Category Archives: Kickoff

1/9/16 – Saturday – Kickoff

There’s nothing quite like going to school at seven in the morning on a Saturday. The cold air, sun’s just getting up, 696 members yawning and stretching as they arrive to Clark – nothing quite like it indeed. The kickoff stream was scheduled to happen around 7:30, so members gathered in the cafetorium to eagerly wait for the stream to begin. This stream would show the team what the new FRC challenge would be, with a link that we could use to find the new guide-rules manual so we could begin building our robot.

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Students eagerly watching the Kickoff videos.

Once the stream ended, the team headed up to the lab to read through the game’s manual. Having over 100 pages to go through, the lab remained quiet while members read through the entire manual. Once done with, members helped themselves to bananas and muffins with milk on the side as a healthy breakfast.

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Our daily morning meetings where Mika and Alexander lay down the schedule for the day.

Around 9:45 members – apart from the business team – met in the room next door to the lab to brainstorm ideas for the robot. Everyone had the game manual out on their phones or laptops so all inputs would be informed ones with evidence to back it. Mika wrote down the eight obstacles that our robot would be up against while other members began explaining what types of mechanics could work. This continued until around twelve.

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Most members gathered in Cinema room to discuss ideas.

Lunch came next, provided by Lauren’s wonderful mother. Consisting of delicious Hawaiian bread and sausages, one would take three breads still connected with a slice in the middle, put the scrumptious sausage in, add toppings, and take a soda. It was truly great, and for those that don’t like meats, there were optional salads you could take. Some chocolates were there to finish it off.

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Members scrambling to get some great food.

After lunch the true work began. Brainstorming had finished, there were multiple mechanisms that must be built to see how well they’d work, and the CAD team would be busy setting dimensions to the various robotic parts.

A quick rundown of what the game our robot would be in is needed to understand what the teams did today. The field would consist of three main areas: two Courtyards with a Neutral Zone in between. They’d be separated by a row of defenses called the Outer Works. At the center of the Neutral Zone would be balls. The objective would be to take a ball, go through the other team’s Outer Works to their Courtyard, get up to their Castle and either roll a ball in or shoot one in for more points. This would repeat until one team’s Castle is weakened and captured or until time runs out. The Outer Works each have five different defenses, chosen from a total of eight defenses.

Jacob of Simulation team reverse engineered the field diagram from where the team wanted the robot to shoot from. He did so to get a range of distances that would even allow the robot to shoot from, to see what changes must be made to then shoot from a desired position on the field.

Business team member Andrea worked on light bulb accounting, the sponsor logos, and ordering buttons. She also worked with Anna on vinyl. Anna added new while taking off old sponsors from the sponsor wall. She also researched past winners of the Engineering Inspiration Award to get a better feel of what’s needed. Nicole vectorized logos for the Gene Haas Foundation and SoCal Gas. Besides this, Nicole designed the first pages of the 696 Brand Guide as well. Arvin examined the past winners of the Chairman’s Award and Entrepreneurship Award to try and find similarities in writing styles and content that allowed these entries to win.

CAD team members Sipan, Anthony K., Claire, and Mikia kept a list of the mechanism ideas discussed earlier. After discussing the objectives and ways of the game, they searched for an optimal robot size. With multiple designs, they compared them against each other to find one that would best suit the game’s challenges. They also informed the Prototype team of what mechanics needed to be made and seen if they worked properly.

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CAD squad fabulously comparing different robot sizes.

Lousaper of Lathe team worked with Roupen of Welding and Lauren and Karin of Prototyping with assistance from Joshua – an alumni Prototyper. This combination of teams began designing the frame and arms of the robot in a way that’d allow it to clear the Outer Works’ many defenses.

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Karin and Roupen working hard.

Animation team members Anthony C. and Christopher set objectives for themselves to achieve. These included creating a rectangular medieval flag with the Circuit Breakers logo on it, some scenery that would lead to the pit area with tool decor and a table, and finding a modeled container for interactive props such as glasses. All of these objectives had been completed by the end of the day. They also planned to complete the safety animation in the next five days. Christopher then took it upon himself to find character modeling and rigging characters in animations.

The Programming team broke off into two groups. John and Jake focused on how they would program possible robot parts so they’d be prepared for when these parts became real. Meanwhile, Bhavin and Daniel became acquainted with using Graphical Represented Image Processor, or GRIP. This is a program that will allow the robot to assist the drivers with vision processing.

Dustin and Nanor of CNC Mill designed a 6″ wheel with spokes using CAD. They also designed a CAM program for the techno router based on the model. After which they cut the wheel out of wood using the techno router and gave it to the Prototype team. The Prototype team used it for the model of the robot they were building.

Devon of Prototype team was assisted by the CAM members Jonna and James as well as Eden of Welding. Jonna and James designed some magic triangles. Then they all built them. These magic triangles are a sort of slide that will help the robot cross the iron wall, moat, tilting planks, and ramparts. The triangles will be pneumatically actuated and their rest position will be about 1 to 2 inches below the top of the robot. There was an idea about these triangles being able to rotate a full 180 degrees but no decision has been made about that. High density polyurethane or HDPE was attached to the front of the triangles. These slippery white plastics will allow the robot to easily slide over obstacles.

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Members discussing and brainstorming magic triangle dimensions.

Mika, our prestigious President spent most of the time making sure everybody knew what their individual tasks were. She also cut wood on the Dewalt saw as she is the only one allowed to. Mika lead the strategy debates as well as keeping the teams that were prototyping the robot design on task.

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Our wonderful President Mika cutting wood.

Near the end of the workday, much more brainstorming took place. There ended up being a lot of conclusions being written on the whiteboard along with possible mechanism designs.

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Feast your eyes upon the whiteboard by the end of the day.

The members also considered driving under one of the defenses: a lift-up gate. But this is what they ended up visualizing happening.

The day finally ended at 8:30 with the closing of the lab. And with this, the first day of Build Season was brought to an end.