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Team Pangaea 17-18 Season Blog

The Rookie Experience, So Far...

Miti - March 26, 2018

We participated in the FIRST Robotics competition as a rookie team. Since we were a rookie team, we did not know how the competition worked. So we got a lot of support from our mentor teams: R-Factor(6024), the other team from India, and Pymble Pride(6510) to help us.

During the first day of the competition, we arrived at the competition without our robot. We started by setting up the pit where we presented our team to other people and fixed our robot. However, we were having a bit of trouble with getting our robot past customs. As a result, we only got the robot halfway through the build day and had to hurry to put it together. In the end, we were able to complete the robot in time for the competition.

The second day was the qualification matches. These were significant in making it into the finals. We started off strong in our first couple of matches due to support from other teams and good alliances.Meanwhile, the scouting team talked to the other teams and learned more about their robot. They did this so we could better understand who were good partners. This also helped us improve our social skills. By the end of the day, we were ranked 6th in the entire competition.

During the third and final day of the competition, the finals and semifinals were conducted. All those teams who were in the top 8, including us, were captains and we choose our alliances for the final matches. While we started off well that day, we got out in our second match. However, the entire time we collaborated with other teams and cheered for other teams including the mentor team. The award ceremony was at the end of the day. We won the highest rookie seed award and the rookie all-star award. Additionally, since we won those awards we qualified for the Worlds in Houston, Texas.

Currently, we are preparing for the world's competition during April 18-21 in Houston. Through all the collaborative and technical skills, such as how to drive the robot and how to speak to other teams, we were able to better prepare for Worlds.

Last Minute Code

Ben - February 10, 2018

As a rookie team, we wanted get people aware about what we were doing and what our team hoped to accomplish. In order tell our community about our robotics team, we displayed our Robot at the festival of nations, an event where the whole school and its students come together to share their cultures, whether that be through performances, food, or just conversation. The diversity of our team is something that we really value, which is why we thought this event would be able to enforce this point.

We had prepared some basic code for our robot to use at the festival for demonstration, but when we turned on our laptop all our code was gone. It was a small disaster that we needed to fix fast, otherwise this whole event would be pointless. In the code we lost, we were using a joystick to control our robot, but Abhay and I decided that we wanted to use the gamepad to control the robot as our team was more comfortable with using that. We sat in the middle of the scorching heat and coded. We were under a lot of pressure to make the code work, and we didn’t have much time. After we finally finished writing the code, we uploaded it, but the code did not work. We were extremely worried and spent half an hour debugging with no result. We then realized a mistake in the code, in which the instance of the control board was returning null. We changed it to return the actual instance of the control board and the robot worked beautifully. After this success, we wanted to make the turning of the robot smooth, and turn at the same time of going forward. We devised a clever way to combine the horizontal and vertical axises given by the control board into movement, and this resulted in an extremely smooth control system for our robot. The robot ended up being much better than before, and the event was a success.

Screw Troubles

Jim - January 30, 2018

Our team thought that building robots was going to be super easy because the guide was written very specifically just like Legos. However, we faced many struggles throughout the building process. For example, we had a TB Hex Output Shaft that didn’t quite fit to the hole.

As it didn’t go in, we used force to stick the shaft in. When the shaft was halfway in, it got stuck. We couldn’t put it in further nor pull it out. We used table vice, and hammer to stick it in. During the process, the end part of the shaft broke into half. Another example is churros. We had to screw the “Thread Forming Screws” into the churros.

Since the inner plate was not flat, we had to find an angle and stabilize it where the churros and screws could be parallel to each other. After that, we worked on attaching the end plates using “SHCS and Nylock Nuts.”

This was one of the biggest struggles we had to face because it was hard, it took a long time, and lastly, there were 24 SHCS and nuts to put. The reason it took so much time is because when we rotate the SHCS, the nuts would also rotate with it. Therefore, we had to hold both of it to install it. The hard part of it was that our hands were too big to grab SHCS, which was on the inside faces of the end sheet. The best tool that suits this work was the “L wrench.” Even with the L wrench, the process was still hard because we had to make the L wrench stably parallel to the nuts. Some of us got scratched by the edge of the inner plates.

Day 1 Vlog

Shailen - January 12, 2018