This week we have two perspectives to share on the first week of our build season!
From Cari C, Team Captain:
Today was the last day of the first week of our build season, even though it seems like it’s been ages since Kick-off. Here’s what we’ve been up to.
The programming team has covered all the basics and logistics of programming. All the computers are now successfully running LabVIEW, and test boards and Lucy have been programmed and running. Brian Truong is this year’s programming discipline, and working with him this year are many promising new and returning members.
Due to the complexity of the challenge, the mechanical discipline has been incredibly busy. Ever since the first day of brainstorming with the entire team, several sub-teams have emerged to address specific challenges. Efforts have been regrouped to conquer climbing, shooting, and collecting to gather as many points as possible. Prototypes for four kinds of shooters have been made are going through many stages of improvement and testing. Climbing seems to be the hardest challenge to tackle, but many members are pitching in ideas for possible solutions.
Meanwhile drivetrain lead David Degenhardt is exploring new wheel bases and numbers of wheels. His challenge this year is to design a drive train sans bounce and small enough to be able to climb.
Marketing has already had a great start this year; several dedicated students have been making new specialty buttons and general team buttons to spread the word of Huskie Robotics.
After our first week, we are much further into a solid, effective design than ever before.
From Mr. Schmit, Mentor:
Huskie Robotics had a fantastic first week of the build season! This year’s game is the most challenging that I have seen in five years. The Game Design Committee has defined the rules such that this year’s competition will look different than the previous years’. Ultimate Ascent will be a fantastic competition to watch!
On Monday, we finalized our game strategy for Ultimate Ascent. Our priority this year is to be very competitive and capable of winning qualification matches even if we have to score all of the points unassisted. Based on last year’s experience in Duluth, we will be in control of our own destiny this year at both our regionals. This game strategy requires us to design and build a robot that plays multiple aspects of the game effectively. Hopefully, our experience has enabled us to anticipate the game play and select a strategy that will be the most effective for our team. Once we finalized our game strategy, we began to brainstorm designs that implement that strategy.
On Wednesday, some of our designs were ready to start prototyping. Others required more development. Our team is large enough this year where we can simultaneously prototype three different mechanisms to score discs while brainstorming multiple climbing mechanisms and designing a chassis and drivetrain. The first discs flew on Wednesday!
On Thursday, we started to refine the disc scoring prototypes based on our initial experiences. The prototypes became better constructed as we transitioned from just ideas to proof of concept. A robust approach for climbing the tower was finally discovered. It was terrifying, yet fascinating, to see the evolution and combination of ideas for climbing the pyramid within the incredibly restrictive rules.
Yesterday, we began to CAD the chassis and drivetrain. The chassis and drivetrain are the first components of the robot that are designed, fabricated, and assembled. We have high expectations for this year’s drivetrain and we expected it to be the best performing one that we have ever built. We also continued to refine our three different disc scoring prototypes. We developed a pneumatic test platform to make it easy to incorporate pneumatics in the prototypes. We continued to refine the design of the climber and began to work through the physics as we specify the components necessary to implement the design. The software team ported last year’s software to this year’s framework and had Lucy (last year’s robot) moving. Having Lucy still around allows the programming team to work on software long before the new robot is assembled.
We are in a good place after week #1 and have very promising designs for all aspects of our strategy. Look for the chassis and drive train final design to be completed next week and the team to select the most promising prototypes and begin to developed detailed CAD drawings.
Thanks to our mentors and parents for all their support!