Today's meeting was very crucial as it was the day before the scrimmage our team is attending tomorrow at QD Academy in Plano, TX. This will be the second and last chance before Qualifiers in January for our team to test how ready we are. Therefore, we made many tweaks to our robot so that it can perform to its maximum potential tomorrow. Our coder, Rohit Shankar, was able to finish coding our robot and attempted to fix as many bugs as possible without testing it on the robot. Our team was not able to test the robot today as majority of the time was spent on editing the hardware of the robot.
We were finally able to decide between the flywheel design and the catapult design for the launcher. We realized that both of the launchers had the same potential and efficiency. However, we discovered that the flywheel would take much less space on the robot. By setting up the flywheel near the front of the robot, we were able to attach a PVC pipe with a diameter a few millimetres larger than the diameter of the ball to guide the ball up to the flywheel to launch. The ball perfectly fit through the PCV pipe allowing for an increased accuracy, a crucial component for being able to score consistently. We decided to mount this to the robot and test it out on our robot. However, there was a slight issue...
As seen from the video above, although the PVC pipe was secure and fit perfectly, it was positioned at exactly a 90 degree angle. Because of this, the ball would never be able to make it into the basket since the trajectory of the ball was almost completely vertical. After doing some kinematics and quick analysis, we realized that the angle only needed to be slightly altered as the power of the flywheel was very strong. After doing so, we tested it once again and it worked. We then tightened everything into place to ensure nothing was loose and so that everyone in the vicinity would have a very low chance of getting hurt (safety is an issue our team takes very seriously).
We wired everything together on the robot and decided to test it using our controller. While doing so, we discovered one more issue with our robot. Although the carwash mechanism was proper and led into the PVC pipe perfectly, it was not fast enough to be able to push it up the PVC pipe to launch. This ultimately decreased the efficiency of our robot which was not good considering there was a competition the next day. We attempted to fix it by mounting a servo attached to a wire that led down the centre of the PVC. By doing so, the ball could be pushed up by the wire to the ideal spot to launch. We were not able to get the wire onto the servo by the time practice ended so we hope to do that first thing tomorrow.
Our final matter of concern was wiring once everything was mounted. There were many loose wires that we had to position in the right spot so that they would not effect the efficiency of the robot. We took this puzzling task and made it easy by putting everyone's intelligence together and creating ideal locations for each wire.
We hope to do really well tomorrow at the scrimmage. Even if we don't win, it will be a great learning experience to prepare for our Qualifiers in January. We also hope to interact with other teams and help them out so that everyone can play a fair game.
Written By: Abhi Bhattaru