Competition: We had a lot of fun and made it to the quarter finals (5-6-2). The meet was well run but the inspectors seemed to be a little behind the times. I don’t think the FRC provided them with the latest game manual. We were told that our minibot would not pass because the gear boxes were removed. We showed them the GDC comments and that was corrected, but that should have been in the manual.
254 Cheesy Poofs had the dominant robot and displayed great driving. Their minibot evolved during the meet and eventually got under 1 second. Their lift design concept is almost identical to ours except everything is stronger and faster. The roller claw pickup is ideal for picking up tubes. We have an opposing thumb pickup that doesn’t have the rollers so we are a little slower. Word has it, they scored a tube after deploying their minibot. Something our team should pay attention to.
599 won the “Gracious Professionalism” award for the 9th year in a row. As Van says, our kids really get it. Normally, we run the robot first aid station and it kind of stacks the deck in our favor. However, this year another team took on that role. But everywhere you looked the 599 lab coats were in other pits helping teams. This year rookie team 3849 Absolute Zero robot across from us was mechanically reworked, rewired and reprogrammed by our team with the help of a few other teams. Noticeably missing were the 254 team members who were located right next to 3849. A missed opportunity for them.
It was funny when I asked Absolute Zero how they did in their first match. They said they picked up and scored one tube in user period and were very excited until they learned it was an uber tube and they were penalized:) Oh well.
Robot: I think we are finally where we should have been a week before ship date. The lift works but seems a bit fragile when operated at high speeds. Still no autonomous. The operators are still green but this will improve before Long Beach.
Minibot: I am the mentor for the minibot and was pleased to see it kept us in the game most of the time and the kids should be proud their hard work paid off. There were just a few faster out of sixty teams or so. It climbed slower toward the end of the day and we removed the PTC’s since they were shutting us down part way up. I think we had about a 60% deployment rate. The misfires were spread between driver error, deployment arm, minibot mount and a few unknowns. Every deployment system I had envisioned was used at the meet. With our rear looking camera, the driver was able to line up the sling shot wedge effectively if he allowed enough time for that.
In the direct eliminations against 1717 alliance, it was first in one match and failed to deploy in the other. I felt really bad… until in the finals with all the top minibots… all three didn’t deploy. Minibots indeed are fickle little beasts. We discovered a way to get to know a lot of minibots up close. We brought a sawed off pole into the pit and everyone that wanted to use it had to show us there minibot:) I saw a few minibots that which seemed clearly illegal but passed inspection. E.g. one used rubber tires from an old kit car for tread on their polycarbonate rims.
We shared our spare minibot (about 3 second speed) with 585 Tehachapi Cyber Penguins who had an illegal minibot because they used Vex parts. They redid their mounts and came really close to deploying it in competition. (It worked in the pits). They requested that we loan it to them for their next meet. We’ll see if we haven’t dismembered it by then.
Seems two axles directly coupled to the motor shafts was the dominant theme for light minibots. I didn’t see any cantilevered ones. Mostly magnet bots but 1717 had a nice little clam shell. I am not sure why our minibot has so much friction. I never did get a good time on it, but it seemed around 1.5 to 2 seconds. Every time I went to video it , it failed. Our team has had the directly coupled axle design from day one, but other teams are beating us to the punch. We have a really nice brake but it seems that it can be done away with due to the springy pad on top of the Tower landing. Lots of teams just let it fall and survive. These are sub 2.5 lb minibots. We know what has to be done before Long Beach.
Good Eats: Pete’s BBQ… five star rating, 1 hour wait…but worth it. Most of the mentors ate there while the kids were stuck at the soup kitchen . Too expensive to bring the kids… about $18 with drink and sides. Maybe if we could get another sponsor for next year. It would probably be a $1000 team bill with hungry kids.
Thanks to my friends that joined me in SD. The positive feedback from everyone means we are doing the right thing. I think they got what FIRST is all about.