2015 – “Recycle Rush”

For information on the game, click here.

With two years of almost complete learning down, we finally had a good idea of how to do things.  More people were getting involved and areas of specialty were starting to develop.

This year, we decided to try yet another coding language; Python.  It seemed to work just fine, except we couldn’t get our IP camera to work with it.  We also worked on trying to make our robot look fancier by using LED lights on it.  Joysticks were completely cut from our driving method, instead we only used a gamepad.

From the beginning we decided to use a forklift design to tackle the tote stacking.  Originally, we were going to grab the totes with two arms that would clamp together, but instead we used more of a hook design that would catch the totes and bins on the lip.  We were going to attempt to use a “fifth wheel” that was perpendicular to the other four wheels that would allow us to strafe left and right without having to turn, but we had to scratch that idea.

This was the first year that the competition was not solely a learning effort.  Our robot was in complete working order for the greater majority of our matches (except one where the chain driving the lift fell off) and we scored qualifying points for our team.  During one of our matches, we suffered the same fate that many other tall robots suffered last year; falling over.  But, instead of just lying there, we actually righted ourselves and continued playing!  That is, until we fell over yet again in the same match.  All in all, we came out of the Norther Lights Regional event in Duluth, MN with even more knowledge to use in the coming years.

2014 – “Aerial Assist”

For information on the game, click here.

With our rookie season under our belt, we had a ton of new ideas and information to utilize.  We now had the basics down, but this year, we wanted to expand our horizons and try new things.

In our second year, we tried using pneumatics.  We also attempted using Java code instead of LabView.  Both of these concepts took a lot of time to understand, but in the end, they seemed to work just fine.  We were lucky enough to receive a 3D printer, so we attempted to incorporate custom parts in our robot.  We also changed the way our robot was controlled.  In 2013, we used a dual-joystick driving method, but in 2014, we added a gamepad to the existing dual-joystick mode.

Our robot was designed to grab the ball with pneumatic arms, then lift it up to be kicked by a swinging arm.  Our robot also featured a seperate, rotating bed that housed the entire grabbing/kicking mechanism.  That allowed the robot to rotate 360 degrees while the chassis remained stationary.

Our second year, we attended the North Star Regional competition in Minneapolis, MN.  At the time that we bagged our robot up, it seemed to be in complete working order.  And it was, but only until practice.  Unfortunately, due to materials used, the complete working bed of our robot broke completely off of the chassis itself.  With not even a single counting match completed, we had to resort to Team 2175’s “Plan C.”  Essentially, it was a quick redo that used a lot of PVC pipe and tape to let us at least make an attempt to score and help our team.  But, like our rookie year, it was mostly another big learning experience.

2013- “Ultimate Ascent”

For information on the game, click here.

2013 was our rookie year.  All we really knew was we had to make a robot.  We weren’t sure how we were going to make one, but we knew we had to get moving!

Our robot ended up being made completely out of steel, and ended up being right at the allowed weight.  It was a dumping style robot, that was intended to dump the discs into the lowest slot.  No one was very familiar with coding, so we ended up using LabView.

For the first year, we attended the Northern Lights Regional Event in Duluth, MN.  Simply put, the competition was a disaster.  Nothing seemed to work right.  For the first two matches, we couldn’t move, because our code was not deploying correctly.  After that was resolved, we discovered that our chassis was upside down.  Because of that, we forfeited our fourth match to completely dismantle the robot to flip the chassis.  Finally, our robot was moving, and moving correctly.  But, due to the fact that our robot was not the best design, we did not do too well.  As our coach said, “It was a learning experience.”  The year was not a total failure, though, because we won the Heart award from team 27 for never giving up.