Two weeks from today (Tuesday), our robot will be bagged and tagged and off limits until the competition. We have a lot to do. The next two weeks will be the “hardest fun we’ve ever had.”

We are excited to have Steve Coan from Create, Cut, Invent deliver the fabricated chassis tomorrow. We have designed a custom chassis that has been cut and welded. With its arrival, a flurry of activity will commence as we assemble the drivetrain, install the electronics, and begin driving the robot for the first time. In addition to the chassis, the tower that will support our ball conveyor and launcher will be delivered. Once installed, we have the framework on which to install all of our mechanisms.

The ball launcher and programming team worked hard over the past week to characterize the ball launcher. The rotary encoders have been improved, the PID control has been tuned, and the measured RPMs have been verified. We have high speed video footage of the ball being launched at different RPMs and range data from which we can create a detailed model of the ball trajectory. Once the ball launcher team and programmers create this model, we can close the loop with the vision tracking software.

The ball collector team has almost finished the detailed digital design of the mechanism to get the balls from the floor in front of the robot to the launcher. This critical mechanism should have its final design review tomorrow and, depending on availability of materials, start to be assembled this week.

Students are also working to prepare our submissions for various awards. The most prestigious award, the Chairman’s Award, is due in a week. Our written application and video are being created. We are also updating our web site in preparation for the web site award also due in a week.

Our goals for this week are several: assemble the chassis, drivetrain, and tower to have a driving robot; finalize detailed design of the ball conveyor, fabricate it, and build it; and complete our Chairman’s Award and Web Site Award submissions.

The support of the parents and mentors continue to be essential and much appreciated! This week will be excited as our robot moves from the digital world to reality.

14 days to bag and tag!