After yesterday’s haze of the EXPO, the team came back today with less than half of the members. Even so, the team worked hard in all aspects to continue work with the absence of some members.
Joshua, the lead of the prototyping team, was happy to report that ALL prototypes were completed today with the finishing of the intake rollers. The intake rollers needed a lot of work on them, but after today, everything is looking well. The prototyping team added joints so that the intake arms could be tucked in to fit in the transport configuration parameters. After placing the arms, the team gave it a new set of wheels.
Continuing off of yesterday, the swerve gearboxes where hooked up by the electrical team to their pseudo robot board for the programmers. The programmers got to work with the real-deal parts to better program the encoders that went with the new gearboxes. Tomorrow, we want to have the gearbox on a set of trolly wheels to test out driving.
Business has continued work on mailing out sponsor letters, chairman’s, adding up all the revenue from yesterday, and all other functions that are keeping the financial side of things rolling smoothly.
The electrical team placed orders for servo wires, contacts, housings, 12 awg zip cord, powerpole connectors, and CAN wires.
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.
Today’s banking day at school was taken full advantage of by the team. This next weekend is the most critical point of the season and will probably tip the balance on whether the team has a robot by bag day or not.
Firstly, the team met for a brief few minutes at 1:30 (giving a lunch break between 1:00 and 1:30) and discussed the Clark Magnet High School EXPO that was fast approaching tomorrow, Saturday 1-24-15. The EXPO is a huge opportunity for the team to connect with the community, meet sponsors, and to welcome potential incoming freshmen for the next school year. This year, the team will branch out all over campus; some to sell light bulbs, some to stay in the engineering lab to give in-lab tours, and others placed around campus to guide people around Clark.
Much of the work in other sub-teams included preparations for the EXPO. The business team is doing the final call for printings of brochures, light bulb posters, along with FIRST and Team description hand outs. Below is a link to the team store where we can process credit card orders during EXPO day.
A sub-team that is very much behind the scenes: the web team is pushing to have the new Team 696 website launched by the upcoming EXPO.
Although the team is preparing for the EXPO, all hands are on deck to finish robot design and prototyping. Today, it was decided that the alignment rollers (or the intake rollers as they are being referred to now) would be completely redone to achieve a better and more cohesive quality mechanism. This decisions were made on the basis that the intake rollers previously made were lacking in consistency with intaking the totes , the inability to grab the can well, and the overall design. Now, the prototyping team is rethinking the mechanism behind the intake rollers to be better and more efficient than the first generation of rollers.
CAD is still working to finish up designs. The robot frame, along with the elevator, elevator fork, and electrical placement were all the focus of today’s designing. The team hopes to be cutting and welding the frame by this weekend.
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.
Although today was not an official work day, Jack, Cynthia, and I spent a great deal of time working on the robot’s frame layout, electronics arrangement, and wire routing. We determined that it would be very difficult for the Victor SP motor controllers to live near the power distribution board, and it would be in our best interest to move them closer to the swerve modules.
Additionally, we finished both versions of the swerve top plates. We manufactured a quantity of four of each, which is double the quantity needed for one robot. A picture is shown below:
While 1/20/15 was an official day off for Team 696, I’ll share my summary of the day. My day started quite early, heading out to LAX at 4:00 AM, where I caught a 5:45 AM flight up to SFO with our school’s principal Doug Dall and animation teacher John Over. The goal for the day: visit the Autodesk Gallery. I must say, it’s quite an impressive place. I’d highly recommend arranging a visit if you’re ever in San Francisco.
On display were several applications of various Autodesk software products in areas ranging from art to biomedical engineering to architecture and automotive design. A picture of a recyclable and sustainable concept car from Mercedes is shown below:
A favorite of mine at the Gallery was a high-reduction gear train, with a ratio that I estimated to be approximately 250 million to one. At the rate the motor was spinning, it would take over two years for the vise handle to rotate once. Needless to say, it will be quite some time before this mechanism crushes itself.
Even more productive than the gallery tour was our meeting with Autodesk’s educational director. We were very pleased to learn about the incredible software licenses and training opportunities being made available to students and schools. We are currently in the process of determining which particular software titles to include in the system images for the new computers to be installed in our animation and engineering labs. Our hour-long meeting is hopefully just the start of great things to come from our partnership with Autodesk.
All I can say is, students, you’re really doing yourself a disservice if you haven’t at least taken a look at the incredible value in software made available to you for FREE through the Autodesk Education Community.
As a final note, I thought I’d leave you with these two posters I saw in the BART Station. They send a strong and important message.
A lot of the students today had to work around holes in our team today: people are sick. Welcome to winter, or as us Californians like to call it: weather (we don’t have seasons), the season of getting sick.
Beyond that, the day started out as a normal robotics day. Like yesterday, Mr. Black and Mr. Hoard continued to work on machining parts on the HAAS Mill. This time around, they had my partner in crime, Olivia, helping them. While I’m confident in my writing skills to detail what the CAM team has done today, I think Mr. Black has a better understanding as to explain it. Below is a voice recording of Mr. Black detailing his milling for today.
The CAM team finished machining of the 84 tooth gears, which were loaded with 3/16″ diameter steel and Delrin balls in alternating fashion. Tested under 250 lbs load, our custom ball and groove bearing built into the gear still turns with buttery smoothness.
Sipan finished printing and assembly of the 3D printed swerve module. It turned out rather well, given the limitations of our 3D printing capabilities.
The CAM team finished up the day by refining the program for the top “left” swerve plate, setting up and making a fixture, and running the first two pieces. In making the fixture, we tried a 3-flute spiral-flute 1/4-20 machine tap for the first time. By drilling to .625″deep, we were able to rigid tap to .500″ deep in one shot, with quite pleasant results; no broken taps to report. We also spent some time optimizing feedrates for the part. We cut the outer profile of the plate and large circular pocket with a 1/2″ endmill at 154 IPM (inches per minute) and 15% stepover. It was fun and exciting to watch the machine cut so fast. The part is uses 8 tools and finishes with a 14 minute cycle time. A picture of the top plate is shown below, as well as a picture showing how it is positioned in relation to the swerve module and mini-CIM motor.
On the business side of things, the team was happy to have the Kickstarter finally up! A link below will take you to the page. Who knew that Lauren, Mariam, Dylan, and Sipan were such good actors? Props to the media team for their hard work, because this video, I believe, is one of the best videos the team has ever made.
The lathe team was hard at work turning shafts for the swerve gearbox. There are two ladies on the lathe team, and one is a rookie. Whereas in years past there were hardly any girls the 2015 Team 696 includes 12 ladies as part of the 36 member team.
The prototyping team is continuing work on the alignment rollers along with the AutoCanners. These two works are still in progress, but the the alignment rollers are close to finishing.
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.
Two weeks in and the team is chugging along to the beat of failure and success: both of which are good signs that things are slowly, but surely, gaining momentum into the heart of build season.
While we have had awesome success in the past two weeks, we have also had spectacular failures. The team always builds back from failure which is the difference between being a team and being a niche of independent supers. Today involved a lot of failure and improvement.
After a few hours of work at the beginning of the meeting, the prototyping team threw all of the prototype mechanism onto a pair of wheels and called it a prototype. However, the team came back with the faults in our design. On the prototype, the elevator carriage and the actual forks are two separate pieces: they should be one piece. In a one piece design, much of the problems in stability and weight would be less than or diminished. It was also pointed out that the alignment wheels needed to be attached properly. The alignment wheels were two linear box tubing with motors and wheels at the ends and parallel to each: however, they should be angled to be supple enough to snatch onto a tote at any angle. In a sense, much of the work already committed need to be redone or refined. So, the team landed on their feet and went straight to designing the new pieces for the prototype.
On the CAD side of things, work continued on the robot frame. Jack and Cynthia worked through much of the electrical placement goings on concerning space needed and even the way to lay the motor controllers.
Mr.Black , Mr. Hoard, and Mr. Widholm worked on CNC milling the swerve tube which is the outer case of the swerve gearbox. Cutting bar stock, setting up the mill for cutting, trouble-shooting, and even a final product was pulled from the mentor’s constant work today. Thank you mentors for your amazing work!
Business team worked on the Chairman’s award along with fundraising and outreach to the community. Anna and Karin, two business rookies, are both elbow-deep in Chairman’s research along with learning the history of the team.
Tomorrow is another long day of work with things that need to be accomplished to keep up with the schedule.
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.