FTC4390 Engineering Notebook

Saturday, November 16, 2013
Today was the day of the competition. It was a long day and I’m exhausted. Overall I think we were successful, though we didn’t win any awards. We successful interacted with all the game elements. We hung!

And raised the flag to the highest position!

We came in 17th overall today. That is better than we did last year. Any improvement is success.
In the morning, the biggest thing was organizing the team. We had a lot of scouting that needed to be completed. There were 30+ teams at this qualifier. Last year, scouting was a mess. There were only four of us scouting, so for the entire day, we had to sit and watch every match. Sometimes, more than one ran at once, which require people to double up on robots. We couldn’t move all day. Sometimes, we tried to give other people folders to help us scout. They wouldn’t scout and would then walk away with the folder. I think our team forgot we existed and we rarely saw any team members besides the drivers. We wanted to supply the drivers with strategy, but couldn’t afford to let someone leave. Scouting was not a pleasant experience, but mostly because we were the sole four scouters. We expected scouting to be the same way this year, but we had a successful system. One person was in charge of all the folders; this was Sara. She assigned a folder to a person, and made them initial by that team number. This way if a folder went missing, it could be easily tracked to the last person that had it. This was an improvement from last year. Also this year, we had the mentors help in getting other team members to scout. Our Lockheed Martin mentor assisted Sara in the organization of the folders. The final improvement, was that many people scouted. The scouters were able to take breaks, and only watch one robot. The scouting system was much improved from last year. We discovered and learned all the errors that could occur last year, and this year we were able to fix them.
At 10:45, we had judging. We practiced this many times in the last two weeks and I had really high expectations. Unfortunately, we were unable to get through everything we wanted to say. We had so much to share about our mechanical, electrical, software, CAD, outreach, engineering notebook, and program management aspects of the team. Each of the seven people had plenty to say, and it was just too much. Next time, we need to practice our time management better. We need to develop a signal to let people know to cut their part short. Overall I was still happy with how our judging went. The judges seemed interested in our team, which I take as a good sign.
Overall it was a good day. I think our team again came together to work towards success. It was nice to see all our hard work pay off and to see all our robotics structures perform.

Other things that need improvement:
-driver practice is needed. Julie and I didn’t have an opportunity to drive before, so we need to familiarize ourselves with the controls more.
-some controls need to be changed. The extender arm on our robot, used to push down the pendulum needs to be controlled by the wheels person. The end-effector person had too many buttons to press and not enough fingers.
-some gear ratios need to be changed. The flag spinner’s speed can be increased, which will help us to be able to raise the flag and hang. The arm also needs to raise and lower faster. It took too long to get it to its highest position, which limited the amount of blocks we could score.
-autonomous. I would like a more intricate autonomous program that can score us more points. During the day, we decided it would be best to just park on the ramp, which scored us 20 points.
Overall a good day. But we now have a lot of improvements to make.
Until next time,
Grace Stridick
4390 Team Captain

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