it didn't damage the rod end at all when doing this.

For IRI our setup looked like this.
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The VP dual input doesn't have the rear bolts so we need to clamp on the cylinder.

We have heard from several teams that have used this setup with great success. We aren't using it this year. For Dripping Springs we were able to just use our NEO climb motors in brake mode, with about a 30:1 reduction on our elevator and our robot would stay in the air for more than enough time to keep the climb.

We do have a latch mounted on our robot.
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This latch uses a laser-cut Delrin ratchet that is pressed on to the pinion of one of our NEOs. We haven't tested this setup yet as we haven't needed it. We do plan to get it working so if we climb late enough to not be at the top of our climb we will stay off the ground.


Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Design Review Comp Week 2 - Dripping Springs Debrief

Debrief and Design Review

The design review and debrief slides are below. For our first event, we wanted to keep things simple and straight forward.

Our plans included.
- 3 Ball Autonomous that could push one or two robots off the initiation line and then get us ready for telop.
- Quick cycles to the initiation line area when possible or the tench-run when needed. It was okay to shoot 3 to 5 balls per cycle.
- Climb every match

We did most of these well, our omni-wheels breaking due to side impacts was an unexpected hurdle that will have resolved before our next event. There were many matches where we were limping along due to these issues.

Moving forward we plan to iterate and improve our machine, get more rigorous driver practice, and improve our auton scoring. We are also stopping development on the buddy climb after seeing several failed attempted climbs by other teams that had similar designs to ours.

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Notes from Dripping Springs

- We had a fantastic alliance with 1477 and 3240
- It's always great getting to work with Scott and 1477 they are one of the programs that we have been looking up to for many years. It was awesome to finally get to win an event with them.
- We have no idea how 3240 fell all the way to the 24th pick. We had them much higher in our scouting tiers. They had a great drive train (6 NEO Ball shifter) that was ready to play defense when asked and a drive team that was knowledgable and skilled to do it. They were also one of the few teams with a working control panel device and nearly got it done in several of our playoff matches. They were awesome to work with; taking advice and applying it quickly to get even better every match.
- The ball stuck in our drive train was a pain to get out. -
- The volunteers and venue were awesome. April and Tim did a great job working with teams and getting through week 1 field issues.

Monday, March 2, 2020

2020 Dripping Springs District Quick Recap


We will have our debrief meeting/design review tomorrow after school, so we should have a full recap then.

We had a great time at the Dripping Springs District Event. The volunteers and venue were wonderful. We highly recommend teams sign up for this event in future years.

Our students did an awesome job of preparing for the competition and getting the robot ready. We knew for our first event we wanted to keep things simple and do what we knew we could do well. We shot largely from one or two areas and attempted to climb every match. We had several issues through the event that we had to work through to be ready for each match but we pushed hard in the pit to get things ready every time. It led us to an 17-1 record, the #1 seed, and the Championship with our partners Texas Torque (FRC#1477) and Team Orion (FRC#3240).

We also prepared heavily to speak with the judges both in the pits and for Chairman's. We won the Engineering Inspiration Award for our work in providing resources for FRC teams and spreading STEM in our community. Our Chairman's team did an excellent job preparing and presenting for the judges, our feed back was positive which is always good. There were several amazing teams at this event and only one could win, and we couldn't be happier for our friends and alliance partners Texas Torque, they have one of the best programs in the world and it's always fun working with them, what they do for their local community and for communities around the world is truly amazing.

More photos and videos can be seen in our photo gallery -

Thank you to all the volunteers and teams for making it a great event,

Thursday, February 27, 2020

2020 Day 54: Competition Robot Ready for Dripping Springs

It's been about a week since our last update. The competition robot has been coming together since then. Here are a few photos and the robot description flyer for Ultraviolet

Ultraviolet 2020 Poster 18x24-1.png

We have been to our friends FRC#5414 Pearadox's build site to practice twice this week. Once with out practice bot and tonight with our competition robot. Below is the first match simulation that we did. We are still tuning some things but we are very excited about the shooter and climber.

We didn't post our last design review so here those are below.

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Friday, February 21, 2020

2020: Day 45 (plus a few of the previous days)

Comp Robot is beginning to come together. 



Now with more polycarbonate

Shooter Hood

Printed and laser cut hood.

Camera Mounts are progressing


Buddy Climb Mechanism

The deployment mechanism is progressing.

More photos and videos can be found in our gallery.


2020 Day 48: CAD updated

The CAD model has been updated on GrabCAD -

Some of the electrical and pneumatics details are getting done

Climber Gearbox test fit is done, should be climbing by Saturday (with acetal plates, not wood)


Tuesday, February 18, 2020

2020 Day 46: Design Review #7

No Bag Day

It's a very good day, it's the first of hopefully many no bag days in future seasons.

For anyone new to FRC and wants to know a few of the reasons why so many in the community supported removing the bag for many years here are a couple good places to read more.

Everyone at FRC HQ and in the community that worked to make the removal of the bag a reality deserves a thank you. Giving teams the ability to choose how to use their resources (time, money, etc) is a great thing and will increase opportunities for inspiration through iteration and more time with their robots.

Design Review #7

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