This year we have started using SolidWorks to design our robot (previously only complex parts of the robot were designed). Our 3D designer has had a lot of work as the robot isn’t a set plan, but a constantly evolving chunk of metal.
Not everything is shown on this CAD drawing, but it is a helpful representation of what the robot’s skeleton is, and lets us plan things accordingly.
Anyways, we are almost done a long week of building. We have met every day of the week after school for two to five hours, and tomorrow we will meet for seven hours! I’m sure that all this time we’ve spent will be well worth it though, as the robot is looking good, and very robust.
We spent a bunch of the day building the robot. Last year our robot was smashed by another team, so we went for a more solid, protective design. The robot is heavier, but there is a shield around the entire robot.
In order to test the robot code, the electrical system needed to be wired up. The drive train has been wired, and the rest is to come, but we are making huge advances.
The robot is starting to take shape. A large portion of the upper half of the robot is still made out of wood for prototyping purposes, but we plan to be driving the robot within the next week or so.
The robot is more complex than last years’ because we went for a robot that can fit under the trench which is 3 ft. ½ in. (~93 cm) tall according to the game manual. The robot is more compact but we are still going to be able to climb mostly due to our implementation of CAD which has greatly increased the precision and functionality of our robot.
The programming has also been going well, in theory. We have almost finished all of the cool features that we are putting in our robot this year (such as limelight auto targeting).
The reason that I said “in theory”, is because we haven’t actually tested the code yet because the electrical hasn’t been wired up yet. Next year we will probably make that a higher priority, but for now we will just have to wait and see (although if anything breaks it shouldn’t be too hard to fix).
In previous years we haven’t really done much for the autonomous period of the game, so this year we are planning on using Path Weaver to move the robot to the scoring tower and are looking into using some different sensors to increase the data that we can use for navigation.
We attempted to follow this tutorial for setting it up on the WPILib website. When we put the code into Visual Studio Code, however, the project would no longer build even though there were no errors. Getting Path Weaver working will be the big project after exams.
A new thing that we are planning on using this year is a limelight. (There is reflective tape around the shooting target that makes a square on the limelight camera). Then we should be able to use the camera during autonomous period and throughout the game for increased accuracy versus lining the robot up manually. We have been looking through WPILib for different things that we can implement with the robot. There is so much that we can do, it is just a matter of figuring out how to do it and taking the time.
The 2020 FRC game is out now, with this video giving a pretty good explanation of the game mechanics, as well as showing what the new field looks like. Put simply, each team can score points by getting balls from the field and placing them in a tower, with additional ones given for hanging the robot in the air from a bar at the end of the match. Even more points can be scored by leveling the same bar with an additional robot.
So we have been meeting every day of the week after school, excitedly preparing. We were generally split into three teams. One group building a prototype robot, another working on the business aspects of the project, and some on the coding portions.