Small, but mighty!

Since the start of the season, we have been busy designing our robot for Freight Frenzy.  The past few months we have been able to work towards our goals that we have set forth since our season kick-off.   We have split our team into several team including media, CAD/mechanical, and programming.  We all take part in outreach in some part.  Our team is small, but mighty!

Competition Preparations

The team has spent the past week preparing for the league meet scrimmage held on Saturday the 20th. Before the scrimmage started the team wanted to know at what voltage the robot should be at in order to shoot the rings into the top goal consistently. We did this by firing the rings in the same spot we would for the competition, marking where the rings hit and at what voltage the battery was at, and we gradually ran down the battery voltage. Through this process the team found that any voltage above 14 would shoot the rings into the top goal so before every round we switch out the battery in order to make sure that the rings go into the top goal consistently. The team also practiced driving for the competition. For the competition, there are two drivers. One team member controls the wheels and drives the robot itself while the other team member controls the intake, outtake, roundabout, and arm (basically this member controls the shooting of the rings and the taking of the wobble goal). The pairs of members who practiced driving together were Alex and Peter, Ramsey and Jon, and Ben and Eli. These pairs ensured that everyone who is present for the competition gets to drive. These preparations paid off in the end and helped us meet our goals for the competition on Saturday.

The team is competing at a virtual scrimmage with team members Ramsey and Ben controlling the robot.

Constructing Greatness

There have been a number of additions made to the robot since January and the robot building is now being put to the test with the programming process. The intake has been improved through the use of shifting the intake further down on the robot, replacing the previous intake motor with a more powerful motor, and using more grippy wheals on the intake. The team has also added a chain on the intake to connect the first intake to a secondary intake in order to move the rings up the ramp on the robot. Speaking of the rings, the team also added a plexiglass ceiling on the roundabout portion of the robot in order to make sure that the rings will not fall out of the roundabout and ensure that the rings will make their way to the outtake. The team also added an arm onto the robot in order to grab the wobble goal. This arm consists on two three inch excursion pieces dipped in a layer of plastic dip. This improves the grip of the arm an ensures that the robot can grab the wobble goal. As you can see, the team has made various improvements to the robot to make sure that it will be competition ready when the time comes.

The team added a chain on the intake to attach the first intake to the secondary intake.

The current design of the robot as of the time of this post.

Preparing For The Future

The Team spoke to former Sharon High School graduate and valedictorian Ali Ismail. Ali went to college at the University of Colorado for computer programming and is currently a computer programmer at a company in Tampa, Florida. Ali spoke to the team about how to choose the right college and about the various types of engineering fields available to the team. He gave advice that will be beneficial when going into college and when applying for a job. At the end of Ali’s speech, the team shared the robot with him and explained the various design features on the robot.

The team listened to guest speaker, Ali Ismail, about how to choose the right college and about the various types of engineering fields available to the team.

Team member Kyle Wareham is explaining the design features of the robot to guest speaker, Ali Ismail.

Face-to-Face Once Again

After weeks of being confided to at-home learning and practices, the team is back in person for the first practice of the new year. During the beginning of practice, guest speaker Dr. Matthew Caputo, an assistant professor at Penn State Shenango, spoke to the team about a high school mentoring program that team members have the ability to participate in along with undergraduate students. 3D printing filament and the effects of the material structure on the durability of the product where the focus of this program along with how an electron microscope can be used to observe filaments at a closer level and can have various uses in the science field. After Dr. Caputo’s speech, the team made minor improvements on the robot such as adjusting the placement of the outtake in order to shoot the rings out more easily. The team is excited to be back to in-person practices and cannot wait to get to work next week. We really appreciate Dr. Caputo speaking to us about the engineering field and future career opportunities.

The team listened to guest speaker, Dr. Caputo, who discussed mentorship and career opportunities in the field of engineering.

At-Home Improvement

Ever since Thanksgiving break, the school has been transitioned to virtual learning due to the increase in coronavirus cases in our area. This also means that the team is confined to at-home practices. While at home, the team communicated through Discord and worked on CADing the robot through the program, On Shape. The team designed the robot through CAD by placing where the plexiglass needed to be in order to guide the rings and where to mount the outtake in order to launch the rings at the correct angle. The team also made various improvements on the CAD such as mounting screws and nuts into where they were needed. Aside from CAD, the team also worked on the robot individually. Because we are not able to have in person practices, the team passed around the robot to individual robots in order to add the improvements made on the CAD onto the physical robot itself. Team members such as Ramsey Brown and Kyle Wareham made improvements at-home to the robot itself by mounting the outtake and placing cardboard (as a temporary replacement for the plexiglass) in order to guide the rings into the outtake. The school plans on returning to in person learning on January 4th and the team is very excited to return to in person practices again.

Trial and Error

Over the past two weeks many changes and improvements have been made to the robot. The ring shooter outtake is working very well and has had the finishing improvements and tweaks put on it over the last two weeks. Improvements include moving the motor mounts to the far right, flipping the wheels so that they would sit lower on the feeding mechanism, and adjusting the height of the ring feeder mechanism. We also improved the robot itself by adding a third motorized wheel to the drive train of the robot, giving the robot more mobility. The conveyor belt, on the other hand, is a different story. We did improve the conveyor belt by replacing the 1 diameter gears with 3 diameter gears, linking Tertix 1.5 conveyor pieces to build the belt itself, and adding grips to the conveyor pieces in order to hold the rings in place. This came with many problems though as when we tested the tread system, we found that the treads were bouncing causing the robot to lose possession of the rings and that the tread system was too steep to move the rings up the robot effectively. This, however, is a blessing in disguise as now we know that we need a new system that will be faster and more effective. We can learn from are mistakes and see what went wrong with the conveyor belt system and how to avoid these issues in the future.

Eli and Kyle add a third motorized wheel to the drive train of the robot.

The new and improved ring shooter design.

A look at the conveyor belt system used to intake the rings (without the grips on the treads).

Lots of Moving Parts!

The team has been very busy over the past couple weeks. The team first met with Mr. Ackley, a local programmer and robotics enthusiast, to discuss strategies on how to approach building the robot. Mr. Ackley suggested that we split into groups to build individual sections of the robot and then connect them all. We split into three groups of two.  Kyle and Ramsey worked on a conveyor belt system in order to pick up the rings on the field.  Peter and Eli worked on the container to hold the rings and a pulley system to move the container in a vertical fashion. Alex and Ben worked on the outtake to shoot the rings into the goal. All of our individual projects were then prototyped for two weeks.

A highlight of one of these practices was finishing the outtake and seeing how the outtake shoots the rings into the target goal (tower slots and power shot targets). The difficult part was the figuring out how to put all of the pieces together in a working manner. We brainstormed for during our last meeting and finally deiced to have storage that would hold the rings at the start of the match and be pushed onto a platform that raises to the outtake. We are excited to start work on this idea and bring all of our work together next practice!

The team met with Mr. Ackley to discuss strategies on how to approach building the robot.

Lucas, Ben, and Jon test the outtake prototype and shoot rings into the goals.

The team discusses strategies and ideas on how to connect all of the separate parts onto the robot.

Team Ready For Ultimate Goal

The team started the season with the season kickoff on September 12. Immediately after watching the Ultimate Goal video the team started drafting designs for a new robot with a plethora of different ideas from all of the team members.  The team found common ground and everyone decided on a design to effectively accommodate for the Ultimate Goal challenges.

The team also purchased and built a new field for the Ultimate Goal season. This will help the team competition remotely this season.  The team is now in the process of CADing the robot and building the chassis of the robot. The media team is also busy with updating the team website/social media. We are off to a great start and excited for the season ahead despite the pandemic!

The team met and discussed ideas for the Ultimate Goal season after watching the season kickoff (missing from photo, Emma Barborak).


The team is underway on building the new field for the Ultimate Goal season!


Peter and Kyle work on the chassis for the new robot.