Category: Build Season: 2015

Mar 15

Greater DC Regional Day 2

Hey everyone! Today was our second day at the Greater DC Regional! Overall the day was successful! We had a few minor issues, but our pit crew was quickly able to troubleshoot and get PhAZE1 back on the field ready to rush! We also presented for the Chairman’s Award. The interview went very well and we’re excited to receive feedback! After the qualification matches finished for the day, we watched the Closing Ceremonies. Congratulations to all of the teams who were awarded yesterday! Finally, to end the day, the team headed over to Fuddruckers for dinner and to review the day’s events! 

Mar 15

Greater DC Regional Day 1

We woke up bright and early this morning, all excited for our first competition of the season, the Greater D.C. Regional!. Hitting the road at 5:00am for our journey to George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, we got stuck in a bit of traffic but eventually made it safely to our destination. After unpacking, we got right to work, filing sharp edges, mounting signage, and calibrating sensors. We ran into a few minors snags with sensor and code malfunctions, but we quickly solved our problem and were able to move on to the next step: Inspections!

First up was the weigh-in. We had weighed our robot earlier in the season and found it quite a bit overweight, leading us to painstakingly swiss-cheese (drill lots and lots of holes) it and remove any unnecessary parts. All of our hard work payed off with the robot coming in exactly .2 pounds under! The next step, the technical inspection, went off without a hitch. The inspector checked our robot for sharp edges, proper electrical and mechanical safety measures, and numerous other items, each being found up to code. The safety inspection was the last step. The inspectors asked our stand-in Safety Captain Joseph questions about all aspects of competition and shop safety, from SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for injuries to First-Aid kit expiration dates. Both inspectors were very impressed by our knowledge, as well as our safety manual which contains MSDSs (Material Safety Data Sheets), SOPs for various situations, as well as other important info. They also provided us with advice on how to ensure safety around the pit. It’s the first time in the team’s history that our robot passed inspection on the first try!

After the inspections, we were ready to take the field. Our robot competed in three practice matches, each allowing us to tweak the code and calibration and refine our competition strategy. We also spent some time on the practice field, honing our tote-lifting, noodle-throwing, stack-moving skills. This time taught us a lot about both the field and our robot and let us find weak points in our strategy. Then it was time to pack up and head to the hotel, where we ate, debriefed on the day’s events and prepared for tomorrow’s challenge…The Qualifiers!

Mar 15

Bag and Tag 2015!

On the closing night of the 2015 build season we were still rapidly working to make our robot successful. We reassembled our robot after we had to take some of it apart for weight loss. All the new and modified parts fit together and we had a working robot. Earlier in the week, we assembled a half field to let us practice on. We brought the robot down to practice and found that our robot was very successful. Our first trials proved that the robot was working well, but as we worked we found some errors. The two main errors were that the when driving sideways the two of the four wheels didn’t run, and the limit switches on grabbing arm weren’t working. The wheels problem we believe has to do with the either the joysticks on the drivers station or the motor controllers on the robot. The other problem came front and center when the failure of a limit switch led to the breaking of our grabber on. We spent most of the night working to fix these flaws. Even with these flaws the night still was successful and gave us important practice  to succeed at competition. We ended the night by bagging the robot at 11:50pm to close the very successful build season!


Feb 15

phAZE1’s Weight Loss Program

As soon as we learned that our robot was overweight we knew it had to go on a diet.  All jokes aside we had a serious problem with 23 extra pounds.  The problem grew as we learned that there was not enough aluminum to put holes in and lose the weight we needed.  Something else needed to go, something big.  We decided to change our lift motor system.  Previously we had 2 CIM motors but they were excessive for our needs, who needs to lift two 200 pound people.  As a result we dropped down to one mini CIM motor in our dual motor planetary gearbox.  On the other side we put a motor end cap and shaft to balance the torque on the gear box and prevent slipping.  We managed to get to the 120 pound limit through these methods but this did not include wires and lights.  As the robot has been bagged the changes to account for the weight will be made at competition.  The plans for accounting for the weight of the wires now include replacing 4 drive CIMs with mini CIMs and some of our 48 feet of steel chain with nylon chain.

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Feb 15

Momentous Mechanical Merger Milestones

We have finally merged the drive base, lifting subsystem, and electrical board! This means that we are in the homestretch for robot completion. Check out the photos below to see our progress.

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