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Weekly Update 9/20

Hello, and welcome to the first weekly update for Ingraham Robotics! In these updates, I’ll be giving an update on what the club has been working on over the past week. We’ve had a lot going on with the start of the school year and season, so let’s get right into it.

New Year, New Look

Here on the business team, we’ve been focusing on getting a new face for the Robotics team up and running. One of the highlights of the week has been the development of our new website. This year, we’re working with the biggest business team we’ve ever had. We’ve had this on our to-do list for a long time, and with our increased size we’re finally able to take this one on. Chances are if you’re reading this, it’ll be on our newly deployed site!

In addition, we’ve finally started our own Ingraham Robotics Instagram! You can follow us there now; otherwise, our feed is also linked directly to the front page of our site itself. We’ll be posting some regular updates on here related to our progress in the club. We’re hopeful that this year we can establish the strongest public image we’ve had yet for the team!

Last week we expanded into our new room adjacent to our old workspace, but we aren’t done expanding yet. We’re having discussions with Mr. Wentzel, Ingraham’s new Construction Trades teacher, about taking down the walls around our workstations in the auto shop to connect it with the greater work area. If it happens (we’re hopeful about it!) we’ll be able to expand far beyond our cramped work area and hopefully be much more efficient in our construction. More info on our progress with this will be coming soon!

Leveling the Playing Field

The season is officially in swing, and the team is preparing for the official construction of the robot. Thanks to build team, our newly received practice field is set up for the season in our room! Our mentors have been working with other members of the team on power tools training, so that our crew has all the skills needed fresh in mind when construction starts.

A build team member practicing drive skills

Meanwhile on the programming team, Tim has been going over the systems of our past robots with the team. He’s been reviewing on-bot Java and teleop modes with the team. We’ve also received a shipment of new phones this week, and have been working on setting those up for use in our competition season. Programming is actively looking for new members, so if you’re interested, reach out to us!

The programming team at work

The New Robot

Of course, with the season now in full swing, it’s time to be building a new robot. Our build lead, Charlie, has been hard at work on prototyping this year’s design. I’ll pass the mic over the him to discuss what the build team has been working on so far. If you haven’t seen this year’s challenge yet, you can view it here!

Charlie: So, when we initially took a vote, we liked the idea of a mecanim drive, but thoughts on collectors and placement systems were more varied. There was a general thought that stacking a high tower was very important, and getting a capstone on top was also very important. So I pitched my design of having a robot with a rear collector that grips the side of the tower, lifts it up, and slips another block underneath. That’s been the design that I’ve been running with in my CAD work, and that Oliver has been running with in his ideas. We’ve got some good prototypes running for that.

There’s another concept that’s come up since then. When Steve (our lead mentor) got back, he had some ideas about the robot. He had looked at the points in the rulebook and decided that it might be worthwhile to put one large radial arm on a pivot in the center of the robot, such that you could use a west coast drive, which is faster and harder to push. Then we could pick up blocks and stack them on the plate in lower stacks of 4 to 5, but put a lot of blocks on the plate to get points for that. That’s been another design pitched, and I’m going to be pitching that to the whole team a little later today.

In general, we pretty much two designs: an arm design and a not arm design. That’s the question right now. Getting the capstone to fit on the blocks at whatever height we get it to is challenging, that’s a downside of my idea. But we’ve been taking a look at other robot designs that people have put out, as well as past games for FRC actually, to look for potential there. That’s been the main work on the robot right now. We’ve got some CAD models for things and various ideas for various things, and overall things are going pretty well.

Starting the Year Strong

That’s all for this week’s update. We’re hard at work getting started on this season, and it’s an exciting time here at Ingraham Robotics for us all. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next week!


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