Our CAD work is almost complete. Our chassis is back from our new friends at Colors, Inc. Our bumpers are getting the final touches. Our programming is coming along – we’ve got basic drivecode written and will add more as we get the robot built and sensors placed. So here’s a quick tour of what we’ve got so far.
Until we come up with a better name, our robot is affectionally called Palindrome (or Rotator, which is a palindrome itself). One of our original constraints we had was that the robot had to have a ‘throughput’ design – we load in one side and expel the ball the other side. We thought this would put less pressure on the drivers because they wouldn’t have to reorient the robot to pick up then get rid of the ball. We also figured that configuration would allow us to load while the robot is ‘facing’ the drivers, making it easier to see and control. With this design, there isn’t a true front or back to the robot, it can load and eject from either end.
The floor load intake wheels (8″ AndyMark) are also used to eject the ball. We’re using CIM motors through AM LJ Bevel Boxes to power them. The indexers are 4″ AndyMark rubber treaded wheels. To turn the arm from the front to the back, we’re using two AM14U Turret assemblies, one on either side.
In our starting configuration, the arms will be pointing straight up, with the ball resting on top. Once autonomous begins, we’ll slowly intake the ball, spreading the arms. We’ll then drive forward and see if the goal in front of us is hot – if so, we’ll let ‘er rip; if not, we’ll wait a few seconds, then fire.
Once the arms spread out to their final width, there will be a latching mechanism to lock them into place. We’ve found two inches of compression is best for controlling and launching the ball, so the distance between the wheels is 22″ when in the open configuration. We’ll have to be careful not to incur any frame perimeter penalties, but with smart coaching and driving, we hope that won’t be a problem – especially with the thickness of the bumpers.
From there, our game strategy is fluid. We can accept inbound passes from the human player then either loft them over the truss or pass the ball to a teammate (direct, on the floor, or by lofting the ball). We could also play as scorers, accepting the ball from alliance partners and shooting to the high or low goal.
Right now, we’ve got AM14U 6WD on our drivetrain, with the 3CIM gearboxes. They’ve got two CIMs per side currently; we may add one more motor per side.
A fun result of our design is that the arms resemble wings; the middle section looks like a beak. It wasn’t purposefully designed this way, but we’re not complaining.
As always, we’re happy to take suggestions or criticisms. We’ll post soon about gameplay strategies and scouting.