Monthly Archives: January 2013

Build Update – Day 15


Uh oh! We’re a third of the way through the build season already! Thankfully, things are going very well and according to plan.

We worked a lot today on both the shooter and the “spatula” attachment which we may end up using to get Frisbees off the ground. We also worked on our kitbot quite a bit, attaching a cRIO and other electronic components so we can actually deploy some test code to it. Here at the end of the day, we also have both the shooter and spatula attached to the bot and we’re just about ready to try driving tomorrow.

We had a drive team meeting this afternoon to gauge interest in driving the robot this year. Lots of students volunteered, which is exciting! We’ll try to get interested team members driving Blue Thunder soon so that they can get some practice driving an FRC robot.

We’ll get another video update posted tomorrow. Be ready!

Build Season – Day 14


It has been another busy Friday at the shop!

We finished rebuilding Blue Thunder, and trained in several new chain masters. We also worked on kitbot, attaching 6 inch wheels and beginning the process of adding electronics.

The CAD team is hard at work to finish up the general design so that the team can begin building our competition robot, and several members are being trained to program.

Another welding lesson was given and many members of both the Fighting Calculators and ERRORs teams took part. Now we have a whole team of welders!

It’ll be a busy day at the shop tomorrow, but for now we need to watch our Friday night movie, Short Circuit!

Build Season – Day 13


Today we worked on many projects. First, we worked on putting Blue Thunder back together. This will take a very long time as our chain runs were very, very tight and happened to be under the cRio… But no matter! Our Chainmeister is hard at work, putting the wheels and chains back on the robot. Hopefully by the end of tomorrow we will have a workable Blue Thunder again.

We also worked on our Frisbee Scooper today. We are going to go for a spatula looking scooper. So far it is just made out of PVC and plastic so we have a long ways to go before we can put it on the robot.

We also had a professional welder come in today and teach both our team and the ERRORs how to TiG weld aluminum (it’s not easy!).  We have another session tomorrow as well.  Special thanks go to our weld-masters for showing us how it’s done!

Again this Friday (Tomorrow!) we are having a Movie Night! We are planning on watching Short Circuit

Build Day 12

SONY DSCToday the team continued to build the Frisbee launcher and prototyped the climbing arm. The old robot Blue Thunder was taken out and tested out driving over disks. We wanted to make sure that the disks wouldn’t get jammed underneath the robot. The six wheel drive train seemed to work just fine. Hopefully we will have made a decision on the climbing arm and can begin building soon.

Build Season Day 11


More prototyping progress! The main focus today was on the Frisbee feeder – making sure that Frisbees stack nicely and don’t jam. We made excellent progress in that regard, although a few more kinks still need to be worked out so that the Frisbees won’t ever get stuck.

We also started up Blue Thunder and tried driving over Frisbees. Blue Thunder has 4-inch wheels, and we tested driving over Frisbees to see if there would be any issues. We found that there are no issues if the Frisbees are right-side-up, but if they are upside-down then there is a significant risk of getting the Frisbees caught in the wheels. We hope to test out other 4-wheel configurations tomorrow, but we may end up using wheels larger than 4 inches this year.

Also, as a result of driving over the Frisbees, we now have some lovely white dust sprinkled over the shop floor. But despite our abuse, the game pieces are holding up remarkably well! That’s certainly a welcome change over last year.

Build Season – Day 10

Today at the shop, we tested our Frisbee picking up device. We have had many ideas for this, but so far, we have gathered that a pancake like flipper will work the best as our tests showed that we could consistently pick up the Frisbee.

Build Season Day 9

Today at the shop we had an all-team meeting to discuss the results of the past week’s prototyping. We refined some of our ideas and decided on some of our robot’s final features and some things we need to refine a little more.

We tested a straight shooter with two wheels on one side, but it didn’t work very well. We’re content with our straight shooter using belts, which we shot across the shop for fun. We also combined the shooter with a storage hopper for the frisbee, which also worked well.

Instead of trying to create a 30 point climber, we are considering building a much simpler 10 point climber and trying to make up for the points by shooting successfully. We are also considering adding an appendage that could pick the frisbees off of the ground during autonomous, which we’ll have to prototype and test.


Build Season Day 8


Our prototyping is going well! Much of the day today was spent working on our straight shooter prototype, which yesterday was in such a sorry state that our lead mentor affectionately labeled it “a piece of crap”. However, after a hard day’s work, the prototype is now shooting reliably, accurately – and very, very fast!

The main difference seems to have been removing the second of the two belts we were using. Originally, we planned to have one belt on either side of the Frisbee track so we could control the spin, but that limited our shot distance to just a few feet.

The climber team also did great work on their prototype today. They have been developing a belt-based lifter with hooks to grab onto the gussets of the pyramid, and they have a prototype attached to our pyramid as of this writing!

Today also was a great day for the social media team – we started actively using our Twitter and Facebook pages (for content other than blog updates) and we released our first weekly video update! Let us know what you think!