Progress Has Continued on All Fronts for the LigerBots!
January 31, 2020
It is officially the end of week 4 of build season, 3 weeks from our first competition of the season. We have continued to work on our Computer Aided Design, aka our CAD, which we use to create the plans for our robot, and have been developing many mechanism prototypes. In addition, our testbed robot is finished and ready to trial our components. We also started preparing for our upcoming outreach events at the MIT Hackathon and the Bowen Science Fair.
Our team likes to prototype in parallel, which means each group makes a prototype of a mechanism at the same time. This allows us to test as many ideas as possible in our short build time. These prototypes allow us to test our designs and modify them before we put them on the robot. We are currently prototyping a shooter, an intake, a hopper (which stores balls), and a climber.
We have finished prototyping the shooter. At first, we started with a three-wheel shooter, but because of design difficulties, we settled on a hooded turreted shooter with two wheels. This makes the ball have a different path than the original shooter– instead of arc-ing upwards like a positive quadratic equation, it starts high and arcs downwards into the goal. Below is a photo of our prototype.
We’ve decided to integrate our intake with our climber, combining them into essentially one mechanism. Now, the question for them is whether we want to climb with one hook or two hooks, which we will resolve through more testing. This combo intake/climber mechanism is moved into CAD and now we are trying to make iteration one of all of the designs. Below is the CAD of the mechanism.
Our strategy team has keeping it busy! One member is working on a growth analysis of all FIRST teams worldwide, tracking how they have been doing since their conception. Two other members have been working on a 3D plot showing OPR by DPR by CCWM, or a plot showing how offensively good each team is, how defensively good, and how many points they contribute on average to a match.
Electrical has been busy training and practicing. They are mainly focusing on building a mock electrical board so they know what to do in a couple weeks, when we will have to wire the entire robot.
We are using our testbed robot, Roadkill, to show rookies how robots are built and give them a chance to work on a completed robot. Later, it will be used to test mechanisms before they go on the final robot.
The field elements team has been busy making mock ups of pieces of the field, so that we have something for our drivers to train with once the robot is finished. It can take a long time to make these because they must be built to the exact same specifications as the real field elements in order to be useful in robot testing and mock games. Below is our model of the lazy-Susan spinner that will be on the field for robots to spin.
The CAD team has nearly finished the complete design of our robot! Once that is done, we can move on to building the final mechanisms and attach them to our robot.
In the meantime, we have a team working on the chassis and framework on the robot. They have finished the main cutting the parts for the chassis and have now moved on to the finer, more complicated parts of the framework. Also, our coding team has been working on the basic framework for the code and have all the subsystems defined in the code.
Our Chairman’s team has been hard at work on our presentation about the team, which we will present to judges during competition. The award also requires an essay, for which we have been gathering data through a survey and interviews of team members. Below, Or-El and Coach Chuck discuss the presentation.
We are moving steadily through build season and a lot is going to happen in the near future! We hope that you will be with us the whole way! Be sure to check out our Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/ligerbots_frc2877/.
Keepin’ It Busy on the LigerBots!
January 24, 2020
We’ve done a lot this week! Prototyping continued and many groups have finalized their designs. Groups like the shooter and climber have both had successfully tested their prototypes.
This was a huge week for the Computer Aided Design team. The whole robot has been designed through CAD, but still needs a few modifications and edits. Once the design is complete, each team can start to assemble their mechanisms.
The Chairman’s team has been busy with a team survey to gather information on team members for the presentation at our first competition. Chairman’s is a FIRST award that judges teams on how well they inspire their community through FIRST learning! We have also started the essay they will use for the presentation.
The mechanical team has been adjusting the shooter and other mechanisms to improve their accuracy and have also started building and assembling arms for the intake.
The strategy team has finished their Offensive Power Rating spreadsheet, which is a system to tell how a robot will perform during competitions. They will use it to see how our robot compares to others in our area.
The team also has a couple outreach events in the coming weeks. We are going to be participating in the MIT Blueprint Hackathon on Saturday, February 8th and the science fair at Bowen Elementary School on Sunday, February 9th. At these events, we’ll present our robot and pass out flyers with information about FIRST programs and the Ligerbots. Outreach events are a great way to interact with the community and get people excited about STEM!
This week has been a super productive one: groups have completed essential projects and tasks, but there are many more to come. The season is just getting started and we still have a lot on our plate!
LigerBots in a Furor of Design and Build!
January 17, 2020
This week was the first week of prototyping! With our designs decided upon, we have started to build prototypes of the different components of our robot.
The mechanical design team has started work on prototypes for all the major parts of our new robot, such as the ball shooter, climbing mechanism, and the ball intake and storage mechanism. Once the prototypes are all finished and tested, we will decide which version of each system we want to use on the final robot.
The design team has also started making computer aided design, or CAD, versions of the components, so we have a blueprint for how the mechanisms should be built and how they will look like when they are finished.
Our strategy team has started a series of data projects to determine how we should build our robot. For example, strategy is researching if powder coated robots perform better than uncoated robots. Powder coating is a metal tinting technique used to change the color of metal so that it looks better and shinier.
The marketing team has been busy as well. The graphics group finished the t-shirt design and the fundraising team is finalizing our sponsorship agreements. The team is also planning for a pair of sleepovers over the weekend, one for boys and one for girls.
Build season is really starting to ramp up! Lots of projects are underway and many more are going to start in the near future. Things are going to get very busy very fast as we continue through build season. We hope you will be with us the whole way!
LigerBots Kick Off the 2020 Season!
January 9, 2020
January 4th marked the beginning of build season! The LigerBots drove to New Hampshire to see the game reveal in person. It was incredible to be there in person: we were the largest team at the principal site of 178 kickoffs all over the world.
We had been anxiously waiting for the kickoff of the 2020 game, the Star-Wars themed Infinite Recharge. During the kickoff, FIRST released the unencrypted game manual, so on the drive home we looked over the rules and begin creating plans for our robot.
This game is very exciting: it’s played three robots versus three robots who compete to score the most points by the end of a three-minute match. Teams score points by throwing small balls into a receptor on the other side of the field, spinning a lazy Susan device, and, at the end of the game, climbing and hanging on a pole!
The next day, the team broke up into design groups. On Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, the groups deliberated and designed, creating a number of designs and mechanisms for the team to consider.
On Tuesday, a group of LigerBots attended the Just Think expo at Newton North. We demonstrated our robot to students and parents throughout Newton. Thanks to Just Think for having us– it was such an educational and positive night!
Later on Tuesday, we reconvened in order for the design groups to display their designs. We used a method called “Six Hats,” introduced to us by a mentor, where we laid out all the designs and commented on them using six different modes of thinking. For example, the “red hat” represented your emotional response, while the “yellow hat” was positive thinking.
After build leader deliberation on Wednesday, we switched over into our build groups on Thursday. Each group was assigned a different prototype to build. Once they are finished, we will test the prototypes to determine which design for each mechanism works best.
Things are ramping up as build season begins, but there is still a long way to go before our first competition. We hope you’ll be with us all the way!
LigerBots Host an Inspiring and Fun FLL Competition!
December 17, 2019
On Saturday, December 14, the LigerBots hosted the Eastern Massachusetts regional championship for FLL! There were 48 FLL teams, (9-14 year olds), 10 FLL Jr. Teams (5-8 year olds), as well as 91 girl scouts (ranging in age from 5-12 years old) attending either to compete or interact with our STEAM Expo.
We were also excited to be visited by local city councilor elect, Julia Malakie, and candidates for US Congress, Jesse Mermell , and Ihssane Leckey.
FLL is FIRST’s lego robotics competition where teams are composed of elementary and middle school students. The students attempt to design and build the most efficient robot possible to play the game. Every year, FIRST releases a new game for the robots to compete in. This years game was city themed, to teach kids about the future of urban planning.
This championship ended with the Waring School Brickwolves from Beverly taking first place. Not only did they win, but they achieved a world record with a score of 600 in the game! This amazing score earned the team a spot in the FLL world championship which will take place in Detroit in April 2020.
In addition to the robotics competition, there was also a STEAM expo where the LigerBots and STEAM organizations from the area set up tables with interactive activities. Ninety-one Girl Scouts as well as FLL team members and their families biked an electricity-generating bike from Students for a Greener World, made solar oven s’mores, experimented with slime, engineered with the Society of Women Engineers Boston, and so much more!