ILLINIhilation Robotics: End of Season Review

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!

ILLINIhilation: End of the Semester

The Illinihilation team wrapped up the fall semester with a final team meeting to discuss the designs for the soccer ball intake and output. From this meeting, we were able to finalize the manipulators for the soccer balls. While slightly behind schedule for the design due to the release time of the competition information, the team is working over the winter break to complete a full CAD model of the robot in order to be able to hit the ground running at the start of the new semester. The drivetrain has already been fully CAD modeled and the panels have been waterjet cut, so the entire drivetrain should be able to be assembled as soon as we get back from break.
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ILLINIhilation Planning Out The Season

The ILLINIhilation team just had another meeting, this time to plan out the tasks and deadlines for the team leading up to competition. We are making it more structured and organized with a timeline schedule. This will hopefully help finish our robot a week or so before competition.

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Team ILLINIhilation First Meeting

The ILLINIhilation team just had its first team meeting to talk team logistics, explain the things we do know about this season’s competition, and start discussing what we want to implement for our robot this year. With the official competition rules still yet to be released, the ILLINIhilation team is anxious to start brainstorming ideas for designing our robot. We already decided on the type of frame for our robot and weighed our options for the drivetrain system. Our sub-teams are also being formed, so that the entire team is ready to hit the ground running when the rules are released.

The new season has begun!

Welcome to the next iRobotics season! The ILLINIhilation team is getting ready for the upcoming MRDC season by first cleaning up our ESPL area and sorting through our inventory. We now have a clean and organized space to start our next robot constructing endeavor. The next chapter of the ILLINIhilation saga has started now.

ESPL Cleanup Fall 2016