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 ( email@example.com ) I am currently keeping in parallel to the team blog.
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.
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.
We can do it (preferably from a human player), but we (highly likely) will be building a more active catching device.
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.