The ILLINIhilation Robotics Team has completed another successful season this year. Although our team was slightly behind schedule in the building of the robot, we pushed through the final week before competition and completed a fully functioning robot, with all the components and features we had designed. We used the “iRobotics MRDC standard” when it comes to frames: one-inch square aluminum tubing in a box shape. This allowed us to have more than enough room for all of our components, as well as giving us the ability to easily make additions or modifications without dealing with space issues. The drivetrain we created was very similar to the jump drive system used last season, except with a major improvement on the module panels. Utilizing waterjet cutting, we cut aluminum panels to the exact dimensions needed for perfectly tensioned chains, so no tensioners or other means were needed. This greatly improved the building process and overall performance of the drivetrain. We also upgraded our drive motors to a brushless system, giving us immense power behind our wheels for high maneuverability and speed.
Our main soccer ball manipulator was designed to be multitasking: being able to intake multiple soccer balls from the ground, hold the scoring bin door open, and deposit all the soccer balls into the bin. We used a conveyor belt system that allowed for bidirectional movement of the soccer balls to intake and output them. Using a linear actuator, we were able to mount the conveyor system in such a way that the input/output side of the conveyor can be raised and lowered, allowing for ground pickup, and also scoring into a bin that is above the ground. This pivot motion also acted as a way to open and hold the scoring bin door. For our key manipulator, we utilized the ILLINIhilation’s “famous” robotic arm, making some modifications to have a 3D-printed gripper specifically designed for grabbing and manipulating the aluminum key. We also extended the forearm to more than two feet long so that the arm can reach high enough to grab the key. The elbow joint motor system thus needed to be upgraded to support the larger weight, so we constructed a makeshift servo using a CIM motor and gearbox with an encoder. The programming team diligently developed a proportional–integral–derivative (PID) controller loop to control the motor so that it acts like a large servo motor.
All of features of the robot worked out very well in the competition. Although we were not able to advance very far in the elimination rounds of the competition due to an electronics malfunction right before the start of a round, the ILLINIhilation team is still very proud of what we have created. We have learned a lot from this year, and we are all very excited to put what we have learned this year into our next robot for our final year!
The Mechabytes had a great first year of competition. For the majority of the season, we were behind schedule, but our members pulled together in the last week to get the robot finished. It is amazing to think that three days before competition we had a pile of metal, but after a few all-nighters, our robot was assembled. During the competition at EOH, our robot performed amazing as we were able to reach the semifinals before being eliminated. Additionally, our robot lasted a long time during the demolition round despite being one of the lightest robots on the field. Our robot lasted until we lost communication due our wireless module getting disconnected from our microprocessor.
Our robot design consisted of a ground intake that went to our elevator that lifted the soccer balls until they fell down the ramp into our ball storage area. Our pneumatic mechanism to open the scoring door was particularly successful as it opened the door every time our driver was lined up. Due to the geometry of our robot, we were able to drive under the door once it was opened to keep it open and line up with our ball release mechanism. Once we are lined up, we release the soccer balls and score all of the ones in our storage area. When we were designing the robot, we prioritized being able to carry multiple soccer balls because we strategized that by doing so we would be able to score all the soccer balls at once. This decision helped us advance far in the competition since they adjusted the rules because manipulating the key had become a difficulty for all the teams. Unfortunately, our key manipulator wasn’t effective during the competition, but the competition committee adjusted the rules to release the soccer balls at a given time during the match to allow all teams to score regardless of the key.
Overall, our team was pressed for time near the end, but thanks to our team members putting in countless hours in the days before EOH and the help of our upperclassmen to machine parts, we were able to have a successful robot! We still have a lot we can improve on, but we are looking forward to another three years of competition and learning!
It’s time for the Transfarmers to wrap up a fun and successful year. This year we worked hard to be ahead of schedule and had our robot driving days before competition, with only minor additions being added the nights before EOH. Our robot design was very effective and we are proud to be one of the few teams able to consistently grab the ‘key’ for the 2017 MRDC game and line it up with the ‘lock’ in the arena. This year we switched to a new type of drivetrain which we have dubbed the ‘compact jump drive’ made using the waterjet cutter. We then constructed the rest of our frame on top the drivetrain using welded aluminum tube. Our robot design consisted of a ground intake to lift the soccer balls from the floor and push them through a one way door into our ball storage area. In addition to our ball intake, we designed and built a modular key manipulator which could quickly be lifted off of the robot and clamped to either the top left or top right of the robot. The modular design was chosen so that we could always have our key manipulator on the side of our robot necessary for us to line up directly under the soccer ball dispensers while inserting the ‘key’, thus allowing us to have the soccer balls drop straight into our ball storage area rather than picking them up from the floor. Unfortunately, due to differences between the actual field and the CAD model released with the game rules our robot was not able to perform up to its full potential during matches. Upon this realization we gave it our best effort to redesign and build a new ball intake the night of competition which worked flawlessly in our matches on the second day. All in all the Transfarmers had a great year and look forward to another two to come as we transition to juniors and continue to learn and improve.
MuTan(Clan), as the senior MRDC team, designed a new and radical robot. Considerably more compact than the past robots we have designed, this robot had a host of new hurdles to overcome. Additionally, this robot incorporated several new design ideas, ranging from a completely water-jet cut frame to an all new brush-less drive train to a custom PCB. For those curious, you may find a 3D PDF of it at the bottom of this article. Many of these new designs performed admirably at competition, however we were tripped up by a few unexpected electrical and mechanical issues at competition. Despite these issues, we advanced to the quarter finals, narrowly being eliminated in that match. We are proud of the advancements we have made in this design and new ground broken for future teams. We look forward to seeing how teams take advantage our our new ideas moving forwards!
The junior comobotics team had a great season building The Kraken. The Kraken is a full body spinner, the only of its kind in our competition. The weapon/armor held up well and the robot can still drive and slowly spin up. We plan to use to the kraken for demonstration purposes at quad day next year.