Day 14, Jan 20, 2017

Its Friday!


  1. Programming team figured out the PID
    1. It turns out the speed was being set as positive but the encoder was reading a negative speed
    2. After changing this (setting the encoder to reversed) the PID worked great
    3. The second motor is being added and will be tested tomorrow morning.
    4. The Vision code was researched and have a sample program to get the boiler using RoboRealm
    5. Now to mate this code with the java project using network tables
  2. The Shooter team worked on getting another gearbox added
    1. The motor was not screwed into the plate that holds it so that needs to be redone
    2. After this we will test and see if the speed up is better and how many bpm we can get to
  3. The passive gear team tested the prototype significantly
    1. It seemed to work well and the lift could get the gear out
      1. Yea… we had to put that sign on there as we have such a small room, this sits outside
    2. The bottom is being changed to accommodate the intake so that we can test with both together
  4. The intake team is changing 2 things
    1. The shaft collars (~50 of them) are getting changed for spacers
    2. The curved wood on the side to 2x4s
    3. This will help even the intake and put it on the robot to test
  5. Hanging team added the second gearbox
    1. The gearbox seems to be meshing incorrectly so it does not move
    2. Both gearboxes (with the outside gearing) are now 63 to 1, so we should be going up 48 inches in about 4 seconds.
    3. Tomorrow we will rebuild/check it out and test the hanger
  6. CAD team got a lot done
    1. Started on the shooter V1
    2. Seems to look and fit nicely.
    3. Now to fine tune the small stuff like the roller placement to get the correct hand off from shooter intake to the wheels
    4. Start CADding the turret
    5. The Intake was put onto the drivetrain
      1. It is still a little short but will we will change that tomorrow
      2. We also need to see how much room is left for the balls and see how many we can fit into that space
    6. The passive gear intake
      1. Started.
      2. Need to add the holes for the shaft that this will be pivoting on
      3. This will determine the placement and the angle by how much we can turn the gear intake at the beginning of the match and still stay within dimensions
  7. We are mostly on schedule. The drivetrain needs to be done tomorrow so that we are fully on schedule
    1. The gearbox plates were plasma cut today
    2. They will be put together tomorrow to be put on the drivetrain
    3. Here is what our schedule looks like in a gantt chart format and where we are

Day 13, Jan 19, 2017

2 days until the end of week 2!

Today progress was made as always in several subsystems.

  1. Programming team….
    1. Well the encoder now works and the fix was as simple as they get
    2. The wire that the encoder was connected with was nicked and we did not see it until closer inspection (which should have been yesterday)
    3. Well it works now to tune PID for the shooter and test tomorrow
  2. The DriveTrain team is working on assembling the V1
    1. The bellypan has been cut
    2. It is being riveted to the frame
    3. Next step is to add the wheel assemblies
  3. Electrical Team worked on getting the batteries wired
    1. We did not end up having the right bolts with lock nuts
    2. We will either use 10s with lock nuts that we have or get the right ones and do that later, we have enough batteries for now
    3. Tomorrow the electronics are going to go on the hopefully finished V1 drivetrain
  4. The CAD team was probably the busiest
    1. CAD has to get pretty much the entire version 1 of the robot done by this weekend
    2. The intake was started today
      1. We got the general geometry from prototype
      2. Adding a roller on the front for pickup from the wall
      3. The lexan needs to move to the inside so that we get the right compression on the ball
    3. The prototype shooter examined for ideas on how to CAD the V1
      1. Tomorrow we will CAD it and attach to the drive train
    4. Gearboxes were mated to the drive with 3inch blocks
      1. If we want to hang using the drive boxes this will give us a 1ft height for the hanger mechanism
      2. It also gives us a little bit more room for the electronics on the base
  5. The Hanger prototype is going to be changed a little bit
    1. Started adding a second bag motor to try and get that 4 second lift with a 63:1 gear ratio
    2. Currently putting a second bag on the other side.
  6. The Passive gearmechanism is on hold
    1. Dimensions were given to CAD to put into assembly and see how it fits
    2. After CAD is done we will cut the new version out of lexan and see how that works
  7. Finally the CNC was upgraded
    1. I am going to get the software running and try and make one of the gearbox plates on here.
    2. It should be easier as the system is now stiffer

Day 12, Jan 18, 2017

Almost a third of the way through build season! Time flies!

Busy day today, many different subsystems had a lot of progress!

  1. Programming team was working on the PID and encoder code to be able to use the versaplanetary encoder to get the rpm of the shooter.
    1. There seem to be some issues as it can set the speed but we are not getting any speed output on the smart dashboard.
      1. We are getting the error output to show a value when we run the shooter but the speeds do not seem to work
    2. None of the tutorials seemed to help so we are posting on CD and are going to see if someone has had this issue and can help.
  2. The drivetrain V1 is being built
    1. Side rails and the short front ones have been put together
    2. The carcass is close to being done.
    3. Next step is to secure everything with brackets.
  3. The shooter prototype was changed
    1. We put an integrated encoder in the gearbox to be able to read speed and connected it to the rio
    2. A hood was added so that we can control the distance vs height of our shot.
      1. This will be tested tomorrow if we can hopefully figure out the PID
      2. If not we will just try with a set power
    3. It was mounted on the drivebase with a spacer underneath so that the chain does not rub on the baseplate.
  4. The Intake got just a little bit of work done on it.
    1. The lexan was cut to be able to fit a 5 inch ball under it
    2. Now we need to add a second roller on the front where the lexan is
      1. This will help getting balls off the wall.
  5. Passive gear intake prototype is finished and tested to give good results
    1. It was widened at the top and on one side
    2. This let the gear go in without any issues on multiple consecutive tries
    3. Measurements were taken to put this into CAD and to start building the V1 of it to actually put on the drivetrain to test
  6. The hanger prototype was tested today at 2 different ratios
    1. The first ratio at 450:1 was extremely slow
    2. The second one at 150:1 was a lot better. As you can see in the video it was a lot faster and still strong enough to pick me up.
      1. Unfortunately it disconnected so we didn’t get to see how long it takes to get up to 3 ft (we are having the mechanism at about a foot off the ground
    3. According to the JVN calculator it should go 3 feet up in 8 seconds which I think is a little slow.
      1. Here is the speed for one Bag with a 150:1 gearbox
      2. Here is the calculation if we do it from the drivetrain
      3. CAD has already looked at both options and it is possible to get the 54 gear up to about 11 inches giving us only 3 ft of climb
  7. Some more field elements were built
    1. The Hopper was finished as well as another lift assembly

Day 11, Jan 17, 2017

School was out on Monday and we can not get into the school so today is our first meeting since Saturday.

  1. Programming team is working on PID for the shooter as well as integrating the NavX
    1. The goal is to be able to know the position and orientation of the robot as well as potentially helping autolock the turret.
    2. The PID is needed to ensure shot consistency and to be able to ramp the shooter to the right speed faster after each ball increasing our bps (balls per second)
  2. Drivetrain prototype has not changed but was actually driven on carpet today
    1. It seemed to handle well considering all of the weight was on the back where the omni wheels are (see vex aluminum brackets where the battery was)
    2. It fishtailed a little but still kept its “poise” and was controllable and easy to maneuver the front (where the gear will be ideally)
  3. Drivetrain V1 is now beginning to be built which will be in the correct dimensions
    1. The 2x1s have been cut from some left over materials to the right length of our semi-final drive train
    2. Bearing holes are being made for the wheels so we can attach the versablocks.
  4. The Shooter prototype has had several changes
    1. The integrated encoder was added to the gearbox for the 775pro so that we can monitor the speed of the shooter in addition to implementing PID control.
    2. The back plate of the shooter prototype was flimsy and was changed to 1/4 lexan which solved the compression issue.
      1. We are now shooting further and are more consistent with our shots
    3. Now we just need to curve the top of the shooter so that we can aim the ball.
      1. Currently it goes straight up
    4. We will prototype a simple hood mechanism that we can manually move to see how the hood angle affects the distance of the shot as well as the height
  5. The hanging prototype was tested
    1. The 450 to 1 ratio is obviously slow and able to lift 150lb
    2. The wood on the bottom gave out so we are going to reattach it and try again tomorrow
      1. We will first run with the 450 to one to prove to ourselves that it works
      2. Then we will change that to a 75 or 100 to one and see if that will still do the job (as it will be much faster
    3. We are also thinking about powering the hanger from the drive train as a possibility
      1. We have a space in our custom gearbox in between the 2 stages to put a sprocket that we can broach to 3/8 hex and use the power of the drive for an extremely fast climb
  6. The passive gear prototype was improved
    1. Legs of the correct length were added to the bottom to make sure that a ball could fit under it and that the gear hole would be at ~13inches
    2. Sides are being attached to make the funnel from almost the full 2ft height
  7. The CAD team worked on the V1 drivetrain gearboxes and the intake
    1. The custom gearboxes were put on the V1 drivetrain and just need to be mated in the right places
    2. The intake was started and will be done in the next couple of days. The most important aspects are:
      1. Making sure it takes a ball from the floor
      2. Spits it out into the hopper not to the other side.
      3. This will be designed in CAD and tested on the V1 of the intake.
  8. 2 of the field elements were finished
    1. The Loading station was finished today and the inside is Lexan to simulate the gear sliding
    2. The angles were fixed so it is now the correct slope and height
    3. The Lift was finished as well but we decided to make it less like the team drawings
    4. We decided to make it lift-able so that we can practice getting the gear out of the robot with completely passive mechanism and see if it works.

Day 8, Jan 14, 2017

Saturday is a long day (well kind of 8am-3pm) for us so should be a productive one. And it was. A lot was done.


  1. Programming team is now ahead as they finished programming everything for the prototype robot
    1. Looked at and installed the NavX libraries into Java.
    2. Divided special tasks between the team to better cover all of our bases
    3. The 3 tasks that the team will focus on are:
      1. PID (shooter pid is going to be critical for a consistent shot, and drive pid)
      2. NavX robot orientation
      3. Vision tracking for our robot or turret
  2. Prototype teams had an extremely productive day today.
    1. The shooter prototype changed the gearboxes to a 775 pro with a versaplanetary reduction of 3:1
      1. Chained it back up 3:1 so basically its a 1:1 from a 775 pro
      2. We did this so that we can run at 50% power as running at 100 killed a 775 pro already
    2. The Drivetrain prototype is done and tested
      1. Drove around and it seemed to work just fine
    3. The intake prototype was chained to a motor
      1. We found through experimentation that actually a MiniCIM with a 1:1 ratio was a really good speed to get the balls up really quickly and effieciently off the floor into the hopper.
      2. This is what we are going to go with for the intake and will either go with the same for the feeder into the shooter or make it even faster for that.
    4. The Hanging prototype got a lot of work
      1. We attached a bag motor to a 150:1 veraplanetary gearbox
      2. Then it was further reduced 3 to 1
      3. This worked well and seemed to hold 150lbs but the gear reduction was poorly made so they slipped
      4. By the end of the meeting we fixed that and will test tuesday
      5. Another thing is that is was kind of slow
        1. We can not get rid of the 3 to 1 gear reduction so we need to get rid of one of the stages of the versaplanetary
        2. We need to get a pulley made for the shaft so we wind the rope on the pulley not the shaft
        3. We can safely make it 75-100:1 total reduction including the gear to pick up 150lbs.
    5. Finally the Passive gear prototype is complete with the right height from the ground
      1. Tested it with the built loading station and it seems to work well.
      2. There are a couple of things that need to be changed
        1. The top of the W shape container needs to be 20 inches wide and taller (currently 15 inches wide and less then 2 ft tall) in order to funnel the gear
  3. CAD team has got a lot of math done today
    1. V1 ofDriveTrain is CADded and we are now looking at the gearboxes and drive speeds.
      1. The field is flat so it is beneficial to go fast
      2. We did not find pre-made shifting gearboxes that would be a good speed and compactness for us so we decided to CAD and build our own
      3. We went through the math for the speeds and even used the gearbox calculator:
      4. From this we came up with a custom gearbox using the same CIM cluster gear as the 1114 gearbox to keep the CIMs close and compact
      5. Overall the speeds are 23 and 14 feet per second
    2. Camera mount was CADded and 3D printed
    3. The Intake now needs to be CADded for us to complete our V1 Robot CAD so we can give it off to build team by mid week to get a V1 drivetrain ready for Practice Saturday and Sunday.
  4. We finally managed to get all of the pieces cut for the field elements
    1. We are building 3 lifts, 1 hopper and 1 loading station.
    2. Loading station is almost done, next is to assemble the lifts and hopper
  5. Tomorrow we will be going to Strake HS to help with a rookie bootcamp.

Day 7, Jan 13, 2017

Its Friday!

We finally got some good progress and movement from the robot!


  1. The programming team is finally on track
    1. They figured out the new system of importing and setting up the CANTalons
    2. Importing the from the ctre library instead of the WPI one.
    3. All Talons seem to work now and the prototype teams can now go ahead and tweak all of their designs
    4. Programming team will now focus on PID and Vision, since the basic code is almost fully written
  2. Prototype teams have combined the shooter and the drive train
    1. The drive train was tested and looked good.
    2. Shooter prototype was way too slow
    3. We are going to change the gearboxes on the shooter to one 775pro motor
      1. It will be geared down 3:1 via versaplanetary gearbox.
      2. Then we can play with chaining it to get a better shot and to not use the full full power for every shot.
      3. The goal is to get to around 6000 rpm at half speed for the motor.
      4. We do not know yet which direction we will face the shooter (most likely the other) but having it this way will help us line up to the boiler right now
      5. The wiring looks messy but this will be cleaned up in the V1 of our drivetrain.
      6. We have 2 more iterations the next one being the correct dimensions of what we are planning, and we will tweak that one for the practice robot.
  3. The Passive Gear prototype team is working on making their prototype more rigid
    1. Tomorrow they will make it the correct height
    2. Tomorrow the mentors are going to build the field elements as the spring came in for the lifts
    3. Building the hopper, lifts, and human loading stations will help test the prototypes and practice with the final robot.
  4. Hanging prototype was started today.
    1. We are using a 150:1 reduction on a bag motor and for now a regular hex shaft and will try to lift 150lb tomorrow
    2. This will be mounted below the shooter. Or that is the plan.
  5. Overall most systems have been prototyped in some regard.
    1. Tomorrow will be a big test day for all first prototypes and some changing of the prototypes will be done as well.

Day 6, Jan 12, 2017

Man build season is going by fast. Almost the end of week 1.


Progress has kind of slowed down but is we are still on track to finish prototypes by the end of the week and start testing them Saturday and improving on them next week.


  1. Programming team continued some of their struggles but got all of the hardware and software finally updated to the new 2017 images.
    1. Code had a problem deploying (Robots don’t quit)
    2. Did add code for the shooter and intake which will be eventually mounted on the drivetrain
  2. The drive team is on pause until programming can catch up.
    1. They helped the electronics team get the electronics on the chassis
    2. Made sure there is room for an intake as well as the shooter prototypes
  3. The electrical team non-permanently mounted the electronics on the chassis and wired everything
    1. Had a bad motor controller so had to change that out. Also one of the 40A ports on the PDP does not work.
  4. The Shooter prototype was changed
    1. Now it fits into 2 ft high configuration
    2. The wheels were also changed to 4in colsons to save space instead of the large pneumatic wheels
    3. The speed was increased by chaining it up.
    4. Testing to start tomorrow once the programming is ready
  5. The intake/feeder into the shooter prototype was finished and tested
    1. Seems that the polycord works well to collect the balls from the floor
    2. It does get stuck on the churro thats in the middle so that needs to go
    3. Also our lexan in the back is not supported and when we added compression it worked a lot better
    4. Adding grippy material to the lexan may also help
  6. The chairman’s team sent out surveys/questionnaires to the students, mentors and alumni to fill out
    1. Next step is to get all of the info and to get the responses and to create a bullet point list of a paper.
  7. The CAD team finished up the prototype robot CAD
    1. Version 2 of the drivetrain (one that will be in dimentions and a lot closer to reality) was started in CAD.
    2. A lot of math and thinking was done about placement of wheels gearboxes and other things that will eventually go on the frame (hopper, shooter, intake, hanger etc)
    3. So far the idea is to put the gearboxes where the shooter will be as this will be a good place to not interfere with the intake and the hopper (as we want to keep that as large as possible)

Day 5. Jan 11, 2017

Everybody was back to work today from the rockets demo so we got a full days worth of work in.

  1. The programming team got all of the code for the shooter and drivetrain finalized
    1. Had issues connecting to load the code to the rio
      1. Figured out the problem was in eclipse
      2. When you install JDK, JRE and Eclipse, eclipse make sure to change the default JDK to what it says in this image. The initial installation puts the JRE folder here instead. CODE WILL NOT DEPLOY if you do not do this.
      3. After doing this everything seemed to work fine. Now to load the code tomorrow and try driving.
  2. Electrical team worked mostly on helping the programming team
    1. 4 more talons were wired up
    2. The talons were renumbered to have drivetrain 1-4 and shooter 5-8
    3. The electronics were put on the prototype drivetrain
  3. Drive train prototype was completed and is waiting programming for testing
    1. 25 chain break was not available to since the 12tooth 35 sprockets came in those were installed instead
    2. Currently testing out 4 traction and 2 omni setup (with back and forward interchangeable)
  4. Shooter prototype team finished wiring and chaining the gearboxes
    1. Next step is to cut the wood to the right height (to be able to test the 2ft as well as the 3 ft versions)
    2. It will be put on the drivetrain to get connected to the same electronics
    3. The string was added to keep the hood from falling back for the shooter tests in hopes of keeping the compression the same.
  5. The gear intake/mechanism was prototyped today
    1. A passive gear holder was tested for basic ability to catch a gear sliding from 2ft.
    2. It seemed to work fine, now the next stage is to make one we can test with the deposit of the gear onto the spring
  6. The CAD team finished up the prototype shooter CAD
    1. They also started thinking about and got the basic dimensions of the real size drivetrain for this years game CADded up.
    2. They added bumpers as well
    3. Next step is to put the wheels and decide where we will put the gearboxes and such
    4. Before that though we need to sketch out the rest of the robot to see where we have space and where everything else will go
  7.  Finally, some of the chairmans team met to discuss ideas for the paper due Feb 9th
    1. Starting point is to get all of the information for the last 2 years of our existence
    2. This will be recorded and we will start getting ideas for paper topics from there
    3. Created an idea for the theme of the paper
    4. We also created a survey for the team members to fill out
      1. Quotes from this could be used in the paper
      2. This information can also be included in some way in the chairmans video

Day 4. Jan 10, 2017

One more day down!

Some of our students went to the Rockets game to demo our last years creation and shoot some baskets with it:

The others stayed at the lab and made some more progress on the prototypes.

  1. The programming team finished code yesterday for the prototype drive train.
    1. Spent most of the day trying to use the new FRC Radio Configuration utility
    2. In the end used the old one to configure the prototype electrical system.
      1. Still need to figure out why 2017 tool does not work (firmware?)
      2. Set the roboRIO to 1114 and the radio to the same
      3. Renamed the CANTalons to 1-4 for the drive train
  2. The drivetrain team finished building the drive train and attaching all of the wheels and sprokets to the proto drive.
    1. The current plan is to use 25 chain for the prototype but we did not find our 25 chain break so we will need to get one before tomorrow to continue and finish up chaining the drive.
  3.  The shooter team finished up the prototype and at the end of the meeting we even tested it using a drill
    1. The shooter prototype needs to now be chained to the motors that are attached at the bottom of the wood panels
      1. After this is done we can truly test the shooter with different speeds by changing the sprockets between the wheels and gearbox and also testing different wheels (currently Andymark Pneumatic wheels)
  4. The intake team started their prototype by creating a carcass on which to put pulleys with polycord. They will also add a backing to this, so that the ball will be between the polycord and the back wall (lexan)
    1. Tomorrow we will print the pulleys for the polycord and get the intake running with a drill to see if polycord is good enough to pick up the fuel.


  5. Last thing that we did was create a Gantt chart to keep track of our progress and whether we are on track. This contains our subteams as well as CAD and Electrical to make sure everyone has a schedule to follow and so that we can finish both our robots this season as we are only allowed to stay at the school until 7pm.

Day 3. Jan 9, 2017

Sundays are our days off so its day 3 now.

Today was extremely productive. Here are some of the things we worked on:

  1. Prototype Drive Train
    1. Took last years prototype west coast and started adding back WCP VersaBlocks and Gearbox and wheels.
    2. For now it is a 6 wheel drive train and we want to try and change the orientation of the wheels (omni vs traction) to see what will work best, yet still give us the ability to not be pushed around.
  2. Shooter Prototype
    1. To see how the balls fly we decided to make a quick shooter prototype
    2. For now we are using pneumatic wheels (as we have a lot from last year and they grip well)
    3. We are hooking up some gearboxes that we found that we will use chain to get to the speed we want.
    4. The holes on the top are to get different positions of the wheels with respect to a hood (to be mounted)
  3. The CAD team created the prototype drivetrain in Solidworks to hone their skills and to make sure everything fits
  4. The electrical team did a fantastic job at getting the electronics quickly wired up and ready for the prototype drive train.
    1. Started installing all of the FRC Updates to format the RoboRIO and get the Talons assigned.
  5. Programming team wrote some simple code to control the 4 motor West Coast drive train.
    1. All FRC software updated to 2017, and plugins as well.
    2. Programming team started investigating changes in the 2017 version of the WPILib.