Resources

TECH League

STARS League

strategy

Identify the problem - Score as many points as possible.

     There are a large number of tasks that each robot must be able to do. I order to have a robust design do not over extend yourself. Choose 3 tasks that you want to focus on and make sure those work before you attempt to add to your design. This will ensure your robot can score points every round.

Example:

  1. Place ingredient cube in hopper.
  2. Be able to maneuver easily.
  3. Place element cube on pole.

Brainstorm solution - Build an effective robot. 

     It is vital that you think through how you are going to complete the challenge before you start building. At this stage you should be be developing concepts. You should not focus on the details while brainstorming. This will allow you to get a sense of what you are going to design and build.

Example:

  1. Scoop shove to pick up cubes.
  2. A holonomic drive.
  3. Slot through scoop to place element cubes on the pole.

Prototype - Test concepts to ensure they will work. 

      This is where you start to think about the details. Prototypes are a great way to see you ideas and test if they actually work. These should be out of cardboard, plywood or something cheap and readily available. CAM(computer aided modeling) is a great way to do this.

Example:

  1. Plywood scoop powered by hand to gather cubes.
  2. Mecanum base to ensure it can drive the way it was envisioned. 
  3. Put slot in the scoop to test placing the element cubes on the pole.

Build - Fabricate and assemble your robot. 

     This is the most detail oriented phase of the design process. It is vital to be as accurate and precise as possible. The best robots are usually the ones that have the best attention to detail. Simple robots are very effective. The goal is to score points. If your robot is broken you can not score points, so keep simple and robust.

Things to keep in mind: 

  1. Symmetrical robots have an centered center of mass.
  2. Clean and neat electronics make a robot 5x better.
  3. Measure twice cut once.
  4. Keep it simple! Passive systems are the best when they work.
  5. Steel beams are heavy. Using plastic or wood can make robots lighter and faster.

 

Improve the design - What keeps the robot from peak performance.

     This step takes by far the longest. It is important that a robot is built quickly leaving a good amount of time to test and make improvements. No idea works right away. It will take some time. Do not get discouraged if your robot is not performing great after you build it.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. Practice driving! Robots are hard to drive. Just like any other sport it takes time to get good at competing. 
  2. If it is not broken do not fix it. If something is working leave it alone. It is more important to get drive experience than to get a perfect robot.
  3. THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL IN ROBOTICS IS DEDICATION.

Drive Train

 Drive train types:

Inline traction wheels - Great for pushing. They are simple and robust. May not offer great mobility. 

Holonomic - Allows the robot to move in any direction at any moment in time. This is great for maneuvering around the field. These are perceptible to getting pushed around.

  1. Omnis at 45 Degree Angle - cheap but hard to build.

     2. Mecanum - Expensive but easy to build.

     3. H Base Omni - The same pushing power as in line traction bots, but takes up lots of space.

Lift

When it comes to the lift make robust. The last thing you want is a robot where the lift is always breaking. 

Lift types:

1. 2 bar lift - Simple and robust. It takes up a lot of space. The implement does not stay parallel to the ground.

  1. 4 bar lift - Simple and robust. This takes up even more space than a 2 bar it also does not have the same range of motion. However the implement stays parallel to the ground.

  1. 6-n bar lift -  It is possible to add a center bar to a 4 bar linkage. This allows the lift to raise much higher than a 4 bar while keeping the implement parallel to the ground. These are more complex and can be unstable. It is also to stack these linkages to form an 8+ bar lift. These can get very tall, but take up a huge amount of space.

4. Scissor lift - These reach very high but are very hard to power. They are also very unstable.

  1. Linear lift - These take up very little space and can be pretty stable. They are the hardest type of lift to build.

 

Intake

All of the game elements this year are cubes. This means one intake system can be used to collect both the ingredient and element cubes. The intake needs to be designed to get hit by other robots and still function because it is in the front of your robot.

Potential intake methods:

1. Intake rollers - these are fast and robust. They are not great for placing things precisely. 

2. Clamp/claw - This is great for placing things precisely. They can be pretty fast if done right. These by design can only pick up 1-2 cubes at a time.

3. Scoop Bot - These are very robust and can pick up a large number of cubes at once. They require a pretty thin piece of material to use as the scoop. It is important to make sure that material is strong and will not break.

PARC is a program of SenEcole