Westminster Christian Academy FIRST Robotics Team, 2012,2013
FIRST Robotics is a global robotics competition for high-school students. Starting in early January, students have just six weeks to design and build a fully functional 150lb robot to compete in the competition. The ‘game’ that the robot must play is not known until the beginning of the six weeks. Teams then compete in regional events around the world for a chance to make it to the FIRST Robotics World Championship in St. Louis
In 2013, I was proud to follow the footsteps of our team’s founder Jonathan Bopp, as the Chief Engineer and head of our team.
As CE, my job was to manage the development of the robot completely, from concept ideation and design through fabrication and testing. The 2013 competition proved particularly challenging due to the pyramid climb.
The ambitions goals for the robot made required us to adopt a strict 24″x20″x18″ envelope to allow it to fit into the top compartment of the pyramid. This of course made it very difficult to fit all of the systems necessary for shooting frisbees and climbing tower into such a small envelope. By iterating on each system assembly, and the master assembly, in NX, I was able to get every critical system to fit together with some margin to spare.
At the beginning of the season our team decided to push ourselves to develop a robot that could shoot frisbees accurately AND climb to the top rung of the pyramid. This proved to be extremely difficult but in the end our hard work payed off and we were one of very few robots that had such capability, making us able to score up to 120pts singlehanded in a match.
During the 2012 season, I served as the team leader for the Drive Systems of the robot. It was my job to design a platform to transport the point-scoring systems to defined locations around the court. In the first part of the season we focused on concept generation and trade studies, researching what options were available for our application. We then prototyped a few different configurations of the drive system and studied the effect of different wheels, gearing, and layouts on the speed, turning friction, and maximum pushing force of the robot.
I was responsible for taking in all of the information that we collected during the prototyping phase of our build season, and applying it to the final design of the drive system. I used Siemens NX 7.5 to model each component of the system. I then brought all of the components together in a master assembly to ensure that everything would fit together and work as expected before we ever bought components or cut metal.