The 2nd Big Dipper Meet was a blast! We started the early morning setting up with a bunch of other excited teams. Hosting the meet was hard-work, but it was fun and definitely worth it! The Meadowbrook cafeteria was a great open-space to hold it in, and there were great advantages of the huge screen we could project on. The only issue with the Meadowbrook cafeteria was the well-designed teacher’s room which was part of our pit area. It was designed to be sound proof so we had to improvise by opening all of the doors and announcing everything twice.
Andy, a team parent, was a great MC and brought life to the competition with his great jokes! We also were very thankful for Elise and Beth, who were great referees in the entire tournament.
Overall, all of the teams seemed to enjoy the day of hard-work, and everyone seemed to learn. One of our team-members, Dante had some very positive things to say: “It was a fantastic learning experience about what we need to do to prepare for the next meet.”
On our visit to Ruland, we had the incredible opportunity to tour the factory, where we saw a variety of machines, including very basic machines dating back to the 1940s as well as newer machines designed just six months ago by Ruland’s engineers. It was awesome to see how some of the parts on our robot are created! We also spoke with the marketing department and learned more about the ways Ruland helps many FIRST teams. At the end of our visit, we showed everyone our robot and we were happy to find out that we’re using the Ruland parts correctly!
This weekend we got a generous donation of parts from Ruland. The shaft connectors will help to correct to our misaligned motor and drive shafts in our drive system. These parts are going to really help us this season, and we are proud to have Ruland as a sponsor!
Last Saturday we went to our first league meet in Manchester, NH. We used our robot from the block party challenge which was already fashioned to pick up blocks and balls. Over all, the meet was a good way to see what really needs to be done for our next competition. We learned the importance of climbing the ramp in scoring in the high goals. Additionally, we learned about the major penalty points that come from blocking the mountain. The meet was fun, and has given us lots of ideas in how to proceed with our season.
Last Tuesday we visited a robotics company in Burlington called Robai. They showed us their office as well as come really cool demos about their robotics arms and what they are working on. We learned a lot about degrees of freedom, and how adding one degree of freedom can add infinite ways to reach a certain position with an arm. It was a cool experience and really fun!
After some consideration, we narrowed down our drive system options to 3 different ways our robot could climb the mountain.
Our first idea was a simple four wheel tank with treads attached to its side. This would be combined with a linear slide that would hook on to the highest or second highest bar, assisting the climb.
Our second idea was based off the first, except the robot could come off its wheels. In other words, the body of the robot could remain horizontal to the ground while the wheels tilted to drive up the ramp.
Our third idea was a stair climber. In this design the drive is a simple tank drive. What allows the robot to scale the mountain are two hooks that go in a circular motion in front of the wheels. They hook onto each bar and lift the robot over them.
We are now prototyping our designs and drawing them up in Creo.
We had a blast attending this season’s kickoff at Needham High School on September 12! We partook in various sessions about key FTC components such as the new drive system and PTC Creo. We also helped lead sessions about judging and the engineering notebook. This year’s challenge was also revealed at the kickoff. It includes a ‘mountain’ with bars across it that the robot must climb and ball and blocks that the robot must deliver into buckets.
After the event finished, we were buzzing with ideas. We stopped for an all team Chipotle lunch before heading home for a meeting, where we brainstormed drive systems to accommodate climbing the mountain, ball and block pickup/delivery designs, and robot lifting designs. Irene drew a great summary of our initial ideas below.
We’re so excited for the season and can’t wait to get started.