The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…

Too Much Weekend

Posted by Deliverator on January 30th, 2006

My weekend was very full and unfortunately it has caught up with me. I have a sore throat and my body aches and shivers. I spent a good deal of the weekend in damp clothes, which I am sure didn’t help. Seattle is a very wet place, but usually the rain follows the pattern of constant light drizzle which is just enough to make your hair frizzy all day. Most people here don’t carry umbrellas and normally I scoff at those who do. This weekend it seems like every time I needed to go outside it was pouring down rain hard enough to get me soaked just going from car to building.

Saturday I caught the ferry and headed to Keyport. Keyport is home of the Naval Undersea Museum, which this weekend graciously provided facilities for MATE to hold their kickoff event for the 1st Annual Pacific Northwest ROV Competition. Roughly 30 people (mainly educators) showed up to hear Jill Zande (from MATE) and Fritz Stahr (representing MTS/UW/Ocean Inquiry) talk about this year’s event and show footage from prior year’s. There was also a representative from the local naval base who showed footage and talked about how they use ROVs currently and how they intend to use them in the grim meathook future. The kickoff was definitely a low key event compared to a FIRST competition kickoff and frankly a lot of the information presented during the day was repetitive and redundant. They could have presented all the necessary information in an hour  or two instead of six (plus ferry rides/waiting at ferry docks). I know it sounds like I am bitching. I really had a lot of fun, I am just majorly crunched for time atm. The highlight of the event was when we all broke into groups to create small ROVs, designed to pick up PVC T junctions off the bottom of a large water filled cow trough. It was a lot of fun and I got a lot of pictures

I didn’t get home until about 7:45, at which point I met up with Ryan at my house and hauled the ROV over to Larry’s. We were intending to spend most of the time at Larry’s working on a nagging encoder issue, but got sidetracked when we realise that the right side drivetrain was locked in place. Turns out that when the gearbox was assembled a locking key designed to hold the driving gear in place had not been inserted. The driving gear was being held in place by a single small set screw. As FIRST co-founder Woody Flowers has noted, “set screws inhale audibly.” Of course, the set screw backed out and the gear it was holding in place slid down its shaft and managed to lock the gearbox up. I am just glad it did so now, rather than during the competition. Thankfully, no damage was done to the gearbox. Ryan (and larry the next day) worked on fabricating a new key to properly fix the gear in place. I disassembled the other gear box to check for the same problem. Thankfully the other one was done properly.

Sunday afternoon I headed to Larry’s and mainly spent time taking pictures. We had more hands than needed for a change. Most of the afternoon was spent fabricating and welding an outer frame and working on the shooting mechanism. The shooter is hitting a pretty small target now and all nay-sayers (including myself) now think this mechanism is going to work out. There is still some mechanical work that needs to be done in working out a good joint feed mechanism for the roller & shooter. The roller mechanism itself still needs to be built (easy as pi according to Larry) and the hopper needs to be extended in the front to the full 5′ limit. Still, the robot is definitely taking shape. We hauled it over to school, where Ryan and Kevin worked on the encoder issues while Erik and Ian ran a competition to determine this year’s human player. It looks like Yevgeniy Mikhaylov is going to be this year’s player. With the addition of Yev, this year’s drive team is now complete. Ian (last year’s arm controller) is taking over as driver. Cheuk is going to be handling the shooter/roller controls and feeding balls to Yev during the defensive period. I am pretty sure Erik Thulin is going to take over as coach, given that he is heading up this year’s strategy sessions. Erik and Ryan have been building the scouting program up for the last few years,  and are hard at work creating STAMP, a web based joint scouting application.