And so it ends.
Build season has ended. The robot has been bagged and stashed away for none to touch it. After a long and strenuous build season the robot is finally done.
Thanks to the work of the team, the robot - Clawdia - is competition ready.
As for how they plan on winning, the team came up with a solution: an elevator (as mentioned in previous posts), and a claw (also mentioned in previous post).
The lift is made up of two prongs made of Lexan plastic, and a bar with two metal hooks coming out of it. The prongs are shoved under the lip of the totes to, well, lift them up and move them around the field. It can manage up to six totes at a time. The hooks catch onto the handles of the totes, and can carry up to four totes at once. So the robot could theoretically manage up to ten totes, if played correctly.
The claw is used to pick up cans - one at a time. It can lift them up, and move them around - doing so without exceeding the height limit. And with the fingers, it can even pick up noodles. In order to even do any of this, the claw has to move. And with the combination of the fingers, wrist, forebar, and mast, and the hydraulics to even get it going, the claw itself has five degrees of freedom of movement. Five out of six degrees. Ain't that fancy?
Aside from the lift and the claw, the robot also has a camera that allows the drivers to see where they're going - even from behind a stack of totes, and cans.
It also uses an H-drive, allowing it to move forwards, backwards, and strafe side-to-side, as well as blend movements to allow it to strafe while going diagonal! The H-drive even has a heading hold, to make sure that the sliding is accurate, and doesn't go diagonal too much unless you want it to. In fact, you could kick the robot in a different direction, and it will try to readjust itself to be in the correct angle.
Clawdia couldn't have been made without the hard work of the team - both the programmers, and the mechanics. They did a wonderful job.
It's the Claw.
As the title suggests, today has been focused around the claw for the robot.
The programmers were still working on the code for the claw. They were "Frankensteining" code: taking one bit of code (that wasn't identified) and transforming it into the code for the claw. Such as working on the codes for the motors for the carriage.
They also were coding for the autonomous mode, and working on a script. The script would allow people who don't know how to code in Java to program the robot from the driver's station.
The mechs attached the second elevator, and were working on adjustments for the tote lift. Which was interesting progress, but not the most interesting. They were also working on the prototype for the claw itself to pick up the recycling cans.
Everyone else? ...They were working on hats. A noble pursuit.
Busy day. Busy, busy day.
Ten to...whenever the last person left. A very long day, that's a definite.
With how few people there were, everyone had to work together instead of their normal two factions of programmers and mechanics. Today, they installed the encoder and motors - more specifically, they connected the encoders to the motors, then connected them to the test version of their power distribution board in an attempt to calibrate the encoder.
While this went on, they worked on the second elevator (sorry, the "Tote Manipulation, Elevation, and Depository System" - or is it the "Recycling Can Manipulation, Elevation, and Depository System?"). This second elevator is meant to pick up and move the recycling cans. But in order to do that, they not only had to build the elevator, but also had to install the pneumatic actuators. This is still a work in progress.
And thanks are in order to the Mom Squad (+James) for bringing the hard working students sustenance on this long day. I'm pretty sure they appreciated it. ...Pretty sure.
From two, to one
Another day starting at ten, yet this time it ended around three.
The poor test control board robot that the programmers put together (for the purpose of testing codes) was taken apart. The reason behind this? It was so they could take the command board and integrate it with the robot the mechs had been working on. It can move, now!
The programmers began their real programming today: fixing the code, and actually coding for the robot now, instead of coding for a test robot. They were working on, specifically, a code to move around the Recycling Can Manipulation, Elevation, and Depository System (which they've recently dubbed "Inspector Gadget," for its many features).
The mechs were working on, well, Inspector Gadget, which was a folding mast that could stand straight up, or fold back to stay out of the way. Upon this mast is a large claw that they're going to use to pick up the cans.
I guess all I can really say at this point, with what's been done today, is go go Gadget.
Progress at last.
The team was focused on their respective tasks - almost for the full duration of the meeting. Which was honestly mildly surprising, but as this is only the second time I've observed them work, I can't say anything.
The programmers were working on the autonomous systems for the robot and actually had their prototype (which they built by themselves) driving around the programmer's hub. Headquarters. Whatever you wish to call it. They stole the show that evening, as they stole the mechanics' quarters to display what they had been working on and drawing the attention of everyone.
The mechs were working on the Tote Elevation, Manipulation and Depository System (aka: the elevator and pulley systems). Putting it together, making sure that the pulley worked, etc. It's starting to look like a robot. Good job, mechs!
The team hosted one of the Vex competition, minus the bad weather 15 teams competed. Big thank you to TLC Landscaping for sponsoring our concessions! And to our volunteer judges, you all did a great job! The team even tried its hand at building, programming and competing with a Vex bot. The Vex teams from all across Maine work really hard to build the best solutions for their competition and came up with some really impressive design ideas, these bots might be small but they are mighty!
You can check out the Maine Vex site here: http://maine.vexevents.org/
They're on the elevator to productivity.
Today was spent mostly on working on the elevator for the robot. An elevator that shall elevate the totes into the heavens in hopes to score points.
The programmers learned and tried to figure out the code to cause the elevator to raise and lower, which is considerably more complex than it sounds. And when they weren't doing their assigned programming, they tried to come up with a homing system so the robot could sense "where bottom" was, so it knows when to stop, and know where "neutral" is.
On the mechanical side, they were working on the actual elevator (as shown in the pictures below). They were building the drive train, as well as the guidelines for the elevator. Again, it doesn't sound rather magnificent, but it's a great achievement. We now have an elevator.
The team will be supporting STEM in our state Saturday the by hosting the 17 area Vex Teams as they compete against each other and gain points. The competition will be at Brewer High School, team members will be volunteering as these small bots go head to head. Good luck teams!
Busy Sunday, all hands on deck. Big thanks to mentors and alumni mentors! Good luck this semester.
This is our first year of building a drive train and chassis without a kit of parts, Drew and Paul are busy with Solidworks and the ideas from all parts of the team are flying.