All posts by Olivia B

Post Bag Day # 11 – 3/9/15 – Competition Ready

Lab Opening Time: 1:30pm

Today the whole team gathered during enrichment to discuss the expectations for the Los Angeles Regional. Mr. Hoard and Mr. Black talked about how our pit should look, what people wear what color shirts, what time the bus leaves, what to do when we first arrive and to act professional and respectful at all times. The team also received the 2015 shirts today which look great!!

Once the meeting adjourned, Devon, Cynthia, and others helped to start packing for the regional. The team is using a new organizing system called Trello to help ensure that we pack all the necessary tools and equipment. Mr. Black also worked on getting the hexa-wall display working for our pit.

Lots of dog tags to hand out at competition.
Lots of dog tags to hand out at competition.

The mechanical team worked on getting the control board put together along with some last-minute manufacturing. The CAM and CNC teams worked on pocketing the fork box tube, piston mounts and fork flaps. Spian worked on getting the 3D printed swerve module back into one piece and Roupen welded our spear intakes.

Spian working on the 3D printed swerve.
Spian working on the 3D printed swerve.

The business team worked on cutting all of the vinyl  for the sponsors and putting the vinyl on the sponsor panels. Nicole also worked on printing the team’s business card while Ani finished the last of the dog tags.

Cutting vinyl is not an easy task.
Cutting vinyl is not an easy task.

The media team worked on finalizing the chairmans award video. The scouting/web team worked on debugging and adding the final touches to the scouting system so that they can train all of the scouts tomorrow and be ready for competition on Thursday.  The next few days are going to be stressful and really exiting.

Lab Closing Time: 7:00pm

Post Bag Day # 9 – 3/5/15 – Fitting Frustrations

Lab Opening Time: 3:00pm

One week away from the Long Beach Regional, the team is working hard to get everything done in time. While manufacturing was a major priority, it was slow going. Today we were working on manufacturing the female parts for the fork extensions pivots. There were a few problems with the program that slowed us down. For one thing, we were taking off too much on our z-leve rough and so when the ball end mill tried to do a planar finish, it was not coming out smoothly. After adding another z-level rough with a smaller stopover and adding a mill profile around the end for a smooth finish on the sides, the program was ready to be finished. However, when we tried to fit the male pieces into the female pieces, they would not fit because the male parts measure ½ inch and the female part gap was ½ inch. We though we had changes the male program to be 0.495 but we did not account for tool deflection. We tried to fix the problem on the female part by doing a planar finish with a ⅜ end mill. This helped but was not enough. We then tricked the program by saying that the tool was smaller than it was and tried running the part again. We got close but it still did not fit. After several attempts and because it was late, we decided that it would be best just to mill the male parts and call it a night.

Olivia worked on the ejector legs but the aluminum would not stay down on the Techno Router. Saturday, Mr. Widholm and Olivia will move the fence so that the part can be in a relatively clean area of the router.

The web team worked on getting the 50 best pictures of each year from 2011 through 2014. Chris and Ryan worked on editing the chairman’s video. Programing worked on updating software. CAD team worked on the design of the control board.

Lab Closing Time: 6:30pm

Post Bag Day # 7-3/3/15

Lab Opening time: 1:30pm

Photo Mar 04, 5 58 06 PM

While we enter, March, the team is getting ready for their first competition, the Long Beach Regional. In order to be ready for the regional, the CAM and CNC teams worked on manufacturing new and improved intake pivots. We were worried about the welds on the intakes and so we wanted to make sure that we had extra intakes.

Intake pivots completed
Intake pivots completed

The CAD team worked on finishing touches on the robot like adding the new ejector that Joshua is working on. His idea is to have the ejector more like a scissor kick mechanism that will push out the totes.

Photo Mar 04, 5 58 27 PM

Alexander Luke worked on wiring the new batteries that we received today from AndyMark. Roupen and Jack worked on side panels that will help to keep the totes from falling out while we are moving.

Lab Closing time: 6:45pm

Post Bag Day #5 – 2/27/15- Blue and Black Dress

Lab opening time: 1:35pm

Of course the robotics lab was a buzz with the black and blue dress that seems white and gold to others.

Speaking of groundbreaking news, the Team 696 robot reveal video was finished today!!!!!! The name of the robot is……. Centurion. Here is the reveal video.

Chris worked on finalizing the t-shirt design and worked with the animation team to get the rendered version of the robot for the back of the shirt.

Claire was able to run the elevator crossmember plate on the HAAS. The new part was pocketed to help reduce the weight. Bhavin cut out the brake housing that will keep people from sticking their fingers inside the disk brake.

Joshua and Roupen worked on a new ejector system that would be a scissor design that would be actuated with two pistons. Hopefully, this design will not be heavier than the original ejector.

Photo Feb 27, 6 07 04 PM
New tote holding system.


The business team worked on getting out a survey to all the donors of our Kickstarter which ended today. They also worked on the team contact information and the design of the sponsor panels.

The programing team got the Arduino Leonardo working with the joystick. Meet worked on the mount for the joystick.

Mika cut bar stock for various parts that will be added to the robot and Alexander Luke worked on wiring extra motors in case one of the motors stops working.

Alexander soldering away!
Alexander soldering away!

Mr. Black spent some of the afternoon walking some gentlemen from JPL around our lab. One of the visitors was actually a mentor for Team 696 during its early days. They were blown away with the machinery and technology. They even extended an offer from the team to come tour their lab after competition, of course.

JPL visitors talking to team 696 students.
JPL visitors talking to Team 696 students.

Lab closing time: 10:30pm 

Post Bag Day #3- 2/23/15 – Small and Mighty

Lab opening time: 2:00 pm

Today was a small work day.  Most of the team took the day off because there was no real assigned work to be done. The people that did show up, however, got lots of good work done.

The media team worked hard on getting the reveal video done and finalized. Lauren worked on cleaning up the Photoshop on the finalized robot photo. The business team cut the vinyl for the name plates and worked on organizing the teams contact information.

Vinyl nameplates.
Vinyl nameplates.

The prototyping team worked on a light-weight mechanism that would help to keep the totes from falling over when moving a six stack around. Devon also worked on the wiring of the new 2015 battery.

Devon working on the battery.
Devon working on the battery.
Testing out ideas for keeping the totes in place.
Testing out ideas for keeping the totes in place.

Daniel, a second year programmer, worked on getting the Arduino Leonardo working so that it could be used as a joystick on this year’s control board which Sipan is working to design. Aleksandr worked on the Odroid U3 image with ross PCL libraries and open wide libraries complied and working for the Xbox Kinect.

Lab closing time : 6:45 pm 

Post Bag Meeting #1 – 2/19/15

Lab opening time: 1:30pm

Early this morning, the team received a text message telling everyone that there was a robotics meeting today from 3 pm to 6pm.

The media team is working with sorting, filing, and editing all of the footage they captured over the last few days to put together the robot reveal video. Lauren and Nicole also started working on touching up the professional shots of the robot that will be framed and hung in the lab.

Nicole works with Lauren on editing the robot photos.
Nicole working with Lauren on editing the robot photos.

The mechanical team worked on putting together a wooden mock up of the robot to test out potential mechanisms to make the robot lighter. The lathe team worked on making a lighter elevator tensioning rod so that we don’t end up overweight (again).

Claire and Joshua work on the wooden robot.
Claire and Joshua work on the wooden robot.

The business team worked on updating the Kickstarter now that the build season is officially over. The CAD team worked on getting the robot design assembly completed for the new robot image on this years t-shirt. Cynthia also worked on the new CAD of the elevator forks and on getting the animation team all of the updated components so that we can show an exploded view of our robot in the pits.

The new aluminum tension rod.
The new aluminum tension rod.

Jack and Mr. Black spent all of the meeting discussing dates of pre-competion items that need to be done and which people need to be present and on which days should meetings take place. After all, we only have until March 11 before our first competition.

While build season is over, Team 696 is still going strong. This is just the beginning folks.

Lab closing time: 9:30 pm 

Day #46 – 2/17/15 – Bag and Tag Day!

Lab opening time: 1:30pm

Today was bag and tag day. Naturally, everyone’s attention was on the robot and getting it ready for the bag. One of the first items of business was to weight the robot to see what weight we were at because we knew that we had more parts to put on the robot. When we weighted the robot, the scale read 119.7 pounds. After adding some of the weight we knew we were going to add, the grand total was 122.0 pounds. We then discussed ways in which we could lighten the robot. One of the first items to go were the Team 696 name plates because each one weighted about a pound. The solution to the name plates was to use 1/16″ Delrin and then use black vinyl for the letters. We also took out the two spare Victor SPs we had on the robot and we are also going to do some pocketing on the elevator crossmember beam and on the elevator tensioning plate. We also replaced the larger green Banebot wheels with the smaller blue ones which may shave off a little bit of weight.

Photo Feb 17, 8 26 19 PM

After this, some students went down to the gym to grab all of the field pieces and bring them up to the auditeria were we would be practicing today. Then they set up the field and got ready for driver practice.

Field set up.
Field set up.

The main goal for practice today was to get the autonomous code working and also to practice intaking from the human feeder station. We also worked on building the coopertiton stack and driving with six totes. When we timed one of the human feeder loading of six totes and then scoring them, it took us 1:30min. This was too long and we are trying to figure out a way to make stacks faster.

With just under two hours to go, we ran into one slight problem. One of the intake pivots came off because the weld was not holding the pivot in place. Since the intake rollers are a necessity, we took off that intake and re-welded the pivot back on and hopefully it will stay.

Broken Intake Weld

Learning how to drive.
Learning how to drive.

Mr. Widholm worked on the newly designed swerve tubes and a chain tensioning piece that will hopefully keep the chain from stretching the spring and scratching the battery box.

Practicing our coopertition stack.
Practicing our coopertition stack.

Business team worked on getting the sponsorship panels mounted along with helping the media team set up for the full robot pictures.

We set up and shot as professional of a photo as we could with the time and resources we had.  Although we had purchased a large 10’x15′ sheet of Muslin cloth for the backdrop, it came folded and had terrible creases we were not able to get out.  Also, our lighting was not ideal, but we did the best we could with what we had.  Much Photoshopping will be required.  It was a bit of a mad dash toward the end, with the photo shoot happening between 11:25 and 11:50 PM.

2015 Robot Portrait Photo Shoot
2015 Robot Portrait Photo Shoot

At 11:50 PM, we pulled the robot out of the photo shoot and quickly executed plans to dismount the fork assembly and other components we planned to withhold as part of the 30 pound allowance.  At 12 midnight on the dot, the seal went on the bag.

The 2015 robot just seconds before the seal was placed on the bag.

And as a side note, we absolutely hate bagging.  It’s pointless.  It’s completely an honor system anyway, and makes the robot unnecessarily difficult to transport.  We’d be perfectly content locking it in a room and not touching it.  It’s no different than bagging in principle.  All I can say is there will be long lines through doorways this year; that’s for sure.

Lab closing time: 1:30 am on 2/18/15

Day #44 – 2/15/15

Lab opening time: 1:05pm

List of Problems and Solutions.
List of Problems and Solutions.

The day started out with the weighting of the robot as the team wanted to see how much the robot weighted without the addition of the autocanners, elevator flaps, constant spring and its mount. By using Mr. Najarian’s scale the team came up with a weight of about 114 pounds. We then weighted the robot on the new scale that we had bought on Amazon which  stated that it was accurate to within 1/10th of a pound. When we weighted the robot on this scale, it read 109 pounds. We then spent some time trying to figure out which scale was accurate. We tried to see by having people who knew approximately how much they weighed stand on the new scale but their were still slight degrees of variance. We then placed 2014’s robot on the scales and found Mr. Najarian’s  scale to be more accurate. With the weight of the robot known, the team could get on with the rest of the day.

One of the first mechanical tasks was to replace the BaneBots RS550 motors on the elevator with RS775 motors.  After a bit of calculation, we determined that we’d like to stick with the 12:1 gear ratio.  After a bit of re-wiring and reconfiguration of the VersaPlanetary input side, the new motors were installed.  We’re happy to report they work great, and are able to lift 4 totes at a rather decent speed, and can also lift 6 totes and a can without issue.

Daniel working on programing.
Daniel working on programming.

The programming team worked on calibrating the swerve modules so that they would only need to be calibrated once and then not have to be re-calibrated every time. They also got last year’s driver station working on this years robot so that the drivers of the robot can get every second they can get with the robot, with a control board that will resemble the actual board.

While the programming team worked on the code, the rest of the mech team worked on fixing all of the problems with the robot. One of the problems that was found early on was that the ejector air cylinders were touching the ground and which could potentially damage the push-to-connect tube fittings. Another problem was the flaps we originally thought of using were not long enough so we had to redesign them. The new idea is to have flaps that fold out so that we have a larger area to pick up the totes.

Shay worked on getting the constant force spring mounted to the robot. Originally, we were going to have an aluminum casing but after weighting the robot, it did not seem practical so we decided to use laser cut delrin instead. After trying to mount the spring, it was realized that the small plate that we had manufactured to mount the spring to the chain was not long enough and would not hold the spring in place. After a redesign, the mount was put back on but was too short and we were worried that the spring would be pulled too far that it would slip off the mount. The mount was then redesigned again to be longer and, in keeping with the triangle theme, triangle pockets were added.

Mounting the constant force spring.
Mounting the constant force spring.

Sipan, Jack, and Joshua worked on the new design for the forks and how we could mount them without having to redo the whole fork system. It was decided that we could just add hinges and that would allow us to extend the length of our forks.

While the tote fits on the flaps we have now, the tote tends to want to fall off.
While the tote fits on the flaps we have now, the tote tends to want to fall off.

To solve the problem of the ejector piston going to low and not being able to push on the tote, pieces of polycarbonate were used to extend the width of the ejector and help to push the totes out. Additionally, we wanted to improve our intake design to be able to intake totes from a much wider angle.  To accomplish this, we are thinking about adding some sort of funnel that the tote would hit and then be sucked into the robot.

The business team worked on the sponsorship panels for the side of the robot and also spent some time repairing the printer, 3D scanner, and monitor that fell down when one of the business room tables came crashing down.   The expensive items took quite an impact after the fall, but it seems they fared well in the incident and still appear to be fully functional without any notable cosmetic damage.  Luckily no one was hurt and all items were repaired and are now back up and running.

Our first major gouge in the robot happened when the carriage plates hit the side of the tote and then jumped out of the elevator frame. Oops.

Other details that were completed today included cutting and installation of the rear number plate and polycarbonate panels on the intake triangular frames.   Additionally, limit switches were installed to the top and bottom of the elevator to signal the roboRIO when the mechanism has reached the end of travel in either direction.  We intend to use the encoder as a primary means of software limiting, but we’ll add code for the limit switches to act as a failsafe if the encoder routine loses track of its counts.

By tomorrow, we will hopefully have almost all of the robot complete so that our drive team will have time to practice with the robot before bag day.  Tomorrow’s MAJOR mechanical objective includes extending the length of the forks, so the robot can actually pick up totes.  At this time, we anticipate we will not bag a working set of forks, and will need to completely redesign and remanufacture a new fork assembly and bring it as part of the 30lb withholding allowance.  But, we may be able to get something working for a few hours prior to bag time, just to try.

Lab closing time: 2:08am on 2/16/15

Day #42 – 2/13-15 – Friday the 13th

Lab opening time: 12:00 pm

On this “unlucky”  Friday banking day, the team gathered to begin the final days of building the robot. Good progress was made on all fronts as the programming team got the swerve modules running and the animation team has an animation that works just like the team has imagined it to look like.

Anthony working on the animation of the robot.
Anthony working on the animation of the robot.

The CAD design for the elevator forks was completed along with a back support system that will fix the wrapping of the metal due to the welds on the frame. Joshua worked on the autocanner design which will hopefully be ready for manufacturing soon. Sipan worked on a name plate that would meet the number requirements and also look aesthetically pleasing. The CAM and CNC teams worked on manufacturing the elevator tension plates, the elevator forks, and the revised swerve tube.

Three computer are better than one.
Why not three computers?

The business team worked on making posters for the UPS delivery tomorrow. The delivery was suppose to be deliver today but a misunderstanding cause the deliver to be delayed until tomorrow. They also worked on customizing the dog tags.

Business team making posters.
Business team making posters.

The prototyping team worked on getting the intakes wiring and assembled so that the programming team could start programming them. They also worked on the wiring for the elevator and helped to put in little green triangles into the truss design that was added to the robot to lighten the robot.

2-14-2015 Green Triangles
Green triangles laser-cut to fit inside the truss design we did on the frame


Alexandr and Daniel are hard at work programing.
Aleksandr and Daniel are hard at work programming.

All of the different parts of the robot seem to be coming together. We may not have much time with the fully assembled robot but the way things are looking right now, at least we will have a robot that is completed by Tuesday.

Joshua and Jack assembling the intakes
Joshua and Jack assembling the intakes

Once the intakes were assembled and wired, we got the robot on the floor and began driving and intaking totes.

Then, we worked on getting the elevator bolted to the frame along with running the chain that runs the carriage up and down the elevator frame. Before we left, we managed to get the elevator screwed onto the chain.

Elevator chain-to-carriage attachment.



2-14-2015 Full Robot
State of robot a little while before leaving


Lab closing time: 2:00 AM on 2/14/2015

Day #38 – 2/9/15

Lab opening time: 9:00am

Today was a school holiday for all schools in GUSD but team 696 did not take a holiday today. The team worked hard to fix mistakes that were made yesterday and to make progress on the robot to send the elevator to powder-coating.

Devon and Shay worked on completing the elevator frame and making sure all of the parts fit together and that there was no excess material that just adding weight.

The programing team worked on the code for the swerve modules although the swerves were malfunctioning. The hex bearing was not fitting properly and some of the screws were unscrewing themselves, After a discussion on what to do, it was decided that we should use red lock-tigh  instead of blue lock-tight. As it turns out, the red lock-tight does not seem to work much better than the blue. To fix this problem, Bhavin worked on a new design for the swerve tube that would help keep the bearing in place and reposition the screw so that they hopefully will not unscrew themselves again.

Cynthia working on fixing the swerves
Cynthia working on fixing the swerves

The media team worked on interviewing people for the chairman’s award video and also started working on editing all of the GoPro time lapse they have accumulated over the past few days.

Business team started making the personalized dog tags that will have everyone’s name and position. They also submitted the Woody Flower’s essay and started working on the logos for the sides of the robot.

On manufacturing, the roller chain plate, the elevator to compressor mount, and the intake pivots were manufactured today. On the pivot, we decided to use a 3D profile that would do a z-level roughing and then come back and do a planar finish perpendicular to the x-axis. This way, we could profile along the edge of the part. On the first try, the offsets were wrong and the part came out off-centered and we had to start over.

Hum..... I think something is wrong but I can't quite tell?
Hum….. I think something is wrong but I can’t quite tell?
The 3D profile on the intake pivots.
The 3D profile on the intake pivots.  We were able to do the ramping finish pass with a 1/4″ 2-flute ball endmill at 300 IPM.

Joshua and Sipan finished the CAD of the intake rollers and the stock was cut for the intake. Mr. Black welded the intake together and hopefully the intake and the elevator will be ready to be sent off to powder coating in the morning.

Lab closing time: 10:45pm