According to the FRC rules, by February 20th, at 11:59, "all rookie and veteran teams must stop working on their robot and bag and tag their robot for the 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition Season." This means that, as the six-week build sprint came to a close, the team had to work long hours to put the finishing touches on their robot before it was bagged and tagged.
In the week leading up to the deadline, fueled with Mountain Dew and pizza, team members worked out some final kinks like creating chain guards, making sure the bumpers fit, testing software, ramps, limit switches, and many other components.
Despite the exhausting effort of meeting the Bag Day deadline, the team did not have long to celebrate before they were back to work. The rules of FRC state that thirty pounds of the robot can remain out of the bag once sealed. This meant that they could keep things like the grabber out for further perfection.
Additionally, grants from generous sponsors enabled the team to do something they'd never done before--build a second robot after Bag Day. While it can't and won't be used for competition, the build of this second machine will give newer members of the team a chance to work on things like electronics, precision machining, and pneumatics. Those with more experience got a chance to demonstrate mastery by mentoring their newer teammates during this build.
Inevitably, one of the last groups to have access to the robot during build season is the Software group. The build of a second robot enabled Programmers valuable time to test their code. They debugged the artificial intelligence used in autonomous mode, where the team hopes to claim the on-field switch by placing cubes upon it. The Drive-Strategy team used this second robot to get familiar with the handling of the robot, and perfect their driving skills.
Not only is this second robot great for honing the skills of the team. The robot will also be used for community demonstrations and fundraising. While previous years' robots would see their parts sometimes loaned out to their younger successors, this year's clone will be left in-tact, and deployable on a moment's notice.
Prior to putting this year's robot under lock and key for "Bag Day" (also know as "Stop Build Day"), the team and their creation jumped onto a bus to La Crosse for testing on an actual competition course. Here are some highlights:
Day 1 - Hardware and Software subteams both worked on the robot, and after some tweaking, many of the kinks associated with a fast-paced build season were straightened out.
Day 2 - More minor kinks were worked out. More testing was done. Drive/Strategy group got a chance to launch the robot on the practice field and do some live testing, such as climbing, lifting, and grabbing of game objects. During this day, the team also learned how to assemble the bumpers, a feature required for all robots to compete.
Team members participated in practice matches against other robots, and proved their ability to successfully gain points in all categories. The robot was able to control a total of four power cubes, which will put the team at an advantage in obtaining their "levitation" points, and allow them to assist their robot alliance with levitation should the need arise.
After this practice run, the team is confident in this year's robot, and anxiously looking forward to upcoming competitiions!
In an effort to support awareness of the important issue of teen mental health, Team 2530 has crafted the “InconceivaBOW” to distribute to FIRST Robotics teams at regional competitions. Lime green is the ribbon color for mental health awareness
According to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, (NAMI), approximately one in five teens are dealing with mental health issues. Team 2530 hopes that wearing the InconceivaBOWS will promote awareness of mental health issues and serve as a show of support for teens who are currently facing these challenges. For more information on teen mental health, please visit www.nami.org.
The task of building a robot in six weeks is not an easy one. Many things to into this process, including finance, strategy, design, and execution. "Bag Day", when the primary components of the robot must go under lock and key per competition rules, is just three short weeks away.
In order to meet deadlines, subgroups of students work in parallel on interdependent projects, each of which plays a crucial role in the fate of this year's robot. We're just a little more than two weeks into build season, and the team has already made some great progress.
Hardware group has been working on the power cube manipulator claw and strategizing creative means of levitation. They've also been busy designing the bumpers, robot chassis, and drive train. Very soon, these items will hit the fabrication floor, and our robot will begin to take shape.
The Electronics group has been working a new propulsion strategy this year, "CAN" motor controllers. The 2018 robot will also use pneumatics, so the group has been busy wiring up the circuitry that makes moving the robot through compressed air possible.
Software team is busy transforming the code from last year's robot work with the 2018 National Instruments and WPI libraries. This "refactored" code and last year's robot body will be used to test alternate team strategies pertaining to alliance robots. Software remains involved in game strategy as well, measuring the distance between field objects and translating that data into code. This group must also remain in lockstep with the Hardware team, and write their code to work with the "CAN" motor controllers.
Business team continues to work on keeping the team funded, including scheduling fundraising opportunities and coordinating finances. They're also tasked with submitting essays for the Chairman's Award, which is presented annually to the team that best embodies FIRST values, and Woodie Flowers Award, which goes to an oustanding mentor each year.
Based on the determination the team has shown so far, this year's robot will be one to keep an eye on in competitions. Congratulations on a great start to the season Team 2530, and keep up the great work!
With the game objectives and materials officially announced, Team 2530 excitedly begins build season. The initial build kits were distributed today at Kellogg Middle School. Teams from around the area came to view a simulcast of the game reveal from FRC headquarters, receive their starter kits, inspect mock field objects, and network with their peers.
We'll work frantically for the next six weeks to design, build, and test this year's robot before it goes under lock and key. Parallel to these efforts, the team will be fundraising to help with resources necessary for operations. Check back here for regular updates on progress toward what we hope (know) will be an award-winning robot.
For a complete list of this year's rules and regulations, check out the Game Season Manual and Materials page on the FRC official website.