Copernicus

Copernicus is my team's answer to the 2018 FRC game Power Up. The goal of the game was to place Power Cubes (milk crates) on platforms of various heights. To learn more about the game or program, you can visit firstinspires.org. My team and I worked to design an elevator-type mechanism to lift the cubes up to varying heights. With this design we were able to win a regional competition and move onto nationals.

Role

My primary role on the team was to train the younger programmers on the team to write the robot code. In addition to this I also wrote code myself, worked on prototyping and design of the robot, and also helped wire the robot.

Journey

Design

To begin, once the whole team was familiar with the rules, we decided on our game strategy. From there, we broke off into groups to discuss possible designs for the robot. We decided on building an elevator bot because it would be versatile and it would save machining time since it was only one mechanism.

Prototyping

The next phase in our process was prototyping different elevator and claw mechanisms for our bot. We decided on a simple clamping mechanism with powered wheels to intake the milk crates. We figured it would give us a good grip on the cube while also being able to easily intake or outtake. Our elevator prototype was a multistage pulley system driven by one motor, however, it ended up not showing us the flaw in the spooling which hurt us in the long run.

CAD and Programming

After prototyping, the team split up into CAD and programming groups. The CAD team worked on drawing up final designs of our prototypes, while myself and the programmers started on designing the code structure. We separated the code out into a system of tasks, where one is executed after the other. That way, in the autonomous period, the robot could execute multiple instructions in a modular fashion. Our code from this season can be found here.

Machining, Assembly and Wiring

Once the CAD was close to done, our mechanical team started machining the drive base, and later on the mechanisms for the bot. The Assembly team then took the completed components and fastened them to the welded chassis. During all of this, I worked with our electrical team to assemble and wire up the electrical board with all the necessary electrical components.

Testing

By far the longest process, the testing phase is the last thing we do before build season ends. With a week left to build, we tested the final product. The code worked fine, other than a less-than-perfect autonomous. The mechanical problems, however, taught us an important lesson in design. While the pulley mechanism worked, the spooling was not perfect, so the two sides of the elevator would get misaligned and jam the whole mechanism. This design mistake cost us a week, waiting for new parts to arrive to make a new elevator using a linear rail and chain.

Final Product