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Beginning Competition Preparations

Preparations for Competition next week have begin. Numerous teams of students have been working hard to complete the Competition Robot’s superstructure, which will be carried in as part of the withholding allowance. Several students worked to complete a bill of materials and plan out the packing of the crate from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas. Batteries have been ordered.

Bill of Materials

Roller Improvements

Today, several improvements on the roller assembly were completed. The holes on both roller plates were hex broached to accommodate a new lower roller. A design flaw in the previous design allowed the lower roller to free itself and spin in a direction that did not allow the robot to properly hold the ball. A new shaft was completed. Additional shafts for the remaining robots will be manufactured in coming days, once the design is tested.

Work continued to tune the kicker positions for accurate ball scoring. With our 128 count encoder on the kicker, it zeros itself on every kick and is able to winch back accurately each time. The trampoline springs provide extremely repeatable force (as long as ball pressure is consistent). We have been working to tune the number of encoder counts which the kicker must winch back for optimum scoring from any point on the field.

New Plates!

Today, the second prototype plates to replace the hard stop plates were completed and installed. These plates included mounting provisions for attaching three trampoline springs to power the kicker and allow the arm to stow properly, two features not included in the initial prototype. Four full sets of these plates will be manufactured as soon as the material arrives and will be anodized for final robot use.


Today, the team worked to optimize the kicker and arm. The surgical tubing on the kicker was replaced with trampoline springs, to make it more easy to get a repeatable and known force. A gas spring was installed on the first stage of the arm to aid in arm deployment. Finally, limit switches were added in the pole grabber and on the arm to completely automate the lifting.

Now, thanks to help from the software team, once the arm deployed switch is flipped, the arm will deploy automatically. While the switch is still up, the robot will lift immediately once it is locked onto the bar and will stop when it has reached its final lifted position. This automation is an improvement in speed over what human drivers were able to obtain, due to prior uncertainty about whether or not the robot was locked on the pole.

Design Progress

Today, the design team worked to design the polycarbonate side shields for the robots. Due to weight issues, we will probably not be able to implement all of the polycarbonate shields on the robot.

The team also designed the cutouts which will be made on the bumper spacer tubes. The cutouts reduce the weight of the tube by over 50% by pocketing the side faces to keep proper bumper spacing and facing down the top and bottom faces from 1/8″ to 1/16″.

Design & Manufacturing Progress

Today, the design team completed the design on replacements for the Hard Stop Mounting Plates. The replacements will extend the plate back to support the PTO shaft directly above the gearboxes after said shaft was identified as a potential point of failure. The plates also include provisions for a new bar to mount the surgical tubing for the kicker on.

Later on in the day, the manufacturing team built two prototypes of aforementioned plates which will be installed and tested tomorrow.

Modified Kicker

Today the kicker plate was shortened.  The shorter plate contacts the ball higher up on the ball, giving it a flatter trajectory. A rope was added as a hard stop, which prevents the kicker from contacting the roller system.
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open source video, online video platform, video streaming, video solutions

Robot Crated

The Robot Was Crated Tonight.  Final Weights of Shipped Components:

  • Drivebase (without cRio) – 52 lbs
  • Arm – 19 lbs

The superstructure was withheld as part of the 65 lb withholding allowance.

Manufacturing, Assembly & Field Construction Progress


The manufacturing team worked hard today to machine the ratchets and finish the bar grabbing clamps.  The lathe was also hard at work making spacers, standoffs and shafts.


After the arms returned from the powder coat shop today, several members of the assembly team assembled one complete arm (minus sprockets which will arrive from anodize tomorrow).


The field construction team worked hard today to continue to carpet the bumps and other field elements.  The field should be completed in the next few days.

Robot Wiring

Today, wiring was done on the practice robot.

PWM Mapping

PWMs are labeled in a counterclockwise fashion, starting with PWM #1 in the upper left corner of the above picture and finishing with PWM #8 in the upper right corner of the picture above.