Happy National Robotics Week!

NRWlogoRGBweb

Students! Mentors! Engineers! Volunteers! Come play with our robots to celebrate National Robotics Week.

At the Pennington Street Block Party, the Bit Buckets Robotics Team will demonstrate their 2014 FIRST Robotics Competition robot and will show attendees how to drive the 2014 Vex Robotics Competition robot. We will also offer information on robotics programs, electronics, hydraulics and other wonders of science.

Where: The Pennington Street Block Party
When: Friday, April 11th, 2014
4:00pm – 7:00pm
Cost: None!
Age: Fun for all ages

Click the image below for more information

Block-Party-Poster-20141

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Arizona Regional 2014

The Bit Buckets came more prepared for this regional than the last. More or less, we had a working robot right from the start. Day 1, Thursday, was for making all the revisions we had planned as well as troubleshooting and of course, checking out the competition. Most of the quirks were worked out and we got ready for competition. Day 2, qualifications, went well. We were ranked #2 for a good apart of the day and got bumped down to #7 by the next day after losing our last 2 matches. By the time alliance picking came around, we were prepared with our thorough scouting data to go forward with two other robot. We got picked and by the 3rd seated alliance and accepted.
Eliminations proved more difficult than expected. After going to a 3rd match against the team with the twin of one of our mentors, we realized we made a fatal mistake. Within the last minute of the match, supposedly, the ball in play got wedged so far into the robot and, with the combination of that and hitting the wall, hit the power switch to the robot and shut it down. Our robot was down for the count for the rest of the match. Lesson learned: put something over your power switch.
Although we got eliminated, the competition was fun and prepared us even more for next year. We also won the Excellence in Engineering award, which is an honor for us. We cannot wait to make next year’s robot even better!

The field

The field

Excellence in Engineering award, Arizona Regional 2014

Excellence in Engineering award, Arizona Regional 2014

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Robot Revisions

Today we are getting ready for Arizona regional which is in a little less than a week away. To do this we decided to change our drive train and wheels because at Lubbock we found that we lacked the ability to push or out run other robots. We overlooked because in years past there were obstacles that made it harder to play defense. For instance last year in ultimate accent there were the pyramids in the middle of the the field and if you touched it you got a penalty making it harder to play defense without getting a penalty. This year though their is no such obstacle making it that defense is very easy to play. Also because this year’s game has a lot to do with passing to other robots while past years game was more self centered. Because of this defense is much more effective. Also because this year you are only allowed to have 1 ball on the field at a time if you can block a person with a ball then instead of just stopping the robot from scoring you are stopping the entire alliance.

Because of this you either need a fast drive-train to outrun the defensive robots or you need a strong drive train so that you can push the other defensive robots. So we decided to make it so that we have a really fast drive train. so to do that we changed out our wheels to have high traction wheels that we used last year and we also put on a new gear box that is geared for high speed but that also means that we can’t  have any long pushing matches because if we do we will trip our main circuit breaker.

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Wednesday march 16th

Ahhh, only a few days until Arizona! We really have to get ready if we plan to do well and get to championships! So, today we worked on tuning the shooter.

At Lubbock our catapult didn’t work very consistently which is one of the main reasons that we didn’t do better. This was due to the over stretching of our elastics in out catapult. Because we stretched them to far too many times they began to lose their elasticity making our shooter weaker and weaker, making us constantly miss shots in autonomous and made it more difficult to predict the strength of the catapult making it harder for the drive team to score.

We changed this though and re-attached the elastics to our catcher. This makes it so that we do not put so much stress on the elastics making it so that they aren’t overstretched. Because of the shooter now works differently so we have to redo the autonomous so that it works and give the drive team practice with the new shooter.IMG_20140319_180925725

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Hub City Regional

So, as it turn out 10 hours is a long time to be in a car! We learned this the hard way on our trip to Lubbock Texas. Because of this on the way to Lubbok we stopped at Carlsbad cavern for a brief time and got to look at the wonders of mother nature and walk around one of the world’s oldest cave system and get some exercise. It really is a interesting experience walking 700 feet underground with thousands of stalagmites and stalactites.

Such cave many big.

When the competition finally started just like last year, everything broke. Everything that could go wrong did such as the elastics getting over stretched and us breaking our communication cables. But finally by the end of Friday we got our  robot working right  and got chosen by the second seed alliance.

That’s right the second seed! And what makes that more amazing is that we weren’t ranked very well. Any way by the time the smoke cleared we were left on a alliance with team 3741 CORE G IX and 2914 Tiger Pride. We ended up losing in the quarter finials to the 8 seeded alliance after a tough fight and 3 matches.

Quality award!

Even though we were eliminated we still had the awards ceremony to listen to and we were not disopinted. We won the quality award and got a shiny trophy. While they were calling us up to receive the award they called made fun of our .. interesting chair mans essay which as the judges put it “Your essay was… weird.”

Then after waking up a hour early for the departure ( daylight savings time is evil ) we finally left and started the long car drive home. Although it actually wasn’t any quicker it sure seemed like it because this time we lost a hour instead of gaining one. We did stop at white sands to enjoy a seemingly endless amount of snow white sand at white sands in New Mexico.

White sands!

Although it is good to be back we can’t have a break because now we have to get ready for the Arizona regional. Join us their  20-Mar to 22-Mar-2014 at Hamilton High School. See you there!

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

A ton of citrus for the Food Bank!

citrus-ton

Today we picked oranges at a citrus grove. There were a couple dozen grapefruit, orange and tangerine trees and even after we left it didn’t look as though we made a dent. We got there at 10:00 in the morning and after 3 hours of fruit-picking we had picked a literal ton of fruit for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

citrus-grove

Then we had to run back to Xerocraft for our weekly Sunday meeting. Once here we split into sub groups and got to work on everything from the lights to the bumpers. We also worked on the winch system because although Kevlar may be strong nothing can stand up to our robot so we ended up having to replace the broken Kevlar strap with thicker nylon straps. Also Cal worked on making more wooden trigger latches because although they are strong they wear, so you can never have enough of them.

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Our Robot Release Video

Our 2014 robot release video is now up, feel free to watch and comment.
DSC_0079_clipped_rev_1-800x535 Some design specs:

Drivetrain/ chassis:

  • Wide 6WD KoP drivetrain.
  • 2x 3 CIM single speed gearboxes, geared for ~9 actual feet per second using KoP wheels.
  • 1″ 1/16″-wall square aluminum tubing frame with laser-cut plywood and aluminum gussets.
  • Frame hinges up using quick-release pins for easy access to electronics
  • Laser-cut 3/8″ plywood belly pan.
  • Very low center of mass.
  • Rear superstructure allows for catching.

Intake:

  • Pneumatically deployed horizontal roller intake.
  • Constructed from 1″ 1/8″-wall square aluminum tubing with aluminum gussets.
  • Main roller is ABS pipe, chain driven by a BaneBots RS550 in a VersaPlanetary.
  • Side rollers are BaneBots wheels, direct driven by BAG motors in VersaPlanetaries.
  • Can pick up a ball from any angle in <1 second.
  • Can outtake ball into low goal or another robot.

Catapult:

  • Surgical tubing power allows for easy tuning.
  • 2 MiniCIMS in modified Ball Shifter pull back catapult in ~0.7 seconds.
  • Catapult is fired by shifting Ball Shifter to neutral and pneumatically releasing custom spring-loaded latch.
  • Can consistently score in the high goal from ~8′ to ~20′
  • Intake can be used to deflect shot downward for long floor pass.

Other:

  • Identical practice robot!
  • Consistent one and two ball autonomous modes.
  • Custom OI with modified pistol-grip R/C car controller
  • All metal is black anodized, wood is painted.

We will be competing at the Hub City and Arizona Regionals.

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

day -3 ( after the end of build season )

Today, just 3 days after the end of build season we already find ourselves hard at work again.  Although build season is over we still have so much to get done so today we split into subgroups.

Mr. Forbes worked with Ben on the bumpers while Henry worked on a new battery holder so that we can easily change and carry batteries during the competition.

photo 2

Mr. Forbes and Henry working on the battery holder.

Then we decided to go outside and work on the practice bot to see if we could get some driver practice when disaster struck and the winch system broke. 

photo 2

Cal the entrepreneur.

photo 4

Setting up on the docks.

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Day 43: More Assembly and Practice

We are trying very hard to finish our competition robot. Today we added a tower to our robot!

 

001

We also added pneumatics and more electronics. The intake got its motor attached and wired.

And now, for Alia’s Montage:

Montage

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Day 42 -Duel In The Desert!!! (AKA “Oh no – we have a deadline on Tuesday”)

IMG_0489[1]

 

You may ask why this picture is here, but it was mostly due to a lack of pictures taken by our team at the mini competition today.  So Duel in the Desert, that one Arizona event where teams get to test their mostly completed robots on a semi-real field with other teams.  As the past two years have been kinda iffy, we had “Great Expectations” for this one (Great Expectations being one of the possibilities for our robot name this year).  The form of this post will be fairly similar in structure to that of my blog ( grant.emmendorfer@blogspot.com ) I am currently keeping in parallel to the team blog.

Shooter

Today the catapult on the robot was fairly consistent, although we were using the somewhat lower quality surgical tubing than what we will use for the competition robot.  While it was by no means the same as the impressive sinking of 23′ shots, the catapult was successful in hitting the high goal from the 10′-12′ range, so we were happy with that.  Additionally, the peak of the ball’s trajectory was in a much better spot, as the center of the ball was now at a couple inches above the goal when the ball was at its peak.  This is a huge improvement from past days, in which the peak of the ball was a foot or two higher than where it was today.

Contrary to yesterday, we actually had fresh batteries and decent mini CIMs, so we did not end up seeing smoke and smelling fun stuff coming from the winch gearbox, and our winch worked very well today in terms of just pulling the catapult down without pausing.

Intake

While the catapult was consistent, the intake was the pain in the bottom at this year’s Duel in the Desert.  While in 2012 it was just a lack of shooter, and 2013 it was a lack of a mounted linear shooter, this year it was a mix of an intake not geared down lowly enough, tennis balls being in a somewhat inconvenient spot, and the front of the catapult being elevated an inch or two.

Since the intake was not geared down enough to consistently pick up the balls, the intake motor would stall while trying to bring the ball up, as it was shoving the ball into the top of the bumper, and, when the ball was small enough to go over the bumper, there was no way it could pass the tennis balls meant to hold the ball in the shooter.  After gearing it down, the roller was more easily able to move the ball over the bumper and the tennis balls.

While the tennis balls were the other part of the problem we figured out after playing with the robot yesterday and two days ago, we finally went ahead and took the tennis balls off, making it much easier to intake.  The only problem with this was that the tennis balls were used for keeping the ball in the shooter when preparing to fire, so, without those there, there was nothing to hold the ball, so all shots had to be timed by the operator while the robot was on the move.  Because of this, we put the tennis balls back on, but further back, so they were no longer inhibiting the intake flow of the ball by any large degree.

As a whole, the intake didn’t work at all, or at least not to the level it was working before, until the changes made at the end of the day, which was when it began working the same as how it worked before.

Catching

We can do it (preferably from a human player), but we (highly likely) will be building a more active catching device.

Competition Bot

With the people who weren’t working on changing the intake stuff, we were able to mount the latch stuff for the catapult, as well as the intake roller.

Well, since I’ve taken long enough typing up what happened today, a photo montage popped up on the interwebs!!! (THX ALIA)  As can be seen in the lower right corner of the “montage”, or picture made of 9 pictures, we have this competition bot we are in the process of finishing, and just need to add the tower for the surgical tubing for the catapult, pneumatics for the intake actuation, rest of intake, and, most importantly (yes, moderate amounts of sarcasm intended), the googly eyes that will be coming soon.

 

To wrap up what happened today, 24 hours passed, some gas was burned, some sitting happened, some sleeping happened, some robots happened, and some frustration happened, but at the end of the day, the sun was down, the moon was up, and I’ll just leave it at that.

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter