We have just come off of a very successful round of full size prototypes. All of our proof-of-concepts for shooting, climbing, and “swiss-army knife”-ing worked well enough that with a full, thought-out design design of each, they would work like a robot should. The real challenge now comes the integration of all of these items into one robot.

More than any other year, this robot is going to be small, like, I mean SMALL. It has to be less than ~14 in tall, and have a lot of ground clearance. That means we are squeezed from the top and bottom, and have to integrate three different subsystems into one robot, along with—how could I forget—electronics. I have taken a central role in integrating all of these subsystems into the svelte package that will be our robot for FIRST Stronghold, communicating will all of the subsystem design teams to get everyone on the same page.

We are also doing something we have never done before: using a riveted aluminum tube chassis. It has been a steep learning curve for the team, and for me, as I have learned so much more than I would have expected from just the first prototype chassis we made. Everything from the best hole dimensions, to the best way to plan out manufacturing drawings for milling, to the limits of chain strength (who knew chain could shatter when the robot flies over a defense?).

At this point, I feel very confident in our system designs; but the great challenge now comes the execution, from manufacturing them to integrating them harmoniously together on the final robot(s).

Below is a little goodie for ya’ll… a early stage CAD render of our robot’s drivetrain (how ‘bout them CIMs?)


By Aidan H