Posts Tagged ‘ leadership ’

Raiderbot X, 26 Days to Robot Ship

This is an email I sent to the Raiderbot mailing list. I think it sums up everything that is going on.

Hello Raiderbot,

The bad news:

We are still a week behind largely due to delayed shipping of supplies and bad planning on my part. We have no driving robot, nor do we have a fully functional arm. If we add up all the hours, we have little over 60 hours (2.5 days) of work time left in the season. Also significant is the fact that too few people have been showing up.

The good news:

We have the aluminum tubing required for the chassis and have enough already cut for one chassis, ready to be welded using the jig constructed last week. HyTek has donated more plastic to us than we’ll ever need this year. We received the materials for the arm today and should be ready to start building tomorrow.

The roller claw beta prototype (demonstrated last week) looks very promising. Great job to everyone who helped design and fabricate it!

We have located a machine shop (Viper) that has the capabilities and is willing to manufacture our swerve modules (for the drive base). Spencer Hedrick is currently waiting to hear back from them regarding the cost and time of fabrication. We will know by Friday what the decision is. If the price is affordable, we hope to have the modules (and one robot) finished by the end of next week.

The scary stuff:

We need our first robot finished by the end of next week and our second robot by Wednesday of the following week. Please realize that although next week is only Week 4, it is already Week 4. It was our original plan to have the swerve modules finished first, but because the machine shops will not finish fabricating the swerve modules by the end of next week, we need to have everything else finished and nearly perfected by that time. This includes the:

  • Roller claw,
  • Four-bar linkage lifting mechanism (with milled aluminum tower),
  • Electronics board, and
  • The attachment of every necessary motor, sprocket, wire, belt, chain, pneumatic, and pulley we need on each of the two robots.

If all 46 members of our team meet and work consistently, this is entirely possible to accomplish in less than a week. At the current rate of attendance, however, this will not happen. Please also consider the fact that I haven’t even begun to describe what we need to do regarding the business plan, T-shirt design, battery cart, robot cart, scouting, pit build, pit panels design, minibot design, etc. There are too many jobs and too few people who come to meetings!

I am fairly happy about the attendance of the longer (Monday/Friday/Saturday) meetings; we got a lot done last weekend. However, attendance of the shorter meetings has been disappointing at best and unproductive at worst. Because we end two hours earlier, we need more people and dedication to maximize the use of our time in the shop.

It is our (me and Lipi) job as program managers to keep track of what resources we have to work with and keep the team on track for a successful season. Here, a “successful season” means we have completed the following (among other things) by Monday, 2/21, which is 26 days away:

  • 2 Robots
  • 2 Minibots
  • New website
  • Pit
  • Battery cart
  • Robot cart

The request:

We hope we are doing a decent job, but in being effective leaders, we depend on each of you. Regardless of your individual jobs, regardless of how small it is, regardless of how much it may or may not seem related to robots at all, everything you put into the team brings us closer to success.

We would like to go to every meeting knowing everyone will be there, but this has not been happening. We completely understand if you have other commitments (we do, too), but please let us know (by email, word of mouth, phone call) if you will not be there—then at least we can plan things accordingly so we aren’t caught short at the end.

Currently, the programming subteam is the only subteam that is (far) ahead of schedule. (Mechies, are you seriously going to let the proggies outdo you?) Congratulations. :)

Again, the roller claw is looking great. Please be there tomorrow to help finish building the arm and test it on the kitbot.

Cheers,

Lipi Gupta/Soo-Hyun Yoo

Raiderbot X Meeting 4, 39 Days to Robot Ship

Meeting time: 15:00 to 21:00

We are two days behind schedule. I started a WOT (Weighted Objectives Table) discussion of the various lift concepts at 3:30. We started with seven concepts:

  • Single-jointed arm
  • Multi-jointed arm
  • Telescope (elevator)
  • Four-bar linkage
  • Eight-bar linkage
  • Scissor
  • 60/40 scissor

We narrowed it down to the four-bar linkage and the elevator and chose the four-bar linkage after a qualitative analysis using a pros/cons list for each. But I still wonder if this was necessary, because it took another 30 minutes of our time and I ran 45 minutes past my proposed deadline of 4:30. Why couldn’t we have reconsidered the two options using the three factors we had rated most highly? Will says some people just need more stake in things? Anyway, my bad for not calling them on it. Areas of improvement:

  • Do not let the loudest voices steer the discussion off-course.
  • Constantly think back to previous discussions and decisions. People were putting the WOT factors under the pros/cons lists, which is nonsense.
  • As always, be consistent, even when calling out for hands when rating the WOT factors. This is no time for jokes.

Will then separated us into four design groups for the lift, claw, base, and minibot.

Four-bar linkage: Mr. Groom found that making the shoulder pivot points’ distance shorter than that of the elbow pivot points allowed the claw to point down when the arm is down and point up when the arm is up. This should allow us to reach both the ground and the top peg as well as everything in between. This makes sense if we think about the four-bar linkage as a trapezoid and shifting the two bases—the linear displacement for the two lever arms is equal but the arm lengths are different, so angular displacements differ.

Minibot: make it as close as possible to a battery with motors glued on.

Preliminary design review planned for Saturday 17:00.

Raiderbot X Meeting 3, 41 Days to Robot Ship

Meeting time: 15:00 to 19:00.

We will have budget discussions every Tuesday after meeting.

FIRST Choice parts ordered, including the FTC Mini Kit for the minibot.

Talked more about end effectors, spent 30 minutes prototyping. Kushal and Damian made a pretty sweet prototype of a four-bar linkage arm.

I messed up here again and completely forgot that we’d planned to finish design decisions by end of the day today. Didn’t happen. Where’s my todo list? I need to make a Gantt chart soon.