Category Archives: 2014 Build Blog

The 2014 Build Blog for the FIRST Robotics Competition, game Aerial Assist.

Day #35 – 2/08/2014

[Lab Opening Time: 9:00 AM]



Work has been proceeding in order to bring perfection to the crudely-conceived prototype of the robot.

According to the members of the mech team, the prototype is now 60 percent less shadier. They obtained CNC-routered side pannels, and a routered’ funnel. All that has to be done is assembly.

In the electrical department, they finished wiring power to the talons. Members got the power mostly routed for the CRIO modules and sidecar.They also started wiring in-between the solenoids and the relay-out on the CRIO. This task wasn’t finished, but will be continued tomorrow.

Far more experienced members and Mr. Black almost finished welding h-frames.

Machining of some “intake actuator clamping mounts” (pictured below) began.

2014-02-08 18.28.30

In the CAD department, members looked through pneumatic cylinder cad models for intake. They determined that we need a 3-inch stroke back-to-back with a 2-inch stroke for a total of 5 inches of stroke. This lets us stop either 3 inches or 5 inches in.


Day #33 – 2/06/2014

[Lab Opening Time: 1:30 PM]

This morning, our team sent off the two chassis(es) off to get powder coated. Surprisingly enough, we got it back at 6:00 PM– less than an one-day turnaround.

With this unexpected time advantage in hand, we prepared electronics, and mounted our talons and motors onto the chassis.

In the seldom-covered media team, Chairman’s Award scripts were carefully gone through.

[Lab Opening Time: 7:40 PM]

Day #34 – 2/7/2014

Today, students who are part of the mech team assembled our aluminum chassis. (pictured above)

In the CAD team, members began designing the CHOO linkage, and came to a final decision regarding the geometry of the intake piston mounts.

Programmers set up the net code for vision processing. They hope to finish the project in the following days.




Day #32 – 2/05/2014

[Lab Opening Time: 2:30 PM]

Shortly before lab opening time, our mentor, as well as three students, sent our bearing blocks, wheels, and other hardware off to anodizing; we hope to receive these parts on Friday.

Students spent the day redesigning a new intake position, as well as cutting stock for welding. Parts were prepped for the powder coating process, which we will send our first batch of on Thursday.

[Lab Closing Time: 1 AM, THE FOLLOWING DAY]

Day #31 – 2/04/2014

[Lab Opening Time: 2:00 PM]

The majority of the day was spent cutting and welding stock for the super structure of the robot.

We also modified our design slightly to allow for a wider funnel system, by sloping the side of our funnel sideways, then going up. We called this the “dog-leg” piece.

[Lab Closing Time: 11:00 PM]

Day #30 – 2/03/2014

Despite today being a Monday, we still had a plethora of members show up today.

Kicking things off, members of the mech team replaced the CHOO mechanism on the prototype with a quick release valve (Not FIRST legal, but we want to push the limits of our prototype). In addition, members improved the supports of the prototype by replacing the wood supports with 2- 29 in. long x 1 in wide box tubing.

Regarding the prototype, most of us figured out that the pistons were causing too much drag. We disregarded this minor nuisance, as it launches well enough, and it’s one of the only ways of automatically bringing the catapult down.

In the programming department, the leader continued work on RobotBuilder by adding more functions, and by touching up drive code by adding shifting.

CAD members figured out the overall geometry for mounting the intake mech/pistons.

A member of the CAD team described the composition of the intake:

I used TWO SEPARATE Versa planetary gearboxes, each with two stages at 4:1, so the final gear ratio for each is 16:1. The motors used are banebots RS-550’s, and the two gears on each side are 30 tooth gears, both together making a 1:1 ratio.

Pictures are below.

Angle 1 of the new Intake Mechanism.
Angle 1 of the new Intake Mechanism.


Angle 2 of the new Intake Mechanism.
Angle 2 of the new Intake Mechanism.
Angle 3 of the new Intake Mechanism.
Angle 3 of the new Intake Mechanism.
Angle 4 of the new Intake Mechanism.
Angle 4 of the new Intake Mechanism.


Our head mentor, Mr. Black, got fan caps welded on during the day. He intends to finish welding bumper mounts and the “super structure” for the launcher (with the help of two students) by the end of the evening.

Day #29 – 2/02/2014

[Lab opening time: 1:00 PM]

Sadly, not too many students showed up today.

Despite that, worked continued as usual.

In the programming division, the leader set up robot-builder to its fullest potential. After doing so, he set up a function for solenoid shifting, and worked on setting up drive code.
The solenoid-shifting function will have two different speeds: one for the left and one for the right side of the bot. (this function will handle the shifting portion of all of the code)

In the mech team, well…they had it a little rough today. They had to let the CHOO prototype rest in peace, but the CHOO concept itself will be present in the final robot.

RIP CHOO mech.
RIP CHOO prototype. You will (read: won’t) be missed. P.S. We want our broken master links back.

In the pickup prototype sub-division, they installed not-so-first-legal components just to test various aspects of the prototype itself. It was fun to push the limits of the actual prototype, but the illegal components are obviously not going on the final build.Anyhow, members of the mech team braced the corners of the pickup mech so it is more structurally sound.

[Lab Closing Time: 7:30 PM]





Day #28 – 2/01/2014

[Lab Opening Time: 8:45 AM]

Today was quite an eventful day.

In terms of events spontaneously occurring, our horizontal bandsaw thought it was a good day to die rather dramatically. First, it blew a puff of white smoke, then it caught fire. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and the fire was extinguished within seconds. A replacement motor was purchased, and then installed afterwards.

In the mech team today, they improved the funnel mechanism. As stated by a senior member, “We made everything less sketchy.” Less sketchy indeed. They replaced materials with “better wood”, and metal plates. While doing so, they also managed to adjust the entire prototype to the “correct height”.

As for the people working on the CHOO mechanism, well…things didn’t go too well for them today. A rope broke, but when they replaced it with a stronger rope, the chain happened to break.

At the moment, the head of the CHOO project believes that the use of a chain just isn’t possible at the moment. Time will tell.

The CHOO mech, in all of its chain-less glory.
The CHOO mech, in all of its chain-less glory.

Mr. Black, the head mentor of our team, with the help of some students, finalized the bumper mount design. Senior members of the team will be welding tonight.

In other news, inventory of the newly-shipped VEX PRO items. Metal was purchased for the making of launcher side, intake, and wing plates.


[Lab Closing Time: 6:45 PM]

Day #27 – 1/31/2014

[Lab Opening Time: 2:25 PM]

In the mechanical team today, members worked on finishing up the pickup mech by completing some final tasks: adding pistons to the final mounting place, and adding stoppers for the pickup.

The finished product was a pickup mech that could lift up (with the pistons at 60 PSI)

Here’s a video of it in action.

Another part of the mechanical team worked on reducing the gear ratio of the CHOO mechanism. Unfortunately while doing so, a master link broke, rendering the chain unusable.

In other miscellaneous news, progress was made in the welding of materials needed for the robot (I need to be specific here).

The beautiful weld.
The beautiful weld.

In addition, the battery holder was being finished up.

2014-01-31 17.57.46

[Lab Closing Time: 9:25 PM]

Day #26 – 1/28/2014 – A Solution.

[Lab Opening Time: 2:25 PM]

As today’s meeting was held in (arguably) the middle of the week, not too many people could make it (what a shame). Anyhow, here’s the rundown of what…well…went down.

In the Mech Team, they worked on finding a solution to the pickup mechanism’s main problem: bumping into the funnel mech.

In order to solve this problem, they had to remove one wooden support, which reduced the overall frame of the pickup mech down to what is pictured below.

The one support that was removed (right).
The one support that was removed (right).

In other miscellaneous news, members of the business team and our team leader set up a proper file hierarchy for photo storage, thus making the photo-finding process much more streamlined. This development allows the business/media team to be much more efficient when it comes to media management.

Our team’s leader has been working on a new scouting system that will come into play this FRC season. According to him, “progress is coming along swimmingly.” Details TBD. *suspense intensifies*

[Lab Closing Time: 6:45 PM]