Pre-STL Day 4: Lighting Up
by Nathan Duong ’16
Competition Preparation: Transportation Crate
The second layer of paint has been applied to the transportation crate and is now finished!
Field Construction: 1 Point Goals
Members of the team have continued to construct the two wooden 1\-point goals to mirror the left side of the field.
The pit lights are being restored by soldering the wires after previously being burnt out. In addition, the HTML and CSS for the lights added “knightrider,” “rainbow,” and custom color effects.
The new, extra layer of fabric is being applied to the bumper of the robot, therefore removing the drawback of being “T-boned.”
The team continued to work on and improve the CAD of the future wheel hubs that will also expel drawback time from “T-boning” by increasing the width of the center wheel.
The web app is being worked on and members of the team sought to include FRC/VEX hours, the directory, and blog. Also, the logo for the app is being designed. Ideally this app will be available on iOS with open access to the students on their iPads and mobile devices.
- Bumper fabric testing
- Rebuild bumper frames for competition
- 1-Point Goals
- See board
Pre-STL Day 3: Boxes and Boxing In
by Nathan Duong ’16
The 5’ x 5’ x 5’ wooden crate that will be used for tool transportation in the St. Louis trip is being worked on. The first of two coats of blue paint was applied to patch the blank patches in a lighter color.
Scrimmaging is continually being conducted in preparation for worlds.
Reducing Cycle Time
Testing Bumper Material
In addition, new bumper fabric is being added to lower the coefficient of friction and time “T-boned.”
The team cut six solid metal 2’ x 4’s for wider wheel hubs. This will create more traction on Barrage’s wheels to lessen time “T-boned.”
Field Construction: 1 Point Goals
The team has been brainstorming to create two more wooden 1-point goals based on the measurements from the CAD. These are being constructed in order to have balanced coverage of goals on the left-most side of the field.
Pre-STL Day 2: Robot Repairs
by: Brenden Farrer
Today at the lab, other FIRST teams, such as Spartan Robotics, came to practice with our field. The primary focus was on fixing the practice robot and Skystalker to continue driver practice with the other teams.
A “hat” was built for Skystalker that allows it to block and carry a ball. The wheels were retreaded, as the previous ones have worn down. Hopefully these new defense capabilities will provide more practice for the drive team.
Today students began discussion and planning of future projects. However, a second ball settler was attached to reduce the motion of inbounded or caught balls to increase accuracy when shooting. Adding a powerslide wheel was discussed, no changes were implemented today.
Prep for World’s
For the trip to St. Louis, all of the tools will be shipped in a 5’ x 5’ x 5’ wooden crate. Using the measurements from the CAD designed yesterday, the wood pieces were cut and assembled.
- See board
Pre-STL Day 1: Going Forward
by Dan Ngo ’17
Today, the team started with a discussion about our performance in SVR, between all of the mentors and members at the lab. During that, the team addressed most of the issues that the robot had during the tournament, which mainly consisted of getting stuck by T-boning from an opponent, which would cause too much friction escape, as well as improving and testing new autonomous, to cover new possibilities and better reliability. The other issues include general fixing, testing, and making of parts and possible ways to improve our alliances.
During the present team meeting, concerns were raised about possible robots blocking the goal autonomous, so it was decided that another autonomous would be made to suit this situation, shooting immediately instead of waiting for a hot goal. Before we could do this, however, Skystalker had to be fixed, with the router unable to connect to our computers.
Thus, Skystalker had to be fixed up and made taller to test the new autonomous that accounted for goal blocking. For practice, the practice Barrage was also updated and fixed, to catch it up with the competition Barrage at SVR. Then autonomous testing began.
The team additionally had to unpack and reorganize all the parts brought back from SVR, as well as general reorganization of the shelves.
With a large amount of untested batteries, the team also decided to test all of them in preparation for Worlds. This was done by hooking the batteries up to a computer, drawing current, and and calculating the condition of the battery once the current drops in value. Additionally, leads were added to new batteries.
Returning from SVR, the team flyer had to be updated to be current with the SVR version of Barrage. The technical binder also had discrepancies and errors to be fixed.
- Continue autonomous testing
- Continue upgrading Skystalker
- Continue testing batteries
- Build new bumpers
- See picture and/or whiteboard
2014 Silicon Valley Regional
Team 254 rounded out its regional play this past weekend with its annual attendance at the Silicon Valley Regional FIRST Robotics Competition.
The team won 10 of its 11 matches in the qualification round, losing match 47 against the top-seeded team, 971, who had gone and continues to go undefeated in all of regional matches this year. At the end of qualifications 254 was seeded 3rd behind 971 Spartan Robotics and 1678 Citrus Circuits, with the highest accumulated score in Teleoperated Mode. 971 chose 254 as its first alliance partner and the two teams chose 1662, Raptor Force Engineering, as the third.
This alliance went undefeated in eliminations, setting the tournament high score of 325 in its second quarterfinal match and winning its quarterfinal matches by margins of 100 to 200 points. It semifinal and final rounds were closer and more exciting, narrowly edging out the finalists 1678, 368 Kika Mana, and 4171 Bay Bots by 40 points.
In the awards ceremony, 254 won the Gracious Professionalism Award for its extensive support of other teams in the tournament and model behavior, exemplifying the ideals of FIRST competition. Specifically, 254 sent Robot FIRST Aid teams around the pit area to discuss strategy with its alliance partners and provide assistance to teams who needed it.
This Silicon Valley Regional victory marks 254’s 15th in the 16 years of its and the regional’s existence. Congratulations to alliance partners 971 and 1662, finalists 1678, 368, and 4171, and Regional Chairman’s Winner 604, Leland Robotics.
254 is now ranked #1 in the world on FRC Top 25 for its three regional victories.
Pre-SVR Day 8
by Brendan Farrer ’17
This lab day was mainly dedicated to preparing for the SVR tournament and finishing up the Chairman’s binder and Technical binder.
The final touches were made to the pit display, including fixing the remote light controls and adding a carousel effect for when it is inactive. While programmers edited the code, other members finished the content for the display, such as re-writing the technical page.
To assist in collaborative gameplay, a polycarb backing was created to mount on the hood. This allows the human players from other teams to inbound more accurately.
To continue driver and human player practice, the pinniped pistons were added back to the robot and the modifications were finished to the catching system. These modifications allow the robot to catch balls thrown by a human player without opening the intake. Several team members were also trained to be human partners for the robot.
Several team members contributed to the completion of the Tech Binder along with the Chairman’s Award Binder. Although the majority of the work was completed, they continue to format and edit the content.
With only two days until SVR, the necessary tools and materials for the competition were prepared to be packaged for travel. Mentors and students went through travel crates, re-labeling and organizing for the optimal set up.
Pre-SVR Day 7
by Samuel Buxton ’16
Today was an eventful day at the lab. In preparation for the SVR (Silicon Valley Regional) our drivers trained against some of the best teams in the region, including 1868, 971, 192. and 776.
Upstairs the team fixed “Barrage’s” intake, and a separate project using some colorful LEDs light up the pit.
The “Minion Project” reached a milestone with the completion of a mini mascot costume, which was unveiled this weekend. The costume is based on the original “Cheesy Poof” costume from South Park.
Work continued for the pit display and drivers got the opportunity to sharpen their skills for the upcoming tournament.
Pre-SVR Day 4: Preparation
by Nathan Duong ’16 and Josh Fluegemann ’17
The programmers of the team worked on the pit display; they primarily sought to improve the quality of the display through cleaning up the HTML and CSS of the web application. Today, they added lightbox capabilities to the web box.
In addition, notches were made in the pit lights tubing for soldering.
Research is being done for the chairman’s binder; members are compiling a list the alumni’s colleges.
The intake is being put back together after individual parts were sent back from Waterloo. To do so, the plate, motor, and intake roller were reconnected with the skeleton of the intake.
- Manufacture above parts and install on robot (all McMaster parts required have arrived) – Travis/ Colin
- Finish shooter redesign (SDP and VEX parts are on order) – Paul
- Prepare sponsor welcome packets for when sponsors come to SVR – Stephen
- Work on pit-lights and finish assembly – Ken
- Cut/install vinyl labels on hinged-lid totes (light blue, dark blue and black all need new vinyl) – Travis/Mani
- Test LCD mounts – test installation on trussing – Travis/Ken
- Finalize video banner – Ryan
- Improve Pit Display and test with new monitors and projector – Ryan
- Design projector mount for video banner – Travis
- Finalize video banner mount – Travis
- Fix/create hand sanitizer mount – Mani
- Design/build new bumper hangers for truss – Travis/Mani
- Improve technical binder – Andrew
- Improve Chairman’s binder – Jeremy/Andrew
- Improve Chairman’s video – Jeremy/ Kevin
- Re-print all binders and sponsor packets with correct bleeds and page splits – Jeremy
Pre-Waterloo Day 4
by Jose Moreno ’17
Today several students were machining several tubes and rods to be made into multiple extra intakes.
Most of today, the team focused on making a new hood extender, which is now able to reach the third bolt hold, and extends an extra inch for a new shot angle.
Today students edited the Madera articles for the Carillon Online News Source, the Cardinal Newspaper, the Bellarmine Website, and others. They also edited the script for the Chairman’s Award Video.
Pre-Waterloo Day 2
by Ford Hooper ’17 and Brendan Conaway ’17
VEX State Championships
Since much of the team is busy preparing for the VEX state championships, the number of team members attending was below average today. Even so, the team was able to make critical improvements in working towards becoming prepared for the Waterloo regional.
Today, most of the members at the NASA lab were focused on reconstructing the technical binder. This binder is the summary of the robot and the steps the team has taken to design it. The binder is a large part of the judges’ decision on the winners of the Quality Award.
Other members were working on designing a new CAD for the hood piece of the robot.
Several members wrote 7 articles about the team’s experience at the Madera Robotics Tournament this past weekend.
2014 Central Valley Regional
by Jeremy Tanlimco ’15
At the Central Valley Regional First Robotics Competition (FRC), Team 254 earned an outstanding victory. Seeded first place out of 45 total teams and winning 10 out of 11 matches in qualifications, the Cheesy Poofs excelled on the field.
At the final tally, we had 490 total assist points (the second-highest score was 370) and 536 autonomous points (second-highest score being 468). To top it off, 254 was given the Motorola Quality Award for a well-designed and efficient machine.
As first seed after qualifications, we were given first choice in alliance partners for the elimination matches. We chose 973 from Atascadero High School, the team with whom we won the 2011 World Championships. Their robot had been inoperative and inconsistent for the majority of the qualification matches until the end, when their robot began working and performing well. As a result, they were seeded 43rd out of 45 teams in attendance, and 254’s scouting team stunned the crowd by skipping over the 41 teams seeded above them. Our second alliance partner was Team 2135 from Presentation High School, our sister school in San Jose. With them we went on to win our quarterfinal and semifinal rounds in two matches (each elimination match is scored best out of three) and prepared for our finals matches against 1671, 3970 (from Duncan Polytechnical), and 1323 (from Madera High School).
Our alliance formulated its finals strategy: the Poofs would implement our thus far highly successful 3-ball autonomous routine, and 973 would implement its defense routine in autonomous against the accurate 1323. During the driver-controlled period we would attempt as many assists as possible to edge out the other alliance by sheer number of cycles per game; such a cycle involved the Bellarmine human player throwing the ball into the Presentation robot to pass to 973’s robot, which would then launch the ball over the truss for our robot to chase down, retrieve, and score. Unfortunately, due to an unlikely combination of what our competition director called “everything that could possibly go wrong,” we lost our first finals match by a close 130 to 136. The Poofs staged a comeback by winning our next two finals matches 244-158 and 148-109 to take the Regional, setting the tournament high score of 280 on the way.
We are proud of our performance and would like to congratulate our alliance partners 973 and 2135, for their contributions to this alliance victory, and finalists 1671, 1323, and 3970 for a round well played. Furthermore, 254 would like to commend 1671 for its Regional Chairman’s Award win, the highest award in a FIRST Regional.
The Poofs look forward to the upcoming Waterloo and Silicon Valley Regional competitions.
Day 59: Pre-Madera T-1
by Brendan Conaway ’17
Today the team did some driver training for Madera by driving around the field, scoring some goals, and practicing passing over the truss. Skystalker functioned as an opponent bot for driver practice. The air was refilled on Barrage several times and the wiring was fixed once or twice.
A few of the members worked on the Chairman’s Award binder. The presentation is done and awaits finishing touches. The presenters will be the head of competition (human megaphone), the programming director, and the director of outreach. It is highly encouraged to nag them to practice the presentation. Team members should know who they all are.
Madera is this weekend! There was a shipment of supplies that came in, and it was packed into the black boxes that will be brought to Madera. Those going will be leaving on Friday, March 7th, right after school and returning on March 9th later in the evening. Be ready for a 2 hour drive. Let’s win this!!
Some students worked on making the pit display for use at competitions. Other students worked on the touchscreen display to be used in the pit.
Day 58: Competition Homestretch
by Dan Ngo ’17
Driver practice continued today in preparation for Madera, with the same format as before. One driver controlled with practice Barrage, while the other driver played defense with Skystalker.
Members worked on attaching power cables to fresh batteries, to be used as soon as possible.
In addition, competition materials were packed, including the custom-made drill holder, various tools, and spare parts.
Today, the team also worked on crucial parts of the Chairman’s Award, including the binder, video, and presentation. Progress was made on the binder’s graphic design, and finished in time for the competition. The video was filmed beforehand at school, and one of the members will work on the editing. The presenters practiced the Chairman’s presentation to get feedback from the mentors.
The video team crammed work on the competition pit display on the 20″ screen. Next week the team will receive a 42″ monitor.
- Technical BinderBill of MaterialsChairman’s Binder: History, Images
- Chairman’s Video EditingDriver PracticePrepping BatteriesPacking Materials
Day 54: More Testing
by Ian Chiu and Tyler Cuff
At the NASA lab, the drivers have begun to practicing to operate the robot for the upcoming tournament at Waterloo. One group of students used a defensive robot to block Barrage, while the other group used Barrage to score.
The drive team decided to create a drill board to hold their drills so they could keep all their drills in one place, allowing them to keep the lab a much more organized place.
The drive team had to get off the field when the belt on Barrage broke. They removed the flywheel so that they could replace the belt.
Several members began treading the wheels for the robot, beginning by putting the treads into the tread gauge.
Some of the mentors and members were working on the screen together to create a successful scene to film for the Chairman’s Video. Soon, they will edit the filmed material to create a final product to submit for the Chairman’s Video. A few members also worked on the Media and Technology submission
- Clean up – Everyone
- Driver Practice – Pat/Kevin/EJ
- Film the catcher – See Collin if you want to help
- Build Control Board – Cory
- Prototype catcher
- New accumulator standoffs
- Set up the BOM – Ryan/Louis/Clay/Vidur
- Film flythrough scene – Alex
- Wire batteries – Mani
- Test batteries – Pat
- New pinniped standoffs: cut, weld, powder
- Mentor castle prep – Mani
- Automate vision targets and lights – Bruno
Day 53: Rain Won’t Stop Our Excitement and Preparation for Madera
Co-Authored by Tyler Cuff and Robert Lim
The day began with students and the drive team practicing and troubleshooting the robot. The drive team traversed the field and practicing scoring goals as quickly as possible.
After Skystalker, the surrogate opponent robot, was up and running, the driver practiced scoring with its uncooperative counterpart playing defense (see image below) This accustomed the driver to moving around the field with an opposing robot attempting to block movement and impede shooting.
Electronics and Wiring
During a half hour window of robot downtime, students attended to other projects. Students installed lighting in the battery cart and added a vinyl finish. Meanwhile several other students worked on improving the wiring of Skystalker by loosening its chain for the drive train.
The main piece of organization was the continued efforts on the Bill of Materials, pronounced Bom in airports, needed for Madera. The BOM will describe a list of the raw materials, sub-assemblies, intermediate assemblies, sub-components, parts and the quantities of each needed to manufacture an end product).
Several student worked on completing the SolidWorks CAD tutorial to improve their practical knowledge of CAD. The majority of them created sketches while others put together assemblies.
A team worked on the Chairman’s Award presentation PowerPoint for the upcoming Madera tournament in March. A leader began to finalize the script. Remember that our Chairman’s presentation is confidential and should NOT be shared or discussed outside of the team. Another team worked on the Media and Technology Innovation Award that is due tomorrow. Its content was finalized with approval throughout the team and the graphic design and layout format will be finished tonight.
Upstairs, students had a discussion on how to improve the robot and what will definitely will happen. We will be adding the side panels for giving proper recognition to all our amazing sponsors. Two suggestions were adding triangular plates onto the side of the robot to assist in catching, and another involved the addition of surgical tubing to strengthen the catcher.
The lab received a new printer, scanner/copier, and 24″ monitors. With the recent rain, a few students noticed a small leak in roof on the east side of the lab. The team also played some pick-up volleyball with an exercise ball and the truss.
- Driver practice
- Build control board
- Machine, anodized, and then remachined
- Print handles
- Make control board standoffs
- Prototype catcher
- New accumulator standoffs
- Drill Grommet holes on spare intake
- Set up us up the BOM
- Film fly through scene
- Technical Binder
- Wire Batteries
- Test Batteries
- new pinniped standoffs
- cut, weld, and powder
- Mentor Castle prep
- Autonomous vision targets and lights
- Make wheels
- Redesign catcher pistons
Day 48: Organization and Writing
by Matt MacDonald ’17
Today, students worked on replumbing the locking pistons on the practice robot to make sure it functions to the best of its ability.
The team also organized the Box of Pat. Students cleaned out the case and made sure the parts inside the shelves were placed in proper order. The parts were put in different compartments that would allow students to find what they need easily.
The team also improved pit lighting controls. A mentor worked on the Arduino code that can be used to control the lights and students also worked on the website that controls the lights.
Students also prepared for the Chairman’s award presentation.They also wrote about the team’s outreach events and its basic information to display at tournaments.
- Continue driver practice
- Reorganize lab
- Finish the pit display
- Finish Chairman’s presentation
Day 46: Bag and Tag
by Chris Powers ’15
Today was bag and tag day, so not much machining or robot work occurred. Most of the team worked on taking multiple shots of the finished competition robot, which was placed in a studio area on one half of the field. The team took photos at multiple angles with different lighting and game objects.
Other team members worked on improving the practice robot on the other side of the field. A belt broke on the robot, so team members repaired it.
The graphic design team continued working on the T-shirt designs. A design is not yet finalized.
Bag and Tag
The robot was bagged and tagged at approximately 9:30, concluding six weeks of intense fun and work and ushering in six weeks of regional competition preparation.
- Rest day tomorrow- no build.
- Continue working on T-shirt and flier with Kevin.
- Continue working on practice robot.
Day 45: Home Stretch
by Dorian Chan and Abhishek Aditham
Today the programmers worked on state machines for the shooter on the robot. They have been using state machines for various subsystems on the robot in order to control and interact with them. State machines track what state the robot is in and change the state based on input.
The web guys worked on creating a pit display for competition, where people will be able to view information about the team’s robot.
Team members worked on sorting miscellaneous parts into blue bins. By organizing misplaced parts, the team will be more efficient at finding parts it needs.
Some students worked on creating mounts made out of polycarb for the robot’s air tanks using the drillpress and the bandsaw. They later put the tanks onto the robot using the mounts and worked on finishing the pneumatic system.
Electronics and Wiring
A couple of members worked on mounting and wiring the router onto the robot. This router is the primary means of communication between the driver station and the robot. Members working on the sponsor panels took a break cutting out the stickers for the Decepticon insignia.
The team also worked on finishing the red bumpers for the robot and one of the blue bumpers. A couple other students created labels of the team’s sponsors for the side panels. The team has decided to put sponsor names on the side panels of both robots, and so far the competition panels have been completed.
The team also worked on replacing the shifter plates for the practice robot’s drivebase.
The graphics design team continued work on developing a flier to showcase the robot.
- Finish sponsor panels for practice robot with Jeremy, Mani and Travis
- Prepare for the photo shoot
- Finish both competition and practice robots
- Programming the hot goal sensors with Tom and Brandon
- Work on the flier and T-shirt with Kevin
Day 44: Scrimmage Wrap-Up
by Vidur Maheshwari ’17 and Joey Rodoni ’16
Today was the second and final day of the scrimmage. The team had a lot of fun working with and helping other teams. 254 saw some interesting designs and robots over the past weekend.
Hot Goal Sensors
Today students mounted the sensors that will check if a goal is hot during autonomous. Using these sensors the team will be able to score more points in autonomous mode. The sensor will locate the hot goal reflective tape with infrared lights and detectors.
Today the team finished both blue bumpers. The frame for the red bumper has been constructed.
Today students mounted both hot goal indicators for the blue goal during the scrimmage.
Finally, today the team finished building the rear intake by mounting the rear intake motor and adding the shield for that motor.
Today the team installed the catcher pistons on the competition robot and tested them. The pistons will open and close the catching portion of the robot. One piston on each side will move the actual frame and the other smaller piston will lock the piston in place.
- check Trello for to-do list
- Finish the robot
- make side panels
- Finish the code
- Finish the robot pamphlet
- Make the technical binder
- Make the red bumper
The day after tomorrow the final stretch of build season begins. The team will have 48 hours to complete the robot before it must be bagged and tagged. This is a key milestone in the season.
Day 42: Scrimmage Preparation
by Vidur Maheshwari ’17 and Eric Wang ’17
Since the scrimmage will occur on Day 43 and 44, today’s work was primarily cleanup. Most teams in the area will attend; therefore, today’s main goal was to make the lab as presentable as possible. The team finished assembling the whole field to be operated on tomorrow. 254 is very excited and looks forward to tomorrow’s scrimmage! Here is a list of the cleaning procedures today:
Parts Inside Shed
Students started organizing pieces of wood and scrap outside. This was for the scrimmage teams so that they could find parts easily and better make use of our facilities.
The current 2014 robots, Barrage and practice Barrage \(P\-Barrage? Parrage?\), were carefully and safely brought to tables on the upper floor of the lab.
Also, because there will be many teams on day 43 and 44, the team organized the battery charging area. During the scrimmage the team will not only be charging other team’s robots, but will give its own batteries to other teams so that they can more efficiently drive and test their robots.
Past Years’ Robots
Students packed the twin Overkills as well as the 2012 robot Skyfire into a mentor’s car to be transported to the VEX lab so that they would not contribute to the chaos in the scrimmage.
As for the field, the visiting teams would need to test their scoring in both goals, so the team added a net to the blue goal. This would keep the balls that are scored from damaging the parts and machines behind the goal and hurting any drivers below.
The final part was cleaning the shelves and putting away the tools and parts. Organizing and cleaning the shelves will make it easier for the team and others to find parts, but it will also lessen the team’s struggles find parts in the future. For example, the team moved monitors from behind the driver control stations to the area near the drill presses \(the southern walls\). Upon realizing this created a mess as well, the team later moved those monitors outside and dismantled the shelves holding them. In addition, students moved the mess next to the east wall to the upper floor. This mess included the computer monitors plus the lost and found. Also, students vacuumed all floors, including the competition field, of all metallic bits. This was achieved using a combination of manual labor and the Roomba \(Consuela\). Finally , students built a new shelf for driver stations.
Actual Robot Work
Although most of today’s time was spent on cleaning, the team managed to machine some parts as well. Notably, the team got the flywheel powder coated and the bumper to work.
Additions to the Competition Pit
The programming team programmed the collage for the giant display screen in the pit during competitions.
The essay team worked on the Woodie Flowers essay today. They revised the latest draft, as the essay will be due on bag and tag day.
- Check Trello for To-Do List
- Finish both robots
- Finish code for both the robot and the pit display screen
- Make the Flyer for both the robot and the team (Kevin, Godwin, and Jeremy)
- Make Technical Binder (Mani and Abhi)
- Help Mani and Jeremy finalize Woodie Flowers