Day #3 – 1/5/2015 – Noodleing Around

Lab opening time: 10:07 AM

Today started out with the team setting goals for what needed to be done today. Our goals for today were:

  • Check the practicality of the swerve drive
  • Start on VEX Pro order
  • Check the Versa Planetary Inventory
  • Create the “expo” CAD of the robot
  • Check the Kit of Parts Inventory
  • Start on FIRST Choice order
  • Revise build blog
  • Start on VEX swerve drive

After setting our goals, the build team began discussing what robot systems and functions we needed to start working on. We came up with:

  • Swerve Modules
  • Elevator
    • Forks
    • Static Frame
    • Tote System
      • Fork Clamp
      • Ejector
    • Recycle Can System
      • Grabber Pneumatic
      • Carriage
  • Frame
    • Intake Rollers
      • Versa Planetary
    • Electronics
    • Pneumatics
  • Autocanner
    • Possibly hooks
    • Possibly actuators

After breaking up the robot into different systems, five different teams were created to tackle separate projects. Joshua, Alexander Luke, and James worked on the “expo” CAD of the robot. Mika, Olivia, and Claire worked on the tote-can elevator,  Bhavin and Roupen worked on the intake rollers that will help guide the tote into the robot in the correct orientation. Lastly, Devon, Lousaper, Elizabeth, and Meet worked on the auto canner which is basically a mechanism that will grab the two recycling cans during the autonomous period.

Roupen and Bhavin work on the intake rollers.
Roupen and Bhavin work on the intake rollers.

The team expanded on the elevator idea that they had yesterday which was to have two different stages on our elevator, one that would lift the totes and one to hold the recycling can. On further discussion, some member realized that the same effect could be done by putting on doors at the front of the elevator that would keep the can from falling out. However, Mr. Black thought that the doors would not be much more effective because they would still need motors and gears and the difference between the doors and the two stages was not very big.

Testing the design for the autocanner.
Testing the design for the autocanner.

Late in the afternoon, after one of the elevator ratcheting prototypes was completed, several members of the team got into a discussion about making an  elevator that would have more torque at the bottom and more speed at the top. They realized that they would need some sort of pulley system that would increase the diameter of the bottom pulley as the elevator comes down. The member soon began to wonder how many rotations it would take to wind up rope on a pulley given that the length of the rope was 72 inches. After coming up with a mathematical equation, several members tried to solve this problem by hand. Mr. Black was convinced that a problem of this complexity would only take about 20 lines of code in Basic. After many more attempts on paper, Mr. Black decided to solve this problem using excel. For those of you playing at home, the answer to this question is approximately 10.9 rotations.

Math equation
Math equation
Jack and Elizabeth work on the math for the pulley system.
Jack and Elizabeth work on the math for the pulley system.


While work continued on the prototype, the CAD team worked on a prototype of the swerve drive for the programming team to practice with.They also worked on the CAD model of the elevator.

Cynthia working on swerve module.
Cynthia working on swerve module.

The business team was hard at work today. They were able to organize the business cabinet, print the team 696 brochure, and write more sponsorship letters. Late in the afternoon, more discussion began on whether or not to place the recycling can on top of the totes before stacking the totes or to place the can on top of an already existing stack.

The team decided that it would be best to start with the can and then build a stack because the robot would not run the risk of knocking down the stack when trying to place the can on top of the totes. Finally, near closing time, after members started to experiment with the human player station and the advantages or disadvantages of placing the can on its side rather than vertical. Once four totes were stacked, we realized that the can was at the same height as the litter chute. This meant that we did not have to try and feed the noodle into the can from the ground but could instead just be pushed into the container from standing height. After many trials and a few looks at the rules, we came up with a strategy for placing the pool noodles into the can.


Lab closing time: 8:15 PM