Let's Make Robots!

2009 FIRST FRC Robot, Team 2197

Ok this year we had to design a robot that could successfully collect these “moon rocks” and then deposit them in the trailer of the opposite alliance.

Sounds pretty simple but!!!

It has to weigh less then 120lbs, fit in a 28”x38”x60” box, use only specified motors and pneumatics (we used no pneumatics this year), use only a certain battery, and a hole list of other rules (three ring binder full). But still you have a lot of freedom to design whatever you want. Oh and we only had six weeks and a budget that is set by FIRST. It’s all to keep things equal though so it’s cool.

Andrew Early (remember that name) and I basically designed the thing during lunch and after school for a week straight. It got very intense at times because there are so many different ways to accomplish the task given to us. Upon finalizing the designs we started to scavenge for parts and assemble things.

About five weeks later we had it built, programmed, crated and shipped to Ohio for our first reginal where we placed 6th place out of 59 teams.

I could write an entire book on the many long nights we spent building this, and all the different ideas that came to mind in the process but to spare the life of my keyboard and your focus I will leave it at this for now. As anyone who has ever built a robot before knows, I love to be asked questions about my creation so please feel free to ask them. Like I said I know I left out a lot of details but I can’t possibly answer every question someone might have, so please just ask in a kind manner and I will be glad to answer anything for you. I had a ton of photos on fliker but apparently my account got switched or something and I lost them all, ill figure something out soon. If your dispirit to see more, again just ask and ill e-mail some to you.       



Though we had many a few Autodesk Inventor drawings we never used them for construction. Basically just all off the top of our heads! If any drawing of any sort helped us the most it would be this 2 minute MS Paint drawing I wiped up to convey our idea to our adviserCIMG0110.jpg





^^^^They dont even sell these anymor, so we were so lucky to have found a few!!! ^^^^




Instead of using a bunch of pulleys and stuff I had the brilliant idea of just putting the intake rollers at a 90^deg angle and linking them with a gear bot. Only problem is we didn’t have a gearbox like that… But a company who gave us a lot of materials (E-Pak Machinery) had two bevel gears laying around and some thick plastic that machines like a god. Lo and behold this is what we ended up with. Though there isn’t that gear on the shaft anymore, it was replaced with a single motor direct drive much more eficent. I don’t know if I have a picture of that… Had so much fun making this!!!  


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you should have seen my schools robot, to say it had stability problems is an understatement! you looked pretty prepared, good job!

What do you mean by stability problems? Was it the smooth playing surface that gave you simulated 1 /6th gravity, bad motors/ steering mechanisms, or was it simply too top heavy? I guess you could say we were prepared! Though we never thought in a million years that we could get 6th place so that’s always a plus. Also I was determined to build something that actually worked this year, last year the senior who was ”in charge” had a lot of good ideas but they were fairly complicated, and that robot was somewhat worthless on the field. I decided something simple would be our best bet, we scavenged used parts from a local “filling machine company” they build assembly lines that fill bottles like Chapstick, candles, water, bandages, that type of stuff. So they had lots of belts and pulleys, plastic, bolts, plexi glass. Just all sorts of things. How did your team do by the way? And where did you compete this year?

Nice project and congrats on placing.  Those CRio's are awesome, I use them with the 9234 modules for vibration monitoring DAQ systems.  Cool idea using one to control a robot.  What modules did you use?
This is not exactly what our system looked like but it’s recommended by first and very close. http://usfirst.org/uploadedFiles/Packaging%20Cover%20Sheet%20v4.pdf We had three modules available to us, digital I/O NI9403, Analog Input NI9201, and a Solenoid NI9472 The “driver station” or device that talked to the robot from the joysticks is in this document, pretty cool if you ask me, custom built by first for all teams. http://usfirst.org/uploadedFiles/3-FRC%20Control%20System-Component-Datasheets-Rev-0-5a.pdf It wasn’t exactly out idea to use the cRIO. In first competitions you are required to use the same controllers and stuff, so it was provided for us.
NI makes some class equipment.  I've been using their stuff for years.  LabView programming is a nice skill to pick up.  Are you in an engineering program?

They sure do, and Lab View looks amazing, though most my time was spent on the robot so unfortunately I couldn’t dive into that as much as I had hoped. And yes currently I’m enrolled as an ECET student at Purdue North Central, start classes next spring. But I’m trying to switch my major to Advanced Manufacturing (basically industrial robotics and automation) because I have been getting into that stuff a lot lately. Either way I’ll be happy because I love doing both. May have to skip Purdue and got to Ivy Tech though because local Purdue doesn’t offer it as of now.  

Reminds me I have a UMI RTX robotic arm, ever heard of them? Anyway I didn’t build it but I can program it to do stuff and it’s amazing, maybe ill post that.

And great write up. It looks like a very well thought out and fabricated project. 
cool!  i'm team 75!  were in Atlanta right now.  how'd you guys do this season?
team 75? i am team 2866, you guys helped us in Chesapeake!

Like I said we did really well in Ohio 6th place out of 59, but at the Purdue regional we had probables. Problems that were really just out of our hands like speed controllers dyeing, losing communication, main breaker broke once, and also front intake roller fell off at the beginning of a match all and all we placed 27th out of 35 teams there. Which isn’t great at all but it was still a lot of fun; I mean we were at Purdue! During their spring break, so me and a friend just walked all around searching random building for cool stuff and people. Ran into a guy that was building what he practically described as a UAV that was sweet and got a tour of the industrial robotics lab so yeah it was fun! Wish we were in Atlanta with you though :( didn’t know that was this week?