The drive to where the competition was being held in Ventura was fairly short, perhaps a little over five minutes. Team 696 walked first to Denny’s Diner from their hotel for a hearty breakfast. By the end of breakfast everyone was fully awake and excited for the day ahead of them.
There was a beautiful and tear-jerking opening ceremony to start off the competition, and wonderful music to follow it. Quickly after the start of the whole event were Team 696 scouts setting up in the stands and the drive team down in the pits readying Banshee.
Being able to participate in many of the practice rounds, Banshee and its drivers showed much improvement. The automatic portion of the rounds ran smoothly, and during operational Banshee scored many low goals.
There was one minor mistake throughout the day, and that was a premature extension of the arms before an attempt to lift itself. Besides this one issue the day ran smoothly for Team 696.
For dinner, Team 696 had the honor of sharing it with Kathy Looman from Haas. Together they went to eat at a nearby Mexican restaurant. Spending over an hour eating and talking with one-another, they eventually parted ways by the end of the night.
The first day of competition, this day would be solely for opening ceremonies, working on robots, and practicing on the field.
Team 696 members met at Clark Magnet prior to 6:00 AM adorned in their Team’s shirt and black slacks. For many of the members this would be their first competition experience and they were obviously excited and a little nervous. They would be taken to the competition area via bus, which was scheduled to leave Clark at exactly 6:00 AM which is why they made sure to arrive before then.
The ride to the FRC venue, being held at the Long Beach Arena, took about an hour with very little traffic. Members chatted to each other throughout the ride, so it felt much shorter than it actually was.
Once there, Team 696 stood in line outside of the Arena’s closed doors. Once it turned 8:00 AM, they would open up and the teams would flood in, walking to the stands to secure their seating areas. As Team 696 was one of the first in line, they were able to get very nice seats. While waiting in line, members became fast friends with fellow FRC Team 987, High Rollers, who would themselves get the seats right next to Team 696 in the stands.
Team 696 members are split into three groups for competitions. One is the Scouts, who remain in the stands taking notes on different team’s performances. The other main group consists of those down in the pits – which is where the field was, but was also where each team set up their little workstations to modify their robots prior to matches – either working on the robot or making connections with other teams and people. The third group consists of only three people, and that is the Photography group.
The Photography group’s task is simple, take photos and videos to record all the different robots and each match. Andrea and Lauren mostly took photographs down in the Pit Area, taking pictures of each robot to later categorize the teams scouted by the Scouts. The third member of this group would be Samuel, who’s right now making this blog post as well. He would be up in the Stand Area with the Scouts, recording each match for later review by the members when deciding which Alliance we’d prefer.
The Pit Crew consisted of a core group containing Jake, Lousaper, Anthony K., and Roupen. There was then the Drive Team who would be in the pits and would drive Banshee during matches. This consisted as Mika as the Human Player, Daniel who was the Driver, and Karin who was an Operator and helped Daniel.
Those down in the pits who weren’t directly working on the robot would tour the other pits and talk to judges. This helped spread our message through brochures that Nicole printed out earlier.
Up in the stands was a whole different story. The core Scouts were Jacob, James, Sipan, Dustin, Anthony C., and Eden. Their backups were Claire and Devon. During matches or qualifications their jobs were to record the data of what occurred for each competing team on their tablets. They used a site setup by member Luke, who spent the day debugging the system so it would be perfect for actual matches.
Banshee took the field a total of four times for the day. Each time it went out, it tried different mechanisms for the Pit Crew to see how much it could do as planned. They found that it had a bit of a problem shooting high goals, but was good in the low goals. Banshee was the only robot to have lifted itself successfully by the end of the day.
With Bag Day over and done with, members still met on Thursday to continue working. Quickly after the morning meeting, some members moved the bagged Competition Robot to the Programming Room.
The team also brought out the Practice Robot to work on getting it to run. With the Competition Robot in the bag, this Practice Robot will allow the members to see what works and what doesn’t.
Business member Nicole revised the Brand Guide. Other Business member Andrea worked on applying vinyl to the Suburban.
Lathe member Lousaper spent the day without her Lathe. Instead, she helped bring the entire drive field from the cafetorium to the gym.
Mr. Black machined and broached three steel sprockets. He learned that steel sprockets can be harden which makes them impossible to broach. The 1/2″ hex broach got stuck, even with a 4-foot cheater pipe on the arbor press handle. So Mr. Black pressed it out, then machined a 1/2″ hex to .505 from flat to flat on the Haas Super Mini Mill 2 using a 1/4″ 4-flute endmill, and then took it back to the broach, and was able to broach it much easier.
Mr. Black discovered that the HSS tools would be destroyed by hardened steel sprockets but not carbide.
As usual, Team 696 members attended their meeting. Led by Mika and Mr. Black and Mr. Hoard, members were given deadlines for Ventura money and T-shirt orders.
Samuel, the Photographer, was busy for the entire day. He was preoccupied with taking picture of individual Robot Parts in the Cinema Room. While these pictures of the newly anodized parts are quite beautiful, this meant he couldn’t take many photos of sub-groups working. We forgive you Samuel, for we know how hard you work for the team.
Lathe member Lousaper has been working on her Lathe for the past two meetings. Both times she made Delrin Standoffs for the Polycarbonate Claw of the Robot.
Jake from Programming worked with CAD member Claire and Prototyping member Lauren. With the help from those two, Jake learned how to use the Drill Press. Jake then organized batteries and finished the rough draft of all competition battery tests. These will soon be placed into a folder and categorized into a comprehensive graph showing the best batteries.
CAD member Mikia worked on bumper design, bumper mounting, and providing the CAD designs to members working on assembly. Other CAD member Anthony K. worked on fixing the Telescoping Arms and mounting them onto the Practice Robot with the help of Prototype member Devon.
Jacob of Simulation continued working on documentation, finishing up the section on the ODE functions.
Welding member Roupen began to weld the Hanging Mechanism Support Structure. This structure connects the first box-tube in the Hanging Mechanism to the Robot Arm with an 1/8″ plate using bolts. Welding rookie Eden helped Roupen by holding the part during the welding process.
Business team had a busy day. Nicole continued t-shirt Business Plan designs. Anna worked on the actual Business Plan. Andrea continued her hard-work on the button designs, only needing to finish edits on Photoshop.
As it was Nanor’s Birthday, cake was brought for the team. It was quickly eaten during a work-break.
Programming member Bhavin worked on revising code that runs the Robot’s Pivoting Arm and Shooter. He also a tried a new configuration for the Robot’s Camera that will allow the Team to quickly test and debug the Vision Processing Program.
James of CAM helped Dustin of CNC Mill. The super-duo created Gearbox Output Shafts out of 7075 aluminum as opposed to the main Robot material – 6061 aluminum.
Dustin of CNC Mill team finished off the Arm Plate Supports by drilling two small holes in each one.
Mika, our Critical President put together the Gearboxes and the Arm. She then worked on wiring everything up.
Mr. Black rebuilt the Manual Mill’s vise. He also assembled three Trampa Wheels and bored out a bushing on the Competition Robot using the Haas Lathe.
The lab closed at around 8:55 PM. With Build End nearing faster than ever, every task is critical to the Team’s success.
Luke of Web finished his version of the script for the Chairman’s Video. He turned it in to Mika and Alexander for them to look over and criticize it. Samuel and Mariam of Photography also gave Mika and Alexander their scripts, to compare and find the best aspects of each.
Business team member Nicole worked on t-shirt designs for Team 696. During this, Andrea continued vectoring dog tags for the mentors. She also discussed button designs and where to order from.
Lousaper of Lathe team made the gearbox spacers using the CNC Lathe.
Programming team members discussed their autonomous plan. Member Bhavin worked on the vision processing while John worked with Encoders.
Dustin of CNC Mill worked on a three-operation part that became a mount for the winch. Then, with help from CAM member James, they were able to Mill out the shale from a block of metal. Dustin then flipped it over to face off excess, then back over to drill holes into the side. Other CNC Mill member Nanor worked on the small plates that will go on the box-tube of the extending arm.
Simulation team member Jacob and Dr. Stone, his mentor, finished organizing calculation related to the inertia of the robot’s flywheels. With these the pair were able to calculate different RPMs. For today, they focused on including the force of a piston into the calculations.
Thanks to a very amazing and hardworking mentor by the name of Mariam, the Powder-Coated Robot Frame was brought back to the lab today. This was only possible due to Mariam driving out to collect the parts herself. Everyone on Team 696 thanks you Mariam, you are a very important part of the team.
Mr. Black and Mr. Widholm learned how to set up and operate the Haas ST-10 CNC Lathe. While more learning will take place tomorrow, for today the learned how to offset tools.
As always, the workday began with a meeting where the tasks and goals were given out for the day.
One major accomplishment of the day was the completion of welding the Robot Frames, done by Roupen and Eden. The welding was finished to the point for wiring to begin around 7:00 PM, and around that time Roupen began to weld the competition Robot Frame.
Lathe member Lousaper sanded down the ThunderHex shafts. Using the manual Lathe, she did so to allow them to fit into their bearings.
Programming member John worked on getting Snapdragon to move autonomously while Bhavin continued working to get visual processing to work through the network. Jake focused on figuring out which batteries are best to use.
Over in the Business room, the lone member Andrea continued research on button prices. She also expanded her search to pens. Then, she discussed possible Chairman’s Video ideas with Media member Samuel.
CNC Mill Nanor made the Bumper Supports. Other member Dustin was assisted by CAM member James in completing both SB50 connectors. James also programmed the CAM for bumper supports to begin to be manufactured.
Jacob of Simulation team and his mentor Dr. Stone have decided to stop focusing on completing the overall calculations, but rather to focus on the specific compression of the ball and how it will affect the battery. During their new calculations, they found that the motor’s torque is significantly higher than the stall torque.
Karin of Prototype spent the day helping out Mika and Mr. Hoard. First she learned how to cut 1″ x 1″ box tubes at unusual angles. Then the trio began to assemble the competition robot with rivets.
They also set up the special table, covering it with a blue blanket and placing assembly and wiring items atop it. Karin drilled and tapped holes on the Practice Bot because it had to be drilled before any assembly could take place.
Mr. Black searched through the sumps on the Haas Mills for fine chips. He also bolted the Burr King sander to the floor for earthquake safety. Mr. Black also printed and prepped sponsor Thank You letters now ready for mailing. After this, he then entered about 26 lines of items – over $4,000 – to the expenditure accounting sheet for reimbursement purposes.
The clock read 3:10 while members of Team 696 Robotics assembled in the lab to listen to Mr. Black and Mika. As always, the team held daily meeting that were held, well, daily. During these they were given updates on their overall work, new information, and their goals of the day to strive to accomplish.
CNC Mill member Nanor helped CAM member James with drilling holes into the Base Plates. Due to the Plasma Cutter warping the metal, the pair were forced to use the Router to cut out the Base Plates. For the day, they were able to finish up two of the three Base Plates, but the holes don’t exactly line up as wanted. James then began programming tool-paths to be able to use only the Router to cut the entire Base Plate.
Andrea of Business team worked on the creation of a new Alumni Book. She researched and brainstormed ideas and even began to create the cover art using Adobe Illustrator. Andrea also started to work on creating the team’s dog tags. Nicole continued working on the Brand Guide as well as helping Andrea understand how to navigate Adobe Illustrator. Nicole additionally asked Mr. Hoard to make revisions to the Brand Guide. Other members Arvin and Anna continued working on the Woody Flowers essay.
CNC Mill member Dustin worked on creating the side rails for the robot. Needing to Mill steps into the vice jaws and face the top of them, Dustin went to CAM member Jonna to write up a program for it. After this, Roupen of Welding worked with to Dustin prepare for the next CNC operations. Roupen helped Dustin socket the correct tools and set up the vices for when it will be used. After preparing to cut one of the side rails, they realized the machine range was too small. All left to do now is to split the four existing CAM programs for the rails into eight.
The lab closed close to 7:00. Early in the meeting Mr. Black was called away to attend the Montrose-Verdugo Chamber of Commerce Recognition dinner to receive the Educator of the Year award.
Lego Robotics members from Lincoln Elementary came to tour Team 696’s lab today. Arriving around 3:00, the students entered excitedly into the lab. They first listened to Mika talk about the team and what goes on in the lab, using Centurion as a focal talking point.
After touring through the programming room, the students then filled the computer room where CAD and CAM teams usually worked. Here Mr. Black told them what goes on, showing them the two flat screen televisions overhead.
Mr. Black then led the Lincoln students into the work-floor, where the HAAS machines were. Amazed by the fantastic and large machinery, the Lincoln children were ecstatic to be able to partake in the operation of the powerful machines.
At last, the moment they all longed for was finally here. It was time to drive the robot. Lining up outside, Team 696 Vice-President Alexander worked one-on-one with each Lincoln student, showing them how to properly handle Snapdragon.
Feeling excited and trembling from happiness, the Lincoln students left Clark Magnet’s Robotics’ lab. Never before had they been so sure of what high school they wished to attend. From what they experienced today, all wished to attend Clark Magnet.
Following the Lab tour, the robotics meeting began. Starting off with a team meeting led by Mika and Alexander, members listened to what needed to be done for the rest of the day.
Shortly after this meeting, the individual sub-teams split apart like a bag of marbles being dropped off a table. Mika met with the members who would be working on everything prototype.
Over in the Cinema class one will find Jacob of Simulation team hard at work. For today he looked mainly into the motor as he needs to understand the motors of the flywheel launcher to properly understand how the battery level will affect the RPM of the wheels. And so Mr. Black let the Prototyping team know about a “closed loop encoder.” The closed loop encoder is something that takes the voltage of the robot into account when outputting the RPM, so the RPM doesn’t change along with the charge of the battery. They also discussed Euler equations.
Roupen of Welding team configured the flywheel prototype using different sized balls. Managing to shoot 25 balls and only 3 missing, Roupen, Leaders Mika and Alexander, CNC Mill member Nanor, and Programmer Meetkumar hand-fed balls into the shooter. They also tried adapting a piston feeding method but it didn’t bode well. The group plans to improve the design tomorrow.
Andrea of Business worked on the Stronghold Team button deigns using Adobe Illustrator. Besides learning how to setup and fix the Makerbots, she also helped Anna vinyl. Nicole spent the day determining the measurements and angles of Team 696’s logo for the Brand Guide. She used a team t-shirt as a reference point.
Prototype members Karin and Lauren measured the exact weights and diameters of all 6 new balls and the ball received in the Kit of Parts.
Bhavin of Programming team resolved issues the team was presented with when using GRIP. He also researched potential low-cost alternatives to the current cameras and ways to adapt it for the robot during competition. Fellow Programming members Jake and John worked on getting Snapdragon’s low-gear program working to use on Expo Day. They hope that by using the slow-mode people can see the motors and mechanisms in work.
Jonna and James of CAM worked on CAM for the entire day. James made a wheel hub adapter for the drive tires whilst Jonna made bracket to mount the gearbox on.
CNC Lathe member Lousaper went over a program for the new wheel hub and plans on using the Lathe for it soon.
CNC Mill member Dustin began building the bottom of the Castle Tower, but didn’t have enough wood to finish. He then helped Prototype member Devon on finding materials to complete the Castle Tower.
Animation team members Anthony C. and Christopher started working on the robot’s main animation. They’ve set up the render farm and began preparing for issues that might come up later.
Clark members Anna and Daniel went with Mr. Black to Roosevelt Middle School at 9:45. While there, they showed off Snapdragon in action to the students. Afterwards, Mr. Dall gave a wondrous presentation on why Clark Magnet High School is a good school to go to. The Clark students returned to school at 12.
Some members also traveled down to Lincoln Elementary School. Jonna, Lauren, Luke, and Samuel went with Maggy – a Clark student – to assist the Lincoln Lego Robotics in their tasks. Heading down a little after 2:20, the members returned at 4:00.
There was also a meeting this day, running from 3:00 to a little after 6:00. For a great majority of it, Mr. Black, Mr. Hoard, and Mika met with the Business team members Arvin, Anna, Nicole, and Andrea as well as with Photographer, Blogger, and member of Media, Samuel. The reason for this meeting was to discuss community outreach, award submissions, and the upcoming Expo Day schedule.
Welding members Eden and Roupen started working on the Rough Terrain obstacle. But they split to do separate tasks after discovering there wasn’t sufficient lumber to finish it.
Eden then began to create the Ramparts obstacle while Roupen helped make the robot frame and tried out different wheel configurations.
Prototype members Devon and Lauren worked with Meetkumar and Jake of Programming and with Jonna of CAM on the prototype robot. Together they measured the base for a 6 wheel drive train, all within an hour. They then tested the wheel placement and found the first and last wheel space must be closer to the ends of the robot. They also found that it is quite impossible to slowly drive over the obstacles, the robot needs to be moving fast. The faster the robot goes over the obstacles the easier ti is. The triangles they’ve attached to the front of the robot increasing air-time experiences as it slides over the obstacles.
Christopher of Animation finished the character modeling tutorials and designed a box and edge for a character to be modeled in. He began looking for a model to fill out the cage and for a hand and head tutorial to finish making the character. Anthony C. spent the day colouring the CADed field for the animation and removed hidden or irreverent parts from the model. He did this so it won’t slow down the rendering time for each scene.
Jonna of CAM also worked with Dustin and Nanor of CNC Mill. The trio built the Low Goal using the Router. They also started putting the Castle Tower together so it could stand on its own. Near the end, they split off to help Devon and Lauren of Prototype.
After the Low Goal was cut out from the Router, Karin of Prototype and Lousaper of Lathe assembled it. Roupen brought out Alexander and Mikia and Anthony to see it, and they realized how difficult it would be to fit a high-goal shooter into a robot that can fit under it. They then found some neon pink and green fabric in the storage closet. The pair used the fabrics to make a flap on the Low Bar, Lousaper took it home to sew it.
Alexander, our gratuitous Vice-President, helped research a method of power transfer for the robot. As of now, the plan is to use 36 tooth 5mm pitch HTD belts.
It was around 6:15 that mentor Mariam accompanied Alexander, Mika, and Anthony K. along with Robotics Alumni Armand T. left Clark with Mr. Black to go to the Roosevelt Parents’ presentation that our principal Mr. Dall led.
The presentation went off without a hitch, and was a spectacular success. It ended after 7:30.