FTC Teams

Everything fun that happens with our FTC Teams

Fall Harvest Follow Up & Other Stuff

Hey everyone, here’s another update of what’s going on in Storm. As many of you know and even went to watch, Storm hosted a Fall Harvest Meet at Cherokee High School. There was a huge turnout for the event and almost all the available bleachers were packed full! Fifteen FTC teams participated and Storm’s FTC teams 4390 and 7433 participated as well. 4390 had a chance to play in the semi finals after being picked by the captain of our alliance team. Storm FRC also had a presence in the event by volunteering to be referees, judges, cameramen, etc. BAM also had a table set up so people could see the progress on the Crayon Initiative and the purpose behind it. People were interested in the project and some strongly voiced their support for the project since they have kids with disabilities.  We received some amazing feedback and realized that the crayons really appealed to kids (they doodled over the entire piece of paper!).

The FRC team has also made some amazing progress since the last meeting and everyone is pretty sure that we haven’t had this level of progress and productivity ever. The chassis is coming along excellently and by looks of it, the chassis is practically done. All of us are sure we could get a moving robot before build season is even done, this will then save us plenty of time so we could work on other things to make the robot amazing. The wheelchair project mentioned before is sadly discontinued due to monetary and liability conflicts. Software has also announced their developments, and currently they are working on the robot drive code. Whew, that’s a lot for a blog frankly, but this information needs to be put in the spotlight. Everyone on the team is pumped and excited for things to come in future.



Fall Harvest Qualifier!

As I watch the world around me transition into a new season, everything is slowly painted in hues of orange, of pumpkins, bonfires, and glowing leaves.

And among all those orange things that come with fall, is the annual Fall Harvest Qualifier! On November 19, 2016, from 7 AM to 4 PM, both the FTC 4390 and FTC 7433 teams will compete at Cherokee along with about 15 other teams. FRC 2729 will be helping out throughout the day, and merchandise will be available at the event for purchase.

The game featured this year is Velocity Vortex, where two robots, one from the red team and one from the blue team, compete to see who will get the most points from claiming Beacons, moving the Cap Ball off of the Center Vortex base onto the field floor, and scoring Particles into their alliance’s Center or Corner Vortex.

Good luck to both FTC teams!

Ftc 4390 – engineering notebook


Our goal today was to fix some wiring problems and disconnections, and to string the arm. We also hoped to be able to test everything today. We had no team members here today that were experienced in electrical. A mentor explained some of the basics to us, such as the black wire goes to the negative terminal and the red wire goes to the positive one. Another team member made a map of the wiring so we could understand where everything is connected. We figured out where the disconnected wires went and attached them. One of the wires was too short so we had to cut and strip the ends of a new wire. After we finished the wiring we tried to string the arm. We realized that we had no place to attach the eyebolts because we had switched to a new pair of drawer slides yesterday. We will have to wait and do that tomorrow, after our mentor welds on the new eyebolts. We did get a chance to test the electrical system with software. We confirmed that the wiring was correct and made any necessary changes. Everything else works so we just have to finish the arm tomorrow. We should be ready for our final competition on Saturday.

Julie Schell

Ftc 4390 engineering notebook


The drawer slides of the arm had a few problems that we had to fix this meeting. The arm kept getting stuck because when we were working on them before the ball bearings fell out. We found them all and put the arm back together but it wasn’t running smoothly even when we added grease. We had two extra drawer slides that we switched to. We added the necessary parts from the old arm. The second problem was that the spotwelded eye bolts were not holding well. When the string moved, the eyebolts and even the some of the spotwelded parts came off. We solved this by welding a small strip of metal to the top of the inner slide. We drilled a hole in it so the string would go directly through it and there will be less torque. We decided to keep the eyebolts on the bottom of the middle slide but to shorten the eyebolts, again lowering the torque. And finally, another group of people from mechanical used a flat brace to organize the strings so they wouldn’t get stuck in the gear. We still have to restring the arm and work out a few electrical problems.

Julie Schell

The Arm Story

December 7, 2013
This year, we took a different approach to our arm. We decided to build a ladder lift arm using drawer slides. Originally, a modified drawer slide was being powered by a threaded rod. This method took a while to build, and we had to go to our first competition without an attached or close to done arm. That day, at the competition (which was also a work day) we decided to go another route. A mentor assisted us in beginning a drawer slide ladder lift that will be powered by a string pulley system. I could still tell this was going to take a while to build.

As our next competition approached, the arm looked like it may be complete, but was it going to work? Every meeting was mostly designated to working on the arm. It is a complicated structure. The night before our qualifier, the arm was finished and working.

The only problem: it didn’t reach high enough. That was crushing. After all the time we spent designing and building it, there was still a flaw. To help fix this, we put and extender hook on the robot to push the pendulum down. During the competition, we were able to raise the arm and score three blocks, but the arm took a while to move up and down and was not the most consistent way to score. Many improvements needed to be made before next competition. We were hoping the simple solution would be to change the gear ratio, but nothing in robotics is ever simple. We decided that the best thing to do was rework the stringing method. This way, we would get more height and speed to our arm. A month until our next competition.
During that time, work was being completed on the arm but inconsistently. The mentor, whose design it was did not show up to every meeting, and little work could be completed without him. Also, the design was complicated with lots of moving parts, so pinpointing problems was difficult. We kept working, up to the day before the competition to finish our arm. The week before, all the ball bearing fell out and needed to be found. The next meeting, our mentor was away for business so we struggled to come up with the stringing method. By this point, the hardware was done, but we were unsure of how the string went through the eye nuts to power the arm. A Saturday meeting was necessary.
On Saturday, our mentor landed in philly at 6 am and was at school to help us by 9. There were five of us there, working away to try to finish. But now we know how to string the arm! The process is as followed:

This is still confusing, but it looks so simple.

Finally, pulling on the string lifts the arm. A winch system was also made to keep the string in line where it is wound around. Finally, we have a working arm. It was not tested before the competition, but that morning, we will run the motor and see how successful our system is.
The process was a stressful learning one. I wanted to just have a completed arm at some many times, but I realize that if this works, it will be worth the wait. It is a very unique design. And a complicated one. Now, all the flaws have been worked out and we can hopefully score with blocks. The arm we have now went through a lot of changes since the original design. Many people’s collaboration helped the arm be the structure it is now. The arm will work at the competition! It was a long process, but one that will have a big payoff.
Until next time,
Grace Stridick
4390 Team Captain