Saturday, January 07, 2006

Bad-ass Build Blog

Yo Gatorbotics Build Team - let's experiment a bit with this blog thing, eh?

Here's notes that I sent to you by email a while back, but still relevant:

Dearest bad-ass robot builders:

First things first - happy holidays! I hope you are all well! Having stuffed myself with turkey and slept until I've built up a wink surplus, my noggin' has started chruning on bot-building thoughts once again.

Y'all did some pretty wonderful things this fall semester: getting new tools, cleaning up the woodworking shop, getting the science project room in order, thinking about chassis and wheel stuff, visiting Alan Steel and spending time with Jimmy learning about the different ways to weld things together!

Yet, the season dawns upon us and it's going to be a wild ride!

There is one big thing I want you to start thinking about (Mr. Ed, please jump in): What are you going to need to do, who is going to do it and when will you get it done? As the build team, remember that you are not working in a void. Whatever you build, the programming and electronics team will have to plug into and make things work. You guys are primarily involved in all the mechanical stuff - but with motors, sensors, electronics, programming and the like, we'll have a really pretty metal sculpture and no robot. Logistically, you will have to make an effort to COMMUNICATE with the electronics folk what you are trying to accomplish, as there is only so much they can make happen for you. As well, you will be in charge of doing whatever is needed to support the electronics i.e. motors need to be mounted and electronics need to be . . . um . . . kept from being set on fire . . . yeaaah . . . hmmm . . .

Perhaps, you can start by making a list of things that need to be done . . . (based on Thor last year, here's a partial list of things that I suspect will need to be done this year, regardless of what the challenge is).

Determine chassis structure, layout and mobility
Design and build the chassis support structure
Design and build support for the electronics
Design and build an encasement for the battery
Design and build any other support structures for motors and other actuators (i.e. pneumatics, solenoids)
Design and build all the signage that is necessary
Design and build the scoring device (i.e. arm)
Design and build any support structures necessary (i.e. motor mounts)
. . . . and what else?

Once you have that list . . . who would like to take charge of each task? Some of you are probably already more familiar with certain parts more than others (like Julia on motor mounts, Sophia on supporting batteries, and Chrissy and Julia on electronics covers). Remember not everything has to be done in series i.e. we don't have to wait until the last hour to make the signage.

And what's your game plan and time line for getting it done?

Remember, we had a working robot 12 days before the ship date last year so at the very least, Julia and Jessa had some time to practice on it. Even then, things weren't completely integrated yet. You might want to aim high and push to finish by the FIFTH WEEK i.e. first week of February, so that Shirin and Christina can work with you to integrate all the electronics and software WAAAAAY before the ship date!

So that's it: WHAT, WHO, and WHEN?

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