Week 1 - Build Season 2018

posted 18 Jan 2018, 21:31 by Rachel Pannowitz   [ updated 18 Jan 2018, 22:19 ]

Build season 2018 has officially started and The Drop Bears are well under way!
This week the team gathered on the 7th of January to await the long anticipated 2018 Kick-Off video and get a running start at the game this year. The first day was spent analysing rules and learning the game to the our best of our ability. Soon after, we split off into groups and began drafting possible strategies that were viable for our team to use within competitions. The next day each group presented their suggested strategy which led to a team wide discussion. 

Finalising our chosen gameplay, we then moved on to broad mechanism design. Again this was done by splitting off into groups and presenting possible ways we could achieve our given strategy. Coming to a consensus on a final design after another extensive group discussion was a major success as the team began to move on to their designing and prototyping phase. 

There are now currently 6 sub-projects within our team working towards our end goal of a successful competitive robot! There are:
  • Lifting Mechanism
  • Intake Mechanism
  • Drivebase
  • Autonomous
  • Dashboard
  • Vision

2017 Swerve Drive CAD & Code Release

posted 5 Jan 2018, 22:04 by Arthur Allshire

Over the 2017 offseason, Team 4774, The Drop Bears, have been working hard on developing our own Swerve Drive system.

The project has advanced to the point where we anticipate using our design in build season. As part of this, we are releasing the designs and code that we have developed for these modules, as required by the rules.

The mechanical design for the modules was developed on OnShape. All of the CAD and drawings on OnShape are available at this link.

The code for the Swerve modules has been developed in the open on GitHub, and as such it is available on the team's GitHub. It is written using the RobotPy framework in Python. The code is structured as a library that is able to be utilised by any RobotPy repository.

Week 5 - Build Season 2017

posted 17 Feb 2017, 01:44 by ellie@thedropbears.org.au

Week 5 of build season was very busy and hectic for The Drop Bears!

In Mechanical, the section remained focused and hard working as they came to the end of the build phase. The climbing group had completed their game piece to a high standard and were very proud of their efforts. Soon after, they were able to mount the mechanism onto the drive base - it was all coming together. 
Gears completed their design and worked on creating and approving drawings so that the fabrication process could be started. By the end of the week, some components were finished but unfortunately the entire mechanism was not able to be completed.
The drive base group worked on the bumpers to make sure the robot would be protected during our testing.

Software continued to work on code for the game pieces, and once the climbing mechanism was mounted, they were able to deploy their code and make a successful climb. Vision continued to be refined, as well as our autonomous routine being planned out and programmed.

Overall it was a good week and we are excited to see the robot finished!!

Week 4 Update - Build Season 2017

posted 16 Feb 2017, 23:45 by ellie@thedropbears.org.au   [ updated 16 Feb 2017, 23:46 ]

Week 4 of build season was one of our busiest yet, however our designs were coming together and our robot was starting to form.
Mechanical was under the pump this week to finish a long to-do list. The climbing group had completed their CAD to an impeccable standard, and drawings had been made and approved. They then moved on into the fabrication phase to get their game piece completed and on the robot. 
The gears group was working on the very challenging design for our active mechanism. It was a tedious process, but one of the most complex mechanisms we have ever designed, so we needed to do it properly! Hence, the week was spent doing CAD, design meetings, problem solving, and more CAD. 
The drive base group had finished the assembly so it was time to wire everything up and work on our cable management skills!

In software, we worked on code for our seperate game pieces, as well as working on and refining our vision code to make everything go together seamlessly. It was a tough job, but at the end of the week we were proud of their efforts. 

Overall, this was another productive week for the Drop Bears and we are all excited to be seeing the robot come together.

Week 3 Update - Build Season 2017

posted 4 Feb 2017, 16:12 by ellie@thedropbears.org.au

Week three of Build Season was very busy for The Drop Bears. As we moved into the high level design phase, most of our days were filled with CAD, Design reviews and more CAD. Although this was a tedious process, we all understood that this was the most important part of creating a good robot.

The climbing group was working hard and finished their final CAD at the beginning of the week. They then set off to create their drawings before final fabrication. As our team values our quality control procedure, we made sure every drawing was of high quality and signed off before anyone went down to the workshop.

The gears groups continued to work on their CAD over the course of the week. The gear mechanism is the most technical out of the game pieces, so the entire week was spent on the high level design. There were many design review meetings over the week, and long and tedious hours working on the hard geometry of the mechanism. 

Drive base worked on CAD for electronics which involved designing an electronics plate and battery mount. The bumper design was also worked on an nearly finished by the end of the week.

The Dashboard group worked really hard and finished an excellent dashboard that is ready for us to use in competition. It is the best dashboard we have had on the team and we are really proud of their efforts.

Halfway through the season and the pressure is mounting, but we are excited to continue and finish our robot.

Week 2 Update - Build Season 2017

posted 27 Jan 2017, 00:01 by ellie@thedropbears.org.au   [ updated 27 Jan 2017, 00:26 ]

Welcome to week two of build season 2017! It was a very week busy as usual. As we moved into the prototyping phase, groups set out to make and modify the designs from week 1. The climbing group was off to a great start, they were able to produce their design and have a fully working prototype. At the end of the week the robot was able to climb at 100% accuracy. 

The drive base team has fully assembled the drive base and a temporary electronics board has been placed on to practice driving the robot. The drive base chassis has been fully CADed as well as bumpers and electronics. 

Driver training has been going well with our drive team candidates taking part in various drills to determine our final team for the competitions. Everyone has been having fun driving the robot and practicing training.

The gear section has continued to work on various prototypes to figure out the best way to fit the requirements and catch and deploy gears. With some bumps along the way, they are on the way to finalising their design. 

Software has continued to work on the vision code and creating the dashboard for the driver station.

Overall, we are excited to finish our detailed design in week 3!

Week 1 Update - Build Season 2017

posted 17 Jan 2017, 00:12 by ellie@thedropbears.org.au

Week 1 was an exciting and busy week for The Drop Bears. After 2017 Build Season Kick Off! on Sunday, we continued to work on our strategy on Monday. We all met that night to present our ideas to the group. After a long discussion of weighing up the pros and cons of each, we decided on our team's strategy. Everyone was happy to have made the first big decision for the season, our robot was slowly beginning to come together. 

Now that this was decided, we were able to start the design phase. Again, we split up into four groups and began brainstorming and fleshing out ideas for the robot. The next three days consisted of long conversations, lots of sketches and maths, as well as some prototyping. We regrouped to present our ideas to the group and began the process of narrowing down our options to a single design. Once this was done, we could begin working on the detailed design. We split up into our drive base and game piece teams to do this. 

With the drive base being assembled and game piece prototypes coming along, it has shown to be a productive week 1 and we are excited to keep working on the robot for the weeks to come.

Don't forget to check out our youtube for weekly vlogs!!

2017 Build Season Kick Off!

posted 11 Jan 2017, 18:34 by ellie@thedropbears.org.au   [ updated 27 Jan 2017, 16:30 ]

Waking up at six on a Sunday is not something that everybody enjoys, but everybody sitting in the electrical engineering building on the eighth of January was rather excited. Over the course of about an hour a group of new-recruits, veterans and mentors to the Drop bears were enlightened as they absorbed the rules of 2017s competition. Kick off was a rather long yet eventful day stretching to about 10 hours, though we successfully analysed the game rules. We did this by getting into groups and each analysing game rules from different sections, before coming together to present our findings to the group. Then, we split up into groups again to develop a range of game strategies to be revealed the next day.

It was important that kick off went well because it formed a basis for the rest of the project to go on, and we couldn’t afford to waste time because the task we were given was challenging and would definitely chew lots of time. Kick off was successful, and went smoothly. By the end of the day, everyone was excited and motivated for the tough 6 weeks ahead!

A Year in Review

posted 10 Jan 2017, 18:22 by ellie@thedropbears.org.au   [ updated 10 Jan 2017, 18:31 ]

2016 has been a big year for the Drop Bears. We started the year off off with build season kick off on the 7th of January. Everyone was excited and enthusiastic about the new season. FIRST Stronghold proved to be a challenging but enjoyable game. We had soon designed a robot we were very proud of and began construction and coding. The last weeks of build season were frantic as usual, but it all payed off at the end when we were able to see our finished work.

Our next event of the year was the robot reveal! It is always one of the best events this year as the team is able to show their friends and family what we have been working so hard for throughout the intense six week build period. Following this we moved into the competition season, the most exciting part of the year. This year we competed at the Sydney and Hawaii Regional. During the Sydney regional we didn’t place as well as we would have liked, however we were able to learn from the experience and work on the robot. This paid off at the Hawaii regional where we ranked 5th and became the 4th alliance captain – the first time The Drop Bears has achieved this. Hawaii was a fun trip for the whole team to travel together. Before the competition we spent a fun day at the beach. Besides the robots, the competitions give us a great opportunity to meet other teams from all over the world. It is a truly important experience for us all to be able to attend these competitions and definitely a highlight of the year.

After a well needed break, we came back for term 2. This term we were working towards the annual Duel Down Under competition. This meant making any changes mechanically or in software. Software worked on refining and perfecting the code whilst mechanical worked on a new intake mechanism. The competition started off great and we were able to keep in the top rankings, but unfortunately ran in to trouble with the robot and were not able to keep up our performance. However, it was a good last competition with the robot.

In term 3 we had a massive number of 15 recruits join our team. Our main project was making ZumoBots for our Zumo Competition. As well as this, veteran members worked on designs for swerve drives and refurbishing a cnc machine. These projects were put on show at our annual Sponsor Showcase. The event was open to all of our sponsors as well and family and friends so they could see what we had been working on. It was a great event for the students as well as they were able to showcase what they and the team had been working hard on. 

Term 4 was dedicated to training and learning new skills for build season. Mechanical focused on refurbishing a previous robot as well as learning how to CAD and do basic calculations. Software worked through tutorials that taught them python and well as writing drive base code for our potato bot. Software members also took part in a computer vision lesson from our software section leader.

Overall 2016 has been a great year for The Drop Bears and we can't wait to see what is in store for us in 2017!

Sponsor Showcase

posted 10 Jan 2017, 18:12 by ellie@thedropbears.org.au

Towards the end of the year we held our Annual Sponsor Showcase. This event is open to all of our sponsors as well and family and friends so they can see what we have been working on. It is a great event for the students as well as they are able to showcase what they and the team have been working hard on over the course of the year. Everyone was excited as more and more guests began to arrive. 

We began by showing our competition robot, S.Baldrick, who is a crowd favourite. Guests got the opportunity to drive him, which got everyone quite excited. 

We had a Zumo bot stall where the recruits were able to 
show their main project they had been working on.The information on the Zumos is in our last post.
They explained to the parents and sponsors how they had made the small robots and programmed them, as well as giving a demonstration of the Zumo game. 

Another stall showcased our swerve drive designs that we had been working on throughout the term. Our robot for the 2015-16 season used swerve drives, however we had many problems with them and decided to begin designing our own for future seasons. 
Our CNC mill, which is in the process of being refurbished, was on display as well for parents and sponsors to see. 

Overall it was a great afternoon and was enjoyable for the students to showcase their hard work and for parents and sponsors to see these projects. 

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