1/13 End of Week One

Busy end to week one with the team, lots of focus on building a prototyping some major mechanisms, and working on CAD for the drive train. The team has started putting together a document that will eventually turn into our Engineering Notebook, you can find that here. That is a living document, so as we work to develop our major strategies throughout the season, we will be updating this daily.


Here is a major strategy points that we’re looking to hit this year that will drive our prototyping and robot design:

  1. Auto
    1. During auto, each team can hold 3 balls and needs to start on the initiation line. There are 5 additional balls placed in the TRENCH, and 5 balls placed inside the BOUNDARIES inside each ALLIANCE’S RENDEZVOUS POINTS.
    2. Initial breakdown states that for week one we will have three different auto options. 
      1. Stay on the initiation line and shoot with our intake down with the option to collect the balls from our alliance partner
      2. Shoot 3 balls, collect balls in TRENCH, shoot 5 balls at the end of the trench
      3. Shoot 3 balls, collect balls at RENDEZVOUS POINTS, Shoot 5 balls back near initiation line
    3. Week 5 and beyond autos will be added to this document as the season progresses.
  2. Shooting
    1. The team has decided that in order to give ourselves the best possible opportunity to make as many shots as possible, we will work to position the robot up against as many, “hard stops” as possible. This means that the robot will be pushed up against something to ensure the robot is properly aligned before shooting so we can get a consistent shot.
    2. Three major positions
      1. Up against driver station wall in protected zone
      2. End of Trench still in protected zone
    3. Be able to get all 5 shots off with 3 seconds
    4. Aim for the 3pt goal, be happy with 2pts
  3. Hanging
    1. The team has decided that hanging is a must
    2. Balancing will be critical but initial analysis leads the team to believe that the robot should be able to balance the rig without an additional mechanism on the climber hook
    3. Have the ability to hang anywhere on the bar
    4. In order to secure a ranking point, putting a lot of effort into developing a buddy hang will be important to have early in the season, will likely matter less towards the end of the season as more teams gain the ability to climb
  4. Wheel of doom
    1. This is the lowest priority for the team
      1. Reasoning is the team is under the impression that 49 balls will not be scored before the end of the match, so that ranking point will be hard to get and the time can be used to do more important tasks


In order of priority that the team decided on last Saturday, the first thing we wanted to prototype was developing the most consistent shooter possible. After our tests last week, we discovered that compression of the ball and rigidity of the shooter hood, as well as motor speed greatly impact how far the ball goes and how consistently it hits it’s target.

After last weeks sketchy wooden prototype we decided it was time to develop something that we could gather some accurate data for. Below is the picture of the CAD of the shooter.

Some things that we were looking for when developing this prototype was the ability to easily change the compression on the ball, easily change the type of wheel, and easily change the angle of the shooter hood. With this we’re planning to conduct some data utilizing four different wheels and three different rates of compression to see exactly how each impacts the shooter.

For compression we’re looking at 1.5in, 2in, and 2.5in of compression, we developed this hood so we can easily unscrew the hood and bring it closer to the wheel. For wheels we will be testing four different wheels, 2476K37 in 35A and 60A durometer, and 2477k37 in 35A and 60A durometer. We’re planning to take 5 shots with each combination of each wheel and mapping the trajectory. We will be presenting this data by the end of the week.

Here are some videos and pictures of the shooter prototype test.

Scouting App Development

Something that we believe is incredibly important and severely underrated is a teams ability to develop a way to scout during the competition and get reliable data on each of the teams so they can make an informed decision come alliance selection time. Here’s a quick write-up and demo from our scouting team.

“Over the summer and fall, the scouting systems team has been working to develop a new electronic scouting system. This is an evolution from previous years, where we used a “scantron” system on paper. The electronic system is designed to run on a set of kindles which connect to a laptop via Bluetooth. One of our goals in creating this new system was to make scouting easier. Instead of using more traditional input fields, we show the scout a map of the field with buttons for recording data, which we call “visual” scouting. This makes many functions much more intuitive, like selecting a starting position.

Directly following kickoff, we worked to select which data to collect via match and pit scouting. This year, we are working to take advantage of the new electronic system by tracking the time between power cell shots. This provides a quantitative measure of the team’s speed in addition to accuracy. After setting up these fields, we began to create the layout and functions of the “visual” scouting system, which is defined via JavaScript code to be loaded over Bluetooth. The “visual” layout is now fully functional, and we are happy with the results thus far. The next step is to begin testing with potential scouts in order to find any confusing aspects of the design. We are also in the process of planning our analysis systems to be built in Alteryx and Tableau. See below for a video of the scouting app in action:

Vision Development

New for this year the team want to purchase one of the new LimeLight 2+ to try out our hand at a COTS vision system to make our robot as accurate as possible. Will have more information on the development.

Ball Intake and Serializing Development

One of the things that the team believes is going to be a huge issue if not handled correctly is serializing the balls once they’re inside the frame perimeter. Intaking up and over the bumper seems like a clear cut choice after our testing and we’re currently working on a 148 2019 style slide out intake, pictured below is the first rev of the CAD we’re using to work out geometry.


After looking at some 2012 robots, the team decided to try a system similar to 254 but with rollers on both sides might be a good system to prototype. Below is the initial geometry 2D drawing to ensure we will be able to properly package the ball handling system. With this layout, the balls would intake through the back and then travel towards the front of the robot, up to the second level, then back towards the back of the robot and up to some kicker wheels and into the shooter.

There are a lot of potential pinch points with this system, so it makes the most sense to try to build the entire system to see in real life what hangups it has.

We’ll be laser cutting these panels this week at ETM Manufacturing and will be assembling for testing this weekend.

Drivetrain Development

Over the weekend the CAD team met to start work on the drivetrain. We sat down and started working on the major requirements which are listed below:

  • 32in long by 26in wide
  • Single Speed, around 13fps adjusted
  • 4 NEOs(actually only motor you ever need(or can get))
  • 6in Colson Wheels
  • WestCoastProducts flipped gearboxes to give us some more space in bellypan

After doing all the math and utilizing JesseK’s calculator, we were able to reach a final ratio of 11.5:1 which gives us around 12.2 fps and a quick sprint distance. Below is a screenshot of the calculator.

After getting this, Our CAD team got to work modifying the WestCoastProducts Flipped Single Speed gearbox to match what we drew up.

There are some planning to see if we can shrink the distance between the plates since we wont be utilizing that space to have our sprockets.

While doing this, a few other students started work on the sheet metal for the drivetrain, hoping to finish this up in the next couple of days so we can get our practice drivetrain metal cut and assembled.

Random Other Updates

Some other cool updates, we did some work on an auto-closing hanger hook. Below is a screenshot of the CAD and a video of it in action.

This week the team received an incredible donation of 9(!!!) more 3D printers for the company FlashForge, these printers will used to educate our students on additive manufacturing. Thanks again, Josh!

Expensive Shelf

4481 inspired basic tornado style hopper we’re playing with as a backup plan

Moving Forward

In the next week, the hope is to decide on a direction for our ball serializing system and nail down the specifics of the shooter. Once those are complete, we’ll start putting more effort into working on CAD for the entire subsystems. We’ll have an update Wednesday that will include more information about our climber ideas and prototypes. As always, feel free to ask any questions you may have!

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