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1/14/2024 - Prototyping Starts!

One of our concepts for a mechanism to score a note in the trap
The base superstructure assembly for our arm mechanism

For our team's note acquisition/shooter mechanism, we took inspiration from the design of the Unqualified Quokkas Ri3D team. We worked in CAD on our version of this design, keeping some elements similar while making some modifications of our own. We also figured out some 2D geometries/measurements relating to robot interaction with source and trap. Also, we worked on assembling prototype of mechanism (base assembly of the prototype is mainly completed with the exception of belts and chains.

1/16/2024 - CAD and Prototyping is now in full swing!

Today, we tested out a diffuse reflection sensor for sensing game pieces, continued evaluation geometries for scoring positions in CAD (specifically those relating to placement of game pieces in the amp and trap and acquisition from source) and analyzed potential scoring angles, and started CAD design for worm drive brake actuation. We also continued assembly of our prototype mechanism (added belts and motors to prototype).

1/17/2024 - Revision of Prototype design

Our current arm design

To make our prototype design grippier, we replaced all red compliance wheel axles on prototype with both red and green compliance wheels to make them grippier. We also worked on a CAD design for a new mechanism attachment intended to score notes into the trap. This mechanism consists of a claw that is intended to hold the note and place it directly into the trap. We coordinated with our Hang subteam to determine an distance above the ground that was possible for our current hang design and also ideal for the claw design we have.

1/18/2024 - CAD Design continues for our arm

We continued work on our physical prototype of our intake/shooter mechanism (mechanical assembly is mainly complete, we are adding belts, motors, and wiring). Also, we did more work in CAD on ideas to attach our intake/shooter assembly to our drivebase, our current idea is an arm, we currently have created the superstructure for this assembly in CAD. It currently consists of two angle braces and two vertical braces, the vertical braces are mounted to our drivebase with mounting plates and is where the pivot point for our arm is located, and the angle braces offer additional support for the superstructure.

1/20/2024 - Testing the Prototype!

We tested our prototype intake/shooter mechanism by intaking a note, outtaking it, and shooting it. It was successful! We are considering changing the gearbox on the transmission for the motor that drives our intake and outtake to get more power for intaking and outtaking notes. We also continued design of our arm to attach our arm to our robot. A design is in the works, and we are working on finalizing it so we can prototype the arm for more accurate testing of our intake/shooter mechanism in relation to the robot. We also worked on a design for a worm gear brake for our arm and worked further on placement of our designs within the CAD for our robot. We built a mockup of the arm and put it on the Kitbot drivebase. We also attached the intake/shooter to it.

1/21/2024 - It's All Coming Together In CAD!

Our current version of our shooter, intake, and arm mechanisms, and we have decided to call the assembly of these mechanisms "The Shamptake"

Today we continued testing of our prototype intake/shooter mechanism with different angles and speeds and their success in relation to making it into the speaker, testing the prototype mounted onto a frame for reference. Once we finish our design for our arm, we can continue prototyping to gain more accurate representations of how our mechanism will act with us using our revised version of the arm. In CAD, we've started to put our intake/shooter assembly and arm assembly into one assembly connecting the two. We iterated on the lengths of our arm to find a length that would keep us within the 12in. maximum extension from frame perimeter limit, while also allowing us to still be able to score into the amp. 

1/23/2024 - Our Arm Gets Re-Revised

After discussing with our other build season subteams, we decided there was a need to modify our arm for increased accessibility for maintenance. The base design of our arm is mainly finalized, as our full mechanism including the arm and intake/shooter mechanism includes 5 motors as of today: 2 NEOs to drive our shooter, one NEO 550 for our intake, one NEO for our arm movement, and a NEO 550 for our arm brake. Our subteam is working to finalize the sensors we need to use for our mechanism, and we are currently using a reflection sensor for detecting when a note enters our intake and an absolute encoder for the arm position. We also worked on finalizing our mechanism CAD so we can put it into a final robot CAD and prepare for the start of fabricating parts.

1/24/2024 - Introducing Our Brake Mechanism

We worked on designs to control our arm movement, deciding on a brake mechanism that is driven by a worm gear box and involves bicycle brake calipers to stop the rotation of a brake disc on the axle that pivots our arm, stopping our arm movement. We are coordinating with our team's hang and electrical subteams to determine the best location for this worm gear box. Our subteam also discussed ways to make the arm more accessible for maintenance, specifically access to motors and being able to easily replace belts, as our current mechanism requires the axles the pulleys are on to be taken out so we can remove the pulleys the faulty belt is on, which is unfavorable as it requires removing two axles from one side of our arm mounting, and as such is not as easy to accomplish as possible. We also had talked about modifying the location

Our updated arm superstructure, including two angle braces, two vertical braces, and two mounting plates on each side

of our transmission that drives our pivot axles so that they can be more easily accessed, and discussed potentially modifying the plates that mount our arm to our drivebase frame to give the arm more support.

1/25/2024 - Supporting "The Shamptake"

As we continue work on our acquisition and launching mechanism, which we have decided to call "The Shamptake", due to its multi-purpose design allowing it to shoot notes, score them in the amp, and intake/outtake them. We also created new mounting plates to strengthen the support of our arm superstructure that mounts our arm to our robot's drivebase, and modified the angled arm braces in our superstructure so they are smaller and have holes to mount the plates connecting the vertical braces to the angle braces. 

1/27/2024 - On the Grind

Today was a busy day for us as we continued to work on our CAD for our mechanism, so we can finalize it and start fabricating parts. We edited some of the plates that mount our arm to our robot’s drivebase, finalized a representation of the brake mechanism we designed for our arm movement, and created new parts so we could mount the transmission that controls our arm’s movement to our vertical support braces. We also worked closely with our team’s hang subteam to ensure that any changes made would not affect their design, especially

Our arm with our brake system and lightening holes

as we moved into the more major design modifications during the day. Overall, we are nearly there with our CAD and our goal is to begin fabrication as soon as possible.

1/28/2024 - We're Almost There!

As we continue our mechanism CAD, we worked on adding some final touches to our CAD, assigning weights to our parts so we can gain a weight estimate of our overall mechanism, adding a hardstop to our arm, and adding lightening holes to our arm (pictured right). We also created new triangle brackets to mount our hardstop and to fit our modified arm cross beams, as we modified them to make them smaller and fit in-between our main arm tubes to decrease weight, and are pretty much done with our brake mechanism, as we worked on making some modifications and created a part so we could mount our brake. We also determined how much of certain materials we need based on measurements from our CAD, like certain lengths of different tubes we used in our arm assembly. We're almost done with the CAD for our Shamptake and our arm mechanism, and are preparing for fabrication of parts for our mechanisms!

1/30/2024 - More CAD!

Today we revised our brake mechanism to make sure that we could actually make it in our shop and we dove further into production of shop drawings for our mechanism's parts. We're not quite done with our mechanism CAD yet, but we're getting closer every day and only have a few minor modifications left until we can declare our CAD finished and shift to fabrication of parts. We are also making steady progress in producing and revising a prototype of our Shamptake.


The current location of our worm drive gearbox on our robot

Today was a busy day for us as we worked more on CAD and our shop drawings. We're right on the brink of finishing our CAD, working out some final details with our mechanism CAD. We have also begun fabrication of our parts today, creating multiple shop drawings so we can get fabrication underway easier. Also, we discussed & decided on the placement of the worm drive gearbox for our brake, settling on a location where it would fit best as we have a mostly finished full robot CAD to base further design modifications off of. We also looked through our entire mechanism to check for what outstanding parts we need to get to build our mechanism, like belts and gears, and have begun setting aside stock and other parts to be used in assembly. We're looking forward to being able to finalize our CAD relatively soon and are excited for fabrication and assembly!

2/4/2024 - Fantastic Fabrication

Today we got down to work on fabrication, focusing our fabrication efforts towards the creation of our arm support superstructure, and were able to complete majority of the parts that connect to our robot's drivebase. At our next meeting, we plan to continue fabrication, and start on the manufacture of our main arm tubes. We also plan to finalize the design of our intake/shooter of our Shamptake so we can move forward with production of our intake/shooter and look over our design to ensure that there are no further major design modifications that need to be made to our mechanism. We're excited for the next day of fabrication and production of parts!

2/6/2024 - Parts With Flair

We started painting parts today to prepare them for assembly and continued fabrication of parts for our arm. As Competition Season inches closer and closer each day, we get closer and closer to being able to assemble our mechanism and mount it to our robot. We still need to determine the location of our worm gearbox on our robot so it doesn't interfere with any other parts on our robot, and are currently reviewing our current intake/shooter designs and hope to be able to assemble this mechanism on our robot soon!

2/8/2024 - Testing, Testing!

Today we tested our prototype version of our Shamptake mechanism, with some new modifications to see the effects on our shots with one of our notes. We're ready to begin assembly of our arm superstructure, as many of the main parts for our arm superstructure are painted, and we will begin mounting this onto our robot's drivebase at our next meeting. We also were able to determine a mounting space for our worm gearbox that drives our brake, that doesn't interfere with any other mechanisms on our robot in CAD and that is easier to access for maintenance than other previous locations.

2/10/2024 - CAD IS DONE!! (Mostly)

We finished with the majority of the CAD for our current Shamptake mechanism today, and continued fabrication of our arm parts, with the arm cross beams completed and being painted today. We are working on machining our two arm main tubes so we can have all of the parts available for our arm and can manufacture it.

2/11/2024 - It's Coming Together

Today, we worked on fabricating parts that still needed to be made for our arm mechanism, mainly the main arm tubes, and those parts were painted today, so once they dry we can assemble the mechanism for our robot. We continued CAD and assembly of our worm gearbox as well, so we can get it attached to our robot and have control of our brake mechanism.

2/13/2024 - CAD Needs More Work

Today we assembled our arm mechanism and placed it on our robot. We also updated our robot CAD to make modifications to the worm gearbox and to make changes to our shooter mechanism, as we decided to go with another version of our Shamptake mechanism. This CAD is mostly done, so we are aiming to assemble our shooter/intake as soon as possible.

2/14/2024 - It's Alive!!

Our CAD model of our Shamptake assembly

We now have an arm that can move! After attaching our arm assembly onto our robot yesterday, we began to fabricate some of the parts for our shooter, starting with the polycarbonate and HDPE plates that are on our shooter, and we also started programming our arm and it is now able to move!

2/15/2024 - CAD is ACTUALLY Done! 

Our Shamptake mechanism CAD is mostly finished as of today, so we moved to fabrication of parts. We began to cut out the side plates of our shooter out of polycarbonate and machined down shafts to the right length for placement on our shooter/intake mechanism, so we can continue full assembly of the mechanism. We have most of the parts needed for this mechanism, but need to get a couple more parts so we can fully assemble the mechanism.

2/17/2024 - Putting the Pieces Together

Huge steps were made today as we not only finished our first version of our Intake/Shooter Mechanism, but we also mounted it to our arm on our robot today! Although this was a huge step towards finishing our robot, we made some discoveries when testing our arm with the Intake/Shooter attached to it. We found that it was hard for our robot to lift the arm with the Intake/Shooter attached, and that the belts on the pulleys for our arm pivot were also skipping. We also discovered that with our Intake/Shooter on, our current brake mechanism is not very effective, so we started brainstorming solutions to help lift our arm and brake.

2/18/2024 - Brainstorming Solutions

Today we worked on taking some weight off of our arm by replacing the locking collars and using a method to fasten our hex axles to our Intake/Shooter. We also started to create blocks that are going to be put near our brake to offer additional support and researched new brake calipers in place of the brake caliper we are currently using to see if the force they can handle is higher than our current brake caliper. We also began to discuss changing the pulleys and belts on our arm pivot to sprockets and chains, and looked at other ways we can increase the gear ratio of our arm pivot to help our robot lift the arm.

2/19/2024 - Planning for Revisions

As we discovered two days ago that our robot has a lot of trouble lifting up our arm, we brainstormed more solutions to increase the gear ratio for our arm pivot. We currently plan to switch from the pulleys we are using to either 32t and 12t sprockets or 34t and 10t sprockets, as using sprockets and chain will give us more of an advantage. Certain gears will not change, like the 54t and 18t gears we have. We also plan to adjust our motor transmission from a 5:1 stage and a 4:1 stage to two 5:1 stages and potentially adding a third stage. With the current transmission, gears, and pulleys that are on our robot's arm pivot, we have a 144:1 gear ratio, but if we change the pulleys to 32t and 12t sprockets and change the 4:1 stage on our NEO transmission to a 5:1 stage, we can achieve a 200:1 gear ratio.

2/20/2024 - Changing to Chain

Instead of using 32t and 12t sprockets like we decided yesterday, we found that we had 10t sprockets and so decided to use 32t and 10t sprockets, which will increase the gear ratio of the whole pivot mechanism from 200:1 to 240:1. In order to make the multiple changes we had, we took off both of the shafts for our arm pivot to replace the pulleys with sprockets, and we also took out the NEO for our arm pivot to change the 4:1 stage on it to a 5:1 stage. We were not able to get a chance to test our arm today with these new changes on, but we found that we need to make a modification to the chain on our sprockets as it is very loose right now.

2/21/2024 - Now It's REALLY Alive!

After putting in our changes to our arm pivot mechanism, the whole mechanism has a gear ratio of 240:1, and we were able to test this arm today after adjusting the chain on the sprockets for our arm pivot and replacing the current brake disk on the arm in favor of a larger disk. This revised version of our pivot mechanism works! Our arm was able to be lifted up solely under the robot's own power without any lifting assistance from team members, and without any mechanisms or parts of our robot breaking. With this success, our Shamptake is mechanically assembled for the most part, but we are going to take second looks to see what adjustments need to be made if any.

2/22/2024 - It's Almost Done 

Today we continued work on the assembly of our arm and Shamptake, but focused mostly on our brake mechanism. It currently does not work as well as we need it to, as we need it to be able to hold up our arm for the start of our match and potentially for hanging from the stage. We took off our current brake disk as it is too small to be effective and plan on manufacturing a larger brake disk out of aluminum or acquiring a larger disk out of steel to be more effective, but small enough to still fit within the current constraints of our brake mechanism. This fix is our primary focus currently as it keeps us legal for the start of a match and allows our robot to keep the arm suspended in other situations, so is crucial for our ability to compete in matches.

2/23/2024 - Grinding Before Rally Ends

On the day before Rally ends, we worked on adjusting parts of our mechanism like the attachment mechanism for the aluminum rods connecting the polycarbonate side plates of our Shamptake. We previously had locking collars on hex axles, but to reduce weight slightly, we decided to adjust our attachment mechanism so we are using bolts that tap directly into the axles from the side plates. We also made sure that each part of our Shamptake is properly belted so that it runs correctly, and checked what tasks we had to complete for our Shamptake and arm so that they are finished and ready for tomorrow, when Rally ends.

2/24/2024 - RALLY

Today was the final day of our pre-competition season event Rally, which became a week-long event for this year. We tested our robots in multiple matches and were able to work with our team's programming subteam to determine ideal speeds and angles for the movement of our arm and our Shamptake, and test out different shots, speeds, and angles. We were also able to determine several issues that are detailed in the entry below that need to be addressed as soon as possible so we can better the function of our arm and Shamptake mechanisms.

2/25/2024 - Post-Rally Tasks and Fixes

After the end of Rally, we noticed multiple problems with our robot and fixes that needed to be made. The major things we noticed with our mechanism are listed below.

1.) Our arm ran into the Source at one point during driver practice and went completely backwards past the 90 degrees we expected the limit to be. We discovered that the source of this issue was that the CAN chain had been broken and made the arm keep moving.

2.) The chain on our sprockets experiences a lot of chain slop currently. When creating presets for our arm, we discovered that the values changed after some testing, and are working on creating tensioners for these chains to address this issue.

3.) We have aluminum rods between the polycarbonate side plates on our Shamptake, and after driver practice, we found that these rods had bent. We talked about these, and decided that it would be best to change the material of the rods to a more flexible material so that the rods can bend back and cannot be permanently bent like the aluminum rods.

4.) Our brake does not work well. Our current brake system of the worm gear box, brake caliper, and disk brake is not strong enough to hold up the weight of our arm and our Shamptake, so we are brainstorming alternate solutions to this problem so we can keep our arm within frame perimeter for the start of a match.

Now that we have identified these issues, we have clear goals of what we need to accomplish to get the arm and Shamptake working before FLR and so we can continue programming the robot and practicing with our robot.

2/27/2024 - Implementation of Fixes!

We began our fixes with creating, manufacturing, and assembling tensioner blocks that hold sprockets that will go on each side of the chains on our robot's arm pivot to remove chain slack and chain slop from the mechanism. We only were able to assemble the chain tensioners for one side of our mechanism, but currently hope that adding this to even one side of the mechanism will largely improve the function of our arm and reduce a large amount of the chain slop and chain slack we are experiencing.

2/28/2024 - First Version of Our Shamptake is FULLY Finished

After pinpointing the issues with our Shamptake and adjusting them so the issues are mostly resolved, we have a mostly finalized version of our Shamptake, and only have relatively minor fixes and adjustments that need to be made for our Shamptake. Otherwise, after testing our mechanism, it is very successful and we are able to achieve the power required for shots from two different locations on the field that we wanted to be able to shoot the note into the source from, and are still working on adjusting our brake mechanism so that it can hold up our arm at specific positions and so we can be legal for the start of the match.

2/29/2024 - A Big Leap in The Right Direction

Today we experienced a step closer to success as we were able to get our brake to hold up our arm in specific positions. We added tensioners to both sides of our arm pivot to remedy the chain slop issue, which helped significantly in our arm movement overall. We are currently planning to change our brake disk from an aluminum disk to a steel disk so we can hold our arm up more securely in multiple positions. This is a major success for our subteam as this means we are closer to being able to hold up our arm in a position that is legal for the start of a match and also when hanging on the Stage. We also discussed ideas for a kickstand on our arm that will keep it suspended in a legal position for match start and move out of the way for the rest of the match, as an alternate suspension method for our brake if our brake doesn't work.

3/2/2024 - Working More on Our Brake

After the success we experienced with our brake, we worked on designs to improve the function of our brake, such as a different brake disk than the one we are currently using, or a kickstand to hold up our arm for the start of the match. We weighed the pros and cons of each design, and decided to manufacture both designs so we had a backup mechanism for keeping our arm in a legal starting position for matches if our brake fails or can no longer suspend our arm. This kickstand will be mounted on a hinge to our arm and rest on the hardstop for our arm, and when the match starts, our plan is for our robot's arm to lift just enough so that the kickstand can move out of the way of our arm and as such not impede our arm's functions during a match.

3/3/2024 - A 2nd Shamptake

Today we continued practice with our robot and manufactured spares of the polycarbonate parts on our Shamptake so we can replace them if broken. We also were able to test our arm and Shamptake in Auto, and tested the possibility of our robot being able to put a note into the trap successfully. As our Shamptake is mostly finished, we only have to replace the rods connecting the side plates of our Shamptake and are working on assembling a spare Shamptake so we can be prepared for FLR. With FLR rapidly approaching, we are pushing to accomplish as much as possible with our robot before we have to pack for FLR.