Velocity Vortex (2016-2017)
This robot has three main areas of design. Our 3D printed slingshot was designed by our lead engineer, Christian, and was printed by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing. The conveyor belt was a new touch this year. We have tried to use conveyor belts in the past, and we were unsuccessful, so it is great to finally use a practical conveyor belt to lift the particles into the cup of the slingshot. The 3D printed beacon pusher was also designed by Christian and was printed using our very own 3D printer that we won last year at the MN State Championship.
FIRST Res-Q (2015-2016)
This game proved to be quite a challenge! How do you climb a mountain (without tipping over backwards) and do a pull-up? We brainstormed ideas during a number of team meetings. We figured out the angles at which the climb will be, where we think the center of mass should be on the robot, what kind of drive train (wheel system) would work best to climb, and the size the robot should be based on all of the factors. We decided that a tank track would work best, and that the robot should be as small and as light as possible, but with as much weight at the front as possible. As you can see in the photos below, we came up with our own tank track design (3D CAD), and our robot is about 10″ in length. Everything barely fit on such a tiny frame! We created an arm (3D CAD) that will help get a hook on the top bar on the mountain, which will pull the robot up to the mountain high zone and do a pull-up. There is a winch with kevlar string to do the heavy lifting.
Cascade Effect (2014-2015)
We decided our design would involve a lift arm system and sweeper/ramp combo, and to attach a servo arm with a box (ball bucket) attached to it to collect balls. The ball bucket would start in the lowest position, and the sweeper and ramp would guide balls into it. Once balls were in the bucket, we would lift it up to reach one of the goals, and tip it to dump the balls in. We made a prototype ball bucket out of cardboard and also made a funnel on one side of the box to help guide the balls right into the rolling goal. Once we got everything programmed correctly on the game controller, we tested the ball bucket and lift arm, and it worked well. We had a 3D-printed ball bucket made to the same dimensions as the cardboard prototype. Once that was installed, we realized it was a lot heavier than the cardboard, so we changed the servo to a motor with an encoder and a gear box with a worm gear to slow the arm down and to guide the ball bucket to the right position to dump balls into the rolling goals. The bucket was still too heavy for the gear box, so we did some calculations on how much torque the bucket motor has and got to work on the gear box parts and redesigning the bucket. We now have a new, redesigned 3D-printed ball bucket that is lighter weight, the bucket arm has a better gear box, and it all works quite well.
Block Party! (2013-2014)
We used 11 different parts created by 3D printing. We experimented with using printed gears both for cost savings and to keep our top weight down, the CAD files for the gears came from http://www.thingiverse.com. Thingiverse is the world’s largest 3D design community for discovering, printing and sharing 3D models. We created CAD designs for our block scoop, hanging hook (the head) and pulleys. Christian did the CAD designs using Autodesk Inventor. It was cool to be able to design the hanger to match our team mascot, Mr. Roboto.