Blog

The Canal

Okay, so this year at kickoff I was pretty excited about the game piece because there would be no possible way that we throw a big giant exercise ball into the canal (as we did several times with Frisbees)! Right? Not really.

 

Today we were outside having an awesome time testing our robot’s catching abilities. We did so by throwing and kicking the ball around to test different types of passes into the robot. I’m not quite sure what happened, but the ball ended up over the fence after a kick by Damian.

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Luckily, Zach somehow managed to get the ball, and all was well in the world. Except for the fact that it was wet. Oh well.

 

But anyway, about the robot. We’ve been receiving a lot of feedback about our wheeled shooter, as many teams are shying away from that approach. Most of the feedback has been compliments, but one concern of many people is that we mark up the balls. Frequent marking is against rule G10 in the manual.

So today we tried to fix it. We bent the shooter arms, tried bane-bots wheels, added tensioners, and did who knows what. After two and a half hours of doing this and feeling pretty discouraged about the results, we straightened the shooter and ground down the white treaded wheels from last year’s Kit of Parts. This actually worked well, and didn’t mark up the ball (I think).

I guess the lesson for today is that you shouldn’t just leave an idea when it doesn’t work. This happened last week too, when we abandoned our shooter because it wouldn’t fit in the base. We solved that, and solved our problem today in very easy ways. Don’t be discouraged when things don’t work out the first time!

 

The can crusher goes live during lunch tomorrow, so be sure to check it out!!

 

Today Sneha helped compile a list of the “merch” that we need.

We had a nice dinner provided by Mrs. Lovegren.

And Mayuri has bronchitis! Oh no! So, in the meantime, I’m writing overtime. Enjoy.

 

-Brian

 

Complacency

Welcome to week 2 everyone! Only 35 days left to build, wow.

Last week ended on a great note with an awesome design and prototype. The video I posted with Saturday’s blog post has almost 1500 views right now and a lot of feedback online! I’m really glad that we are able to get our name out there and hopefully give some ideas to other teams.

Today, we further improved our prototype with some additions for catching. On the back half of the robot we have a ring of fiberglass poles that help corral the ball into the shooter when another robot throws it. This is really great, as we decided to not even try to catch in our initial strategizing. However, fiberglass can be annoying, and I can still feel a little bit in my finger. I recommend gloves…

So we have a shooter, catcher, and base frame. Now what? We’ve come incredibly far during just the first week, and it would be extremely easy to become complacent now. But, there is still a lot that needs to be done! The main chunk of brainstorming and design is through, but now comes the hard part that many teams don’t expect. Now comes all the details that actually make a robot a robot. We still have a lot of work on movements in the robot, driving, programming, you name it. But don’t expect the Ninjineers to back down! We’re ready to make this robot our best ever.

 

In other news, the can crusher is finally done (I think.) We filmed a video for the morning announcements and it should be out during lunch starting on Wednesday! I’ll be sure to post the video from the announcements then, and maybe some shots of it in use. This has really been a great project (although it took longer than expected), and I’m excited to see the results.

Also today, the spirit team started looking at prices for buttons and other cool give-aways. Hopefully we can find something unique to give away. If you have any suggestions, be sure to let us know in the comments!

 

And, I want to thank all the people who have been in the lab each day doing award write-ups and other important things. They don’t get much air time in the blog, and their work can often be unnoticed, but building a robotics team is about much more than the robot. We’ll be able to share their great work after the season.

Sorry you had to hear from me twice in a row! Mayuri was sick today, but will hopefully be back tomorrow.

Go Ninja Go!!

 

-Brian

 

5 weeks left

Wow, it’s already the end of week one.

Normally, this would be a statement that incites panic. But this year, I feel different. It’s only been a week and I feel like we’ve accomplished so much! We have a functioning shooter/feeder mounted onto a practice base, several plans for award submissions, and lots of other great things going on.

When I walked into the lab this morning, I found a bunch of kids standing around working with a huge circular plywood piece and a leaf blower. The circular plywood wasn’t out of the ordinary as we are planning a circular base. But… a leaf blower? Well, it was actually to build a hover craft.

That’s right. No wheels. A hovercraft.

Got’cha. (As Priyank would say. And I have to mention Priyank because he doesn’t want to be mentioned in the blog.) It was not for the robot. It was for a 5th grader’s science fair project. Pretty cool and hopefully a future Ninjineer.

But anyway, the rest of the day went great. We built a circular base with a 34″ diameter and a 24″ square inside. Then we mounted the shooter onto the base with a 1/2″ rod.

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As Cody is demonstrating, the robot could be it’s own cart when flipped upside down.

We did a lot of shooting practice with this today, and added a pneumatic piston to pop the ball into the shooter wheels. Check that out in this short video:

In other news, Gooby put together a camera mount with servos. He also worked more on the can crushing device with solar panels from Vish. The panels can provide about 80% power, but not enough for the compressor. Hopefully we can get that out during lunches next week at school, and we’ll post some pictures here.

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And that’s about all for today. It was a great day! Saturdays in the shop are always great, as we tend to get a lot done and have a lot of fun. The season is progressing along well, and at the end of week one, I’m extremely impressed with what everyone has done. Hopefully we’ll have a working prototype and a lot more to write about by this time next week.

-Brian