Its been a quiet build season for both FTC and FRC. Now that FTC teams have started competitions and FRC is set to start next week, I'm wondering how everyone is doing?
There's still so much to think about; drivers station, battery cart, shop in-a-box, autonomous code, final tweaks and repairs, FMEA, travel logistics, BOM, engineering notebook, inspection checklist, scouting plan, buttons and so many more.
Love to hear some updates from teams. What went well this year? What challenges did you overcome? Did PTC Robotalk prepare you for the season and your CAD designing?
Looking forward to our week 1 Regional (first ever Central Illinois Regional) next week. 40 teams with a lot of past Regional, World, and Award winners so it should be competitive. Had a great year modeling with 100% of our fabricated parts modeled and then machined (by students) from prints (by students). I love seeing prints with machine oil on them. Had a great year improving efficiency using Windchill too, as we finally overcame some network roadblocks at the school and were able to move everyone in the same direction.
Still some work to do on BOM cleanup for cost and densities. But all in all a pretty solid build season for us.
What, the robot? Oh, yeah. Swerve drive, catapult shooter, two sided ball harvesting, differennt autonomous scenarios, truss pass, catching (well, we're built to catch but it is fair to say we haven't overly tested this in a game environment), shoot anywhere in the close zone. Not a tall defensive robot. Going to Centrla Illinois and Milwaukee.
Definitely had the team take advantage of pre-season lessons from PTC.
Impressive Keith! What team did you mentor?
I'm particularly interested in the students getting to machine the parts. CNC or conventional? External manufacturing shop or in the school? If external, were there any special considerations for insurance?
Hope to see you in St. Louis!!
4143, MARS/WARS from Metamora, IL. We're a 3rd year team.
Almost entirely done in the school. The students are blessed wtih a vo-tech area with CNC mills and conventional lathes. The students and one mentor put together a 2 axis plasma cutter too. Weld shop (the students do all the welding, including TIG on AL). No shortage of computers to run Creo on. Great sponsor support. Truly a lucky situation, but some of that luck is self-made. One mentor has a machine shop nearby, which is mostly used for practice field, some specialized machining (tube benders, etc) and is where we do most of the fab for field components (e.g. the pyramid last year). This year we did all the field components in wood.
The difference between this year (where modeling truly led fab) and last year (where we had a little of that) and our rookie year (where we did all we could just to get a reasonable top level assembly done by the regional) is tremendous. Things fit. The students loved building to print. We can make spares...all goodness.
Thanks for the summary Keith! It's great to see a team able to use real manufacturing tools!
By the way, I would love to see that plasma cutter!
I don't have a photo, but basically we took a portable Lincoln plasma cutter and built a table with X/Y translation control, put some NC software on a PC and plugged it all together. I didn't participate in that one, so I don't have a lot of detail, but it also wasn't overly complex at the high level. Of course dialing it in and validating the NC code works correctly takes some effort.
So, for FRC team 3970, we had a whopping 2 veterans and only one member doing the Creo modeling. I have to say that I'm incredibly impressed by the guy that modeled 90% of the robot in Creo while managing the entire team, building most of the parts and chipping in on the programming side.
The main challenge with this team is getting students trained on Creo in the off-season and then keeping them on the team through build season.
While the team consistently laments not having everything in Creo when things don't get built correctly, they still don't get quite the bang for the buck since most components are cut by hand. My dream is to get them a CNC router or mini mill by next season.
The design is your basic six-wheel custom aluminum chassis riveted together. They're using exercise bands tensioned with 100:1 dual Bane Bot motors and a "chopstick" intake. Shooting is super consistent and it's great at catching.