Saturday, June 16, 2018

Projector Speaker Stand Mounts

As we prepare for our off-season event we are updating part of our AV system. One of the things we really like is being able to easily mount our projectors on to speaker stands so that we can adjust their height and angle quickly. We make custom mounting solutions to be able to do this.

We start by CADing the whole pattern for the mounting screws on the bottom of each projector.
This mounting pattern also includes holes to mount it to a TV Wall Mount. We route the pattern into a piece of 1/2" plywood using our CNC router. We use the TV wall mount to give us some angle adjustment on the projector.

TV Mount
Here is the TV Wall mount that we use.

It has worked well for us for the past 3 season of events.

We secure the small mounting plate of the mount to the wooden plate. The large portion of the mount is bolted to a speaker stand mount. 

Speaker Stand Mount


This lets us quickly put our projectors on to speakers stands and adjust their height and angle. With some lens shift and keystone adjustment we are always able to be get a good angle to the screen using this setup.

Here are the 3 projectors that we own.

We mount them on large speaker stands so that they have a stable base and get extra height if needed.

Here is the projector mounted for the 2017 NTX Off-season


Here is a picture of the complete setup in action at the 2017 Remix event.


- Spectrum

"Much ingenuity with a little money is vastly more profitable and amusing than much money without ingenuity." - Arnold Bennett

Monday, April 9, 2018

Alamo Regional Champions

Gold medal awarded to Spectrum 3847, the St. Agnes and Strake Jesuit engineering team, at FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Alamo Regional Competition in San Antonio. Team advances to Championships.


Houston, TX, April 9, 2018 - - Spectrum 3847, the St. Agnes and Strake Jesuit engineering team, FIRST Robotics Team Spectrum 3847 won the Alamo Regional Competition held in San Antonio. The team is now heading to the World Championships for the fifth year.

Spectrum 3847 competed against 51 other teams from across Texas and some from Oklahoma and as far as away Beijing, China. The competition was fierce and intense, but the students did an amazing job. Of the 52 teams competing, Spectrum 3847 was ranked 1 with a record of 15-2-0.

As the #1 Alliance Captain, Spectrum chose San Antonio’s Team 3481 - Bronc Botz and Team 5726 - RHUMBOTZ. The alliance remained undefeated through the quarterfinals and semifinals. They went on to win two of three matches in the finals, crowning them Winners of the 2018 Alamo Regional competition. The regional win is the first for Spectrum. Also, Spectrum was awarded the Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors. The award celebrates form and function in an efficiently designed machine that effectively addressed the game challenge.

“I am so proud of our team for winning the FIRST Alamo Regional Competition. They worked so hard on our robot Infrared 2018. We look forward to the global competition at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston from April 18 to 21, 2018. It’s free admission. Over 30,000 people from around the globe will travel to Houston for the world's largest robotics competition, celebrating STEM and innovation.” said Spectrum 3847 Coach/Mentor Allen Gregory IV.

 
Upcoming Competitions
  • FIRST World Championships is April 18 to 21 , 2018 at the George R. Brown Convention, Houston, TX.
  • Texas Robotics Invitational - Jun 28 - Jun 30, 2018 Spectrum 3847 will be hosting the off season tournament.

About Spectrum #3847

Spectrum is a FIRST Robotics Team #3847 from Houston, Texas. The team is made up of high school students from St. Agnes Academy and Strake Jesuit College Preparatory two Catholic college preparatory schools in southwest Houston, Texas. St. Agnes is all-girls, and Strake Jesuit is all-boys. www.st-agnes.org and www.strakejesuit.org. They work together to spread engineering to others, build robots, and have fun. The team is recognized for their hard work, community outreach, teamwork, and promoting Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) through robotics workshops, service, & mentoring in Texas and China and their use of social media: Instagram, Blog, Tumblr, Flickr, You Tube, Twitter & Facebook. http://www.spectrum3847.org

FIRST ROBOTICS
The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting Mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. FRC is a six-week competition program for high-school students to build 120 pound (54 kg) robots with help from their mentors, both teachers and engineers from a variety of companies. The students learned about engineering, programming, marketing, media, teamwork, cooperation, and much more. Each team is organized like a small business with many different tasks for students to do in addition to robot construction. Teams have only been working on their robots since January 6, 2018 when the game was revealed to all the teams.

It’s a gold medal! Congratulations to Spectrum 3847, St. Agnes Academy and Strake Jesuit College Preparatory high school students, for winning the Alamo Regional Competition. They are advancing to the Championships at the George R. Brown Convention Center, April 18 to 21, 2018.

Spectrum 3847’s “Infrared” robot for the 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition




FIRST ROBOTICS COMPETITION 2018 ALAMO REGIONAL WINNERS - Spectrum 3847, Bronc Botz 3481 and RHUMBOTZ 5726

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Practicing and FIRST $10,000

We have been getting in a lot of practice with the practice robot. The arm is faster now and we are getting better at controlling everything and stacking.

Practicing our Switch Game

Getting Better at Stacking


New Organizers from Amazon



We are very excited that Amazon now has these, so that we can stop buying green and yellow organizers. These seem to solve multiple of our problems with some of the other cases, and don't appear to come with any annoying stickers on the clear covers. We will be buying many of these throughout the year. 

FIRST $10,000

We have began working on improving our FIRST $1000 document by adding on a FIRST $10,000 which is the idea of what tools would we buy if we were starting a new team and had $10,000 to spend on equipment.

Spectrum FIRST $10,000


Hopefully this will help some teams find tools and equipment to get them started. This is still a living document so it may be updated regularly. 

- Spectrum

"Once you start a working on something, don't be afraid of failure and don't abandon it. People who work sincerely are the happiest." - Chanakya

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Pre Lone Star Central Update

Quick update, the robot design has stayed the same we have just been finding things to fix and getting subsystems tweaked and ready.

Lone Star Central

We compete next weekend (March 15-17) at the Lone Star Central Regional. It's nice that's its only a few hundred yards from our lab. Infrared will be ready for the big weekend and we are happy to be able to welcome so many of our friends to our campus for the competition. 

Tailgate

The tailgate is out for now, probably won't be made until after championship. It will be fun lifting partners in the off-season but for now we are going to focus on climbing around our partners.

Visit to 118

We got to take the practice bot to 118's shop the weekend after bag day. It was our first time driving it around the full field. It showed some promise, but it definitely need a lot of tweaks before it could reach it's potential. 


Dallas Regional

We split up this weekend with some of our team heading up to the Dallas regional to learn how the game is played and the other half staying at our school to run our Spring Fling Maker Faire and demo our robot.

The Dallas regional is awesome we got to see a lot of friends including 118, 148, 1296, 2848, and 3005 who we won't get to play with this year until South Champs. Congrats to all those teams for awesome performances this weekend. 
We took almost 1500 photos at the event so if you're team was their or you just want to look at cool robots have a look through the gallery. 

Spring Fling Maker Faire

This was our 2nd Annual Maker Faire at our school's Spring Fling Scholarship Faire. We had fun demoing the robot, making art robots, and we also had a police robot to come demonstrate as well.

Robot Demo

Art Robots

Puncher

The puncher tests have been going well. We should be able to shoot most of the first layer of cubes and it will also help speed up autonomous cube scoring. 


Notes from Allen

Take aways from watching Week 1


  1. This game is about scoring cubes fast, it seems obvious but it's now backed up by match play.
  2. #NoParking, it's 5 points don't park for 30 secs when you could put more cubes in the vault or take the switch or scale for 5+ secs. Also don't park/climb all three when you have levitate, it makes you look foolish.
  3. Partner climbs seed you high they don't win you the event. It's only 30 points (compared to a solo climb) if it takes 30+ secs for 2 plus robots to do it, are their better ways to get those 30 pts during playoffs? If there isn't have you already won the match and now are you risking breaking something by dropping a robot? If we see partner climbs get way faster, this is a completely different story.
  4. Auto is king, again obvious but now backed up with actual match play.
  5. Defense will get interesting but like most years, very few teams will play it well and Einstein will still be won by the best offensive robots but smart defense can turn matches. Stopping a team from scoring a cube is almost as effective as placing another cube that keeps the scale/switch on your side for that same amount of time. Possibly more so if your scale plate is full.
  6. Some penalties just don't matter, assume you are going to get some penalties every match. Pushing multiple cubes into the exchange, a five point penalty that immediately gets you more than that back. Also few matches are won or loss by 5 points. It seems impossible to know what is actually being called for a large percentage of penalties and they aren't being called consistently (yet, hopefully)
  7. 7. All omni drive train seemed to work pretty well.


On that note, Robots I liked this week. (Didn't watch a lot of video since i went up to watch Dallas)1. 7179 was an absolute blast to watch, very sad they won't be at champs. If anyone isn't happy with their robot and wants to rebuild I think this is the model. The thing weighed less than 60lbs, you could probably strip the COTS and carry the whole thing in as withholding. If every 3rd was like this robot, this game would be crazy. They scored 16+ cubes in at least one match. That number is breaking scouting sheets.2. 3538 Robojackets (played at Southfield district) built an awesome robot, we had sketched the side lift, with 180 degree wrist, early in the season and just didn't think we could build it. I'm very glad someone did and got it working well.

- Spectrum

"If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress." - Barack Obama

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Day 40, 41, & 42: Starting to sprint

We have been putting together the competition bot and powder coating parts. We also got the practice arm assembled and should have to mounted to the practice bot quickly tomorrow.

 Arm



 Practice Robot






Details




(Arm Gearbox)


Comp Bot

\

- Spectrum

"If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it."  - Anthony J. D'Angelo

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Day 38 & 39: More Parts

Power Switch and connector mounting

We worked on our power switch and battery connector mount the past two days, going through about 4 versions before finally getting a good solid setup.

Version 1 and 2 didn't include the connector mount. This is version 3.

Version 3 didn't actually reach the battery connector so we had to add some parallelogram and make version 4. 
(The breaker is on the wrong side of the polycarb in this photo, it will be turned around and cover will be on it for the real robot.)
The real robot will get at least version 5 that has a few more holes.


Sheet metal Delivery #2

More sheet metal arrived this afternoon, we are able to get more items powder coated as well in our shop. 




Routed Parts

We do make a lot of parts in house in addition to our sheet metal parts. Here is some video of our router doing a couple of the arm gearbox plates from last night. 


Gearbox covers

We also made some simple gearbox covers out of 0.02" polycarb.

- Spectrum

"People say, “Why don’t you give it up?” I can’t retire until I croak. I don’t think they quite understand what I get out of this. I’m not doing it just for the money or for you. I’m doing it for me." -- Keith Richards

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Day 37: Springs on the Intake, Wiring Practice bot, Dog in the Lab

Springs on the Intake

If people are looking for a cheap way to do a compliant intake without pneumatics or as a back up (which is what we are doing so in case we vent during a match we can still intake), adding some torsion springs is pretty easy. These fit right around 1/2" hex shaft and are almost exactly .5" tall so they just replace a spacer. Add some bolts to either side and you're done.

https://www.mcmaster.com/#9271K622
https://www.mcmaster.com/#9271k687/=1bj02fu

We found that two spring on each side of our intake worked well enough but the pneumatics definitely are better for adjusting the compression to get it just right. Having them work together means we will still be able to score cubes even if we accidentally vent during a match (or start a match without air, etc). We will also be able to use less air to squeeze the cubes then if we only used air. They will be mounted much cleaner on the real robot, this was just for the quick tests to prove the concept and figure out how much force we needed. We tried a few different bolt placements since that changes the lever arms on the springs and the intake arms.




Lab Dog

We heard all the good teams have lab dogs so we had Cream visit the lab today. We even got one in our color scheme so we didn't have to talk about how to make it white.


Practice Bot Wiring and Assembly

The production on the practice bot continued. We found more little things to tweak to make working on the robot that much better in the future (you know like not having rip out large structural members just to change some wires, things like that).


We added some nice wheel guards so our internal wheels don't start grabbing stray wires. These are made out of 0.020" polycarbonate (0..015 seemed a little thin, and 0.030 seemed like overkill).


- Spectrum

"If you want to be incrementally better: Be competitive. If you want to be exponentially better: Be cooperative."

Day 36: Drive Train, Belly Pan, Hook Test

The practice bot drive train has begun assembly over the past few days. There were a few minor tweaks to it as it went together to get everything spinning nicely but it is nice and smooth now and the competition robot drive train should go together quickly once it is done being powder coated.



The belly pan will go on tomorrow and we can wire up most of the robot. 

Belly Pan

We have used 1/4" (6mm) Baltic Birch belly pans on all our robots since 2015. They are very rigid and light weight and allow us to easily machine in mounting holes and add other holes when needed. We can lighten them if we need to later with just a hole saw and painting them is easy. This year's was a little tricky as they are 23.25" wide and our router is only 24" so it just barely fit.


Hook Test

We tested a new version of the hook that held 300 lbs without breaking.

- Spectrum

"Practice is not the answer here. Practice, the 10,000 hours thing, practice alone doesn't produce work that matters. No, that only comes from caring. From caring enough to leap, to bleed for the art, to go out on the ledge, where it's dangerous. When we care enough, we raise the bar, not just for ourselves, but for our customer, our audience and our partners." - Seth Godin