Author Archives: Ben V

Build Update, Day 27 – Anger & Frustration

GIFs are fun!


The object our mentor is venting his anger on is a prototype shock absorber for our ball intake. It held up really well in our tests, so the more sensitive components of our intake arm will probably be mounted on something like this on the final robot. Will this be the first year that our intake isn’t mangled beyond recognition? We’ll find out!




We made good progress on the code today, too – we finally tested our new drivetrain encoders, and we’re thrilled with the results! They gave us very stable and reliable readings, so we’ll definitely be using them during autonomous. Even if these new ones don’t work 100% of the time, that’s still an infinity-percent improvement over last year’s encoders, which never gave us useful information even ONCE.

We’re having an open house at the shop tomorrow from 4:30 to 6:00. If you’re in the area, stop by and see what we’re doing! We’re in the East Ridge High School metal shop, door 26 on the service road behind the school. We’ll give you a tour and explain what we do! There will also be goodies for your eager consumption, I hear.

Did I mention how angry our mentor was?


Build Update – Day 38


We had a somewhat slower day here at the shop today. We mounted the Carlator (our 10-point climber) and tested it out. Our first test was not a success, but now that we have it mounted properly we have better hopes for our tests tomorrow.

We also got the belt for our shooter today and created a wall for human player practice. Tomorrow’s agenda: testing of everything!

Build Update – Day 34


Today holds the distinction of being the Most Productive Day At The Shop This Year. That’s a good thing because there are, as of this writing, only 10 days and 3 hours left in the season. If mild panic isn’t setting in yet, I’ll head out into the shop with those numbers and make it set in.

The most notable achievement of today is that the robot ACTUALLY DRIVES. Yes! A full week before our practice competition! This breaks all kinds of unofficial records that I just made up. Interestingly, the robot was incredibly quiet during our driving tests – as opposed to Blue Thunder, which, in the words of a new team member, “just about broke the sound barrier”. We could hardly hear our new robot at all. Quality design!

We also accomplished lots of work on the other major mechanisms. We defined the mounting points for our shooter, and both mounted and refined our Frisbee spatula. Work has begun on the final pneumatics layout, and we got a good start on the wiring (which was necessary to make the robot drive).

We also spent much of our day helping out FRC team 4536, the MinuteRobots, who are in their rookie year. We helped them take an empty frame and turn it into something they can compete with!

Oh, not only that – we also accomplished lots of filming for our Chairman’s Award video! The details of that are a secret though. 😉

Build Update – Day 32


Today was an absolutely monumental day of shop work! We assembled our drivetrain, which you can see in the picture above. Six 6-inch wheels, drop center, with custom-machined shifting gearboxes to power the whole thing. It looks absolutely great; time will tell if it performs up to our expectations!

We tested our Frisbee spatula with pneumatics for the first time today. It performed quite well for a first test – it drives under Frisbees and picks them up quite nicely, but there are still a few kinks to be worked out. Frisbees tended to get stuck partway into the robot, and a few Frisbees skipped over the entry slot entirely. Still, they are very minor issues and we should have them fixed within a couple days at most.

Build Update – Day 31


Today’s major accomplishment: the welders have completely finished welding the frame! It’s looking great, and much of the welding was done by new team members, under veteran guidance.  That welding training really paid off!


We also got the second of our custom gearboxes fully assembled. It worked beautifully, and shifting into high gear and back was incredibly smooth – many of the people watching didn’t even notice that a shift has occurred!  The difference will be very noticalbe when we actually have the robot driving around, but gearbox operation was flawless.

Tomorrow we’ll start assembling the drivetrain so we can start testing how the robot drives. We’ll also get our kitbot up and running with full spatula operation. Finally, a chance to test our code!

Weekly Update 4

We’re two-thirds of the way through the season? WHOA! At least the robot is two-thirds complete, right?


Well, regardless, we have another lovely update to show you how the robot is coming. Building is well underway, and our CAD work this year should help us make this year’s robot our best ever!