C&S (S)- Checkpoint reflection

Share briefly your current building process/design thinking cycle application

Our building process is greatly connected to the design thinking cycle. At the beginning of the school year, we began our first team meeting discussing what our intended purpose was. We asked ourselves what do we want our robot to do? Should we focus on a single function, or try to accomplish everything? How can we maximize points? What are we trying to accomplish? These were crucial questions that we needed to think about in the process of making our robot, this empathizing discussion was our first step in the design thinking cycle. Our next step was to decide on a temporary answer to these questions. We needed to define the primary purpose of our robot and prioritize seperate goals. After a few team meetings we were able to assign different roles to team members, make a timeline that prioritizes some goals over others, and have a clear idea of our robots purpose. We decided that in order to maximize efficiency and points we needed to focus on shooting flags as there is a high opportunity for points. We decided that if we were ahead of schedule we would try to accomplish other functions on the robot. While we had defined our robot and had a clear idea of its purpose, we also concluded that our primary objectives were to agree on a solid design and be prepared with a CAD and parts list. Without these things, building could not begin.  We then began to ideate our design. We asked ourselves questions like, how are we going to launch the ball? Should we go with a simple base and focus on shooting? What wheels should we use? These questions are necessary in order for us to accomplish our goals as best as we can. We needed to consider all ways we could shoot the ball, and evaluate the pros and cons. We mainly discussed wether we wanted to create a single flywheel, double flywheel, or a linear puncher. Our initial design consisted of a simple and fast base, with a rather large double flywheel and a linear slide that function as cap flipper and angle changer for the flywheel. Once our CAD was finished we began to build. First starting to building the base. Then we began to tackle the double flywheel. We needed to find the perfect gear ratio in order for us to reach the speed that we needed. This is where we went back forth from prototyping to testing to ideating. We would try a gear ratio, test it, and make changes accordingly. We went through this cycle 5 or 6 times until we got it. After prototyping our linear slide and testing it, we discover two crucial cons. It did not have enough power to flip a cap, and it would be easier for us to find a position on the arena to shoot from rather than angling the flywheel. So we returned to the ideating process and made a simple but extremely effective cap flipper that placed just above our intake. Now that our cap flipper and flywheel worked well we just needed to fix minor issues with our intake. The ball would sometimes get stuck under the robot when taken in. We returned to the ideating process and prototyped a barrier to stop the ball from going behind the intake. After testing it we discovered it was quite effective. From then on we were able to primarily focus on driving and our autonomous program.

ASIJ reflection:

While we performed beyond our expectations at ASIJ this year, it is important for us to highlight not only what we did well, but also what we did wrong and how we can improve for Hong Kong tech challenge. A key takeaway from this tournament is that you will never not be busy. It is crucial that we are actively a part of the event, socializing with other teams, taking note of other robots, preparing for your own matches. With all of this in mind, it is extremely beneficial to not be building at the event. In our case with our base and flywheel breaking on the flight, we spent so much time building last minute that we did not scout at all until 30 minutes before alliance selection. As there were only three of us we were able to effectively get through our matches, but have to spend all of our time building in between. Our flywheel did not shoot the same as it used to, and our base had fallen apart. Because of the change in the flywheel’s performance, our autonomous had to change as well. Throughout the tournament Zach and I edited the flywheel, attempting to make it shoot straight, and continuously made small fixes due to our terrible build quality. Vikram worked hard to fix our autonomous and make a whole new one in the case that we started at the back of the arena. This left us with nobody to scout. We were extremely lucky to have Hanson by our side to fill that gap. Through his mistakes we have come to realize how important it is to do our own scouting, and how crucial it is to make the right decision. More takeaways from this trip were the vital roles of packing our robot, and build quality. One VEX cushion from starstruck was definitely not enough to protect our robot from any damage, especially a robot with build quality as terrible as ours. We opened the box on arrival at Japan to see around 10 screws and nylock nuts floating around the box. Build quality is probably the biggest change that we will make in order to succeed in HK tech. Our plan is to rebuild the entire robot, but with working shaft collars, washers, and stardrive screws. With washers our screws will stop loosening, with stardrive our screws will not be stripped, and with working shaft collars our shafts will be able to stay inside the motors. Our flywheel should be able to shoot straight again after we rebuild. Once our robot is strong and consistent, we will make a simple cap descorer. These are the changes that we will make in the build in order for us to succeed at HK tech. But equally important is our plan to ally with 936A. In ASIJ we found that it is very hard to put trust in your alliances. They can say that they will go up to the top podium 15 seconds before the driver control ends, but in fact they don’t even attempt to go up. This happened to us twice in ASIJ, and it made our games a lot more close than they should have been. It is key to have a solid gameplan with your alliance, where you can trust in their capabilities and their ideas. With 936A we can practice our driver control together and make a solid gameplan that we both know we can accomplish. As we make complementary robots and autonomous programs, I am extremely excited to work with them at HK tech. Overall the ASIJ trip was very fun, and a huge learning experience for all of us.



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