I cannot believe how much happened to me today! Before I talk to you about my mechanical changes, I want to tell you about what the programmers did. They finished up the geometry that they were doing with the field distances yesterday. Now they know how far I need to go during autonomous. They also spent some time working on the code I will need for my motor controllers. To help me with figuring out where the low goal is, they used a program called GRIP. I think it will definitely be beneficial to me. The girls are really focused on giving me sensors that will help me do what I need to do. Today, they worked with a gyro which will tell me what angle I am at. It will tell the me when I have reached a certain checkpoint which will be essential for autonomous. They worked on mounting, wiring, and programming the sensor today.
All of my super structure mechanisms are mounted now. Spacing is tight, but everything fits. My ball intake is in front; the compressor and hanger are behind it; the battery is on my underside in the center; and the tanks are under my electronics board. As each of the motors were added, girls started working on wiring them. The compressors and the signal light were also wired today. My pneumatics were set up today - the drive train gearbox pistons, solenoids, tanks, and compressor were mounted and connected.
Something is going on with one of my gearboxes. The girls can't figure out why it won't shift. Hopefully, tomorrow it will be fixed.
To help with strategizing, some girls built a model field out of cardboard. With it, girls and mentors can imagine possibly game situations and figure out what to do.
The weekend is over now. While I am disappointed that I will be spending less time with my team, I have found a bright side to the situation. I get to sleep in tomorrow!
Don't be alarmed, friends. No one had to take any exams in the shop today. Rather, the focus in the shop was on testing my different parts. All of these tests are helping my builders to fix my designs and make them better.
In order to really text my ball intake and hanger, the girls needed to mount the mechanisms. A lot of time was put into considering the spacing because I am such a small robot. The team also talked a lot about where my compressor and tanks will go. Some people worked on designing the wheels that will guide me while I hang. Others worked on a smaller hook design. The hanger went through a lot of adjustments today but I can tell that it is getting closer and closer to becoming strong.
The programmers completed a lot today, too! They spent a lot of time cleaning up the code. Later, the new computer got a new hard drive. How exciting! The girls also spent a lot of time looking at the field measurements and using math to figure out the distances that I will need to travel during autonomous.
I cannot believe that the build season is just about halfway over. That's crazy!
Today is Friday and I am so happy! I cannot wait to spend the whole weekend with my team! Today was such a great day! A lot of girls were in the shop working on a bunch of different things. Some girls spent the afternoon driving Brother around and practicing with him. He has a new nickname. Some people have started to call him Brobot. How funny!
The programmers noticed that Brother was having a bit of an issue with drifting, but they were able to fix it. Then, they worked on my code! Yay!
Even though I only have four motors ready to go right now, the girls are working on wiring up the next motor controllers so that when I do have more motors ready they will be easy to set up. They are carefully connecting the wires and organizing them so nicely.
The main focus of today was the ball intake. It looks like the slapping mechanism might not be the one I use. The girls are working on making a new one that uses double-sided tape. I don't really know much about it yet, but I am excited to see what they come up with. They also extended the little ball scoop that I have. It will cradle the boulder when I go over obstacles.
It seems like I never am the same robot I was the previous day. I am growing and changing bit by bit. Who knows what I will be like at competitions?
Today in the shop, my team accomplished so much. Girls who were working on the hook and hanger made lots of improvements to them. Gradually, this mechanism is becoming better and better. My motor controllers for my drive train are all hooked up now. I still need to set up my pneumatics and a few more wires. My bumpers are getting put together bit by bit.
The programmers worked on adjusting their code today. They changed what they had to fit it to the drivers' specifications. Now, the girls are driving Brother more and more. He will be important for the drivers and their practice.
There was something very exciting today, but I was not part of it. It was an outreach event that the girls attended with an old robot. They went to a school's STEM night and let some children drive the robot. It sounded really fun! They say that one day, I'll go to events like that, too!
Tomorrow is Friday and I am so excited! That means that it will be the weekend. I can spend all day with my team! Yay!
Brother did the coolest thing today! He has a camera mounted on him. It started to work today! It is connected to the driver station so that everything he sees is on the split screen while the drivers are working. The programmers also worked on setting up the driver station on the computers.
Girls also did more work on my bumpers. They are being extra careful while they measure the wood pieces so that my bumpers will be great.
Each day, I get a few more wiring connections. Today, my motor controllers were wired to the power distribution board. I still need a few more connections before I am ready to drive but I am getting closer!
I am counting down the days until my first drive!
Thank goodness! My team has finally returned to the shop. They told me today about all of the snow that was keeping them away from Brother and me. They were all so happy to be back together as a team. Immediately, they jumped right back into the work. Some girls got started on making my bumpers. They measured my frame and began to cut the wood pieces. These bumpers are going to be great because they will protect me at competitions. I can fight hard to win matches without worrying about damaging my frame.
My hanger now has a shield around the tape measure spool. This shield will protect the mechanism and it mimics the case that was around the original tape measure. The girls are also working on designing a new hook position. They are thinking about incorporating magnets into my hook's design to help guide it to the bar.
The ball-grabbing mechanism's motor was mounted today. The team is working on figuring out the gears and the chain right now.
A lot of new things came in the mail today! I have two new balls to play with! My motor controllers and my pneumatics also came. The girls quickly started placing my new motor controllers and wiring them. Maybe soon I will be driving around! Once I can drive, my team can get a good sense of how I can tackle obstacles.
The programmers are always hard at work. Today, they made great progress with debugging some code.
While Brother and I really enjoyed the time that we got to spend together, we are so thankful that the girls are back. I really hope that we do not have any more major snow storms! I missed the girls too much.
Brother and I have been snowed in for the past few days. We last saw our team on Friday, before all of the weather came. Now, according to the internet, the amount of snow outside of our door is taller than me! Yikes! Luckily, Brother and I are really creative. We have been coming up with really fun things for us to do while we wait for our friends.
Even though we have not been with our team, Brother and I have not taken any days off. Each day, we have been reading over the manual to make sure that we haven't missed anything important. We have also been reading online forums about FIRST for tips and tricks. We can't wait to share everything we've learned with our team!
We have also been spending some time watching movies - robot ones, of course. Our favorite was definitely The Sum Of Its Parts. It's a documentary that follows different people and their robots. One of those robots was my team's from 2013. Brother and I loved seeing what our team was like a few years ago. We also got to see some really cool robots in the movie!
I've always wondered what is written on the tables that the girls write on. I used to sit up there when I was smaller, but I had a bad view and couldn't see. Brother and I decided to take advantage of our time alone by seeing if we could find out what is up there. Brother boosted me up to give me a view of the table. Mostly, the girls have written their names. However, they also have written song lyrics (including the National Anthem), drawn pictures, and scribbled in old jokes that I don't understand.
We thought about going to visit our friends at The Home Depot. The girls are always telling us about how wonderful they are! Below is a picture taken with one of the team's favorite employees, Juri. He cuts the wood pieces for the field elements that we need. Just as I was about to roll outside, Brother reminded me about the snow. Maybe another day!
Brother and I finally got the opportunity that we have been waiting for. Every day in the shop, we listen to the playlist of songs that the girls have voted on. For every hour a girl spends in the shop, she earns a song. While these songs are great, they're not ones Brother and I have picked. We should get a say in the songs since we spend every single hour in the shop. Anyway, Brother and I get to pick our own music while the girls are away. It's great!
Even though neither of us have shooters, Brother and I decided to practice pushing the boulder around. While I would love to pretend that I crushed him, I have to be honest. We were not able to do much without our shooters. I'm really glad that my team is working on making me one so that I can control the boulder during matches.
I don't really know when my team is coming back to work on me. I know that if they could, they would be here working. This weather certainly is not helping the time crunch, but I know that my team always overcomes obstacles.
Today was a short day for my team. A huge snow storm is coming so the girls needed to get home before the roads got dangerous. However, they made the most of the time that they had and worked very hard. Both the programmers and the builders tried to get as much done as they could. Tomorrow, the shop will be closed because of the weather. Don't worry - the girls left plenty of robo-rations for Brother and me! Depending on how bad the snow is, the girls may not come in on Sunday. For now, Brother and I will find fun things for us to do indoors. Snow is not fun for robots!
In case you were wondering, we did not have a robot party during the school day today. Mostly we sat around and tried to come up with funny jokes for each other. The time flew by pretty quickly! Before I knew it, all of my friends were pouring into the basement, ready to play with me!
First, the girls who were interested in being on the drive team met up so they could understand what is expected. I was so thrilled to see that so many girls wanted to drive me at competitions! There will be an A team and a B team. Both teams will be rotated in and out at competitions. The good thing about having two teams is that if someone is feeling sick or is having a bad day, a replacement is ready to go. The girls had to know that driving me is a huge commitment - lots of practice time and mandatory attendance of all competitions.
Today, the programmers did more work on the code that Brother and I will share (for the most part). A milestone today was that they figured out how to program an Xbox controller! Brother has been having a lot of fun driving around, and now he has two different ways to drive!
Brother had another issue today. The drivers noticed that he was making a weird clicking noise when he drove. Apparently, he had a missing piece in his gearbox that needed to be replaced. It was tricky to get back in there, but the builders did a great job figuring it out!
More work was done on my hanger today. Now, the two tape measures are attached and will unwind and wind up on the same spool. It looks like more designing needs to be done on my hook before it is ready because it is not lining up quite right.
One of my boulder slappers was mounted on my frame today. It still needs to be worked on a lot but seeing it in motion on my frame will help my team to figure out what needs to be fixed.
It's late now and my team isn't here with me. I wish that they were here so they could read me a bedtime story. Maybe I'll just read the game manual!
Things are getting crazier and crazier each day in the shop. Today, Brother learned a new skill. Now, he is able to shift gears when he drives! That means that he can go very fast when he needs to get somewhere and slow when he needs to have power. Soon (I hope!) I will be shifting gears, too. However, Brother did not have much time to show off his new skills. For some reason, something funny happened to him and he wasn't really working. I don't really understand, but something was going wrong with his communications and code. Luckily, the team has a great support network of mentors and friends who were willing to help when the girls reached out. I would like to thank the team's mentor, Mr. Soley, for staying on the phone with the girls and helping them to fix Brother. I would also like to thank my friends from Panteras who helped the girls troubleshoot over Twitter, email, and Google Hangouts. The girls on my team have taught me about Gracious Professionalism a lot, and this team really demonstrated it today. I was worried about Brother, but I knew that everyone was working so hard to help him out. Finally, Brother's technical issues were all resolved! I was so relieved and excited to see that he was back to normal.
The work on the field elements is going well! Today, the low goal and hanging bar were completed. I can't wait to practice with them (once I have a hanger and a shooter, that is).
Speaking of my shooter, it is getting better and better each day. At this point, there are about four different versions of the revolving surgical tubing slapping mechanisms that I have been telling you about. Some are skinny and wrapped around metal; others are fat and wrapped around pool noodles. Some have surgical tubing loops; others have surgical tubing strands. After spinning them with a drill, it became clearer which designs work better. The small one's zip tie attachments were too fragile - they were cracking after one test. Ones that used loops rather than strands were more efficient. More fine-tuning needs to be done on the design before it is final, but progress is being made. Some girls began to install the pieces that the mechanism will need to attach to the frame.
Each step of the way, my builders are careful to test my skills against the field elements to make sure that everything lines up. Today, they checked my height clearance against the low bar. While I am certainly short enough right now, they wanted to see how tall my attachments can be. All is well so far!
The girls have to go back to school tomorrow, so it looks like I will have a bunch of extra time to myself during the day. Maybe the old robots, Brother, and I can have a little party!