This past week we have focused on designing and prototyping. David Yokell has been using CAD tools to design. The rest of the team has been developing ideas and prototyping them. We are beginning to fabricate our drivetrain this week.
For the drivetrain we had to decide between a tank or mecanum drive. Looking at the pros and cons a tank drive is more powerful and will have better traction, but is not very maneuverable. A mecanum drive is very quick and maneuverable, but it has less power than a tank drive and is more complicated to make and actually drive. We decided that a mecanum drive will be best for this year’s game. We want to have short cycle times to maximize the amount of gears we can place. Also, a mecanum drive will allow us to make the minor adjustments needed when placing a gear on the lift. Fabrication of our mecanum drive began on Saturday and we plan for it to be done Wednesday.
We are initially focusing on a gear receiving and gear placing mechanism. The team is currently split between an active or a passive mechanism. A passive system would receive the gear from the loading station and then get the lift spring through the gear and the pilots would lift it up out of the robot. An active system would do the same thing, but have a piston push the gear onto the spring. A passive system is much simpler to design and make, but we would be relying on the pilots to quickly get the gear off the robot. A passive system would require more effort to design but takes out the risk of human error. We have two groups working on a prototype of each one and will have a competition to see which mechanism we will use.