If you've been following along, you know exactly what we did during the last two meetings without even reading my writeup. Field work, prototyping refinement... and of course the designers trying to fulfill their mandate: "Deliver the CAD. Deliver it now. Make it great." The entire robot is waiting on the design team, and on Day 18 the design team delivered.
The EE / Prog team is doing a lot of great foundational work. They know what the robot is, what the motor allocation will be, and are starting to figure out what sensors will be where. This means they're doing everything they can to "get ahead" of the build. Updating / prepping components, starting to prepare to wire up the control boards. They've also been running new code on past robots as a way of experimenting and preparing for the 2018 builds. We've got 27 years of historical robots, so it's exciting that they can do some development on "similar" systems before they ever get a final rolling chassis.
If it seems like I don't give enough love in my writings about this sub-team: mea culpa. I'm a self-described process nerd, design geek, gear head, and a strategist... I'm not so good with bits and electrons. I'll try to report more on what they're doing.
Field construction is still moving along. We received the aluminum for the "real" field elements, and things are full speed ahead on manufacturing / assembling them. The arena is starting to feel real.
But mostly, the story of the team right now has been... "waiting on the designers". To understand my feelings on this part of the season, ask Sonic the Hedgehog from my Day 9 post.
The Drop - "Build the thing...
Very late on Day 18 (or early on Day 19) the first manufacturing package was released. Now the great Robowrangler production machine leaps into motion. Sheet-metal is being manufactured. COTS parts are going on order, the 3D printers start printing, the lathes will start cranking out turned parts, and the CNC router starts cutting beautiful black lexan.
We have five subsystems on the robot this year. The drivetrain, intake, and electronics are completely finished***. The climber is half finished. The lift is almost finished (and probably could have been released) but is going through an extended review. We also want to make sure it integrates well with the final pieces of the climber.
*** You should assume "finished" really means: "The initial version of the design has been released to production." Robowranglers are never actually finished. All of these subsystems will go through some revisions...
The Robowranglers are happy. The designers can take a deep breath... and then get back to work. "Deliver the CAD. Deliver it now. Make it great."
Is it "great"? Is it "done"?
How are we doing on schedule? "We're behind... always."
How are we doing on robot weight? "It's over-weight... always."
We're actually doing great. (Shhhh, don't tell the team... it's a secret, I don't want to take our foot off the gas.)
This is the middle of Week 3.
Last year we didn't do a substantial sheet-metal drop until beginning of week 4, and didn't have a full revision of the robot released until end of week 4.
In 2016 we didn't do the first big release until the beginning of week 5.
In 2015 the first Batman and Robin release wasn't until the beginning of week 4...
Then again, in 2011... we had the first release done at the beginning of week 2.
(Raptor went together, FAST).
Trust the process. Keep Iterating. Chase Excellence.
During the 2017 season we went through nine major iterations of our intake subsystem. #All9Everything This year's intake is already on it's 4th revision. The intake is probably "the money maker" this year. We already know we're going to tune it like crazy, and iterate until we're sick of it.
In Slack I posted a Robowrangler side-bet:
The war-machine marches on. No meeting on Day 19. No meeting on Day 20. Part production is running full-swing. We'll see what is ready for Friday night. Is it possible we get the first big drop back early this year?
Will our visitors on Saturday get to witness the magic of Robowrangler Sheetmetal Christmas?
"Many of my blog posts are me being self-indulgent and laughing at my own jokes publicly... is that ok?" - JVN
"I mean, your dozen readers seem to enjoy it." - Hannah