Stronghold Build Blog: Week One

This is the progress log for the 2016 FIRST season featuring Stronghold. Here, updates will be added onto the post daily as we continue throughout Week One (1/11 through 1/16). Currently, this post contains Kickoff, Day 01 through Day 06 and a Weekly Conclusion. FIRST is an intense competition that has robotics teams worldwide designing, fabricating, programming, and troubleshooting their robots in 6 weeks! More information on FIRST can be found here.

Clicking on the pictures will open the album from flickr with all the pictures from that day.

Kickoff (Day 0) [1/9/16]:

The day every robotics student looks forward to: kickoff. The game released around 5:30 AM here in Hawaii. This means that often times, the most dedicated of members will wake up early or even not sleep in order to watch the live stream of the game. This kickoff, our admin team gathered in an apartment to do just that. Later in the day however, the entire team met up and we began to brainstorming, reviewing the manual, and disassembling the previous year’s FIRST robot, Steve.

Day 01 [1/11/16]:

Today was mostly spent with the team discussing designs. Everybody that had formulated a design over the weekend presented their idea. We drew heavy inspiration from the group of individuals called Robot in 3 Days, who produce multiple robots in a matter of 3 days, logging and even live streaming all of their progress and results. This information is extremely vital to any FRC team as it provides a lot of direction and tested data. One of the most successful drives tested during Ri3D was one utilizing Rhino Tank Treads in order to overcome the variety of defenses. Other popular options were the 8″ pneumatic wheels in a center drop formation. Most members observed how sketchy and rough it was for this type of drive to get over defenses such as the Rough Terrain or the Rock Wall. As a result, majority of us are now leaning towards a drive using tank treads. In addition to discussing drives, we analyzed different types of scoring mechanisms for the Boulder game piece. We had charted their pros and cons, deciding to prototype the 2 ones that received the most member support. Out of the flywheel, catapult, punch, kicker, and ballista, the flywheel and catapult were selected.

Day 02 [1/12/16]:

Prior to the start of the work session, we met with Nicholas Manoukis from The Department of Agriculture. He pitched an interesting opportunity for us to work with him on a research project dealing with fruit flies. The project sounds very interesting and we are looking forward to working with him.

We were overjoyed to find out that the kit of parts came in today! The kit is a tote full of electronics and other robot construction material. These parts are used to construct a basic FRC robot. Traditionally, the kit bot is used as a teaching tool for new members to learn robot construction. As soon as we got the kit in, the team took inventory of all the parts and started work on the kit bot. Alongside its construction were prototypes of the catapult and the flywheel shooters. Goal construction was also started, with the high goal being finished by the end of the work session. Overall, everyone was productive and on track, putting us on schedule with our calendar.

Day 03 [1/13/16]:

Today, the prototype team completed work on a piston powered catapult. As it had trouble scoring, members working on it had set it aside, deciding to work on hanging mechanisms. Here’s a quote from our president and head of CAD sub-team, Hua Uehara, on his accomplishments for the day: “Today I was mainly working on starting the CAD of the robot’s drive train. A large part of this was watching the final robot reveals from the Robot in three Days teams. Afterwards we had a discussion on the type of drive to use, as both AndyMark’s 8 inch pneumatic wheels and Rhino Tank Tread Kits have been sold out, due to the popularity of them seen in Robot in three Days. I believe the conclusion we reached was to submit purchase orders for both of them, and wait for them to come in, while in the mean time, making a full CAD of each model as well as a prototype drive using our current existing wheels. Further discussion would be passed through the admin team on these purchases.” The programming team had fun getting to know Labview as installations went around everyone’s computers.

Day 04 [1/14/16]:

The construction of the kitbot is complete! Milan, Steve, Gabe, Dennis and many other members of new to FRC complete their first robot in the form of the kitbot. Members of the programming team worked with in Labview to create a calculator and gain experience with the the software. This year, we are planning to program in Labview initially and then extend out towards Python and Java platforms in order to further spread the message of STEM and FIRST. Joshua Wilson continued working in the prototype team, completing work of the static flywheel shooter. We are making considerable progress with each work session. The catapult was also tweaked in order to see if it could work but to no avail.

Day 05 [1/15/16]:

Day 05, having no deadlines, was a work sessions for all of the sub-teams. Here’s a quick mock up of all the progress made from each group: Fabrication/Prototype team finished their flywheel shooters and catapult prototypes as well as the Rock Wall defense, Programming team worked in Labview to figure out a basic drive program for the kitbot, Electronics team had finished applying the electronics modules from the previous year onto the kitbot, and the CAD team made steady progress modeling the possible Rhino tank tread drive and the 8 in. pneumatic wheel drive.

Here are the current prototypes:

Day 06 [1/16/16]:

Today was the due date for the prototypes that the fabrication/prototype team had been working on all week to complete. The overall result of their hard work was the catapult and two types of  flywheel shooters described in prior days of this weeks build blog. As the prototypes were being demonstrated and explained, programmers attempted connection with the kitbot for the first time, getting it to drive with somewhat wonky controls. Field elements were also still in construction as Kenji Emerson resumed wood work on completing further defenses. Near the end of the work session, members gathered around the only two effective designs: the stationary flywheel shooter and the dynamic flywheel shooter (both made by Joshua Wilson) in a meeting to choose which one would make it into the final design. In a vote of 5 to 3, the dynamic shooter had won!

Weekly Conclusion:

With Week One coming to a close, our overall progress is satisfactory.

Big decisions made this week: Going with dynamic flywheel shooter and trying both Rhino Tank Treads and 8″ pneumatic wheel drives.

Field elements constructed: High goal, base ramp for all defenses, the Rock Wall defense insert, and the frame for the Moat defense insert.

Other notable achievements: New members also completed the kit bot which was then programmed and played with by the programming team, the CAD team finished a mock up for a robot based around the Rhino Tank Treads.

Thanks for reading ~

Week Two starts 1/18/16 and runs until 1/23/16. Find our post for that here!