2018 Season – FIRST Power Up 2018 Season
FIRST Power Up

Worth a Mention
Milled (in-house):
Gearbox plates, wrist blocks, drive rails
CNC-Cut (in-house):
Gripper plates
3D-Printed (in-house):
Camera mount, encoder housings, wrist hard-stops (TPU), gripper pulleys, radio holder
Laser-cut (in-house):
Various prototypes, battery cart
Waterjet (sponsor):
Arm mounting plates
Manufacturing our first custom gearbox plate

Manufacturing our first custom gearbox plate on the Tormach mill. For more images, visit the 2018 Gallery.

This year, we started manufacturing our own robot parts in-house. Most notably, we manufactured our first custom drive gearbox on the Tormach mill.

After watching some early Power Up matches, we realized just how important climbing was. To ensure that we could get extra points and four ranking points in our qualification matches, we created a special competition subteam — the RP assurance team. This subteam was dedicated to helping other teams climb — if another team's climb was not functional, we were willing to assist them in fixing or setting up a climber in their pit. RP assurance team members would visit our upcoming alliance partners and firstly ensure that their robot was functional. Next, they would evaluate their climb and ensure that we were compatible climbing together (which involved carrying a copy of Tipsy's ramp around at all times). This subteam worked wonders for us — ensuring that we could almost always double climb allowed us to seed high at all of our events.

Learned From Past Years

One of our team goals this year was to make it to the semifinals (at least) at the Ontario District Championship. Here's what we implemented to make it there:

POE to Radio:
Provides redundant power to the radio.
Battery Zip Tie:
We locked our regular battery connector with a reusable zip tie to ensure the battery wouldn't come unplugged on the field.
Compression Fittings:
The compression fittings provide a more secure connection with a historically lower risk of disconnecting. We seem to have bad luck with push fittings, so switching to compression fittings reduces the chances of a pneumatic failure.
Weidmuller Ferrules:
Weidmuller Ferrules help to insulate the wires going into VRM, PCM, PDP, and Rio. They encapsulate the wire stands and prevent stray strands from shorting, and provide a robust connection.

Software and Controls
NavX (gyro and accelerometer), SRX Mag Encoders, Laser Time of Flight (distance) Sensor
Motor Controllers:
Talon SRX and Victor SPX, using CAN
Bezier splines to plot paths, followed with feedback from encoders and gyroscope
Automatic movement to default positions; manual adjustments (within limits) and overrides if needed
Systems Check:
Drives each output independently; tests individual motors, encoders, and pneumatics
Test Suite:
We wrote a built-in test suite to cycle through every motor controller on the robot using one button on the controller. This will instantly tell us which motors are and are not functioning, allowing us to easily diagnose any issues we have with the robot.
Arm-Wrist Synchronization:
  • The arm and wrist are synchronized with a cubic regression computed with a set of points, so that the wrist position is a function of the arm position. We set the target points as constants, and the robot computes the curve of best fit.
  • There were two constraints on the arm-wrist synchronization: first, the arm and wrist had to remain within 16". Second, it had to get the wrist out of the way fast enough to not have the cube or wrist collide with the elevator. The curve also needed to be adjusted for variations in chain tension, so having the robot dynamically calculate the curve was significant.


New Initiatives
SolidWorks Bootcamp:
Mentors gave interested students a crash course in designing, drafting and preparing parts for the CNC mill
Roving Pit Crew:
This year, we created a special subteam for competitions known as the roving pit crew. A couple students (usually a mechanical student and a programming student) would check in on any teams that we saw needed assistance and get them back up and running again

Hosted a build challenge for grade 8 students (March 2018)
HWCDSB System Science Fair:
Demoed our 2017 robot Oscar to elementary school students, along with 4618 Newman Robotics and 6878 SJB Odyssey (March 2018)
Halftime Demo:
Brought out our t-shirt cannon, Lola, for halftime at a Teachers vs. Students basketball game (May 2018)
Rotary Demo:
Sponsor presentation at their annual silent auction. We brought our 2017 robot Oscar and had some fun with 2056 OP Robotics' 2018 robot (May 2018)
Cadet Demo:
Interactive demo with our 2017 robot, Oscar, for the 779 Air Cadets (May 2018)
Keith Neighbourhood Strawberry Festival:
Interactive demo for the neighbourhood kids, with Tipsy and our 2017 robot Oscar (June 2018)
Sound of Music Festival:
Spent 155 hours in eco waste management sorting garbage and recyclables to divert festival waste from the dump (Fundraiser, June 2018)
Scouts Demo:
Gave some scouts a Robodrome tour. They left with a laser-cut scout logo (June 2018)
Mohawk CODEfest:
Entertained Grade 7 & 8 students during the lunch period with our 2017 robot, Oscar. We also raced against 2056 OP Robotics, and played a game of catch with 6878 SJB Odyssey (June 2018)
Robots at the CNE:
Interactive demonstrative competition at Canada's largest community event, exposing the general public to FIRST robotics on a large scale (August 2018)
Tesla Electric Festival:
Ran demonstrations with our 2017 robot Oscar and Tipsy. We were also joined by 1310 Runnymede Robotics and 3739 Oakbotics (August 2018)
BR 60th Anniversary:
Interactive demo with our 2017 robot Oscar at our school's 60th anniversary (October 2018)
Parent-Teacher Interviews Bake Sale:
Hosted a fundraiser bake sale during our school's parent-teacher interviews night. Also demoed our 2017 robot, Oscar (Fundraiser, October 2018)
STEMley Cup:
A large, highly rated off-season event we co-host with 4039 MakeShift (November 2018)
ArcelorMittal Dofasco Demo:
Showed company executives from the United States around our workspace. They also had a chance to drive some of our robots (November 2018)
Mad Science Fair (at the Hamilton Art Crawl):
Demoed our 2017 robot Oscar and Tipsy to Art Crawl attendees (November 2018)
HWCDSB FLL Qualifier:
Demoed our 2017 robot Oscar to FLL kids at halftime (December 2018)
Rotary Demo:
Interactive demonstration to Rotary members, featuring our 2017 robot Oscar (December 2018)