2017-2018 Relic Recovery: Robot(s) in 3 Days!
As soon as the game was released and kickoff was over, we got to work on our 2017 Relic Recovery Ri3D robot. This year, because of the size of our team, we built two Ri3D bots: Casebot and Caluper.
Casebot utilized diagonal grabbers which allowed us to grab blocks with a greater range of error. This configuration allowed us to grab glyphs no matter what position they were in as we approached them. The diagonal grabbers were then mounted on two side-by-side drawer-slide lifts that enabled us to score the glyphs in the cryptobox.
Our second Ri3D bot, Caluper (pronounced ca-LOOP-er), uses a simple two-door mechanism to grip the glyphs. This system is connected to a single set of drawer-slides that allow us to raise and lower the glyphs. Our relic recovery tool has two teeth that slide on a rack-and-pinion system to grip the relic. The rack-and-pinion system is located on the end of an arm that starts folded back, but then swings up and around to lift the relic off of the ground.
We made a few updates to Caluper, removing the relic recovery mechanism and adding in a jewel arm for autonomous. We used Caluper in our first three league meets, and we were very pleased with how it performed, winning all but one of the fifteen matches it competed in.
2016-2017 Velocity Vortex Robot: Crossfire V2
After the State Competitions, we had a lot of good data on what we could do in order to have a competitive robot at the North Super Regional. We had 3 main goals for our next iteration robot:
- Increase the number of particles scored per round
- Make a 100% consistent 2 beacon autonomous
- Make the robot easier for pit crew and drive team to interact with
Our refined Crossfire robot retained the foam paddle spinner, but we replaced the surgical tubing with neoprene rubber sweepers that elevate the particles up to the hopper. We have a “bubble hopper” that pops up to allow us to store all 5 particles in our robot. Our launch system still features the “Choo-Choo” catapult linkage to launch particles quickly and consistently. We have gotten a high score of 15 particles scored by only our robot in one round at the North Super Regional; we average 9 particles per round in competition.
Crossfire’s autonomous scoring system includes a set of drop-down side wheels to let us drive along the wall, and we score the beacons with our rack and pinion button pusher. We ran our 2 beacon auto program 9 times at NSR, and we scored 17/18 beacons that event. We are able to score 2 particles in an assistance location to work with any alliance partner. We can also park on either the center or corner vortex.
Our robot has the ability to score the cap ball in the end game. We use an innovative “Crawler Jaw” to pull in the cap ball and hold it in the jaw. This design lets us get the cap ball from anywhere on the playing field. Our lift goes from the bottom to full extension in 3 seconds and we can cap from there. At NSR we took 14.625 seconds to cap (from driving to the ball to it being capped) on average.
We designed our robot to work well with any team. FTC Stats gave our robot Crossfire an OPR score of 132.7 points for the NSR competition. We look forward to playing with all the teams at the St. Louis Championship!
Crossfire at the North Super Regional:
2016-2017 Velocity Vortex Robot: Crossfire
After building our robot in three days (Ri3D), we started work on our main competition robot. Our Ri3D robot was very good, but the design needed to be improved to stay competitive. While planning the new robot, we determined that we needed to add the ability to score the beacons in autonomous and score the cap ball in end game. Crossfire was the result.
Most of Crossfire’s design is an improved version of Velociraptor. We kept the EVA foam paddle at the front of the robot, and added surgical tubing beater bars above the paddle to lift the balls into our hopper system. The Choo-Choo catapult design was also recycled with some improvements as it had proven to work very well.
We added a cap ball lift at the back of Crossfire to allow us to cap in End Game. The mechanism uses polycore belting to quickly grab and score the cap ball allowing us to collect and score it in under 15 seconds.
Crossfire has competed at 2 league meets and the Meramec MO Qualifier. Crossfire’s quick-capping system and fast particle scoring allowed us to be the first pick of the winning alliance at Meramec, which along with the Inspire award qualified us for MO state where we will be competing later this year.
2016-2017 Velocity Vortex Robot in 3 Days: Velociraptor
Velociraptor was our first Ri3D robot. It utilized an EVA foam paddle (From later in our Cascade Effect season) to collect particles, which were then funneled into a spring-loaded catapult. The catapult used a Choo-Choo mechanism to allow for easy firing, and was incredibly accurate.
Velociraptor competed at 2 league meets and did not lose a single match due to its 2 ball autonomous and 7-10 ball teleop. Velociraptor will now become a practice robot to compete against our main Velocity Vortex robot (stay tuned for that one). Overall we are very pleased with the outcome of our first Robot in 3 Days, and hope to repeat the challenge next year.
2015-2016 Res-Q Robot: Hannibal (V1 and V2)
For our Res-Q year our robot was a combination of a climbing and an extending robot. It used treads off of a robotic pool cleaner to climb, which worked well enough to allow us to climb to the high zone within two weeks of the game release. However, as we added more parts to our robot to allow us to score debris, we began to have a problem with falling backward off the ramp.
In addition to the treads, Hannibal V1 had a lead screw driven lift, which allowed us to shift our center of gravity while climbing, as well as get one load of blocks in the high goal. To collect debris we used a rubber band reel (remenicent of Cascade Effect) which collected blocks extremely quickly since the rubber bands would catch the edge of a block and roll it into our scoop. From there the scoop arm would raise and the blocks would slide back into a tread system which would score off to the side.
As we continued to make modifications our tipping problem grew worse, so we decided to switch the orientation of the collection to the other side of the robot, decrease its width, and add a side-to-side rack and pinion. This effectively eliminated our tipping problem, allowed us to score in the high goal much more effectively (fitting 14 blocks in during practice), and eventually hang from the top bar.
For autonomous we were able to deliver the climbers into the shelter or park fully on the ramp low zone. By ourselves we could score 10 blocks in the high goal, trigger all three climbers and hang for a total of 255 points.
We did not advance from North Super Regional, but we won the Promote Award there. During our Res-Q season we greatly increased our precision manufacturing skills, and helped a lot of teams figure out the new Android control system. Since we did not advance to the World Championship which is located only half an hour away, we took the opportunity to volunteer. In doing so we got a lot of great tips from teams there, and had a great time watching all the robots compete.
2015-2016 Res-Q Robot: Sabertooth (unused)
About the time of the Missouri State championship our main Res-Q robot started having major problems with the rubber treads popping off. This, along with our low maneuverability and the fact that we could only get about 10 blocks in the high goal each match prompted us to take on the project of building a completely new extention-based robot to be used at the World Championship.
Before making the decision we built and tested several collection mechanisms, did a lot of mathematical calculations, and made a complete CAD model of the robot.
Sabertooth utilized a layered rubber-band collection system which could collect a full load of five blocks in 2.5 seconds. It then transported the blocks to the mountain goals by means of a 3-stage cascaded linear lift that could deploy in three seconds and had enough torque for us to hang. We didn't have it finished by North Super Regional, but we later completed it after our season ended and have used it for multiple demos and presentations. After some slight modifications to the hopper design we were able to score five loads of blocks in a match.
2014-2015 Cascade Effect Robot: C4
C4 used a dual-height spinning foam paddle to gather the balls. Our hopper would then rise to the correct goal height by means of our linear lift and score out the back into the goals.
In all of our competitions leading up to the World Championship we had a rubber-band reel which was very innovative and cool, but it was limiting our scoring. After some testing we changed to the foam paddle with increased our ball pickup speed by 500%! (To gather a full load of 5 balls we went from 15 seconds to 3 seconds)
We could reach all the goals, and by the end of our season we could fill the 90 cm and 120 cm goals, as well as possibly getting a few balls in the 60 cm. At the World Championship we had a consistent center goal autonomous. We also had a 140 pt. ramp autonomous which drove off the ramp, scored a ball in the 60 cm goal, scored a ball in the 90 cm goal, and then brought all 3 goals back to the parking zone. This made us one of only two teams (that we know of) at the World Championship who were able to score 140 points in autonomous.
In practice by ourselves our high score was 653 points, and with another robot (Team #4211 The Bombers) we scored 924 points – all the points available in tele-op and all but 30 available in autonomous.
At the 2015 World Championship we had a record of 6 wins, 3 losses, and ended in 21st place in our division. We were not picked for an alliance, but we had an awesome year and learned a ton about electro-static-discharge (a problem we began to encounter early in the year) and properly using the design process.
C4 later acted as the ringbearer at the wedding of two Robo Raiders alumni.
2013-2014 Block Party Robot: FLUFF-E (Fun Loving Unit of Fantastic FIRST Engineering)
To collect and score blocks we had a scoop with bent over edges to allow for a wider, and thus faster, collection. We also had a flag spinner that could raise the flag in 3-4 seconds. To hang we had an arm that raised a hook and attached to the bar. We could then winch in our cable with a dual-speed winch, high speed to pull in the cable slack, high torque to lift the robot. It was very compatible for double hanging, but we never fully accomplished a double hang at Worlds.
At the World Championship we had full scoring autonomous program that could score the autonomous block in the IR goal consistently and then get on the ramp. It was also set up with a menu so we could easily select from one of three starting positions, as well as having the ability to select which side of the ramp to go up and a variable 0 to 15 second delay.
By ourselves we could score 15 to 16 blocks, raise the flag and hang for about 190 points.
At the World Championship we had a record of 4 wins, 5 losses, and ended ranked 43 in our division. Our Rookie year was really fun and we learned a ton about the many different ways to accomplish a task.