Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wednesday 31.01.07


started off a bit slow, but then we took the stock over to IDEO to weld!!
yay for Jimmy!
so by the end of the night, we have a FRAME! that's right. a frame...w00t!

meanwhile back at casti, the freshmen designed and put together a bom for bumpers. a much needed and neccesary task :)

mounting transmissions from Rosie onto 80-20 prototype so programming can run code on a robot whose transmissions aren't likely to lock up at any moment....yikes.
more welding-specifically ramps, maybe arm structure
drilling holes in chassis frame--so we need to take SPROCKETS AND CHAIN TO IDEO
prototype with ramp material that ed brought over tonight (metal mesh)
use 80-20 ramp to test with extension DAMPERS and COIL SPRINGS
finalize bumper design--keep it up, freshmen!



See for specific details on what you should include.

PLEASE submit your letter to Chrissy, Hannah, or Julia by SATURDAY AFTERNOON, and we'll send it off for you. If you don't care who you write to, just leave that part blank and we'll fill it in or get back to you.

See you all tomorrow--remeber to be there on time (3:30) so that we can get started :) LOTS to do before ship date!!!


over and out

Monday, January 29, 2007

Monday 29.01.07 (a lesson in floss)

quick recap...

went and got 33 pounds of aluminum today. quite fun. w00t! saw 114 there. quite exciting. the allen is doing well...and so is the horizontal band saw :)

more designing stuff
the ramps are ramping up (haha) and we found some SWEET springs that do the job of the hinges very neatly...though at the moment they are secured rather precariously...but we covered them up and put a nice "do not touch this without safety glasses or else" sign on it so we are good to go.

as for the arm, it is also looking good. more finalizing of design, so basically all we need to do now is put it together. YAYNESS!

tomorrow:IDEO at 5.30. we will be welding a frame, welding an arm, drilling some stuff, laithing some other stuff, and doing generally exciting things.
(vague stuff to be exact)

get EXCITED! the ACTUAL robot is coming together!!!!

over and out

Sunday, January 28, 2007

We Have Hit the Halfway Point

Yes, it's true. Something like 21 or 22 more days to go. Eek!

Firstly, thanks to all the freshmen who show up consistently (even for the supposedly nonexistant Sunday meetings) and are ready to help (or be patient when we don't have much for you guys to do). Today was one those days. But while not much progress was made on the building front, Chrissy, Kersten, and I were able to reassess our design and determine the mechanisms that still need figuring out for our final robot.

Here are the lists we came up with.

Little tasks to do:
- Drill new holes/fix existing holes in transmission mounting plate so they actually line up with the holes in the transmission!
- Make pillowblock bearings similar to the ones we have on Rosie (the black boxes--we should remove these tomorrow so we can show Jim). I (Julia) have the new dimensions for these.
- Hollow out the 3/4" diameter arm shaft that weighs a ton (it doesn't need to be completely indestructable)
- Weld the other end piece of the ramp release flipper to a shaft collar so that's it's removable
- Weld a battery mount
- Make Delrin wheels or slide for the end of the ramp so it doesn't snag on the carpet
- Drill holes in gears in transmission adapter for weight loss (we'll hold off on this until we're mounting them on the real chassis)
- Maybe mount electronics board (I said electronics could do this, but we should probably just ask them what they want and maybe drill holes based on where we want them on the chassis)
- Make a cover for the electroncis board or perhaps just cover the front face of the chassis with a sheet of polycarbonate
- Signage (1700, sponsers, too!)
- Bumpers (maybe later...)

To figure out:
- We'd like to make the secondary ramp longer so the angle robots have to drive up isn't so steep (30° is last year's angle and it wasn't ideal), but a big issue is weight! We weighed our prototype (which is missing a fair bit of parts) and it's about 100lb. YIKES!
- Ramp material: how does poly carb weight compare to expanded metal? (we're already planning to build a frame with bracing using aluminum extrusion)
-Where are we going to have spring hinges, regular hinges, dampers for our ramp? Are there dampers that prevent both extremely fast extension and compression? How are we going to position and deploy the TWO supports for each ramp (K, C, and I are thinking just cable to both the main ramp and the secondary ramp that'll force it into one position)? Ideally we'll make progress on this MONDAY AFTERNOON/EVENING AND BE ABLE TO PLACE AN ORDER!! :)
-ASK JIM/ED ABOUT TORSIONAL SPRING DAMPERS (for ramp) (and post pics of sketches for em)
- Make any necessary changes to prototype chassis dimensions and then have Jim weld it for us (as well as the tower of power and the ramp frames)

What we figured out:
-The transmissions mounted generally as they are on the prototype will work on the actual robot (so we only need one chain around the back two wheels--saving weigh, an extra support someone for mounting elsewhere, and messy chain tensioning stuff)
- We don't want to have two-level arm-motor gearing. Remember, KISS (keep it simple, stupid)! A 10 tooth sprocket on the motor and a sprocket with about 70 teeth up on the arm shaft should do the trick, though it'd be good to talk this through with Jim and/or Ed once more.

Tomorrow let's set some deadlines and then jump right in. Kersten is gonna start us out by picking up a whole bunch of aluminum extrusion from Alan Steel tomorrow. How cool would it be to finish our robot 2 weeks before ship date?!

Right, so as I see it, these are crucial things to focus on tomorrow (I may have missed something, so read the other lists, too!):
- The ramp: joints, materials, springs, dampers, cable, height (based on the height of the chassis) ,etc. Ed will be here, so we'll be able to get his input in this area. PLACE AN ORDER!
- Also ORDER a sprocket for the IFI arm
- Contact Jim about a session on Tuesday (and others this week, too)
- Along with the ramps, work on the arm. We don't even have this prototype yet, so let's make sure this is a priority!
--question I just had: can our current design hold a keeper?

See you all tomorrow!

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Lots of progress today!

The prototype chassis is ready for some code and an electronics board! We finished mounting the transmissions and putting chain on and also mounted the motor for the ramp release mechanism! Kersten and I also rigged up a battery mount for the prototype chassis made out of good old wood and angle iron :)

Thanks again to Jim for the hollowed-out Delrin "chain tensioning" rods and for taking Kersten, Chrissy, Anne, and Melissa to the shop to help us:
-Cut chain to length
-Get some polycarbonate for the electronics board (if any of you programming/electronics people are reading this, all you have to do is mount your stuff onto this sheet, which has already been cut to size)
-Mill a slot for a key in the arm shaft
-Drill holes for set screws in the transmission sprockets
-And probably other things I'm not aware of since I didn't go

Meanwhile, Nandini learned about putting chain together with half-links and master-links. yay!

See you all tomorrow at 11:00 (get ready to work on the arm and the crate)!

ps--PLEASE reply to my email re Portland by tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon if you haven't already!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thursday 25.01.2007

hey hey hey!

while the programming team had commandeered the transmissions, we worked on designing a motor mount for the arm mechanism (there are some very nice drawings in GENERAL 2), as well as putting together the new wheel and putting it on!

Sent j-rock on an ace run for washers and shaft collars (we never seem to have enough...hmmm...who has been eating the shaft collars???)
so now we have washers so the shaft collars are not as hard to install on the wheels.

made a list of very important measurements. arms stuff. chassis stuff. other stuff.

and now we are about to mount the transmissions on the robot! yay for chain!

Doug, Richard, and Beth are working on the RACK! w00t! go them!

GOALS: end of the week (saturday at the latest) have a running prototype. yay!


over and out.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Monday 22.01.2007

welcome to the third week!

got the new transmission adapter in the mail today, along with some 80-20 and some other cool stuff. w00t!

we started by cleaning the project room (a much needed action)
we can actually walk in in now without tripping over things (mostly) and melissa organized boxes and pens while kersten, nandini, and anne worked on inventoring the shipment as well as designing more ramp stuff.

then it was off to IDEO for a transmission-putting-together-taking-off-random-stuff-from-the CIM-motor-delrin-cutting-shaft-widening-laithing-filing extravaganza with jimmy (thank you!)

after getting back, and eating (wonderful dinner supplied by the macewan family), we worked on ramp stuff with ed, while doug and mr. crone worked on the rack downstairs.

currently working on ramp. more later.


over and out.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sunday 21.01.07

ok so today...

jimmy came over to casti and talked about arm stuff (mostly sprockets and gearing down that monster of a CIM motor) and ramp stuff...
we tested the ramp stuff...and the hinges aren't really working, so we are going over to ideo tomorrow with a to-do list and a bunch of stuff to check out! yay!
thanks to trae for working with the programmers today! they worked a bunch with the electronics board that emily made.
speaking of emily, we also skyped her around 3. she says good job and keep up the good work!

Doug and a bunch of the parents were working hard on the rack...sawdust flying everywhere! the crate is half-finished and the rack is all ready to put together! yay!

see you all tomorrow at the new meeting time, 3:30

be there or be not there (and tell us)

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Hey everyone!
Today we worked more on everything. We split into teams, so Chrissy and Nandini worked on the arm prototype and then the batteries, Julia and Anne worked on the 80-20 version of the ramp prototype, Kersten and Melissa worked with Doug on the flipper things to hold in the new ramps, and the freshman all worked on the crate or rack at some point during the day.
So the ramp people still need to attach the ramp and figure out how the springs should work, the arm people need to see what sprocket they want to use, and the flipper people are mainly waiting on the order to arrive so they can start work.
And the crate is doing well- the back half is attached to the base.
Meeting tomorrow is from 11 to sometime before 6 (probably around 3 or 4).

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Do it.

Chrissy and Julia made a run to Ace Hardware during period 6 today and bought door hinges, wheel axle/bolts (6") and nylon nuts to go along with them, steel (?) cable, washers, and maybe a few other things... When Ed came, he brought more steel cable, crimps for the cable, and eye-bolts (I don't actually know what these are called).

The proto chassis now has wheels and a ramp (pictures coming)! The ramp is made out of foamcore mounted on spring hinges and has a damper/support-component, too. Watch the magic unfold...and the foam core break apart. It's not a big deal, but it means we've entered the next stage in the ramp prototyping process: creating an 80-20 frame for the ramp. Not only will this give us a much more realistic sense of weight, it also will make for a much more durable product.

There's also a lot to be done in every other area of the robot--the arm/tower and chassis. Ed helped us break these to-dos into separate tasks with deadlines (see the white board), and we'll each be focusing on two of these for the next while.

And, finally, Kersten learned the importance of "saftey".

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Oh man (good stuff and not so good)

-holes for wheel axles and delrin rod chain tensioners drilled through bottom 80-20 chassis rails by jim
-IFI wheel and treads purchased
-2 banebot transmission adaptors purchased
-chassis and arm 80-20 structures completed (almost--see pictures by following "Build Team Photos" link and selecting Prototypes album)
-some foam core cut for ramps

-Something went weird with our predicted axle lengths. The ones we've used in past years weren't long enough, so Chrissy and I are making a trip to Ace tomorrow during p. 6 to buy some (and other ramp, etc. parts, too)
-L brackets are too long for the planned 3.5" between the chassis rails around the wheels (L-brackets are 2"-see pictures). We used L-brackets cut down to 1x2 holes, but only had 3, so we need to cut another tomorrow.

To do/buy/figure out:
-Do we have enough chain for our chassis? (When we hand it over to programming, it should have motors and chain, so we can have a working chassis)
-everything ramp related
-washers so the spring hinges aren't floating around on bolts prevented from screwing into nut plates further because they're hitting the 80-20 on the other side of the nut plate
-cut a hole off an L-bracket for the chassis
-Comment if you think of anything else that needs to be done soon!

-New meeting times (see side bar)
-We're meeting 3-4 on Friday, and on Saturday (10-4) AND Sunday (starting 11)

Bad news:
-um, let's just say everyone should read the game manual (but don't freak out, please)
-get ready to do some brainstorming...

on that note, see you tomorrow and get ready for a productive meeting :)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Our order arrived from Mcmaster today! Lots of fun stuff :)

Chrissy and crew piled into a convertible bug with the 8' and 6' long pieces of 80-20 (what a sight) and made a visit to IDEO. Jim cut the 80-20 to length (thanks, Jim!), and the assembling has begun.

Accomplished so far:
-80/20 for arm, tower, and chassis cut to length
-Chassis assembled except for bottom layer (with the wheels, etc)

To do:
-assemble arm/tower
-drill 3/8" holes in pieces of 80/20 for wheel axles (I started drilling 1/4" pilot holes, but stopped when I realized that the shape of 80/20 means that they won't actually be able to function as pilot holes). Plan 2) Make another visit to Jim tomorrow or Thursday to get this holes drilled. If he's unavailable, do it in our shop... Whoever does this, remember that the holes for the middle wheels have to be 1/8" lower.
-assemble bottom of chassis with wheels/axles and put together with the rest of chassis
-tape together sheets of foamcore to make a thicker piece to use as a ramp

Other decisions made/things to purchase:
-We're going to buy the adaptor that allows us to use 2 CIM motors with one transmission box (we have the additional 2 CIM motors already from previous years)
-Buy one 8" dia, 1" wide IFI wheel, but we do NOT need any more sprockets (and we're not going to invest in larger sprockets either to gear down anything--Ed says we'll be ok)
-Buy seven 1" wide wedgetop treads for IFI wheels (fyi, website doesn't work on macs...sheesh)

Last comments:
-Our Friday meeting is going to be shorter than usual...exact time tbd.

That's all for now. Hope you all don't have too much homework!

ps-Ed was here tonight, if I didn't make that clear. thanks, Ed.

Monday, January 15, 2007

One more day...

Word has it that our order is arriving tomorrow! If it does in fact come, at least a few of us will be making a trip to IDEO (arriving at 5:30) where Jim has agreed to cut it for us.

In the meantime, we've been sending out emails and all that good (but not so interesting) stuff. We also took a look at this year's new transmissions, and we're hoping to use 4 cim motors, 2 per side, to drive our robot. Each gearbox FIRST provided in the KOP only hooks up to one motor, so our two options are:
1) buy 2 adaptors that'll allow us to run one transmission with two CIM motors
2) buy 2 more transmission gearboxes so we have a total of 4 (this poses some mounting issues...)

Ah yes--and thanks to Allie and Nandini for starting in on estimating the weight of our prototype! We're definitely going to need to keep track of this throughout the season!

Please check your email if you haven't recently and respond to my email about travel. I (Julia) need answers from everyone by tomorrow morning at the latest--thanks to those who already replied!

see ya!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Stuff ordered

Today we met and ordered the stuff we need to prototype from McMaster. It should be here in a day or two, and then we can start building.
We also skyped Emily, who answered some or our questions about general stuff.
That's about it. See you tomorrow!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Crate and FINAL BoMs

YAY! Our drawings and BoMs for the prototypes are done, we will order the materials tomorrow, and we can finally start building them when the parts arrive this week... only a few days behind schedule.
We also sent an expedition to buy the materials for the new crate, after which Mr Reichling and George Schnurle helped the freshmen with building. If any of you freshmen reading this want to elaborate on that or can say what the current crate situation is, feel free to comment or post.
We'll send out an email later tonight saying when we're meeting tomorrow.

Friday, January 12, 2007

BoMs, blueprints, prototypes, and mechanisms

Today we worked more on the prototyping process. The design for one of the gripper ideas was finalized, and we managed to actually build a working model. It looks like a nice, simple gripper that could work well for us. The ramp-holding mechanism was ironed out and sort of sketched out (to be completely blueprinted tomorow). Since most of the BoMs are done for the three big prototypes (chassis, arm/tower, and ramps), we started compiling them and figuring out what we already have (esp in the 80-20 dept) so we can send in an order tomorrow.
Ed stopped by and reminded us that our drawings were actually rather insufficient (and so were our design specifics), so then we went and worked on them. We now know how we're going to hinge ramp stuff (like, the alignment and mechanisms for the support and secondary ramp), what the tower will look like (that's been modified), and what our prototype chassis will be (80-20) (it was under some contention earlier).
If you want to know the exciting changes that we made, come to the meeting tomorrow from 10-3!
Also, crate materials shopping will be starting at 11, so hopefully we will have fun with that and have some of the crate finished by the end of the meeting.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Blueprints continuing to progress

Today we met with Mr Reichling to talk about our crate. It's looking pretty good and we will go buy stuff and maybe start working on it on Saturday.
After that we worked more on blueprints and BoMs for the arm idea (having nixed (for now) the elevator idea), the ramp idea, and the various grippers. Melissa now knows all we will ever need to know about solenoids, Ida, Anne, and Alecia worked on modifying our 'harpoon' gripper and started a BoM for that, Julia worked on the chassis sketch and BoM, and Nandini and I worked on this ramp thing that we're going to do.
Everybody, try to keep thinking of gripper designs that we can put on the end of our rotating arm. If you're lying awake tonight or eating lunch tomorrow or bored during tomorrow's meeting, try to think of ways to manipulate inner tubes that don't require any motors- we're all for simple, passive devices that don't require as much designing and are more reliable.
That's all for now- see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Blueprints in progress

Today we inventoried the 80-20 parts we already have and made progress on blueprints. In the process of doing so, we decided on the following dimensions:

27"x 37" with the top at a height of 12.5" (so this includes wheel radius)
(for the prototype, we'll still use the slightly large welded frame we have and mount an 80-20 frame of the right dimensions on top)

rotating arm "tower of power"--
44" from the top of the chassis to the height at which the sprocket is mounted (near the top of the arm-frame tower). We estimated a sprocket of max diameter 5", so presumably as much as 2.5" will extend beyond this height). This gives us an estimated robot height of 59" (12.5"+44"+2.5").

Don't forget to draw a blueprint (with dimensions and the 3 perspectives we talked about) of one of the grippers we want to prototype (or a variation on a design we've discussed that you think might work well)!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Before we Prototype...

We now have two major arm designs--rotating arm & elevator-forklift--ideas that we plan to now prototype (if reaching the floor with an elevator-forklift design doesn't become to much of a problem) and grippers to test with those arms. We also have 2 ramp ideas we want to try out.

So, stuff to prototype:
- hi-mounted rotating arm
- elevator/forklift
- grippers to test with above arms
- 2 ramp ideas

Before we prototype, there are some important things to do first:
- Create blueprints (not Kersten-Julia-Chrissy sketches) for the two arm designs with side, front, and top views (dimensions and all that good stuff, too)
- Also make blueprints for the different grippers
- Come up with BoM (Bill of Materials)--stuff we need to build prototypes
- Inventory parts we have (like 80-20 L-brackets, bearings & steel rod for the rotating arm?), so we don't spend $ unnecessarily
- Enlarge our calendar, so that we can coordinate with Prog/Electronics on the same calendar.

Other robot info:
- The length of a rotating arm will be roughly 5' (we have better numbers than this)
- To build our prototype chassis, we're going to use our pre-season welded chassis frame for the lower level. The rest of it will be 80-20 (to be purchased)

Ed showed me (julia) some Solidworks basics last night, so we'll be able to model our robot this year. (A cool thought from Ed: if FIRST has modeled the rack, we can get an idea for how our robot design will interact with the rack all on the computer).

Lastly, we still a parent to help us build the Rack (field element). We're pretty sure we've found a place to put it (the cafeteria), so please reply ASAP if you can help out (an email also went out to parents about this). Students, please ask your parents if they can help out!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sunday, Jan 7

So today the build and programming teams met. The build team did some brainstorming and prototyping, and we've clarified and narrowed down some of our design ideas. If you haven't seen the project calendar with all the deadlines, take a look. It's on the board in the project room.
We also talked with Emily today and discussed our designs.
See you tomorrow!