Robotics: Work Against the Problem
The Robotics season concluded Saturday February 25th at the state championship hosted by Missouri S&T University in Rolla, Missouri. After competing in St. Louis, and being part of the championship alliance, the team saw opportunities to improve the robot, so a major redesign project was begun. The wheels were replaced with tracks for better maneuverability and guaranteed clearance. The arm to pick up crates and stack them was replaced with a telescopic lift to maximize points. The lift allowed for a crate with a ball in it to be lifted from floor to about 5'6" in height. The new design also called for a creative way to position the controllers, NXT brick, and the battery.
At the Cape competition in January, the team had the opportunity to evaluate how these changes had affected the performance of the robot. Based on what team members saw, before the Rolla competition, further changes were made to the robot. Grips were added to the tracks to improve traction, but the lift was the main focus. A retainer was added to the lift to hold it in place during match play. An additional motor was added to help increase the height of the lift. This increase in power resulted in the string (catfish line) that pulled the lift up, to start breaking. Dual strings and a stronger line were tried, but both of these created to much friction to pull the lift effectively. The addition of lube to the original string seemed to alleviate the breaking problem. Significant time was also invested to stop the lift from leaning as it got higher. While there was considerable brainstorming and work done on this, it was determined that the solution to address the leaning contained to many variables to work consistently, so the lift was allowed to lean.