2015 North Carolina Regional

2015 North Carolina Regional

Having participated in the Palmetto Regional a few weeks before, our team came into this regional with a good idea of what we needed to do to perform well. Thursday went well and we were able to get autonomous working. We were also able to get in a lot of practice with the improved mechanisms that we had been working on during the weeks in between the competitions.

On Friday, we started off well and created multiple stacks, but did not have many of them capped with recycling containers, which caused our ranking to be low. As the morning progressed, our average score increased and we were slowly climbing up in the rankings. In our sixth match, we got the highest score of the regional, moving us from 39th place to 8th. After seven matches, we ended the day in 8th place.

The following day, we had another high scoring match and finished up qualifications in 8th place. We were the first pick for the first ranked team, Team 1225, The Gorillas. By the end of alliance selections, we had an all North Carolina alliance, with Team 900, The Zebracorns, as the third robot on our alliance.

The winning drive teams at the 2015 North Carolina Regional

We soared through qualifications as we scored over 100 points in both of our matches and advanced to the semi finals in first place. During the semi finals, one of our alliance partners’ robot was not working properly and we were close to getting knocked out. However, we took our one time out to get their robot fixed, and in the third match, we scored the highest score of the elimination rounds, which advanced us to the finals. In the first finals match, we outscored the other by three points, giving us a 1-0 lead for the win. In the second finals match, we had a rough start having the first couple of stacks getting knocked over and the other stacking robot having pneumatic issues. At the end of the match, we came out as the winners with a score of 72-65.

After the final matches, we were awarded with not only the win, but also the Industrial Safety Award and the Engineering Inspiration Award. We are having a great season and are looking forward to competing at the FRC World Championships in St. Louis!

Thank you to all of our sponsors, volunteers, and fellow teams who have all made this possible!

Build Season: Week 3 Update

This week, the team accomplished a lot in the building and design of our robot. One of the big focuses of the week was getting the robot to actually drive. After 3 weeks of designing and prototyping, our robot finally came to life. Getting to this point, though, required us to overcome a variety of issues.

One issue that we discovered early on was that the gusset plates of the underside of the chassis were interfering with the wheels of the robot. We also had to modify the bolts that attached the gearboxes to the chassis. Doing this meant sanding down every bolt, which was a time consuming effort. Adding to our difficulties, we had to modify the elevator due to height issues. In the face of these numerous setbacks, we still managed to have a working moving chassis by the end of the week.

During the week, we had three new students join the team. They all quickly jumped in and have been very helpful in building and modifying the robot.

Build Season: Week 1 Update

Build Season: Week 1 Update

Soon after the unveiling of this year’s competition, Recycle Rush, we began brainstorming everything from game strategies to designs for our robot. We have met every day and have made plenty of progress in striving towards building a robot that will be proficient in this year’s competition.

This last week, we have spent a great deal of time fine tuning our strategy and coming up with various ways on how to achieve the tasks we want to perform. We have built many prototypes out of wood and aluminum, trying out multiple ideas brought up by team members. We worked on prototypes for collecting totes from the ground along with prototypes for stacking the totes. For collecting totes, we had the general idea of wheels pulling the totes into the robot. For stacking the totes, we built a mechanism using pistons to lift the them up. Next, we created a pair of claws, cut specifically to fit into the grooves under the lid of the totes, to hold the totes. These claws were attached to motors with a chain. We learned that this prototype failed to lift the totes any other way but right side up.

Build Season: Week 2 Update

Build Season: Week 2 Update

Throughout the second week of the build season, we have been hard at work. We started the week by assembling the eight mecanum wheels for the drivetrain, which proved harder than it sounds because of the instruction book that was more like a cuneiform (the earliest picture-written language) script than directions.

Even with mentors that have years of experience, we found three different ways to mess up the wheels. First, we assumed the wheels did not need the bearing-like cylinders to stabilize them. Second, we left out the washers, which the instructions assumed you would put on. And third, we found out that the outer wheel plate had to face stickers in (that last was not in the cryptic instructions anywhere). Though difficult, this taught us two lessons. First, always analyze (not look at) the instructions then think through what you are about to do. Second, if at first you don’t succeed, do what was just said then try again. In addition to building (and rebuilding) those, we worked on prototyping the elevator’s lifting mechanism and the robot’s collector. We also have an almost complete CAD model of the robot. In addition to that, we got to disassemble, then reassemble the gear boxes where we learned to love e-clips for how useful they are, but hate putting them on and taking them off. With all of this done, it put us in a good position to start the next week. We have almost finished the prototyping and will start on the robot’s frame on Sunday.