The day started with Mr. Hoard and Claire bringing in doughnuts for the team. During build season, the team must eat lots of sugar to keep our energy up and our minds working at full capacity. The double doughnuts were a nice surprise and started the day with a bang.
The electrical team got to work right away on the wiring of the swerves to the robot frame. They were able to complete this diligent process by lunch time and spent the rest of the day connecting wires to the PWM and getting the robot ready to be driven by the programers code.
The programers worked on getting their code ready for the swerve and also worked on the autonomous code for the robot. They have been able to program the autonomous so that the robot can do certain actions when certain code is placed with in the script. They also worked on a way to tell the robot where the center point is so that they can use the center of the tote as a reference to how the robot should move.
The CAM and CNC teams were busy today with the manufacturing of the elevator bearing blocks, gusset plates, and elevator frame, and the break hub. The whole team is trying to get ready to send the elevator parts off to powder-coating on Monday so we are working hard to get all of the parts manufactured by then.
Shay worked on the break caliper design and got the elevator CAD completed today. All that is left on the CAD is the autocanners, the intakes and the rest of the elevator parts.
The media team worked on the Chairman’s Award video and made a sliding camera mount to help the footage come out smoother. The web team updated the photo gallery on the website and also got the website working on mobile devices. Go check out the new and updated website at www.team696.org.
The business team got the team dog tags completed today and there were no more fires involving the laser cutter. The also worked on making new business cards and continued work on the Chairman’s Award.
Since the lathe team did not have much work on the lathe, they decided to take it upon themselves to start organizing the washers, nuts, and bolts, that were all over lab.
Mr. Black, spent most of today working on purging the old robotics server of all of its data and getting the techno router set up on the new robotics server.
The goal for tomorrow is to finalize the CAD model, get the elevator parts made and the elevator welded and to get the programing team ample amount of time to test the swerve modules.
At 3:00pm, the team held a meeting to make a few announcements. Today the engineering lab got new CO2 fire extinguishers that are more kind to equipment than a dry-chemical type extinguisher. We also discussed the snack room and how we have been neglecting to clean up the snack room and as a result, the snack room was off limits today. Each sub-group also got their assignment for the end of the year which is to create a document stating what each sub-group does.
Today was a busy work day with most of the team helping to assemble all of the parts we have gotten back from powder-coating and anodizing. Cynthia continued the assembling go the swerve modules and Mika, Devon, Alexander Luke, and Jack worked on the wiring of the robot.Today they mounted the Victor plate, and crimped the Anderson connectors onto the victors, they also terminated and crimped the wires from the PDP.
Joshua and Spian have been working on the CAD model of the the autocanners and have the designed mostly finalized. Shay continued to work on the CAD design of the elevator.
Olivia, Claire, and Mr. Widholm finished the right elevator forks today. The part take about 53 minutes to machine not including the time it took to replace the bolts and refill the coolant tank. Bahvin worked on getting the encoder mounters cut on the router.
The programing team worked on fixing the logger for the encoders and also worked on programing the elevator forks so that they go up incrementally instead by the height of one tote.
Business team went out to see Bob Smith Toyota about their sponsorship but were unable to meet with Mike Smith today. They also wrote thank you letters and worked on the invoices for the Ventura Regional trip. They also got back their revisions from the Clark teachers who read over their Woody Flowers Finalist Award nomination essays.
The media team worked finalizing the chairman’s award script. Chris continued the t-shirt design which needs to be done by tomorrow. The web team worked on updating the calendar on the website and are getting ready for their meeting with the drive team tomorrow.
Mr. Black and Mr. Hoard worked on continuing to reassemble the laser cutter and clean it with a 50/50 mix of alcohol and DI water, which proved to be very effective. Lenses and mirrors were cleaned with a high-purity acetone and Kimwipes. We are happy to report, that initial tests seem to indicate that the laser cutter has survived (!) the exothermic event (and chemical deluge) of two days prior, and appears to be functioning nominally. So far, the laser appears to be engraving and cutting at a quality equal to if not better than before the mishap. It certainly is now cleaner than ever before. We still need to go through and perform a full maintenance procedure of the linear motion system, but it is fully functional currently. A very very lucky save, and a nice way to end the day as we prepare to enter the long weekend.
Today the robot frame was sent off for powder-coating today and will be returned to us tomorrow mid-day. While the frame was out, the team focused on other tasks.
Mr. Black and Shay worked hard on trying to get the elevator ready for manufacturing. The CAM team worked on the side plates for the elevator but ran into some trouble when we tried to post the code because the job sheet said that it would take one hour to manufacture which was much longer than expected. Additionally, the file size was larger than 1MB which was unusual because we have posted more complex parts without having a memory problem. After going back into our program and adjusting our plunge rates, federates, and spindle speeds, we found that the big problem was that we were trying to pocket a slot that was too small for the tool to make a helical motion. By the time, this was all figured out and the problems began to get fixed, it was time for people to go home. So, the plates are on hold until further notice.
The prototyping team worked on the kicker mechanism which will eject the totes by a pneumatic cylinder that is attached to hinged wheels. The kicker seems to work well and can push out four totes with ease. The problem is that the team is using a flow control valve which is making the kicker slow but without the flow valve, the 3D printed mounts break. To make a point, Mr. Black challenged the prototyping team saying that he could mill a mount that would not break faster than it would take to print one. Mr. Black lost this challenge because the 3D print was almost half-way done by the time he started milling. In the end, Mr. Black was correct in that, it would be much more effective to make the one mount our of aluminum than to 3D print several mounts that we know are going to break.
The business team had a meeting today to discuss the progress that is being made and to discuss t-shirt design. The media team helped business with the t-shirt design and with the chairman’s video. Nicole worked on putting together the business binder which has information about creating flyers and brochures for the team along with information about how to print these items.
Today, the welding of the frame took place. It took Roupen and Mr. Black all afternoon to get the welding done but it looks great! The frame is now in its final stages and should be ready for powder-coating on Monday.
While work on the actual frame took place, work on the frame in CAD continued with Shay working on the elevator and Joshua and Cynthia working on the intake rollers. It was decided that it would be best to have sliding forks that could push the stacks away instead of having an ejector piston also. This is partly because it would be tough to mount the piston within the limited space on the robot and also the ejector would get in the way of the electronics. Joshua and Cynthia worked together to get the CAD that Joshua had done on the intake rollers into the master CAD of the robot. Cynthia was also able to finish the base plate for the electronics.
On the CAM side, work was done to get the base plate ready and manufactured today on the router thanks to the new coolant system put together by Mr. Hoard and Mr. Widholm. CAM also began work on the bearing mounts for the elevator. As of right now, it looks as though these parts are going to be at least five operations but are not too complicated to machine.
The prototyping team was able to test out the autocanners and make some small adjustments to make the autocanners more consistent so that there are no surprises during autonomous.
In programming today, the team tested the swerve module by mounting it to caster wheels so that they can tune the swerve and make sure that is functions properly. Daniel is also working on a text file that will keep a record of these settings.
The business team and media teams teamed up today to help accomplish tasks. Chris and Karine worked on putting up new vinyl cut out of some of our sponsors. They had to redo Walt Disney Imagineering’s sticker many times until they got Micky Mouse just right. Lauren and Nicole worked together on placing photos for the team 696 flyer.
With 17 days left to build, the team has made significant progress but, as always, there is more work to be done and now that the frame is done, it is now time to get serious and finish strong.
Today, manufacturing of the actual robot frame began. We started out by cutting the diamond pattern on the base plate. This operation alone took an hour and half to complete because we were running the part on the techno router and had to constantly keep spraying the bit with coolant.
After the base plate, manufacturing on the battery box took place and all that is left is to weld the sides of the battery box together. Thanks to Mika and Alexander Luke for cutting all of the material for the robot frame.
Joshua, Meet, and Leo worked of the CAD model of the intake rollers for the back of the robot and on the pneumatics for the autocanners.
Shay and Cynthia continued to make minor changes to the frame and on finalizing the design of the elevator.
Alexander Luke and Devon worked on getting Snapdragon working to take to the Lincoln Elementary school science fair tomorrow. As it turns out, the compressor on Snapdragon was not working and needed to be fixed before tomorrow’s demonstration.
The lathe team finished making the shafts for the swerve module and worked on some spacers that will be used for various parts of the robot.
The goal of today’s work session was to finalized the robot base and the placement of the electronics. The CAD and prototyping teams worked closely together to help finalize some of the ideas that we have been working on for the last few weeks. The first item that needed to be finalized was the actual size of the robot. It was determined that the length already determined was good but that the width of the robot would depend on the width of the elevator and forks.
After some testing and discussion, it was decided that the drive base should be 39 inches wide in order to accommodate both the can and totes being lifted by the forks. We also tested to see that the intake rollers could intake a can to help the can be positioned correctly for the forks to grab.
Much discussion took place regarding whether the can should intake over the forks in a lowered position, or whether the can should intake with the forks in a raised position, and then forks lowered over the trash can, then raised again to lift the can. Due to intricacies of the “hinged-flap” mechanism used to lift the totes, and differences in size between the two game objects, we determined that the simplest way to proceed forward would be to intake the can onto forks in a lowered position. We saw no significant benefit to lowering forks down over a can, and we were concerned about the potential of bending the elevator forks in the process.
Another design aspect that was discussed was having intakes on the back of the robot that would be able to take in totes from the human player station back. By intaking the totes from the back, we could take in totes from the human player station and then drive straight to the scoring platform without having to turn around. This idea was later replaced by having a “door” style intake with wheels on top and on the bottom. The top wheel would be for speeding up the intaking from the feeder station, and the bottom would be for normal intaking.
In the process of testing the idea, we needed to know whether or not it would be worth it to invest the time and materials in making a power-assisted intake system. After many tests of loading totes from the human player station, it was determined that we could theoretically build a stack of six totes in 18 seconds from the human player station. After determining the advantages of a back intake system, we started on the design of the mechanism. Our idea was to have doors that would open and close to help guide the totes and to also keep the totes from sliding out the back and then have intake rollers on both the top and bottom of the doors.
We discussed the benefits and downsides to loading totes through the elevator from the rear of the vehicle. We determined that the benefits did not outweigh the downsides, and decided to stick with a front-loading design. A rear-loading design would likely be heavier, requiring additional motors and structure, and would significantly alter the design and construction of the elevator. Furthermore, an additional structure or mechanism would be needed to keep the totes in a repeatable position within the vehicle while rear-loading. Therefore, the rear-loading idea was logically eliminated from any further progression of the design.
The decision to make a front-only loading robot means that the robot may have to rotate to place the totes on the scoring platform, but we see this action as only a minor inconvenience.
Today the business team, web team, and media team, joined forces and decided to enter the Media and Technology Innovation Award that is offered through FIRST. They are hoping to win by having a good branding style, awesome website, and an up to date website. The business team also updated the Kickstarter with pictures of Clark’s Expo and Mountain Avenue’s Science Fair.
Programming worked on mounting the swerve module to a piece of plywood with caster wheels to that they could test out their code with only one working swerve module. We were able to drive it around the floor with some degree of direction and control, but a robot with all four modules will handle much better. There were some issues with encoder mounting that need to be resolved.
Hopefully by the end of tomorrow, we will have box tube cut, a finalized robot base, and will be ready to start on manufacturing.
We developed a concept to have both high and low intake wheels. The lower wheels would be used for taking in totes from the floor, and the higher wheels would be used for accelerating the intake of totes from the human loading station. Each pair of wheels would be mounted to a pivoting “wing” or “flap” and be driven by a VexPro VersaPlanetary, BaneBots 550 motor, and hex shaft. A slight spring tension inward would give the wheels grip on the object they’re pulling in, while allowing outward movement to contour the shape of the surface and angle that the vehicle approaches the object. We believe we can save 1 second per human-loaded tote by using the upper intake wheels to assist the tote in making a quick exit from the loader chute. These wheels and their associated frames would be located outside the transport configuration, but capable of folding back into the transport configuration.
Today was Clark Magnet High School’s expo which is our words for “open house”. The team got to the lab early to make sure that everything was in ship-shape for when the expo started. While most members help to set up tables for selling light bulbs, getting computers ready, and sweeping up the leaves that had collected inside the lab because of the wind, the CAM team spent some time setting up and running the second operation of the groove plate.
This task proved to be harder than we thought. While running the part we realized that the first pocketing we were doing was plunging too fast and was going the wrong direction. We went back into to OneCNC check our profile and found that the stock size we had inputted into OneCNC was a quarter too short so we increased the size of the stock, re-picked the tool path, re-posted the code. When we got back to the machine, and tried to load the program, the Mini-Mill was unable to read the flash drive and crashed on us giving us blue text full of hex code. After a restart, we were able to run smoothly.
After a few more minutes, we noticed that the machine did not do a finish pass at the bottom because it was a high speed open pocket and OneCNC does not do finish passes on open pockets so we had to go back in and do a mill profile. When we posted the mill profile, the profile plunged right down into one of the washers that was holding one of our fixture screws. This causes one of the teeth on the endmill to get nicked. After finding the problem, which was that the wrong profile was selected, we were able to complete the operation. After doing a final measurement, the part was 40 thousandths too thick after lowering the offsets, we were able to finish just the first of eight groove plates before the expo started.
After that one plate was finished, it was time for expo which started At 11:00 am, the lab opened its doors to community members, students and prospective students. The expo was a huge success. The robotics team placed prior years’ robots around campus along with students to talk about the robot and help people find their way around. We also had lightbulb tables set up in two locations to help maximize our sales. In the robotics lab, we had HAAS simulators running, 3D printers running, the Techno Router engraving the Clark seal, Daniel driving the VEX swerve robot, and Snapdragon(2014’s robot) running. It was quite an impressive sight. We even had some Clark alumni come back to see how the lab has changed, prospective students come in, and current Clark students interested in robotics. The turn out was good and many lightbulbs were sold. Most people who came into the lab were blown away with the advanced machines we have and the program in general.
After the expo ended at about 1:00pm, it was back to work as usual. The CAM team finished the left groove plates without any more problems, prototyping team helped to clean up after the expo while Mica, Daniel, Lauren, and Karin went to Mountain Elementary School’s science fair.
The web team did a “soft release” of the team website: www.team696.org. The web team is still updating the website but has done a nice job of adding continuous scroll and a new font and color scheme for the website.
Media team also helped the web team by editing a video that will be playing as the home screen to our website instead of just our team picture.
Business team was able to design and print team business cards for potential sponsors and visitors. Speaking of visitors, during the afternoon, a Disney Imagineer stopped by our lab to visit and see what he and his company could do to help support our team. We are pleased to announce Disney Imagineering as a new “Gold Sponsor” of our team!
The prototyping team worked on another new intake roller system that would be able to hinge and close in for transport configuration but would be able to open wider to load a tote but not collapse in on itself. Joshua and Alexander worked on the pneumatics that will help to keep the recycling can in place while lifting it up.
The Matlab group worked on finding the maximum speed in which our robot can travel before falling over. The have determined that our speed should be no more that 6 m/s.
Shay worked on the CAD of the frame and placing of the electronics while Cynthia was out. Anthony, one of our animators, worked on an exploded view of the entire robot.
The CAM and CNC team worked on the right groove plate. The right groove plate was also tricky because the tool offset was not set correctly which meant that 30 thousandths were left in the machine and had to be taken off after lowing the offsets by about 30 thousandths. We think that the offset was wrong because the tool moved up in the spindle while under the pressure of making the deep cuts in the groove plate. It was difficult to get the 30 thousandths in the middle off and in the process, we chipped a flute again, now on our new ½ inch end mill. Such is the cost of making parts in a hurry, without proper fixturing. When we did the next plate, the depth of the cut combined with the chipped tool caused the spindle load to near its peak output on the Mini Mill. So, to help fix this process, we decided to do some clean circles before our pockets so that the machine would have less to cut. This seemed to work and the rest of the groove plate came out fine.
The CAM team also worked on assembling the swerve module, which turned very slick and smooth. The steps to assemble are as follows.
First, we start with the 84-tooth gear and insert the screws into the gear that attach the wheel system to the swerve tube. Next, we assemble the wheel. The process is: bearing, bearing holder, spacer, 44-tooth gear, wheel, bearing holder, bearing.
After the wheel assembly, we assembled the swerve tube with a bearing, shaft, bevel gear,spacer, 30-tooth gear, and then a bearing to finish it off.
After the swerve tube, came the groove plate. We needed to put in the bearings and the bottom bearing did not slip through like we wanted it to but after a press in the arbor press, the bearing was only sticking out 10 thousandths and we did not want to go through the trouble of redoing the bearing bores. We then placed the bearings in the ball groove alternating steel bearing balls and Delrin bearing balls and then attached the wheel assembly, the swerve tube and the groove plate together.
We then worked on the top hat placing two bearings in the top hat, a shaft, and a bevel gear.
Finally, we drilled and broached the 14 tooth timing belt pulley for the CIM motor, and installed the top plate, which also includes the 49:1 VexPro VersaPlanetary. A picture of the completed module is shown below.
Build season is almost half over. As scary as that is to think about, we have made significant progress on our prototype, swerve module, programming, website, and media.
Cynthia, our head of the CAD department, worked on finding the best places to put the electronics for wiring and worked on the design of the base plate and Shay worked on the elevator bearing blocks.
The business team worked on printing the sponsorship brochure and getting flyers and other papers ready for the Clark expo on Saturday.
The prototyping team worked on finding the exact positioning of the intake rollers so that the tote can be brought into the robot in any orientation. The team has realized that it is easier for the intake rollers to pull in a tote when the tote is angled towards the fixed intake roller because intaking in the other direction causes the intake roller to have to move in and out to find a point of contact with the tote. The with the added adjustments, the intake rollers seem to be able to bring in a tote no matter the orientation. It is wonderful what physics and math can do to help solve problems.
Alexandr figured out how to use multi-threading which means that the robot can run at 50 hertz but we want to be able to run faster so that multiple threads can be done at the same time.
Web team worked on updating the website with more recent photos and took video to use on the website. The web team is still hoping to release the newly design Team 696 website in time for the expo on Saturday.
The CAM team worked hard on trying to get the groove plate ready for manufacturing tonight but, the groove plate is a much more complicated part than expected so, manufacturing of the groove plate will happen tomorrow. CAM spent the day trying to figure out how to hold the groove plate onto the fixture plate. They are going to use the same fixture plate that was used for the top plate and then when it comes time for the plate to be flipped, the plate will be held in place by screws in holes that have already been drilled and tapped in the fixture.
Finally, we placed the Coast Aluminum order today for delivery tomorrow, so we can begin making the frame over the weekend. Unfortunately, the 1x2x.0625 6061 square corner tubing is out of stock in Santa Fe Springs, and has to come from their Phoenix warehouse. That piece will arrive on Tuesday.
The whirl of the Haas Mini Mill greeted the students as the walked into the lab today. Mr. Hoard and Mr. Black worked ceaselessly on the swerve tube today. Each of the seven tubes took about 40 minutes to make, not including the time to re-position the tube through all six setups, and clear the chips. The blanks cut from 3.5″ round bar stock weighed 996 grams prior to machining and weighted 99 grams after machining. Approximately 90% of the material was turned to chips. A picture of all the CNC parts made to date is shown below.
The prototyping team started on a new frame that is the actual dimensions of the robot. They are not completely abandoning the previous prototype but are using it at as a model for how to build a better, stronger model.
The CAD team worked on the frame and how to mount the electronics. Shay worked on improving the forks for the elevator and he hopes to have the forks ready to be cut on the Techno Router by tomorrow.
The business team worked on finding more sponsorship to help balance the cost of building a robot and competing in two regionals.
Lauren worked on photographing some of the manufactured parts.
Media team has been working on a time-lapse of the lab and continued editing some of the footage and also worked on creating posters for the Clark Expo next Saturday.
Sipan has been working on creating a fully 3D printed swerve module. The hardest part has been creating 3D printed bearings and getting them to the exact size so that the swerve module move.
On the programming side, Daniel worked on swerve tracking which basically allows us to see how many degrees the wheels have turned even though we are using absolute encoders. Alexandr worked on a way to figure out the robots angle using odometry numbers so that are robot does not need a gyro. John has programmed 2012’s and 2013’s robots and is now learning how to programming for autonomous using state machines which is autonomous decision making. Daniel has been working on many different programs that will enhance the data received from the encoders
The CAM team worked on getting the 84 tooth gear and the top plates ready for manufacturing as soon as the swerve tube is done.
The Lathe team worked on creating the shafts for the swerve model and Alexander Luke started working on the VersaPlanetary gearboxes by cutting the output shafts shorter and drilling and tapping the end 10-32 to hold on the miter gear. A picture of the six modified and assembled VersaPlanetaries is shown below:
The web team worked on website designs and layouts and has come up with a design that they are going to use a template for the rest of the website. For the title they will use a black background with white text and for long passages, a white background with black text.
Finally, we took a look at the overall layout of the frame and electronics, in a conceptual 2D CAD sketch. A screen capture is shown below. In this picture, the frame is 40.5 inches wide, and 27.5inches long.
We are now ⅓ of the way through build season and still there is a lot left to do. We are hoping to finish manufacturing the swerve module parts by Sunday so that we can send them to anodizing. We are also hoping to get our website updated within the next few days so that viewers can see updated pictures and info about our team.
Today we started the session off with a team-wide meeting where announcements were made about our new fundraiser, selling oil change coupons, and the cost of the optional Ventura regional. Also during the team meeting, we watched the FIRST video on safety just to remind people about safety in the lab and being cautious about the clothing worn during machine operation.
After the meeting, every subgroup broke off and did there own tasks.
Media team worked on photographing the newly machined CNC parts that were made yesterday. Chris and Ryan finished editing and uploaded the Kickstarter video. They also set up a time-lapse GoPro camera in the lab for a few hours to test out how long of a duration it could record. It turns out, that if they run the camera for nine hours a day and do 15 frames a minute they will be still be able to fit it all onto one 32 GB SD card.
Business team went out into the community to try and speak to company owners about potential sponsorship. They were fortunate enough to receive a $50 donation already. They were not able to speak with all the owners today but did collect data about when the owners would be available to talk. Business team announced a new fundraiser today. Allstate Auto is giving team 696 a rare opportunity to sell oil change and safety check coupons. Each member of the team is required to sell two oil change and safety check coupons for $35 a piece (actual retail price is $90) and 100% of the profit will be donated to team 696. See Mr. Hoard for more information.
The CAM and CNC team worked to machine bearing blocks today. In total, 14 were made and we realized later that we should have made 16. The operations were to do a high speed open profile, a clean circle, and then flip the part over and face the other side off. This process went smoothly with the CNC machinist doing one operation and then the other on the two vices positioned with in the HAAS Mini Mill. We then made a bearing block fixture that would hold the already machined bearing blocks in place so that we could drill and tap some 10-32 holes. The trouble came when we tried to make the holes. When we ran the operation, the drill and tapping operation only made ⅓ of a hole in the actual bearing block. After an assessment of the problem, we figured out that there was a problem in where the part was placed within OneCNCXR5. After that fix and an added chamfer to get rid of the burr that the drill and tapping operation made.
The CAD team continued working on modeling the frame and the elevator of the robot itself.
The prototyping team made good progress on the robot prototype today. The elevator was mounted on the chassis and the forks were attached to the elevator also. The prototyping team spent much of the day remounting and replacing many of the old prototypes in order to make one coherent prototype instead of having several independent mechanisms. All is looking good for the prototyping team but many of the elevator’s bearing mounts are breaking because they are only 3D printed but the elevator is stable enough to test whether or not totes can be stacked. So far it looks like the elevator cannot hold much weight but hopefully after the elevator gets a diagonal brace, it will be able to lift more.