On Day 46, we put Uppercut #3 in a bag and sealed it up. We can't open it until the Dallas regional. Since then, we've been doing competition prep and working on the other two triplets. In less than a week we'll be taking the field for the first time!
Bag and Tag
Stop Build Night is special night for the Robowranglers. Amidst the frantic "Awww Jeez! Did we pack enough intake spares?" we try to take time for some small amount ceremony and tradition.
On the Robowranglers, we almost never take age or experience into account when distributing work or assigning roles. If you're a senior on this team and you want to excel, you're going to need to work twice as hard to prove yourself. Seniors need to spend more time teaching then doing. Seniors should be the last ones to take a bow, and the first ones to pickup a broom. But... on 148... the seniors get to bag the robot.
It's an emotional moment. The seniors know they can basically make "the boss" cry on command if they want. "Awww... Emerson, this is the last time we're ever going to bag a robot together?"
The bag and tag went pretty smooth. Not the smoothest we've ever had, but no major gotchas. We had a few last minute "did anyone remember to pack ______" but otherwise, no issues.
The Team Weighs In
On Day 46 and Day 48 I asked each member of the team two things:
1. What's your favorite part of the robot?
2. Please share with me a favorite memory, a story from the season, or a lesson you learned.
Here are some responses from the Wranglers...
Fav Robot Part - I like the little autonomous cube holder, because it’s small and named Karthik and cute. (Cute in the “JVN sense” and in the actual sense.)
Fav Story - I loved it when I was riding around on the robot cart with the prototype intake on it.
SIDE NOTE: We use the word "cute" as short-hand for an "elegant, creative and clever" design.
Fav Robot Part - Anything I didn’t need to lathe.
Fav Memory - I was standing on a climber prototype and to help get down safely, JVN had to give me a piggy back ride.
Fav Robot Part - The Robot-Wrangler because people from outside our team are confused by it.
Fav Memory - Wyatt and I were building up the electronics board for #2, and it was great to watch him learn how to wire his first board. I enjoyed teaching him.
Fav Robot Part - The intake, since I designed, and I've owned it the whole season.
Fav Memory - Teaching Adam's 8-year-old daughter how to rivet and watching her help build the drive!
Fav Robot Part - The "high-gloss" powdercoat on the Elevator rails, because I like different kinds of black.
Fav Memory - When JVN told us about ‘oilite’ bushings, but everyone thought he was trolling us, and we didn’t believe him even when he said he was serious.
SIDE NOTE: We named our This Is Fine Dog: "Oilite"
Fav Robot Part - I real like the "boot" on the intake. It orients the cube to the place we need and I think that is valuable to our strategy.
Fav Memory - When we successfully lifted (known Einstein fridge) Viper.
SIDE NOTE: No one knew if I was serious or not when I said we were going to lift Viper by the end of the season. I was serious. This is my serious face.
Fav Robot Part - I like “the boot” - it seems like it’s a really good way to control cube orientation and helps us keep command of the cube. I think it will be a big advantage.
Fav Lesson - Building the field took way longer than I expected, but it came out really good at the end. I'm really proud of how the hard work paid off... but I hope I never see an aluminum welder again...
Fav Robot Part - The Robot-Wrangler, It’s unique, and mysteriously mysterious.
Fav Story - I loved when we were filming the reveal video and we were chasing down 7179 for the "after credit" scene.
Fav Robot Part - Our Practice Bumpers - Because they’re black. All bumpers should be black.
Fav Memory - The first night we had a fully functioning robot, and I got to drive it for the first time.
Fav Robot Part - Elevator, I love the way the three stages all go out at the same time, and it keeps going up and up and up.
Fav Memory - I was working with Grant, and we accidentally put a whole bunch of steel rivets into the field, which was bad… but not terrible… until we had to drill all the rivets out because we built it wrong. Then it became a struggle…
Fav Robot Part - Robot Wrangler, because I like anything that can help our partners.
Fav Lesson - Don’t work under the scale. I’ve avoided adding a tally to the ‘headshot’ list, but I’ve seen many others fall victim.
Fav Robot Part - I like the “boot” on the intake. It’s cool because it’s a simple way to accomplish something we think is important, which other people might not think about.
Fav Memory - During kickoff when people were demonstrating their ideas and pretending to be robots. I remember Carlos acting out his ideas. Carlos being a robot is very memorable...
Fav Robot Part - The elevator. I like how we used chain for the lowest section, but then rope for the higher stages in a cascade setup, and how the forces multiply so a constant force spring on the top stage has a huge impact on the bottom stages. This made the entire thing very compact.
Fav Memory - When 3310 came during week 5 and we saw each others’ robots for the first time, and we spent like a half hour talking about the robots and asking each other questions.
Fav Robot Part - The elevator because everyone knows what I feel like being shorter than the robot.
Fav Memory - When the mentors played dodgeball against the students.
Fav Robot Part - The Intake. I like how it picks up a cube in any orientation but always pulls it into an orientation we like. It seems really complicated, but I loved how we prototyped a lot and eventually came up with something simple.
Least Fav Memory - When the whole team keeps threatening to eat my pig.
SIDE NOTE: Kacie has a pig named "Suzie" as part of her involvement in the GHS FFA program. Yes, we threatened to eat it. We constantly threaten to eat it. We think Suzie would make good bacon.
No pigs were harmed in the making of the Robowrangler robot.
Fav Robot Part - Robot Wrangler, because it’s a really interesting concept, and it should give us a strategic advantage, and it’s just really cool to pick up giant robots.
Fav Story - I love it when Matilda comes to the shop. It’s fun watching JVN baby-talk to a grumpy bulldog.
SIDE NOTE: I have been known to baby-talk from time to time... Matilda is a good girl, and I love her. #AllMatildaEverything
Fav Robot Part - The Elevator - I think it’s super-cool how it can be compact enough to go under the scale, but still reach up so tall. I had a lot of fun working on it.
Fav Story - When we were working on the video, I was teaching Nick how to use the stedi-cam and it was flipping out, but Nick knew how to fix it. It is cool that a rookie on the team can teach me something - Nick is always teaching me stuff.
Fav Robot Part - Elevator, because this entire game is about picking things up and putting them down… and the elevator is what picks things up.
Fav Story - When we were doing prototype climber testing and I was shocked how much we could learn from a “prototype” which was just 300 lbs of robots hanging from a staircase.
Fv Robot Part - The Drivetrain. I’ve heard it’s all three of the "top 3 most important parts of the robot”
Memorable Lesson - I was surprised how comfortable everyone is with failure, and how well that works for this team’s success.
SIDE NOTE: Bill Beatty always said the Top 3 parts of an FRC robot are:
I would never disagree with Bill "4-time World Champion" Beatty.
Fav Robot Part - The Elevator. I worked on it from concept to CAD to completion, and spent hours doing assembly on it. I feel like it's my baby.
Fav Memory - I loved that time when we saw-zalled Robin. After feeding that robot a million totes as human player, I was happy to get my revenge.
I wasn't able to ask Faith these questions...
GHS has a program called "Shattered Dreams". Faith was "killed" by the Grim Reaper to represent one of the many young lives taken by drunk drivers. As such, she was totally isolated this week, and could not be part of the team activities.
It's jarring to have a student taken from us and have them miss bag-day celebrations... but that's the idea. Let this be another reminder that drinking-and-driving is NEVER acceptable.
"Great job everyone, good work on a hard six weeks... let's take a day off and meet back here on Day 48 to keep working."
We had a frustrating experience on Day 48. The design team had a bunch of tests they wanted to run to help facilitate the design of the next generation Robot Wrangler (Mk 5) and Intake (Mk 7). We didn't get to run very many of these tests. When we came in to the meeting on Thursday, the sheet-metal bracket which holds the intake to the elevator was broken.
Oops. I guess the sheet-metal fatigued and eventually failed on the practice-bot. The practice robot doesn't have the "intake cradle" parts from the competition robot. This part protects the elevator by holding the intake in place when it's down (so if we ramp full speed into a wall... the elevator carriage doesn't see any of the load).
So we replaced the failed part with a spare. Added a reinforcement bracket. Designed a new version of the reinforcement bracket to get made out of sheet-metal to add onto the competition bot, and got back to work. However, this entire experience set us back a few hours.
I'm sure lots of teams know the pain of: "Let's just do this 5 minute test" which requires 5 hours of robot repairs ahead of time.
"I'm like a sponge... I sit by the sink doing nothing." - Carlos
On Saturday, the Robowranglers had no meeting because Greenville HS hosted the North TX VEX Robotics State Championship!
It's always great to see a robotics event being hosted AT Greenville High School.
"How's queueing going for you?" - JVN
"TERRIBLE! Do you know how hard it is to wrangle high schoolers and get them to do what you want and do things properly?!?" - Hannah
"Ohh... you would, wouldn’t you." - Hannah
What's on tap for Day 51?
- The Mk7 intake.
- The Mk5 Robot Wrangler.
- Dallas Competition Prep.
- More Auton testing.
- Driver Practice.