Monday, January 5, 2015

Day 2: Prototypes Have Begun

We did a lot more work on day 2. Our passive manipulator designs progressed further, and we modified our 2013 robot to use its lift as way to test basic concepts.

Here is a quick video of a couple of our prototypes mounted on that lift. None of these use any motors or pneumatics to grip the totes or recycling containers; they only use the lifting mechanism.

We also discussed our lift mechanism in more detail today. Our two primarily competing concepts are a single stage lift and a 4-bar arm mechanism. Both of these mechanisms are relatively simple to build and will accomplish all the game tasks that we want. We have to look at a lot of the details of each mechanism and its ability to integrate with the rest of our robot. 

We spent more time looking at our drive train for Recycle Rush. We are still leaning towards a 2+2 drive train with omni wheels on the rear of our robot and away from the stacking mechanism. This will allow us to pivot near the totes and containers to adjust our pick up mechanism. We did some CAD sketches to explore the possibility of using 4" or 6" wheels, but 6" wheels will make navigating the platforms far easier. We are still looking at using a single speed transmission and will most likely be using WCP SS Gearboxes since they allow us to get a large gear reduction in a nice, complete package.

Our goal is to build a simple robot that can quickly and reliably stack totes and containers. Overall, we believe that this game can be accomplished in a simpler manner than in the last few years since its tasks have to be accomplished quickly but not under duress from a defensive robot. It's like the difference between shooting a free throw and shooting a 15 ft jump shot. They both accomplish the same thing, but this time no one is allowed to try to block our shot. Mechanisms can be built a little less rigidly since there will be less direct robot to robot contact. Driver practice in Recycle Rush may be more important than ever, but it will be a very different kind of practice. Drivers must be ready to complete the same tasks repeatedly with great skill and precision to make for efficient and high-scoring rounds. Skillful and intelligent programming will greatly assist your drive team in becoming more efficient. The more autonomous a team's stacking and acquisition systems are, the more repeatable they will become.

We started building a section of the scoring platform today and will continue building the remainder of playing field this week. On the bright side, it's nice to have a game we can practice in a hallway instead of one (like those in recent years) we have to practice in a gym. 

- Spectrum

“Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.”
- Babe Ruth

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