Clubs Night This Thursday

This Thursday between 5pm and 7pm in room D213 the Walt Whitman Robotics team is inviting one and all to join us in showing off our 2016 robot.  Folks that stop by can drive our 2015 robot Liftzilla and take a look at the 2016 robot names Maelstrom.  We will give tours of the lab and answer any STEM or robotics questions you might have.

Open Labs night

Please come to Walt Whitman High School room D213 between 5pm and 7pm and be curious.

Students and visitors of any age are welcome.

Were Back

After bagging the robot on Tuesday the team took a few days off to get ready for competition season. The break was well worth it and gave all of our students a chance to catch up on their studies.

Yesterday was a critical day for the team since it was our chance to learn from this year’s build season and work to make next year better.  Lots of great observations came out of the conversation that the team will need to follow up on over the next 10 months.  ere are the notes we took;

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On top of the look back the team did a review of the Palmetto regional to see if there is any reason to change our game plans.  The good news, we did a great job of analyzing the game this season and identified most if not all of the ways to play the game.  One of our freshman even pointed out that he had mentioned grappling hook climber several times so it was great to see 118’s reveal video as it confirmed his analysis.  The bad, the high goal shots are critical and waste to much valuable time if missed.  We knew this going in and that is why we wanted to test our high goal shooter for two weeks, unfortunately our build delays did not allow this testing to occur so our shooting accuracy is unknown (assumed to be low).  Watching palmetto reaffirmed the decision to build a new arm and get it tested as much as possible over the next two weeks.

Next the team went through the arm requirements so that the CAD team could integrate all of the items the team identified as critical.  The good news is that our old arm does most of these things and that we just need to modify some variables to get what we need.  The new arm’s CAD will be done by the end of the weekend so that if we need to order any new parts they can be here by the end of the week.

The team also picked the Pit lead and judging team lead this weekend.   These two teams will play a major role in the team’s success and will need to spend most of the next two weeks preparing for the competition.

Here is what the team has left to do;

  • Drive train – done
  • Bumpers – done
    • Red – done
    • Blue – done
  • Electrical board – done
  • Turret arm prototype – done
  • Turret arm – done
  • Turntable – done
  • Shooter – done
  • Vision – started
  • Main code – started
  • Strategy – done
  • Scouting system – done
  • Awards – started
    • Chairman’s – done
    • Wood Flowers – done
    • Entrepreneurship – done
    • Dean’s – done
    • Chairman’s video – started
    • Media award – started
  • Competition documents started
    • Tech Journal started
    • Judges Packet started
    • 1 sheeter started
    • Safety Binder started
    • Pit Video started
    • Chairman’s presentation started
    • Bill of Materials – started
  • Pre-competition scouting – started
  • Inviting local leaders to events – done
  • Bellypan – done
  • Pre season scouting and risk survey – started
  • Reveal video started
  • Climber – not started
  • Defensive Cheescake – started
  • Wiring installation – done
  • Driver Selection done
  • Team Standard – started
  • T-shirt – started
  • Battery cart refurbish – not started
  • Refurbish battery leads started
  • Refurbish robot cart – not started
  • Paint Pit – not started
  • Alpha turret and arm – started

 

 

Have you called your elected officials about robots yet?

If you have not taken the time to contact your county council members and Maryland state political leaders in support of robotics, please take some time today!!!  There are two Big Initiatives in the works for Robotics in Maryland and we need your help to make our voices heard!!!!

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Please take the time to reach out to our elected officials so we can help grow robotics!

 

Bag day 2016

IT’S IN THE BAG!!!

What a build season.  Our team has learned so much more this season because of the challenges we took on.  We had so much fun building this machine that in nearly every picture we have taken from the year’s build season everyone is smiling.   We can’t wait to see how our newest team member performs at competition.

We had some big changes in the last few days;

  • Switched our primary drive team
  • Decided to make a new arm for our FIRST district event in week 2
  • Decided to make s new turret for our second district event in week 4
  • Decided to make a lifter for the District championship in week 6

We also had come bumps in the road;

  • Our shooter is still under powered
  • Our arm is still to heavy
  • The high goal shooting code has not been tested

Over the next few weeks are going to be busy trying to make up for some of the robot’s weaknesses, so that by the time we make it to district championships we are a lean mean tower challenging machine.

Here is what the team has left to do;

  • Drive train – done
  • Bumpers – done
    • Red – done
    • Blue – done
  • Electrical board – done
  • Turret arm prototype – done
  • Turret arm – done
  • Turntable – done
  • Shooter – done
  • Vision – started
  • Main code – started
  • Strategy – done
  • Scouting system – done
  • Awards – started
    • Chairman’s – done
    • Wood Flowers – done
    • Entrepreneurship – done
    • Dean’s – done
    • Chairman’s video – started
    • Media award – started
  • Competition documents started
    • Tech Journal started
    • Judges Packet started
    • 1 sheeter started
    • Safety Binder started
    • Pit Video started
    • Chairman’s presentation started
    • Bill of Materials – not started
  • Pre-competition scouting – started
  • Inviting local leaders to events – done
  • Bellypan – done
  • Pre season scouting and risk survey – started
  • Reveal video started
  • Climber – not started
  • Defensive Cheescake – not started
  • Wiring installation – done
  • Driver Selection done
  • Team Standard – started
  • T-shirt – started
  • Battery cart refurbish – not started
  • Refurbish battery leads started
  • Refurbish robot cart – not started
  • Paint Pit – not started
  • Alpha turret and arm – not started

 

3 Days Left

We scored our First High Goal today with all of the systems functioning!!!!  With all of the setbacks this season seeing, getting to see the whole robot working with less than 72 hours left in our 2016 build season was amazing.  The excitement was palpable and well worth the wait.  But….. This season there is always a but.  But, we soon broke our arm again so we were limited in the amount of shooting we could do.  From the shooting we were able to practice, looks like we are close to consistent shooting from the sweet spot.   If we get 5-10 more feet out of the alpha arm we will be just fine.   We also ran into an issue with the turret skipping teeth and messing up the encoder.  So we may move the encoder for that or change how we rotate the arm the alpha arm.

Check out who stopped by today to see how we were progression; Don Bossi (FIRST President) and Bill Duncan (executive Director of STEM Action).  From the sound of it Don will be back down here in three weeks to speak at the Walt Whitman District event being held March 11-13.  Thanks for all of the effort the two of you put into FIRST!!!

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On top of that we had over 50 parents and students stop by and ask us questions about FIRST, FRC, robotics and STEM programs available in Montgomery County.  It was a lot of fun watching the faces of all of the kids watching our robot try and sometimes fail as we were getting our arm code tested.

Thanks to STEM Action and Maryland FIRST for letting us stop by the Maryland FTC State Championship and practice today.

Here is what the team has left to do;

  • Drive train – done
  • Bumpers – done
    • Red – done
    • Blue – done
  • Electrical board – done
  • Turret arm prototype – done
  • Turret arm – done
  • Turntable – done
  • Shooter – done
  • Vision – started
  • Main code – started
  • Strategy – done
  • Scouting system – started
  • Awards – started
    • Chairman’s – done
    • Wood Flowers – done
    • Entrepreneurship – done
    • Dean’s – done
    • Chairman’s video – started
    • Media award – started
  • Competition documents started
    • Tech Journal started
    • Judges Packet started
    • 1 sheeter started
    • Safety Binder started
    • Pit Video started
    • Chairman’s presentation started
    • Bill of Materials – not started
  • Pre-competition scouting – started
  • Inviting local leaders to events – done
  • Bellypan – done
  • Pre season scouting and risk survey – started
  • Reveal video started
  • Climber – not started
  • Defensive Cheescake – not started
  • Wiring installation – done
  • Driver Selection done
  • Team Standard – started
  • T-shirt – started
  • Battery cart refurbish – not started
  • Refurbish battery leads started
  • Refurbish robot cart – not started
  • Paint Pit – not started
  • Alpha turret and arm – not started

Looking forward to this entire list being green soon!! Here are some photos from yesterday.

 

4 Days left

A few steps forward, a few steps back and a few steps to the side.  Yesterday the team put the finishing structural and mechanical touches on the robot and finished up wiring.  And with that done the team turned the robot over to the coders.  However, the coders quickly realized two big flaws in the design, if the robot loses power or connection the arm falls and crushes the electronics or leaves the 15″ frame perimeter boundary.   So now we need to add one more system to our robot by Tuesday, a way to break and hold the arm that works regardless of the robot being powered.

The scouts had a pretty interesting day watching all of the week 0 events going on.  They were hard at work trying to learn how the game is going to be played.  So far it looks like lots of breaching and low goal shots.

Our awards team took a break from working on awards to go help Maryland FIRST get George Town Prep ready for the Maryland State FTC tournament.  We will be demoing FRC there for most of the day tomorrow.

Our mechanical team is starting to switch gears to the alpha arm by doing some more prototyping.  They need to increase range, reduce weight and ad the ability to lift the robot. Totally doable in 3 weeks.

Here is what the team has left to do;

  • Drive train – done
  • Bumpers – done
    • Red – done
    • Blue – done
  • Electrical board – done
  • Turret arm prototype – done
  • Turret arm – done
  • Turntable – done
  • Shooter – done
  • Vision – started
  • Main code – started
  • Strategy – done
  • Scouting system – started
  • Awards – started
    • Chairman’s – done
    • Wood Flowers – done
    • Entrepreneurship – done
    • Dean’s – done
    • Chairman’s video – started
    • Media award – started
  • Competition documents started
    • Tech Journal started
    • Judges Packet started
    • 1 sheeter started
    • Safety Binder started
    • Pit Video started
    • Chairman’s presentation started
    • Bill of Materials – not started
  • Pre-competition scouting – started
  • Inviting local leaders to events – done
  • Bellypan – done
  • Pre season scouting and risk survey – started
  • Reveal video started
  • Climber – not started
  • Defensive Cheescake – not started
  • Wiring installation – done
  • Driver Selection done
  • Team Standard – started
  • T-shirt – started
  • Battery cart refurbish – not started
  • Refurbish battery leads started
  • Refurbish robot cart – not started
  • Paint Pit – not started
  • Alpha turret and arm – not started

Looking forward to this entire list being green soon!!  Here are some photos from yesterday.

 

5 Days Left

The Beta arm is on the robot.  When it comes to getting things done The Walt Whitman Robotics Team knows how to make crunch time count.  The last week has seen students put in enormous effort to work past our 2 mechanical challenges and get the this robot across the finish line.

For the next 4 days the robot belongs to the coders.  They need to get all of the encoders working, the functions working, the robot driving strait and the shooting sequences down.  Not to mention they need to get the shooting constants and PID loop constants figured.  They will be putting this bot through its paces so that when we get our 6 hours of open bag time all we do is drive, drive and drive.

Next up for most of the team is getting all of our competition prep items done. We have a lot to do to get ready for this competition and will need everyone to pitch in so we can get everything we need done over the next 3 weeks done. March 11 will be here before we know it.

The team is also considering losing about 10lbs by making a new turret and shooter arm so we can add a climber.  Currently the bot is at 110lbs and we have not tested any climbers.  This is a secondary priority for us so this may take some time since we do not want to sink to many people into this with so much else to do.  However a crack team of students will start to play around with some prototypes so that we could make a Beta arm by the district championships that could just strap on and add some more functionality.

This weekend we have had a change of plans.  The whole team will be in the lab Saturday from 1-8.  On Sunday our drive teams and code teams will go to the FTC tournament being held at Georgetown Prep and get a full day of practice / demo in.  Thanks FIRST Chesapeake for making this happen.

Here is what the team has left to do;

  • Drive train – done
  • Bumpers – started
    • Red – done
    • Blue – started
  • Electrical board – done
  • Turret arm prototype – done
  • Turret arm – done
  • Turntable – done
  • Shooter – done
  • Vision – started
  • Main code – started
  • Strategy – done
  • Scouting system – started
  • Awards – started
    • Chairman’s – done
    • Wood Flowers – done
    • Entrepreneurship – done
    • Dean’s – done
    • Chairman’s video – started
    • Media award – started
  • Competition documents started
    • Tech Journal started
    • Judges Packet started
    • 1 sheeter started
    • Safety Binder started
    • Pit Video started
    • Chairman’s presentation started
    • Bill of Materials – not started
  • Pre-competition scouting – started
  • Inviting local leaders to events – done
  • Bellypan – done
  • Pre season scouting and risk survey – started
  • Reveal video started
  • Climber – not started
  • Defensive Cheescake – not started
  • Wiring installation – started
  • Driver Selection done
  • Team Standard – started
  • T-shirt – started
  • Battery cart refurbish – not started
  • Refurbish battery leads started
  • Refurbish robot cart – not started
  • Paint Pit – not started
  • Alpha turret and arm – not started

 

 

6 Days Left

We were cooking with fire last night.  We made BIG leaps forward on our two big issues and may be ready to integrate the full robot together for the first time and test with all of the systems tomorrow.  We are nearly two weeks behind our planned schedule, but we still may have time to get the coders 4 good full days with the robot which will make a big difference over where we have ever been in the past.

YEEE HAAAAA!!!!!!


Here is what the team has left to do;

  • Drive train – done
  • Bumpers – started
  • Electrical board – done
  • Turret arm prototype – done
  • Turret arm – started
  • Turntable – started
  • Shooter – started
  • Vision – started
  • Main code – started
  • Strategy – done
  • Scouting system – started
  • Awards – started
    • Chairman’s – done
    • Wood Flowers – done
    • Entrepreneurship – done
    • Dean’s – done
    • Chairman’s video – started
    • Media award – started
  • Competition documents started
    • Tech Journal started
    • Judges Packet started
    • 1 sheeter started
    • Safety Binder started
    • Pit Video started
    • Chairman’s presentation started
  • Pre-competition scouting – started
  • Inviting local leaders to events – done
  • Bellypan – done
  • Pre season scouting and risk survey – started
  • Reveal video started
  • Climber started
  • Defensive Cheescake – not started
  • Wiring installation – started
  • Driver Selection done
  • Team Standard – started
  • T-shirt – started
  • Battery cart refurbish – not started
  • Refurbish battery leads started
  • Refurbish robot cart – not started
  • Paint Pit – not started

 

 

 

7 days left

Highly focused, were the words of the day yesterday in the Walt Whitman shop.  We were on a mission to get our shooter distance up and our new lifter joint completed.   The joint assembly made it about 75% of the way to being completed and should be ready to test today.  The Shooter on the other hand is perplexing us, Our prototype shooter was shooting about 30 feet. Our production shooter is only going 15 feet. We are going to continue to try some additional configuration tonight and will continue to work on this till we get it right.  Our code team has been able to get our drive train encoders working and are chomping at the bit to get more time to test the robot.  If all goes well the mechanical problems we listed will all figured out tomorrow and they will get all of Monday and Tuesday to work on the code.  Our electrical team was busy adding reinforcement to every aspect of the electrical board so that we are less susceptible to impact loads.  We will be testing their handywork this weekend during our drive practice.  Our bumper team was getting our second set of bumpers completed last night and should have both sets ready to go tonight.  And our awards team is killing it, they are working on all of the awards documentation we will need to impress at our district events.

Since we are hosting a competition this year we also have an advertising team who is getting ramped up to to make sure attendance is as high as possible.  Every student and parent who attends could be a potential team mate, mentor or sponsor for our 2016-17 season so we are going all-in to make sure we hit the max fire marshal approved capacity of the gym.  To help make sure the community knows about the event we invited all of our elected officials, check out who has RSVPd

  • Montgomery County Councilmember Navarro
  • Montgomery County Council Councilmember Berliner
  • Montgomery County Council Councilmember Hans Riemer
  • Montgomery County Council President Nancy Floreen
  • MD Delegate Will Smith – District 20
  • MD Delegate Aruna Miller, District 15
  • MD Delegate Jamie Raskin, District 8
  • MD Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo, District 15
  • MD Delegate Kumar P. Barve
  • MD Delegate Kirill Reznik, District 39
  • MD Delegate Korman, Marc
  • Congressman Chris Van Hollen
  • Russell Shilling will attend on behalf of the acting Secretary of Education John King

Our scouting team has also been hard at working putting together a revolutionary system for scouting that will allow our team to take advantage of of the real time demands for scouting this year. We believe teams that scout and communicate clearly will gain an advantage comparable to an additional function on an alliance robot.  Specifically, alliances that have no team that has real time scouting will be at a disadvantage compared to those alliances that do in qualification matches.  In the past scouting is more of an after qualification data point.  For example, we are going to use google docs and create a real time dashboard that the drive team will have available to them via a 4g tablets at all times.  Our scouting team in the stands will populate it via 4g cell phones.  We believe that this system could tip the scales in our favor match over match just the same way a piece of robot functionality could.

Here is what the team has left to do;

  • Drive train – done
  • Bumpers – started
  • Electrical board – done
  • Turret arm prototype – done
  • Turret arm – started
  • Turntable – started
  • Shooter – started
  • Vision – started
  • Main code – started
  • Strategy – done
  • Scouting system – started
  • Awards – started
    • Chairman’s – done
    • Wood Flowers – done
    • Entrepreneurship – done
    • Dean’s – done
    • Chairman’s video – started
  • Competition documents started
    • Tech Journal started
    • Judges Packet started
    • 1 sheeter started
    • Safety Binder started
    • Pit Video started
    • Chairman’s presentation started
  • Pre-competition scouting – started
  • Inviting local leaders to events – done
  • Bellypan – done
  • Pre season scouting and risk survey – started
  • Reveal video started
  • Climber started
  • Defensive Cheescake – not started
  • Wiring installation – started
  • Driver Selection done
  • Team Standard – started
  • T-shirt – started
  • Battery cart refurbish – not started
  • Refurbish battery leads started
  • Refurbish robot cart – not started
  • Paint Pit – not started

8 Days Left

So we have decided on a new design for our lifting joint and plan on getting that fabricated tonight and tested tomorrow.  If it does not work we will use a larger sprocket and remove the turret to get the extra clearance we need to keep the bot below 14.”  We have also decided on the order of changes we are going to make tot the shooter to get the extra 10′ we need to be able to shoot from any location in the courtyard.  Those will start being made tonight and tested as each one is completed.

For more info on our joint issue check out this CD thread http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=143971

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Other things we will be doing this week include;

  • Adding more reinforcement to the electrical board and additional wiring lengths so as to avoid disconnects after big impact events
  • Adding more bolts to critical structure so as to avoid joint failures

To make all of this possible we have worked with the school to get extra time this week.  We are allowed to be in the lab from 2:30 pm to 10pm tonight through Friday and from 1pm to 8 pm on Saturday.

One major positive is that we are 20 lbs under weight and have plenty of space to add a lifter once we get the main bot working.  Another big positive is that we get two more practice days in Columbia this weekend.  This will allow our drive team and code team to get more time with the completed robot then we have ever had in the past.

Here is what the team has left to do;

  • Drive train – done
  • Bumpers – started
  • Electrical board – done
  • Turret arm prototype – done
  • Turret arm – started
  • Turntable – started
  • Shooter – started
  • Vision – started
  • Main code – started
  • Strategy – done
  • Scouting system – started
  • Awards – started
    • Chairman’s – done
    • Wood Flowers – done
    • Entrepreneurship – done
    • Dean’s – done
    • Chairman’s video – started
  • Competition documents started
    • Tech Journal started
    • Judges Packet started
    • 1 sheeter started
    • Safety Binder started
    • Pit Video started
    • Chairman’s presentation started
  • Pre-competition scouting – started
  • Inviting local leaders to events – done
  • Bellypan – done
  • Pre season scouting and risk survey – started
  • Reveal video started
  • Climber started
  • Defensive Cheescake – not started
  • Wiring installation – started
  • Chairman’s video started
  • Driver Selection done
  • Team Standard – started
  • T-shirt – started
  • Battery cart refurbish – not started
  • Refurbish battery leads started
  • Refurbish robot cart – not started
  • Paint Pit – not started

Bonus info – we are now up to 12 Snow days this season – which is nearly 25% of build season.

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This year’s robot is the most complex robots we have attempted to build in the team’s history and we have struggled to make it a reality.  But this is how we know we are trying, this is how we know we are pushing ourselves and this is where champions are forged.  We are in the home stretch and need all hands on deck to see this year’s robot across the finish line.  Be ready to put it all on the line and show what we are made of.

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