Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Initiating Competition Stance

The state competition is this Saturday, and we've made quite a bit of progress. When we were putting the finishing touches on the robot we realized that it was too long to fit in the 18x18 inch standard for all the robots and finally met the standard for our robot. Mr. Halley built an 18x18 inch box for it to fit in in order to fit the standard, and that definitely helped us reach our goal. We had to refashion the handle that latches onto the top bar of the mountain to make the length of the robot shorter.

We also completed the scoring mechanism after quite a bit of work, and lessened the amount of surgical tubing in it so that the servo that controls it wouldn't be under so much pressure. We gave it a test run, and it worked pretty well, so we decided to try and attach it to the robot itself. We connected it to the extending arm, and we extended it out, and it seemed to work great, despite making the robot a little top-heavy. So, yay! We finally finished it.

Finally, we just tested the robot to see if the plow would work well, and that, too, also seems to work nicely. No more debris will get under the wheels of our robot. :) So, in the remaining days that we have, we're going to pack and ready ourselves for the state competition, and hope that we do well.

Until then, wish us luck!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Some Sad News

I don't know if you know, but there was a snow storm last week, and there were a lot of states that got a lot of snow. Unfortunately, the fears over that snow led to the 2nd Qualifier being canceled. So, we didn't end up going to the competition, or the Friday night meeting right before it, either.

But, this did give us a bit of a breather so that we could continue working on the robot and improving the design. The Qualifier did get rescheduled to this Saturday, but only two team members and one coach could go that day, so we decided against going. And, the State competition would be the following Saturday too, so there really wasn't much reason for going anyway, seeing as a competition right after a competition would be a bit stressful.

The Thursday of last week is when we had another outreach event. Another family science night, to be exact, in which we traveled to Manning Oaks Elementary school and explained what FTC was, and what FIRST did, and how to get involved. The kids really enjoyed the robots and how to drive them, and even the adults were intrigued and having fun. They really wanted to know how to start or find a team, which is really good news to us.

Maybe there will be more FLL teams than ever next season.

But anyway, the news is that we have six more meetings (including the meeting that we're at today) until the State competition, and we have to finish our scoring mechanism, make sure that the new and improved robot fits perfectly inside of the 18" x 18" inch invisible box that represents our size boundaries, attach our plow that will save our wheels from the debris, and make sure we can hang in the amount of time given to us in the end game.

I think that things are cruising very nicely, and that we will be able to complete most of our list, if not everything, that we need to do. We are on track for success, and hopefully the judges at the State competition will see that!

I think that we are slowly contracting Too-Much-Time-On-Our-Hands syndrome, too...

They may need to make a cure for that.

Friday, January 15, 2016

2nd Qualifier Incoming!

The second qualifier of the season is next Saturday, and we are trying our best to be ready. Even though we've already advanced, we still want to take advantage of the opportunity of experiencing another competition.

Since the first qualifier, we've made some changes to the robot that have improved the quality of our runs. In order to make our hanging process faster, we found that there was something in the code that we had to change in order to increase the speed of the motors. It hangs like light speed now, so we'll have more time to do things like the All-Clear. On Wednesday, we were testing the robot and the speed it took to hang, and I think we went a little too fast so the string that held us up to hang completely snapped.

We learned a little lesson there. It's not the first time we've fallen, though. I guess we just can't get too excited when hanging.

We also worked on our scoring mechanism a lot more, but it still isn't done. We were having trouble making a sufficient design for it, but we finally settled on a somewhat simplistic design and began to add to it. One of the problems about the box was that we had to make the arms higher so that the not only the squares, but also the balls could get into the mechanism. The attachment is almost done, we just need to make a few changes that will allow us to hook it into the middle of the robot, so as to actually collect the debris in front of us when we drive.
Our scoring mechanism (: (part of it)

We're going to another family science night next Thursday, so we'll have some last minute outreach cramming, too.

We got some good news from Quintin, though. There was an Apple Internship Camp that FRC and FTC team members could apply for, and Quintin was in the top 75 people to get accepted.

Big news. :D

Anyway, not much is happening at the moment, but we are trying our best to be prepared for the next qualifier, even though we wish we had just a little more time than we already did.