We had a great time visiting the USF Racing Team yesterday, and got some terrific construction and design ideas from looking at their baja cars. We learned a lot about strengthening up the robot’s construction, got more ideas for improving our belt design and learned a bit about electrical considerations.
It was great fun to learn about the racing team’s design and construction process and to see this season’s car in progress.
An evening Skype meeting gave TDT members an opportunity to discuss some of the new ideas and what they want to accomplish at their next couple of meetings this month.
Lots to do, and actually a decent amount of time to do it (64 days until our next competition!) if everyone stays focused and on task.
Team Duct Tape enjoyed an instructive visit from FWCS-ASME President Pete Grotsky, of Government Programming Contracting and Management Services, who shared his insights on elements of a good interview, what a quality Engineering notebook should look like, and how a good team conducts itself. He enjoyed learning about the collaborative tools like Google Apps and Skype, that TDT employs for administrative, program management and technical needs, and getting a look at our finished practice field.
After working with Mr. Grotsky, and plying their lessons learned in a mock interview practice, team members hunkered down for an extra long build and programming meeting, stopping only for a short pizza and Mr. Bean video break.
We’ve got one more meeting before next Saturday’s competition at Hillsborough High
School, just enough time to tweak the notebook, and hopefully get some drive practice in on the practice field. If nothing else, we think the robot looks very cool! If team members keep working as seamlessly as they did yesterday, though, it’ll work as well as it looks.
TDT members have worked like the living dead (but with a lot more energy!) on their robot the last couple of days — — trying to complete a robot design everyone feels will be competitive and successful. TNT was an edifying experience that compelled team members to rework their initial design, after testing the practicality of their original idea on the actual playing field.
Prototypes have proven extremely useful in helping team members visualize different solutions. A recent Skype meeting gave students more brainstorming time than student schedules allowed, too, and gave team members an opportunity to collaborate on design ideas, which they then refined further at yesterday’s meeting. Team members also finalized team roles, enjoyed a sufficient amount of sugary sweet carbs, and began working on their team “look”
(which is not that of the undead!).
The multiple levels of build complexity in this season’s Hot Shot! game have proven more challenging than last season’s Face Off! build, with a lot more variables in the build and the game. Programmers face a dizzying array of controller needs, far beyond last year’s forward, back, left, right, up, down and dump. Fortunately, team members seem to have worked out a simple and elegant design that carves order out of the chaos of a field full of wiffle balls (hopefully!).
If the Engineering Notebook effectively documents TDTs journey, it’ll read the Lewis and Clark expedition!
If progress continues as it has the past couple of days, though, the end of the journey may be in sight. Hopefully team members will have a running robot by week’s end, and can work on their autonomous program and driving practice next week. If not, the journey continues till we arrive at Hillsborough High School’s RoboMania qualifying competition on November 14!
In the meantime, we’ll keep checking the FTC Forum Q&A for tips and insights, communicating and keeping the notebook updated via our Google sites group, and grabbing whatever time we can to keep moving forward.