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Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Gate Keeper

Stupid chain...
Today was yet another prototyping day. We kept working on the prototype robot base and built a prototype gate. There were a lot of things going on for people so we did not have the full team today. Jenna and Megan were not there and, luckily, the sky did not come crashing down. The joke(?) around the shop is that they, not Bydlon, are the brains behind the operation. Todd, an instructor from Alex Tech, stopped by to check on our progress. It was great to see him and the Tech College's continued support and help with the team. Speaking of which, we brought the motor mount for the shooter prototype over to the Tech and they are machining a bracket for us. When that is finished, we will be able to test our shooter (finally!).

Claire, Jesse, and Steph kept working on researching items to give away at competition. They researched buttons and wristbands. They also researched more items to commemorate the season for the team which included headbands, wristbands, and dog tags. The big development is that we found an AWESOME mascot costume. Like completely and utterly cool. So excited to see it come together.

Almost there!!
One of our big goals today was completing the KitBot. Tyler and Ryan worked on getting the electrical board mounted to the frame. He also got the motors mounted on to the frame. This is where we hit a snag. We bought the wrong chain breaker so getting the chains on the motors was a long and, ultimately, unsuccessful endeavor. We got one of the chains on the bot but still have one to go. Bryce borrowed a chain breaker from his dad which helped a little. We have one more to go then we should be able to drive tomorrow (this was said yesterday too but this time it will happen). Colin also worked hard to get all the computer aspects ready to drive. We had to format our drive computer, re-image the cRio, and upload all the programming. 

Only need to add the pulley.
Brandon worked on the other big project today which was a gate prototype. There's a video of our idea on YouTube. We have three reasons for making a gate. One: rules say we can only hold 3 basketballs so we need a way to stop extras from coming into our bot. Two: We want to force the basketballs into our gatherer so we want to keep them in the bot once we collect them. Three: We need a mechanism to bring the bridge in the middle of the field down. The idea is a spring on the front of the gate keeps it up whenever we need it. A window motor connected to a pulley will close the gate or bring the bridge down with our gate. Smart idea and the prototype will be finished tomorrow. All we need to do is add the pulley and we are done.
Chandler and students.

A shout-out is required for the presence of Jimmy (Bryce's brother-in-law) and Chandler (Alex Tech Student) for their continued assistance with the team. That's one of the biggest parts about FIRST Robotics, people with expertise working with and teaching the younger students. Really great to see.

Overall, a good day of work for the team. So many exciting things should (key word: should) come together tomorrow. The shooter and gate prototypes will be finished, we will have a moving practice bot and we will get the materials for the practice bump and bridge. That's a lot of goals but the team has shown so far how many things can get done they set their mind to it.

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