Thursday, June 12, 2008

CAMP - JULY 12-13!

from em's email:


After a first pass at an agenda for Gatorbotics Bootcamp, I thought I'd share this with you (especially since I sort of volunteered all of you to help out in some way at some point). I know that some of you may be out during this time (i.e. David Cardinal) but if you can still help us prepare, for camp on July 12-13, please let us know.

Jessa, Karlin and I decided on a two day bootcamp which is more doable given our tight schedules this summer. We also want a lot more student and parent involvement, if possible (so we don't bear all the load) and we'd like to incorporate a number of non-technical aspects like project planning and public speaking type activities.

The brief agenda is below. I've attached a long winded version with a first pass description of what I think each session should entail with questions. Note that this is definitely a very very first pass so please feel free to chop at it. I think I've realized that we need something to glue together all the technical aspects of robot building - and hence starting with a system level discussion and state diagrams. I think, given how much energy us mentors and parents have, our time together is best spent looking at the big picture rather than diving into the mechanics of Solidworks or something like that . . . since Solidworks, and even Labview have tutorials that, if we can get the students motivated, they can do on their own.

I'm out to Singapore and Japan from June 15 - July 11 for work. Yes, that means I need your help preparing for bootcamp since I get back the day before! I'll be on skype and email the entire time I'm there.

Please email me with a yay or nay if you can help, and with your feedback.

Many many thanks in advance,


* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Draft Agenda: Brief Version

Saturday, July 12

8:45 Introductions / Breakfast (Emily)

9:00 The Big Picture: Building a Calendar Together (Erin)

10:30 Kit of Parts Scavenger Hunt and Discussion (Sherri, Allie)

12:00 Lunch break / Fieldtrip Slideshow (Erin and Emily)

1:00 Brains, brains, brains: Robot State Diagrams (Karlin / Jessa, Sherri / Caroline)

2:30 Starting Virtual: Introduction to the Labview environment via NXT (Karlin / David C)

4:00 Realizing the Virtual: Part 1: Real sensors (Jessa, Doug, David Cardinal)

5:00 Day Ends

Sunday, July 13

8:45 Breakfast Reflections (Emily)

9:00 Your Elevator Pitch: Team values and presenting them (Karl / Farokh, Allison / Ida)

10:30 Realizing the Virtual: Part 2: Motors and Mechanisms (David Lu / Nandini / Ann)

12:00 Lunch break. Commitment Discussion. (Erin)

1:00 Show and tell: What you always wanted to know how to use!

2:00 Putting it all together: Sensors, Actuators and Code (Maybe Emily)

4:00 What next? Putting together a game plan.

5:00 Day Ends

(check the email for more detailed agenda)

Monday, May 26, 2008

updated camp information

from karlin's email:

Hello Team 1700,

We apologize for the late response in getting you some of the details settled for bootcamp this summer. Emily, Jessa and I have been working out our schedules and trying to find a time when we're all available. We'll let you know when that will be. soon. we swear.

A few important points:
1. We've decided to change bootcamp this summer. Instead of a full week of robotics camp, we've decided that 2-3 days of activities spread over two different weekends will work better. In addition to simplifying logistics, we're hoping that the time between sessions will create a better opportunity for the girls to spend some time working on new projects this summer! (Don't worry, we have plenty of ideas.)

2. We'd like to have the team leads assist us by taking on some of the responsibility of sharing what they've learned with their peers for a portion of bootcamp. We believe that teaching is one of the best ways we can help the girls learn, and we'll be here to help and guide them.

3. To help prepare all of this, we'd like to have that debriefing session with the team leads to wrap up reflections on this past season and discuss what we're going to focus on this summer.

Great! So what do we need from you?

Fill out the new weekend doodle!

Team leads- we'll be touch again soon to set up a date for the debrief, so start thinking about this season and how you might teach your peers. What are topics you think are critical for someone to know to build a robot? What were activities or "lectures" you found particularly memorable or useful (not just from bootcamp, but from the past 2/3 years): what did you learn from it and why do you think it was memorable?

Team members- If you have special topics you're interested in learning about, don't be afraid to share your ideas with us.

If anyone has any questions or concerns, please let us know.
Let's keep the momentum going for the summer :)
-Emily, Jessa, and Karlin

Friday, March 28, 2008

as copied from david cardinal's email

Thanks everyone for a great session this morning. You guys got everything done we had on the list and then some.

Special thanks to Steve T. & David B. for getting the SolidWorks licenses in record time and to Lanre for setting up the printer!

My notes:
· The 2 new HP/Compaq laptops are now full set up with Solidworks, the programming tools & eDrawings & Office and ready to go!
· 4 of the IBM Laptops are set up with the programming tools, Office & eDrawings, matching power adapters and are ready to go. 3 of them have also been upgraded to 1.5GB of RAM memory. The 4th (Debbie) could be upgraded for about $50 if needed.
· 2 of the IBM Laptops were donated to Kyle Barriger & Middle School Robotics “permanently” to simplify laptop management
· The 3 Animation laptops were already all set with 3DS, but none of them have Office, and all of them could use a memory upgrade (from 1GB to 2GB) and possibly a hard drive before they get used for next season. 3DS also crashes on one of them, but unless we need all three it’s probably not worth worrying about.
· The HP printer is set up and working on Thor with full ink cartridges, but I don’t think there are spares.
· Thor (the Desktop) is pretty lame as machines go, but now has eDrawings. If it is needed for Solidworks it should probably be replaced with something newer rather than trying to upgrade it. Otherwise it’s fine for basic email/Office/Print/eDrawings.
· All the machine status sheets are in a notebook on the bookshelf.
· Install disks & other CDs are now in a CD holder
· All the notebooks are labeled, with labeled adapters and in labeled computer cases. Quite an impressive stack actually!

Hopefully you guys are now in good shape going forward. Obviously you’ll want some more copies of Solidworks once you decide what other machines you want it on. The good news is that the new version worked fine and doesn’t require a dongle which simplifies things.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008


there are two, beautiful, brand spanking new hp laptops.
they are GORGEOUS.
think of laptop names. (g & h)

we should do something nice for the tech department and also jrock for getting them for us.

also, what are we doing with annie/bonnie/casey/debbie/emily/francey (whoa, they're all ee endings...)
can we just give a couple permanently to barriger so we don't have to worry about sharing them with him?

i'm going to work on getting mplab installed, and i think allie wanted to get solidworks up and running for next year.

ideo people are coming on thursday. :)


Sunday, March 16, 2008

from emily's email

Yes, I know we've barely had a breather after a very exciting season but parents and students alike are asking about this!

Let's try to nail a preliminary date before April 15.

Please let us know what weeks (Monday through Friday, 9 am - 5 pm) you are available between June 16 and August 25.

Please sign up on doodle!

Jessa Lee (Gatorbotics founding team captain) and Karlin Bark (Stanford PhD student) spearheaded this amazing effort last year.

We talked about topics ranging from mechanisms to programming, took field trips to Alan Steel and the Tech Shop, and prototyped with pneumatics and electronics.

Photographs from the 2007 Gatorbotics bootcamp are here:

Let's build on this foundation! I would love to hear from you thoughts on what we could do to make this even better.

A few thoughts:

- Could the entire team take a day to take a class in machining / welding at the TechShop or The Crucible during this week?

- Could the parents have their own parallel 'bootcamp' day or evening where they help the team behind the scenes and plan for the next year?

- Could we bring in guest speakers from other teams and go visit other local robotics teams i.e. Paly, Gunn and Woodside Claremont.

Mentors, teachers and parents, please also put down your own name if you want to get involved with this week. I'm not expecting anyone (myself included) to be available for the whole week to teach, but if we can each contribute a day or even an afternoon of our time, this will be fabulous once again!

Thanks in advance, Emily

Saturday, March 15, 2008

svr results!

summary version:
WE WON THE JUDGES AWARD! that's really exciting
and we also got the safety token count award thing. yay for allie's safety captaining.

in more detail, friday afternoon we had a team meeting and discussed how we were doing. no, we weren't ranked high. with our gripper breaking twice and other teams not showing up/not following the strategies, circumstances were beyond our control.
that said, we came up with a list of four expectations-->goals we had for svr.
2. score more effectively and consistently
3. get chosen for an alliance.
4. get recognition for our efforts.

excepting 3, i'd say we did pretty well. i definitely had a good time. that first match today?! it was AMAZING. score 54-30 and we both hurdled and placed. we should all be really proud.
and WE DID get recognition - the judge's award! no, it's not a national award. but the judges saw us and recognized us as a good team. so YAYYY

the core team needs to sit down and have an intense debrief about the season - what we've done, and what we want to do, and how to get those things done.

thank you to everyone who came and supported us (including all the alum :]), and to emily for being awesome as always with our spiffy cards to use when pitching ourselves.

party tomorrow, 4-7:30 at erin's house. be there. (with food).

Thursday, March 13, 2008


hello all!

thursday at svr - practice matches have gone well.

in terms of true changes made:
-we swapped out the lead screw successfully, the arm moves up and down beautifully
-we added arm-raising to autonomous code (after we stop moving)
-new, non-sketchy flag holder
-foamy bits have replaced noodly bits in terms of padding gripper
-JOYSTICKS! oh my god. the aux2 button is just badly built or something, because it has died on two seperate joysticks. but erin's bringing more tomorrow. this is ridiculous.

we have 10 qualification matches over the course of the next two days! i am pumped.
i definitely meant to write down the match schedule but i forgot...
match numbers that i remember which are possibly wrong:
3, 33, 17, 61...

wheeee! i'm excited. :)

i would try to post the match schedule tomorrow, but there isn't internet access at sjsu. :/

oh, and a HUGE thank you to emily and jimmy for playing hooky from work.
and the code documentation booklets are beyooootiful. they make me really happy.
also, thank you to both ms appelget and mourad for coming too.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Hosting Events

You gals rock. Wow, that's serious blogging and stuff happening in the last few days.

Just a reminder about the two seperate opportunities to host groups who are interested in gatorbotics! You are all invited to come help out (especially when the team from Mexico City is visiting). It's your chance to demonstrate your goodwill and to share your passion for robotics!!! Whoohoo!!

Wednesday, March 12
Tour / Talk with Team 2283 from Mexico City
3:30 - 4:30 pm at Science Project Room

Bob Smith, director of the Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning and IDEO alumnus is bringing a visiting rookie team from Mexico City here for the Silicon Valley Regional. They are visiting Karlin's lab, IDEO (I'm hosting, duh) and are hoping to visit Castilleja as well. If any of you want to hear me give an IDEO tour afterwards, you're welcome to join. Way to generate some inter-team spirit here!

Friday, March 21
Observation for IDEO 101 Team Design Challenge
1:00 - 2:00 pm at Science Project Room

A small team of new IDEO-ers and maybe one of IDEO's educational clients would like to visit Castilleja Robotics as part of their two day design challenge to figure out new ways to create exciting challenges for students by exploring non-traditional immersive forms of teaching and outside the book learning. You gals are definitely doing this through robotics. IDEO will donate $100 to Castilleja Robotics for your efforts to share your story!

It was great to see everyone on Wednesday night!


Friday, March 07, 2008


this means that we actually need to change the autonomous code - currently it will count 19 seconds... that's way too long. poor benjitong will die otherwise.

i'm really happy about this.
it turns out that 1000/25 is NOT 19. it's actually 40.

svr prep stuff

yes, i'm blogging yet again

chairmans! we need to
-decide which 3 people are presenting
-prepare whatever we want to take to present
-get letter of reference from barriger, seton
-poster from last year?
-all those counterpoint/around the circle/published articles

has someone contacted local press about svr? i remember hannah saying she did this last year

who is going to uncrate? from what jrock told me, last year julia and kersten and beth martinson as the adult mentor person went down earlier and then the rest of us took a van from school.

within school publicity! announcements at meetings - flyers - bulletin - etc.
also, outside of school. tell people to come.

we've basically repacked. i also edited the packing list.
there are copies of the list in every crate.
actually, the more i think about, the more i do wish we had a wiki type thing. then we could just post everything to that. definitely something to think about for next year.

what about the bumpers? i know they got a little beat, but in general they're fine, yeah? or do we need to do some stapling before svr?

the weights are coming straight to svr? we didn't pack them, since they're at ideo...

code documentations nearly done... which nice person want to bind it for bathroom reading? :)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

worst moments

-dealing with the logistic/emails from FIRST and which to read/delete
-personal responsibility/team unity
-new team members
-not doing enough building
-not being able to come very often
-i wanted to do more
-communication needs to improve b.w subteams, leads, everyone
-:( when jim & em didn't communicate w/ us on the gripper design and plan
-missing fleetstreet
-gaps in communication
-involving recruits
-feelign like i couldn't do enough for the team
-ks ddint' come in and help us until like week 5
-a lot of time was spent sitting vs working on something productive
-lack of communication among leads, b.w leads and recruits, w parents, w mentors, w subteams...
-unwillingness of many people to work w recruits
-unwillingness of recruits to motivate themselves to watch and learn
-parent leads pulling their own weight - getting out emails/meal schedules etc
-overactivism (parents, etc)
-when the gripper motor nearly DIED
-i wish i could have doen a bit more as a new team member
-organization of material and supplies could have been better. this can save time on future work
-imbalance of the team memebrs
-new team members would leave after we tried to encorportate them into the building process
-team dynamics
-what to do with new team members?
-using the term "recruits" all the way through season
-gripper tension (hahah)
-when new people felt unneeded/couldn't stay all night before ship
-when ks came in and people were' communcation and were really stressed and unhappy
-when our alliance almost placed/hurdled 2 but didn't and we lost for the first time
-walking into the project room and having it be ice cold. even though the heat was runnign all day
-when the code wouldn't work
-when we didn't have a gripper five days before ship
-when we lost the cart handle and the drill (but we found the drill)
-when people dind't communicate with each other and made decisions without conferring with others
-we didn't start on the gripper until two days before ship....
-miscommunication/not enough communication between build leads and programming leads. not understanding the other side's pov
-going to home depot and finding that they were sold out of pvc pipe in teh size i needed
-when all ya came to ideo on feb18 and i didn't know what to do
-when there was miscommunication amongst the mentors about gripper. (feb14)
-if team member don't feel comfortable voicing/sharing concerns
-feeling useless/burden
-not knowing waht to do/tell others to do.

all that said, there's clearly room for improving. even so, i think it's important to remember that this season was not all bad - we definitely had fun :) and through this discussion, we will do our best to ensure that we don't have the same issues next year.
thank you everyone for your honest feedback.

best moments

-working w/ the team
-taking apart scotty
-everyone worked well together/listened to each other
-making to team more cohesive
-better school relations
-when i saw you gals prototyping amazing protos ie anndini's actuated arm
-a lot of ideas/enthusiasm in the beginning
-seeing our ideas come to life/using mecanum wheels
-better communication b/w build and prog. but still needs work
-actually taking scotty's questionable drive train and improving SO much. mecanum wheels.
-i like building circuits and cutting wires etc
-scouting results/outcome
-i learned a bunch of stuff
-you guys were awesome and you built a sweet bot
-the portland trip! i feel liek the team bonded well
-working together and it WORKING! :)
-awesome driving
-the separation of work b/w ideo and casti seemd ok if not good
-watchign all the designs evolve and come alive!
-the 1st year recruits wriing up the electronics board
-the mentors were very helpful and going to ideo was fun
-i liked working with the team membbers
-team work
-math wins again!
-i got to see welding
-learnign new thigns about building/wiring/using power tools
-when i was able to work on helping the bot
-soldering the flower for jrock
-making the gripper move and hurdle at 4am
-cleaning the project room with music
-seeing the robot in action
-choosing our alliance/having only girl team lead
-that one saturday at ideo - debuggin&breakingflowerpot&generalfun&STRAFING
-when we broke the flowerpot
-when erin pretended the claw was biting caroline and allie
-soldering new wires on the burnt gts and actually having it work again!
-successful timers 8am the day of ship
-burning th einsulation off the smoking gts (AND DOUG FIXING IT!)
-1am on ship. staying up late to fix benjitong
-when the robot worked on shipday
-lebanese food and modernplace gelato!
-seeing the gripper materialize
-emily riding benjitong down the ideo hallway
-walks to ideo
-seeing ppl drive the chassis

general things to discuss/put out there

-what are we changing for svr/general
-school relations/$$
-what people expected from the season and what they actually got
-personally taking initiative
-how do the parents/teachers feel about robotics?
-compensation for mentors

-animation - new members
-emotional breadth stability and support
-potential hiring of a full time mentor?
-what is the meanign of learning?
-what is the meaning of leadership?
-kpcb mentor $$
-parents: information packed to be signed by by parents to ensure understanding of the team/communication protocol
-more team dinners/social/ice cream eating/story knowing
-intra team relations (pizza party? event on saturday of svr?)
-force separat b/w outside problems and robotics problems
-do we want an entirely student - BUILT robot or a studentdesigned robot? where are we willing to compromise?
-blogs - useful? who reads this, anyway?
-expectations vs. results
-communcation (Team dynamics)
-new team member tasks

-what about the offseason?
-improvements for next years
-independent study - who's intereste?
-how can parents support the team better? eg, software installation
-nontech suff - $$ & ppl for next year (better communication with mentors and tech)
-personally taking initiative
-recruiting earlier - right after tech challenge? what to do with new ppl?
-summer camp! :)
-tech shop classes
-continuity throughout the year
-encouraging nontech to join us over the summer/do nontech stuff over thes umemr
-stuff to do over the year (pre/post season)

one thing people want for the future:
-i want to hire someone to help organize this amazing team
-advertising nt website, picture animation ---> classes
-parent liason
-fundraise earlier, target more sponsors, train nontech lead
-newsletter (parents, school)
-i'd like the team to hire someone to help organize and provide continuity for the team
-ginna = list maker!
-use yahoo calendar to coordinate paretns and food (could also use it for build scheduling)
-keeping recruits involved in final design (ex gripper this year)
-making a list that 1st yr students can do (pics, etc)
-leadership retreat!
-use interested people in the offseason to find sponsors
-a robtoics music playlist
-have monthly meeting with the entire team - short to communicate b.w tech and nontech

what new team members did this year

-screw mecanum wheels (Twice...)
-prototype for arm
-velcroed protective polycarb on board/chassis
-organing the project room/familiarizing with parts
-taking apart scotty
-wiring electronics board
-drilling holes into the chassis for bumpers
-painting/repainting the bumpers
-going on random errands
-watching jim cut/weld things
-soldering limit switch
-taking apart scotty
-writing electronics board
-discussion/making group design decisions
-cleaning project room

there are some obvious trends here.
ginna has volunteered to be in charge of next year's new team members! yay! that's awesome.
we also talked about other things new team members can do and the importance of being willing to simply watch and observe - that's how you learn!

between rounds checklist 06

most of these aren't actually relevant, but i do want to make a more complete list...

Things to do between rounds:

-Check electronics board:
-make sure speed controllers are on tight
-make sure board is firmly attached to aluminum plate which should be firmly attached to transmissions
-Make sure PWMs (LED, pinwheel esp) are plugged in
-replace chain tensioners
-check bumpers:
-need patches?
-still on the robot?-
Check turret set screws
-tighten shaft collars on chassis wheel axles
-tighten shaft collars on wheel o' doom axles-check chassis wheel axles (still straight?)
-replace batteries:
-check voltages
-zip tie 12V
-check wires on turret (not tangled, in chains)
-check PWM jumper for autonomous
one last thing:

code documentation is getting there (we have A LOT of code this year, actually. not in terms of complexity, but length. i think i'm at 63 pages? those case statements take up a lot of room.)
who wants to bind it for us?
how many copies should we make? one for karlin, one for emily, at least 2 for us, ? for judges...
chairman's presentation - is everyone familiar with "our story"? what is "our story"?
box of prototypes
any changes we want to make to the spiffy poster
outreeeeeach pictures

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

from anne's comment

just in case people didn't get to anne's comment.
after only a day, some of this is obsolete, but that's okay :)

we're also potentially changing the gear ratio for the arm from 4:1 to 6:1 (did i say that right? oh well)
and we're having an all-team meeting on wednesday march 5 from 6:30-7:30 (i thought it was 5:00 but erin just sent out an email)...anyway, dinner will be provided :)


also, nandini and erin brought the weights to IDEO today so they could lose some weight (in case we make a separate tower thing for the flag) i'm not sure when we're getting them back though

i think we should repack for SVR (or not exactly repack, but reorganize whatever is in those crates and potentially bring more stuff b/c we have no weight limit...right?) i'm happy to do that but i'll have to do it this week b/c i have no time next week :(

WE NEED MORE DUCT TAPE! i can probably make an ace run for more stuff of the sort sometime this week //they went and bought this stuff today (yay for telling ace people that you're jon (J-O-N) rockman!)


more coming on this soon - we had an all-team debrief today. we got a lot of really good feedback about what worked well this season, what didn't... what people want from the future, etc. it's all documented on postit notes so i'll try to type those up to archive. the feedback is actually extremely useful. it's great to know what people enjoyed doing and what people didn't. that being said, communication should not stop. we're always open to respectful suggestions and comments.

thank you to everyone who attended, and if you didn't i'll hopefully archive all those color coded postit notes soon! that way we'll actually be able to followthrough and change things next year.

it was so fulfilling to hear that both picasa and the blog are being actually used rather than just spending the time and no one using the features.

see you all next weekend for SVR!!!! i'm really excited :)
please do come (practice matches thursday, qualification matches all day friday, until lunch saturday and elimination/playoff after lunch. awards ceremonies both fri and sat evenings.)
we'll be swapping out the lead screw on thursday and benji(tong) will be back and better than ever by friday!

Monday, March 03, 2008

portland! (+svr)

so we're back from portland!
we did really well, esp compared to last year. final ranking was 10th out of 55, and due to the top 8 teams choosing within themselves, we were the captains of the 7th seeded alliance! (we seem to have a thing for being seventh.) playing against 488xbot and 100woodsidecarlmont, we did lose in the quarterfinals.

judges were genuinely interested in our team. being the only allfemale team in portland, we had a corner pit and many many judges and their friends chatted away to us. :) this is a very good sign.

we we'll be back and better by svr! march 13, 14, 15. get pumped.
we're swapping out the lead screw for one with a higher pitch. that way, we'll actually use the arm since it will be faster.

i found the drill in the silent study room this morning... not quite sure how it got there.
time to start planning for svr and our chairman's presentation. thanks to emily for the huuuuuge ass poster.
i'm working on code documentation, so that will be doen by svr.

an ENORMOUS thank you to mr rockman, ms o'malley, emily, karlin and ms mourad for coming with us. :) [and that lebanese food was ammmmazing]

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

ditto anne's post.
THANK YOU to anyone and everyone who made this possible.
we DID it, guys! :]

that said, we leave for portland wednesday and have plenty to do before then.
on top of anne's stuff we need
-a complete bill of materials
-stuff for chairmans //not until svr
-programming compilation
(wow, it's reflex to comment out stuff now. eek)

woodie flowers and chairman's are getting submitted tomorrow.
now go catch up on sleep and relax until school starts.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008



A BIG THANK YOU to all our mentors
especially Emily, Jimmy, Doug, Karlin, Tiffany, Jessa, and Sophia (even though she's not really a mentor) for being there on the days before ship
(hopefully I didn't forget anyone in my sleep-deprived state)
(and thanks also to Schnurlee and Julia for showing up :D)
thanks to the programming team for staying up all night to fix code
thanks to Castilleja for letting us use the gym (even though those carpets were gross)
thanks to Mr. Rockman for being at school on the day of ship and doing paperwork and stuff
thanks to the freshmen for fixing the crate and purging the project room being useful
thanks to parents who stayed in the gym late at night
thanks to the build team just for being so awesome and cool (jk)
i'm so happy that the robot is shipped
and without much of a hassle, really :D
it definitely was less stressful than last year

unfortunately, not everything is done yet (=.=)
STUFF TO DO: (please comment if i left stuff out):
1. chairman's, woodie flowers, etc (by thursday?)
2. packing for portland (contact Schnurlee or Julia for packing list)
3. Jimmy needs to make the things that go with the globe motors for the gripper (5x)
4. stuff to bring to portland to show judges (Nandini and I started a box today of our prototypes)
5. do we need another portland meeting or are we good to go?
6. autonomous? is it working okay?
7. Tiffany suggested we make sorbothane templates for the gripper (as in precut sorbothane, metal plates, extra rivets, a functioning riveter...)

okie dokie. I really hope I didn't leave anything out.

Friday, February 15, 2008

to dooooo in the next five days

in no particular order

-get the GTS functional (THOUGHT: the reason abbott and me couldn't get the code working? were we using the shitty gts?)
-kill switch. mount it. somewhere nice.
-e board cover?
-numbers on bumpers
-TV remote/IR board? mount?
-get carpets for gym
-talk to chapman about moving the crate for us
-put bumper holes in chassis
-make the sad speed controller happy

hang in there eat lots of post feb 14 candy and we'll pull through.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


sorry i haven't reported back for a while

so coding's going fairly well. we've gotten a fair amount of testing time for the robot, which is obviously a good thing. we've tweaked the drive code, and, as of tuesday night, we strafe!
the robot does what we want it to do (now.) we drove in confined ideo space and it was fairly easy to control (though i was not the one driving).

i'm really loving the whole two-electronics-boards thing.

hybrid period work has begun. :) is someone donating a tv remote?

we kind of, uh, busted a GTS. emily suggested plugging the gts straight into the distribution block. whoooops. we're hoping it's salvagable.

not sure exactly what build's been doing. there's a spiffy little gripper prototype and jimmy finished his awesome mount thing today.

possibly robot names: benjy, timothy... definitely a boy robot.

bumpers have been painted bright green. do not attempt to spray paint them next year, you will only get a little giggly and dizzy and have ugly bumpers. instead, paint-paint them first. :)

the portland meeting was today, forms and check due friday.


5 days to go, people! hang in there. we'll pull through. i'm excited.

thank you to all our amazing mentors. today, thanks to the ever-helping jimmy, emily, karlin and tiffany. you're all amazing. we thank you thank you thank you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

monday and tuesday


over the weekend we went to look for last years bumpers and we only found one!? yeah. and it was the 28" side, too. grr. wonder where the 2 long ones went? anyway, we salvaged the wood and t-nuts from bumpers from 2 years ago, but we bought new pool noodles b/c the ones from 2 years ago looked TERRIBLE. unfortunately, all the wood was 28" long (no 38" ones...where did they all go?!?) so we're just going to have some places on the robot w/ noodle and no wood. i'm sure it'll be ok. we asked emily and jimmy and both said it was fine, so it'll be all good :D

on monday, i'm not sure what programming did (they went to ideo) but build built 3 spanking new bumpers! YAY! we had fun with the staple gun (safety first!) and the canvas that wraps the bumpers smells really bad. but anyways...we almost made them wrong. NOTE FOR NEXT YEAR: T-NUTS GO ON INSIDE, NOT OUTSIDE!!! (aka the pool noodles go on the side with the t-nut sticking out of the wood)

allie also cut out "1700" out of foamcore today (for our stencil when we spray paint the bumpers!) but since she used an x-acto knife, it looks a bit...well...funky. ahahhaa. so tomorrow we're hoping to lasercam it at ideo! :D


today caroline, nandini, and i went to ideo during lunch for jimmy's "first five minutes". ideo has these lunch meetings every tuesday and jimmy had to present something for his first five minutes so he wanted to show the robot :D. it went well but when nandini was driving it, we realized 2 things were wrong:
1. the robot wouldnt turn/go sideways (it was driving worse than on saturday)
2. the front left wheel (NOT the front right wheel) was turning a lot more than the other wheels (and it was off the ground kind of)
so ummm...yeah. :(
these 2 problems might be related (like the robot won't go sideways b/c one wheel isnt touching the ground) but in any must be fixed! :( waaah.

on a happier note, allie lasercammed 1700 out of this really cool black plastic-y thing (acrylic?). it is SO COOL. so i suspect we will be spray painting our new beautiful bumpers soon.

also, nandini and tiffany were thinking of a gripper design. we were going to prototype it (lasercamming) but the computer in the lasercam room wouldnt import tiffany's DXF designs :( so we couldnt lasercam the gripper parts and we were very sad. emily is going to try to figure out whats going on...

AS OF RIGHT NOW WE ARE 76 POUNDS (w/o battery, w/ tower, electronics board, all 4 wheels, chassis, etc)
so that means we still have 44 pounds left...
(it sounds pretty good but i'm not sure how much the gripper and extra motors will weigh...)
and we got our teflon-coated jackscrew FINALLY today!!! :D

thanks to sallie's dad for bringing dinner today! (annie really really REALLY liked that pizza)

Saturday, February 09, 2008


today was just one of those robotics days

lots of driving, perfecting code, adding code...
anne and nandini would probably have an update on the state of towers/grippers/arms
annie and tobi wired up a spiffy (and organized!) electronics board. thank god, the other one was starting to get a little scary.

we added a brake. well, two, but one is ghetto to fit with our theme and SHOULD NOT be used.
do not press the trigger. it extremely reverses the direction of the motors. if lightly tapped, the point was that it would be an immediate brake.
the one you should actually use is the thumb button, which will set everything to 127.

we also fixed the turning issue

except then doug/karlin decided that since our motors were all strangely wired up we needed to fix that... so equation-writing and brainstorming ensued. i'm not sure if we came up with anything by the end of the day.

bumpers! kind of a neccessity, we've realized... hehehe. so i think people were getting wood cut, etc, for that. hopefully we can acquire some pool noodles asap. bumper party tomorrow?

oh... heheh we managed to SNAP the end off the oi radio. eek. they are apparently extremely flimsy. however, it still somehow works, so yknow, we'll just go with it. and at competitions, we plug into the master system, so it doesn't matter too too much.

is anyone planning a end-of-build party again?

we have succesfully made our mark on ideo. twice.
and fingerblasters are fuuuun. :) we're not sure how ideo people manage to get any work done.

by the way, the robot needs a ghetto name. seeing as it, uh, is extremely extremely ghetto. ideas in the works.

10 days and counting? or maybe it's nine?

we'll get there - if nothing else, we should be able to speedily drive around in circles.

thank you thank you to emily, doug, jimmy, karlin, eric, and tiffany
also to the mukherjees for awesome food

11 at castilleja tomorrow, probably at ideo by 1?

Friday, February 08, 2008

We're Driving!

Click on photo for link to video (see thumbnails at bottom of photo album).

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

long time no blogging...

yay to anne for picking up my blogging slack!
it's been a while. yeah. sorry. hopefully i'm back for good now.

well, with 12 days to go, we're in pretty decentish shape!
we have a chassis with four wheels and four gear boxes (yay for easier chain tensioning!). it sort-of kind-of drives. as in, it drove on saturday with emily's funny button-pushing code.

the code in the debuggingblahblah folder does NOT really work when downloaded. the speed controllers do the blinking dance. BUT we are "in the loop." so maybe the pwms are getting overwritten by some default code crap?
BUT when we downloaded emily's code from saturday, three out of four wheel moved and speed controllers were steady state. we determined that there is one unhappy (and so labeled) speed controller, which prevented the last wheel from moving.

coding's... getting there. we have one file (drivingoffcases.c) that has a buuuunch of functions and our two large case statements. we still need to write the part that talks to the pwms and then the drive_routine function which will bring them all together. also, uh, remember to reference all that in user_routines.c. it doesn't miraculously do that by itself. we'll continue work on that.

oh, our basic plan: the joystick axes will be y for fwd/bwd and x for turning (although i don't know if we can actually turn - we may only be able to spin. hm). and then the aux buttons will let us SLIDE!

build: i think they're getting there on an actual real gripper/tower design? i don't really know details. i heard something about jimmy welding soon, though, so that's definite progress!

yay for doug for getting the bad tether fixed, and the autonomous box (i know ginna was working on that with him in the ee lab today) and working some serious magic on the gts resistors generally being cool like that.
thanks to karlin and jessa for programming awesomeness
and jimmy and emily for always awesomeness
and ginna's family for the awesome sandwiches
i need some awesome sleep...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

4 gearboxes and we need a gripper... :(


well yesterday (monday) we went to ideo and i guess we decided to use 4 gearboxes on the chassis instead of 2 so we can be a crab now. so jimmy and the build team took apart the gearboxes for the 109874023809282th time (jk) and jimmy had to make the other gears in the 2 extra gearboxes skinnier and he had to make new mounts for the gearboxes. (poor jimmy) and i heard doug did something amazing/magical with this year's screwed up GTS (or something electronics-y)

and today jessa and karlin came today to help with programming :D
and build tried to make a prototype of the gripper that had 2 arm things that moved parallel to each other. also, the leadscrew should have arrived today (hopefully we can see it tomorrow when we go to ideo!)

so for tomorrow i think we (as in build) should start on the final arm thing and definitely continue prototyping grippers and stuff. and as for programming...well i don't really know.

thanks to the billimoria family for bringing really yummy food! :D

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


so i got the other code compiling too...
apparently we can't have a 255 x 255 array. because that's hella big.
so now it's 5 by 5. but at least it compiles!

so maybe we should come up with a new idea for drive code? or something without a 64000 value array.

also, we're eating the leftover amazing pizza from il fornaio. yum yum. it was even better yesterday, too.

Monday, January 28, 2008

officially tonight's last post

i lied before, we're meeting at ideo tomorrow.
around 5.


damn, i'm really forgetful tonight

this week's schedule
monday: 4:30-9:00 at IDEO
tuesday: 4:00-7:00 at Castilleja
wednesday: 4:00-9:00, going to IDEO at 5:30
thursday: 4:00-7:00 at Castilleja
Friday: 4:00-7:00 at Castilleja
Saturday&Sunday: 11-5 at Castilleja

oh, and for anyone interested, fomf's this weekend.
i actually do think that's all for tonight.
gnight. get some sleep, yes?

rip scotty

and on saturday, they gutted poor scotty.
so he's brainless and heartless now (but we have his guts ahahahahhaaa)
at least the ramps should still deploy?
he was a good robot. slightly-to-majorly ghetto, but still. a good robot.

monday 1.28


so today, anne, caroline, erin and i went to allan steel (thank you marsha!) and met doug and emily there, where we bought 38 pounds (including some extra) of 6061 aluminum extrusion.

headed over to ideo, where four of the builders set about making sure the mecanum (pr: mecknm? meck-AN-um? meck-uh-nm?) wheels are properly functioning.

jimmy welded us a beyootiful shining chassis! well, actually he was still going strong when (sniff) we all had to leave. but on wednesday, i bet we'll see a gorgeous chassis!
hopefully we can get it up and driving by wednesday night, our next late ideo night.

on the coding side, i know erin and caroline are basically still receiving the same frustrating error message. but i THINK i know what the problem is... the same one i had.
you can't call a .h file in both user_routines.c as well as your functionfile.c. so i solved that problem by taking the #define and really necessary shit and just putting in it filtering.c, and then not calling filtering.h in that .c file. i only called in it .c.
after a good chunk of frustrating debugging, my code finalllllllly compiled! whether it actually does what we want it to, well, i suppose we'll find out? printf's are lovely things.

i believe the new toughbox gearboxes (to take two motors in one, i think?) should be coming in tomorrow night, so a couple builders should head over in the afternoon to get those all set up.

thankkkkk you to doug emily david tiffany and jimmy for all being there tonight.
all in all, a productive night. i'm happy.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


coding today...
me (sherri) tried to take the joystick values and make a filter
erin and caroline tried to actually write drive code

except that debugging is a PAIN.
so basically, that's all
i'm not sure what else to say, really

there's an up and runnign electronics board


January 26, 2008 IDEO

The mecanum wheels are done. Five of us went to IDEO and used the arbor press!!! (My dream has come true) We took the wheels apart in a speed contest which I won with lots of time to spare. We pressed the new bearings into the wheels to get rid of some of the weight of the bearings from the inside of the kit wheels. Nandini and Emily worked with the jack/ lead screw so it now is attached to the van door motor(?) Emily drilled a hole in it on the lathe. (we checked on her every five minutes) Then she threaded it and screwed it onto the motor shaft. There is a platform attached to the lead screw so that someone can put pressure on the lead screw to test the torque of the motor. The platform is also a possible way to attach the lead screw to the arm. The motor still turns with Nandini putting most of her weight on it. This was basically how we spent three hours at IDEO.

Saturday 1.26.08 at Castilleja

So those of us that didnt go to IDEO yesterday worked on the electronics board. David and I set up the electronics board, while the recruits learned to solder and clamp-smush. Once we got the board running, we realized that the motors were not both going forward when the joystick was forward (obviously a problem). So we tested a number of things. the speed-controllers, the motors, the connections. Only to learn today that they were just oriented wrong on the table top. Also, we couldnt figure out why when the motors were going forward, one set of pwm lights was green (full-forward) and one was red (full-backward). Today we figured out that the motors were turning in opposite directions when they were at 90 degree angles from each other because when they were on top of each other they would be turning the same direction. and so finally we had to solve the problem of them starting at different times. Since a motor being backdriven takes more torque to start, one motor was always lagging behind the other. So we are now trying to fix that in our code. now its sunday around 1:00.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


(From ginna)

On wednesday David Anne and I put together the mecanum wheels with the bearings from last year's wheels inside. We measured the width of the bearings and the width of the spacers that were inside of the mecanum wheels and the bearings were 3mm short. To temporarily take care of the change in width we layered tape onto the plastic around the bearings. Since the bearings have two sides of plastic parts that could come loose, we decided to use three of the holes to hold the sides together with screws and bolts. The other three holes were used to hold the complete wheels together. We then noticed that the sprocket must be spaced apart from the wheel so that the chain won't hit the wheels.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

i totally can't believe i forgot about this...

because she was "bored", she lasercammed (sp?) this awesome actuating by a slider claw thing out of foam core. it is SO cool.
we attached it onto the 80-20 elevator. definitely have to have some sort of thing to fold up the claw or at least make it smaller to fit within the 28-38-60 initial box.
it's really really cool. it makes me so happy.


wednesday mentor night!
much thanks to emily, doug, jessa, and david. :)

doug helped us go into more detail about the arrays. how to make 3d arrays, etc. jessa went over what algorithm we currently use to turn the joysticks, and how it's actually incredibly inefficient. only like half of all joystick positions are actually legit.... a bunch of them all mean the same thing. so maybe we can take the "Real" values and stretch them out.

i feel like i understand the theory and concepts of what we want to do to get the thing driving smoother. i just want to start doing it! like the ideas make sense, but i couldnt sit down with a laptop and just type it out.

chassis stuff is started! we have cut lists, and sketches and dimensions. allan steel run monday afternoon? a couple of us will go, be back by 4ish, probably.
defffinitely 1 layer this year. we measured a piece of last year's aluminum and it's 4oz/6in with a 1/8 in wall. that is HEAVY. hopefully for at least part of the bot, we can use thinner stuff. maybe one sixteenth?

david was doing some mecanum wheel stuff. i wasn't doing that, so i dont have details. maybe i can rope anndini/ginna/whoever into posting about that.... there was some sawing and mounting and such things.

i'm really excited to get this stuff up and running. i second the idea that these wheels are "pimpin". they are awesome. coding them is going to be fun.

ideo run tomorrow, around sixish? emily said that jimmy wants to start building next monday. so i guess after we get parts, we'll shimmy on over. :)

thanks to goel family for chaperoning and tasty food.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008



end of story.
coding them tomorrow?


yesterday was a quiet day... just annie, tobi, anne, allie, and me. (plus sallie after seussical practice) on the mentor side, we had karlin and doug.

we set about changing the wheels to the kit wheels, which have a smaller diameter. i'm guessing six inches, but i made that up. anyway... the large excitement for the day

WE GOT THE PROTOTYPE DRIVING WITH OUR DRIVE CODE! okay, fine it's scotty's code. so it's not exactly the most stable. especially since the back? front? (i'm confused by the direction of the thing) wheels aren't connected. there is much tippage.
it's a step, though. a big step.
(finding the bearings was also cause for much excitement. i didnt know they were missing.)

as they posted, tobi and annie made a better protoype of the threeprong with one actuating.
we need to be prototyping a threeprong with TWO actuating.

no one really seems to know/want to create chassis sketches. i have no idea what that entails, really, but i feel like we should at least be seriously, logically considering what we'll be needing. only 28 days, people!

karlin did some analysis of the drive code from last year on her laptop.
and after much struggle, we FINALLY found last years code, logically enough, on emily, in a folder entitled "backup code 2007". what shock!

that's about all, really.
i've been pushign this for a while. let's integrate the different components. attach the claw to the elevator to the chassis! at least see how it all will or wont fit together.

Monday, January 21, 2008

3-prong Prototype

Tobi and I made a 3-prong arm prototype out of PVC pipe, where the bottom two are passive and the top arm moves to hold the ball in. It is basically just an updated and more carefully measured version of the previous one whose joint was held together with duct tape. Unfortunately, we didn't measure the width between the two passive prongs, and it is 32", not 28", but hopefully that won't be too hard to fix. From front to back, it is 41", and at it's tallest, it is about 50".

Sunday, January 20, 2008

further updates...

okay so saturday we:
-talked a lot about jackscrews (TEFLON coated ones ;D) and how they are an effective elevator
-messed around on solidworks with the "second-degree lever"/"3 bar linkage" concept (i have no idea what to call it)
-prototyped that concept in foam core
-learned some math/physics from tiffany and david
-went through 2006 drive code, messed around to see what the exact calculations and graphs looked like with karlin
-finished those pesky gearboxes annnnnd.... the prototype up and running! (ish. it was only the gut strange whatever code that FIRST already has for us. BUT wheels turned when we messed around with the joysticks! so exciting.)

we attempted to find last years drive code (Failed. where IS it?!) and learned about programming basics from doug. jessa was going into some physics/mathy stuff with build, i know.

we also stepped up the prototyping level: the whatever-you-want-to-call-it (hopefully we'll have pics/video on picasa soon! it's really really cool.) is now prototyped in 80-20.

i'm not going to lie, i'm slighly worried about size constraints. has anyone figured out what our robot's full span is going to be? where is this arm mounted? the length of just the chassis will be approx. 40 inches. then we add the arm. then the claw... even while still prototyping, i think we need to integrate the systems. crappily, maybe, but just get an arm ON the chassis, and see how things work when we put them together. what the big picture looks like.

the sooner we get drive code (even if we just copy old drive code from previous years) on the prototype, the sooner we can practice driving. which is superduper important for this year's challenge.

in hindsight, i really wish we had taken the effort in the offseason to properly learn solidworks. visualizing everything together is great, but we rely on emily for that. which is okay, but wouldn't it be nice if we could just do it ourselves?

a huge THANK YOU to mentors and parents for their support. emily, eric, karlin, david, tiffany, doug, jimmy, jessa... thanks.
thank you anne's family for the yummy pears, divya's for the snack food, and the jasuja's for the awesome aloo mutter and rice. yum yum. :) we eat well.

a short update

we have made some good progress over the past few days. Yesterday was especially productive. we succeeded in finishing the assembly of the gearboxes and mounted them on the robot. then, we thought about another lift design and did some math to determine if we had a motor that was strong enough to power it (I don't think that we actually ended up finding out how much power we need, but we will do that soon). today we tried to download last year's code onto the prototype chassis (unsuccessfully) and will hopefully work on the drive code with jessa later. that's all for now

Thursday, January 17, 2008

thursday. 33 days.

if we're judging strictly by physical progress, today was not a productive day (although i dont actually know what's going on with that chassis). general design and administrative stuff is going well though.

i know that those gear boxes and transmission stuff has been keeping build/anndini/allie/crystal very busy. "the shuttle" of me, anne, and allie had to leave by 7:15 to get anne on that train, so i have no clue whether more progress was made on the chassis, or if we could drive by the end of the evening.

driving that prototype chassis has been our nightly goal basically this entire week. i'm really seriously hoping that it WILL happen tomorrow. i know electronics needs to basically feed the brain (remembering that we are using an OLD RC and accomodating for its withered brains) in order to get it actually functioning.

i'm really wanting to mess around with drive code this weekend (can't be at LEAST get scotty up and running? is his poor chain that badly off?) and see whether the window filtering, etc that we learnt about wednesday actually sunk into our brains. it sounds like it would smooth out so many of those problems from last year.

after multiple pro-con lists and design meetings and prototypes, i think we're 90% sure we want to go for a threeprong claw on some sort of lift. how to actually make this feasible while fitting within the topless 80in cylinder AND not tipping over because of our center of gravity? i have no idea. jesse and karlin were chatting about that with us.

reasons for eliminating other ideas: windmill idea, while incredibly cool is HUGE, fairly complex and would require a lot of torque and precision. a lot of people were really committed to hurdling, so a three prong without a lift would not allow that. with a lift, if it fails, hopefully the claw will be functional and we can just be a low, speedy bot.

the three prong claw has a, uh, rather ghetto prototype made out of pvc (hello, i love you) and duct tape.

(lack-of-an)update on the mecanum wheels: they have not been shipped yet, so really, i have no clue when they'll be arriving. there were no shipping.

generally, that was the gist of things.
maybe i can blackmail anne/crystal/nandini/someone into posting about the nuts and bolts (literally, i suppose) of the chassis progress.

shouldn't we start making BoMs and dimensions and ordering (after getting jimmy's permission, of course ;P) parts and stuff for the chassis, if not the robot in general? that way, when we finally actually want to build something we'll be able to? i dont know what protocol for this is.

anyway. those are my random thoughts of the night.
see all tomorrow!

again, weekend hours of 11-5. 4-7:30ish tmrw.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wanna know what us mentors are thinking?

Read our blog:

And definitely check out photos on Picasa . . .

t-34 days left!

today was a long, but definitely productive day.

first off, thank you to jessa, emily, doug, and david to devoting their evening and energy.
also, thanks to david for the masssssive box of cookies!

caroline and i first took an... entertaining run to ACE for pvc joints. we now have a rewards card, on the bulletin board in the project room. please do actually use them.
anyway, the joints. we wants to pvc the three-prong claw idea. we'll work on it more tomorrow, but currently, we're limited because the angles of the joints are not exact. also, we really dont know what we would want the angles to be. (or i don't.)
we did some math to figure out what some distances would have to be.

over dinner, emily showed up spiffy solidworks designs of potential arms. wow.
looked at some four-bar linkage stuff, which looks really cool. we still have so many ideas floating around, i think it's definitely time to just sit down and commit to one idea, while still tinkering with a simpler backup. thoughts? our general strategy is so up in the air right now

chassis stuff is getting there, though. i know david was helping anndini & allie with some of that after dinner. mecanum wheels HAVE been ordered. when they'll get here, who knows?
we apparently have some conflicting information about whether you can use skid steer on mecanum wheels. if we can, i think that's definitely something to explore.

in the meantime, doug and emily gave us some awesome programming information about window filtering, and arrays, and global variables, switch debounching, and other cool stuff for having a smoother drivetrain and also just general information. wow. we definitely took the simple way out last year. i don't even know how poor scotty drives.
if we can get the chain on scotty functional, or the prototype chassis up and running, it would definitely be good to start messing with code.
thank you to sallie and ginna for staying through the potentially intimidating programming lecture. definitely ask questions when you're confused.
there are pictures of the notes on picasa.

i feel like i'm missing something critical that we talked about... hmph.

basically the moral of the story is that today was really really productive. it would be more productive if we knew what we wanted our end result to either look like or do. either one. design or general strategy.

things to decide:
-basic direction of chassis. "Fat" vs. narrow
-are we even hurdling to begin with?
-mecanum wheels
--if yes, skid steer or actually sliding!?!
-if we are hurdling, what's the arm/elevator/lift/gripper/whatever? windmill? fourbar?
--how can we get a prototype of a fourbarlinkage going? the solidworks gave us a good idea of roughly how it'll work, but actual details would be good.
-basically everything.

hopefully over this weekend we'll be able to get a lot accomplished. we'll get there. we're getting there.

Monday, January 14, 2008

apparently i didnt post this earlier because mourad was concerned still
well, okay, emily found the missing sensors. but nevertheless, they are FOUND!

if only we knew where the goddamn lugs were!

what does em stand for?

...why, extraordinary mentor, of course!

basically, she is amazing. amazingly organized too. when we got to school today, and peeked in the project room.... WOW. i don't even know how to describe it. i have never ever seen it that clean or organized. we know that this shouldn't be a good thing, technically, because, uh, we should be organized. we're not. and thank you thank you thank you! chairs were pushed in. frankly, that just scared us a little. (we did actually mess the chairs up... too much creepy precision)

on a totally different note, can someone with admin priveleges already bump me up to admin too for the build blog (which i'm going to almost solely blog on starting now)

today was one of the few days off. i hope people enjoyed it... i got home at 3:30. wow. thanks to anne and crystal for walking over to ideo. i know they were hoping to get some gear box stuff going.

this week in terms of scheduling:
meeting mon-fri from roughly 4-7:30 (although we may or may not go later depending on mentors and goals for that night.) i know my family's chaperoning and food-ing tuesday and wednesday. let's fill in the schedule on the project room door. if people are good about writing stuff in, its a really useful tool.

mourad (we really need a nickname. dora? raddy? ratty? dorey? mo-rad? suggestions welcome) anyway the point is that she told me she has ordered our mecanum wheels from andymark. i'm totally excited to play around with those and learn how they work!

get ready for a spiffy 37 days left! i'm pumped.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

first week

39 days left!

i've been rather remiss in the blogging for the past couple days.

basically, there's a new design in the works. multiple, actually. i know emily/annie were definitely getting some action with the pvc pipe today. an overpass HAS been constructed. i'm not entirely sure whether it's precise proportions but it looks amaaaaazing. another idea is the three-prong one we've been working with for awhile.

also, are we really going to have an arm? we've all agreed that drive train and strong chassis is definitely the priority. but do we attempt an actuating arm as well?
and for that drive train... mecanum wheels will hopefully be ordered asap, mourad's been given the order. jimmy mentioned that you don't need to program them to slide? you can just use the same old drive code like for anything else? with skid steer? we'll obviously have to check that out.

there are a lot of ideas out there, and while we're beginning to experiment and start doing more serious prototyping, all the leads definitely want a small, focused design meeting with mentors. that's what saturday was planned to be, but it ended up being more general, which is okay. except that as such a young team, we definitely want your opinions and input as well as advice on how to proceed once we finally have a (temporarily) set design we want to aim for.

once again, are we "going fat"? decisions really need to start getting made, but i know we dont want to make those decisions without consulting the mentors as a group rather than individually, where we get conflicting opinions.

oh i just had a random thought: i think that maybe we should just combine the two blog and maybe tag the posts "programming" or "build"? because at least for now, i'm just posting the same thing in two places. and hopefully people are reading both. thoughts? comments?

all the newbies who were around on saturday HAVE been shoptrained (and got to make blocks. grrrr. ) jessa ran a programming 101 workshop, which was definitely useful. so now hopefully sallie, neli, and divya (somewhat) get programming. yay! that's wayyyy farther than programming was last year. i think at the end of the first week, we'd just received "C for dummies" and thought it was a godsend. :)

a temporary electronics board (complete with a battery mount, attached and all!) has been put on the prototype kit chassis. there are also wheels on there. now if only there can be motors. that will happen soon, i believe.

i'm sure there are more things that have happened. actually, i knowww there are more things that have happened. blanking out.

oh! does anyone remember where i put the lugs for the battey leads?! i distinctly remember being like "let's not forget where i'm putting these!" but we've completely forgotten. we need to find those.

thank you (Again!) to doug for providing us with retail therapy. thank you for all the mentors for your commitment and energy and enthusiasm and time. we appreciate it so much.

i'll post random thoughts as they come to me. this is all i have for now.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

monday and tuesday

i think for now the same postings will go on both blogs... we're not really doing anything separately

sorry for no post yesterday, and today will have to be quick

summary version: we have a basic arm idea. maybe i can get a picture in here somehow?
trying to finalize motors/potentiometers and how to mount, etc.
drive train: 6 wheels? or 4? definitely steering the front two. any input on how cars works would be greatly appreciated.

there has been some math-doing. :) but i assume there is more to come.

thank you thank you to karlin and tiffany for coming

and i believe there are cart designs in the works

a question: are we ACTUALLY going to use sketchup/solidworks? i think we should... if we know how.

we should start making BoMs and weight lists
that's all

Sunday, January 06, 2008

we've kicked off!


the 2008 season has begun! build and programming are working together on the design process, so i've posted this to both blogs.

caroline, me, allie, and nandini headed down at the crack of dawn (literally...) saturday to recieve the challenge from sj state. this year's challenge, first overdrive, is different from any other challenge. effectively, it's a racetrack with oversized inflatable balls. these are the game pieces. it's really hard to describe - search for first overdrive 08 on youtube and you should find something. i think this should link to it:

we had a great turnout for brainstorming session at school saturday. many mentors came, and thank you for that. we broke into groups and came up with many rough ideas.

then, today, with a smaller turnout (allie, caroline, anndini, annie c, sallie, crystal, mari, neli, me...) we presented our design ideas and began to PROTOTYPE! the two main arm concepts at this point are the shoulder-elbow-wrist extendable design, as recommended by jimmy and a forklift. very rough prototyping with 80/20 ensued. allie and i also put together the kit chassis as a prototype.

things to think about:
what is going to grip that thing? the ball is huge, and fairly slippery.
what is our overall strategy? i know we're hoping to go over rather than under the overpass, but are we going to place it on top at the end?
what's our priority?
we've been discussing many different concepts for a drive train. obviously, scotty's will not work. we can't almost tip over every time we turn...

-mecanum wheels. like jester drive (is it possible to buy them? how difficult is the programming?)
-omni wheels (again. expensive. no experience with them)
-omni wheel/traction wheel combo. we saw a lot of this in atlanta
-power steering two smaller front wheel
-combination of casters and driven wheels
-anything i've forgotten

this is something we'll have to continue to think about.

oh, there's a schedule of deadlines on the project room whiteboard. that will come soon. we deffffinitely need to be testing far earlier this year, and spend less time on prototyping. i know we're hoping to have parents help out to build an overpass, and we want to make good use of that.

uh, also, can we get that leak in the closet taken care of? makes me nervous.

a HUGE THANK YOU to doug for generally being an amazing source of information as well as providing the books and tools necessary. those hex screwdrivers will make everything so much easier. :D
also thanks to karlin for coming in to help us talk through concepts, and marsha abbott for chaperoning and yummy dips for the pita, as well as the costco run.

get ready for season! i'm excited. hopefully you are too. :)