Wednesday, January 27. 2010
What we ate for Dinner! Jacob K.’s family provided dinner and it was another great meal! We had pasta in two shapes, with two sauces: a tomato sauce and an Alfredo sauce. We had MEATBALLS! And warm garlic bread! And a deluxe tossed salad with broccoli! The dessert was cookies baked by Jacob himself! Two varieties: chocolate chip and molasses crinkles!
We had alumni visitors galore tonight! Rika joined us for dinner and ended up staying and helping the Chairman’s essay review and editing. Annie came and spent some time with the controls sub-team. And then Ted came for just a quick visit with his friend Tim! It’s great to see all the alumni, and especially fun to watch the reunions, sometimes boisterous, with the current students. Back when she was a student, there was nothing quite as amazing as a full bore Rika hug-slam, and to see those reenacted tonight brought back memories!
Remember Team Leader Larry’s mutterings from last night? Something about nothing being done…well I think I need to explain just a little, because although I love Larry’s pessimism, I think progress can still be seen. The drive-train is not finished, that’s true. But we have to wait for the Banebot transmissions and they are due in tomorrow or Friday. So on Saturday, significant progress should be made on the drive-train. And we don’t have a final design for the robot yet, but we have a considerable amount of the design work done in Inventor, and have started the process of producing pieces that will validate the design and may even be able to be used on the actual robot. For example, the kicker is going to be powered by two window-lift motors, and tonight they mounted the motors in the current design configuration which will allow them to verify the operation of the kicker and provided a chance to further refine the packaging of those components. The electrical team is confident of their plans and other than modifying the board to fit in a final configuration, and make it much more neat and tidy, its pretty complete. The control box is moving along, joystick are mounted and the rest of the plans are well under way. And programming code is actively being written and tested each night.
But Larry is a bit in the doldrums. He knows that compared to last year we are way behind. And based on that experience, he is worried. A little revealed team fact – we actually put an incomplete robot in the crate last year and finished building it on the first day of our first regional. That process was agony and I’m sure Larry does not want the team to go through that again. But as one of our safety questions on the team test suggests, the only thing that actually has to be brought by a team to competition is…wait, if I tell the answer, I’ll be giving away a piece of the test! But the reminder is that it’s not just about the robot, I see engaged students, student who are learning and trying new things each night. I hope they are inspired students. And Larry – I remember Kim going through what you are going through at some point each build season. You have our admiration for filling in her footsteps and shouldering the momentous task of being our team leader.
Some interesting things going on tonight:
Last night the back burner had two things place on it, tonight it got even more crowded back there. The CAN bus is now a can’t bus. Even Calvin programming sideways couldn’t solve the problem. Since the CAN bus problems were taking too long to fix, the programming team has determined that they need to switch gears and work on programming a PWM system. Tonight, they did the first test of the PWM motor drive.
Students started taking the tool test and the game test a little more actively tonight. So far the average number wrong on the tool test seems to be two. I didn’t get any feedback on the game test, but I had heard that it isn’t nearly the stumper that it has been in past years.
Pool noodles are out in the shop, but they are not being used for bumpers. They are being wound in Rolling Thunder red tubing in a helical fashion. Ah! They are beater bars in process! I’ve volunteered to cover them with black spandex once they are finalized.
In addition to supervising the team test takers, Supermom Sharon was seen in the shop on safety glass patrol. Later she was found overlooking the online shopping for FLARE and award items that was being done by Alexis and Karen. Hey Leann! They found some stickers for Larry!
The Inventor design work was being done in the other computer room, where there were less distractions. The base robot design now has some tentative mountings for the grappling hook mechanism. The field team was here as well working on some calculations for field pieces.
Mentor Leann and I reviewed some ideas of things for the Leadership team including plans for celebrating Engineer Week in February and for updating the business plan executive review. Superdad Lee will assist with updating some of the documentation in the business plan notebook.
Tomorrow we will have some visitors from the Rookie team from Pittsford! That will be fun!