Welcome to the meet 3 and meet 4 newsletter! Due to limited changes and a
short time span between the two meets, we decided it'd be best to combine the meet 3 and meet 4
newsletter. Even with the combination, this newsletter is still fairly brief. The meet 5 newsletter,
however, will feature a full robot redesign so be sure to stay tuned for that!
Meet 3 & 4 Robot Recap
These last two meets have been very different for us in terms of robot
development than we've dealt with previously. Instead of redesigning everything as we did for the
first two meets, we instead worked on optimizing the pre-existing design to maximize performance and
reliability. While that doesn't make the changes to the robot itself overly exciting, the
performance gains we saw with more driver practice and minor design changes were huge! We finished
meet 4 with a high score of 227 and an average of 192. This average shows more reliability than
we've ever had before and we plan for that consistency to stay as we alter the robot in the future.
These minimal design changes were made with the intent of understanding the most consistent way to
accomplish each task before the meet 5 redesign.
The Intake had the most visually striking change between meet 3 and 4. We
reduced the number of poly belts down to 1 and added a bar to the front to allow us to intake stacks
of rings. In addition to those two changes, we geared the bottom roller to mitigate some of the
jamming issues we had previously (watch the video below for more details). While this made the
intake perform better, it is still fairly unreliable in performing at its best and is the primary
focus around the impending meet 5 redesign.
The wobble mechanism was redesigned twice between meet 3 and 4 to ensure
reliability. The meet 2 design had serious consistency and usability issues that caused us to ditch
it entirely. We then moved to the meet 3 design which was mounted on the back of the robot but had
to be powered by a motor because it kept burning out servos. The issue with this was that we
couldn't set it to a consistent position making it incredibly difficult to use leading to the
current meet 4 design. The meet 4 design uses two servos (as pictured) which allows us to set a
precise position for the wobble mechanism making it much easier to use. While this does work
consistently, the mechanism is fairly unstable and requires a lot of maintenance meaning it will
also be redesigned for meet 5.
The Transfer has changed the least since meet 2. Although it's had some
reliability issues, it's been performing at the level we needed so we never changed it. For meet 5,
it will be seeing a pretty drastic redesign to increase both the speed and the reliability as we
push for higher scores in future meets. First, we are switching the string on the linear slide to a
belt in order to speed up the slides and eliminate the chances of the string coming off or breaking
as it has in the past. This is extremely important as, without the transfer, we are incapable of
shooting rings. Second, we are switching from the flicker that pushes the rings into the shooter to
a linear push mechanism to increase the speed in which we can shoot 3 rings back to back. By pushing
into the shooter at a higher velocity, we don't have to wait as long for the wheels to spin back up
between each shot motivating us to switch to this faster linear mechanism.
Our shooter has been the most consistent module on the robot all season and
it continued to perform that way throughout meet 3 and 4. The only major changes made were to the
angle of the shooter and the guide to allow us to shoot more consistently from closer to the goal.
In the match videos, you'll notice we shoot from the white line on the field rather than further
back as we have previously which saves us a lot of time throughout a match. For meet
5, we are redesigning the shooter to only have one wheel instead of two. We've discovered that using
two wheels doesn't present any advantages and it puts more stress on the motors because there are
two wheels instead of one. In search of more speed as mentioned before, we believe it will allow for
less of a pause between shots due to more motor power on the one wheel instead of distributed across
two. The fundamentals of the shooter, however, are staying the same and it will visually appear
similar to the original.
That's all for meet 3 and 4 when it comes to robot! The changes made were
simple and added performance. We've learned a lot along the way about how we can optimize
something without having to redesign it. This design practice will continue to improve throughout
the rest of the season and should help us make our designs perform better while using fewer
resources. To the left is a video we made summarizing all the meet 4 changes for both the robot and
the autonomous program. If you want a more detailed look into the design changes I described, feel
free to take a look!
Here is the best match from the last two meets where we scored 227 points!
This was a 100 point gain from meet 2 and we are very happy with how reliable the robot has become
with scoring this high as well. If there's anything mentioned above or in the video that you have
questions about we recommend reading our previous newsletters and if you have any further questions
feel free to contact us!
We kept this newsletter shorter and more concise than the previous due to feedback preferring less
specific hardware details. If there's anything you'd like to hear about in more detail, be sure to
reach out to us and we'd be more than happy to discuss it with you. As far as outreach is concerned,
the same efforts are still going with the SendCutSend videos being published in the next month and
FIRST Flight Crew, our mentor discussion/interview videos, being off the ground hopefully in the
next month as well. We also have a couple of live streams coming up with other teams so be sure to
be on the lookout for those!
Here is the full summary:
Full meet 5 robot redesign
Intake - worked well in past meets but has room for improvement in terms of speed and
consistency in performance
Wobble Goal - being redesigned for better implementation and ease of use for our drivers
Shooter - new design using a single wheel to decrease the amount of time between shots
Transfer - belt drive linear slides for increased speed and reliability in addition to a
linear push mechanism to push rings into the shooter at a higher velocity
We officially have a freshman drive team that is practicing in spare meeting time in
preparation for next year
Outreach projects are on track to be done in the near future and we are looking for more in
We are looking for new members! If you know any students 7th grade and up who would be a
good candidate for the team and live locally, be sure to let us know!
As always, thank you to our sponsors, family, friends, and mentors for your support and we are
excited for improvement as we approach the more daunting part of the season. Without your support,
none of the development we've made would be possible. Stay tuned!