Monthly Archives: January 2015

Build Update-Day 7

We had another productive night at the shop!

Our prototypes are continuing to come along as we refine our ideas for final designs.  The wheeled intake, container grabber, and tote-holder are all coming along, and we have been able to start testing pneumatics on all of these features.  Tonight, we began prototyping a four-bar linkage, our latest idea for lifting tote stacks. Throughout the week we have continued to discuss strategy during both the autonomous and teleoperated periods.


We also had a group of students in the lab tonight working on both CAD and code.  Now that the decision to use a tank drive has been made, students have begun designing the drive train.

IMG_1875 (1)

It’s hard to believe that the first week of build season is already wrapping up, but we’re excited about the progress we’re making!  It’s going to be a busy weekend so watch for more pictures and updates!

Build Update – Day 6

We’re almost a week into build season, and after debating over different ways to bring our prototype ideas to life, we’ve successfully built three intake prototypes for the totes and containers. Along with prototyping intake designs, we have also been testing different types of drive trains.

While testing different drive trains, we’ve ruled out a Mecanum drive train after testing going onto the ramp that leads onto the scoring platform and driving it around a bit. Going further, we had another meeting about potential drive train types.IMG_1862

Another thing we did was work on improving our current prototypes, test them out, and even start on some new ones. We tried to improve the Claw to make it hold the container better. We started working on another intake device that we refer to as the “Dino Claw”. Despite doubts towards this device working, in the end it ended up being successful but not effective enough. We’ve started making a new model that will be powered by pneumatics and it is going well. A third intake device was made to grab the containers by the hole in the top.IMG_1861

Until tomorrow, Calculator fans!

Blog Update – Day 5

Five days in, and this is looking like the best start to a build season that we’ve had yet! Even though school was cancelled today, team members still trudged out to the shop in the subzero temperatures to get some serious prototyping done. We currently have several designs being made for both picking up and stacking the totes and the containers, and we have seen considerable success in those that we have constructed so far.


Today, we also held our mid-week-one meeting in order to catch up and see where each sub-group was on their design. Together, we were able to figure out what still needs to be constructed and tested before we can hold our formal design review meeting this weekend.

Along with different intake and stacking mechanisms, we also spent some time discussing potential drive trains for this competition. For the first time since 2011, we are considering using something other than our standard tank drive and some work was put into making drive bases to test out both slide and Mecanum drives.

2015-01-07 21.25.55

Standby for some more prototyping (and hopefully warmer weather) tomorrow!


Build Update – Day 4

Another busy day of prototyping and discussing strategy–it may sound like we’re doing the same thing every day, but there’s definitely new things being brought to the table all the time! SONY DSC

Most of our prototypes have reached the stage where we have decided which one we’d like to focus on and refine, so the team is busy building different intakes and grabbers and testing different components of them.SONY DSC

The code team is also making major progress, and has some basic code already created! Additionally, the CAD team has begun designing this year’s robot, with an emphasis on getting some rookies into CADding and teaching them the basics before things get really crazy!

The Minnesota weather is conspiring against us: school is closed tomorrow, so we may not be able to be in the shop. We’re crossing our fingers that it’s not quite cold enough for everything to close!

Build Update-Day 3

The prototyping continues!

Tonight, we worked on improving and creating some different tote-lifting systems. We’re trying out an elevator, an arm with wheels, and some grabbing tongs. There are also still lots of ideas flying around for how to best stack and move the totes, as well as how to retrieve the containers from the center of the field.


We made some exciting improvements on previous prototypes, and have now added pneumatic and spring elements to our current intakes. Additionally, a group of students experimented with carrying totes and recycling containers around on Greg’s (our extra bot from last season) newly updated drive train.


We are still trying to further our understanding of the game and have been brainstorming how to maximize points in various match situations.  We are hoping to start narrowing in on just one or two design options by the end of the week; it’s amazing how fast the first few days fly by!

Daily Update – 1/4/15

Hello, Calculator fans. We’ve almost grasped the strategy for the new game, and the shop has been abuzz with testing and prototyping. Multiple methods have been devised for manipulating game pieces, giving us lots of options. And it’s only the first day! IMG_1802The team implementing the new control system has also wired Greg’s drive train, and has successfully moved the chassis. Tomorrow, the whole team will decide which drive train to use. While a tank drive would provide high traction and speed, a slide drive would mean the ability to move side to side, therein meaning faster placement of stacks. It’s amazing how much we’ve been able to complete in just one day, but we still have a lot more work ahead of us.




Wow! Everyone is still a little speechless after finding out the new game for the 2015 season.IMG_1707

The game, Recycle Rush, is played by two alliances of three teams each. Each alliance has one side of a playing field. The game pieces are large stacking boxes, recycling bins, and pool noodles. Different point values are given for different ways of stacking these pieces. For a more detailed summary, see the game animation:

After finding out what the game was this morning, the team spent the rest of the day reading through the game manual, picking apart all the different task options, and coming up with different strategies. No decisions have been made, but there are several things that will be prototyped in the shop tomorrow!IMG_1714

It’ll be an incredibly exciting six weeks–we’ll have daily blog posts to keep you updated!