Saturday, January 30. 2010
There is so much going on during the build times now. I think that is the hardest thing to capture in the blog. Students are familiar with the rooms and some of the tasks so that now in addition to the main sub-team groups, there are little pockets of students busy on tasks scattered everywhere. Today was more challenging for me since I was trying to accomplish my own tasks with students as well as pay attention to the team as a whole. I’m not a good multi-tasker. That’s actually an understatement. I do not multitask. But I do like routines…
Here is our food for today! Saturdays and Sundays are so much fun food-wise since we have all of our meals together.
Thanks to Mentors Larry and Leann for bringing in the Donuts and Bagels and a tote of Coffee.
Lunch was sub sandwiches care of Alex V.’s and Mentor Dave V.’s family! They were served with all the fixin’s, a tossed salad, potato chips and cookies!
We had a mid-afternoon snack courtesy of Mentor Tom K’s wife, who brought us up a collection of leftover baked goods from the PHS Fantastic Finds Bake Sale!
Dinner! We had a birthday extravaganza meal! To celebrate Shauna’s 10010th birthday (That’s in binary, for all you non-geeks reading this. Get out your old base 2 memories and see if you can figure it out), her parents treated the team to Sticky Lips (Restaurant) Barbecue! We had massive quantities of pulled pork with barbecue sauce, rolls for sandwiches, pasta salads and birthday cake! For the vegetarians, there was barbecued tofu “steak,” and a pasta salad with veggies mixed in. Of course we sang Happy Birthday!
Saturdays include an Integration Meeting, so thanks to Supermom Val here are the notes:
Mechanical lift – There will now probably be 4 telescoping tubes (not 3). There are 3 possible hook designs. To do: make sure all pieces of the winch are in Inventor, assemble it all, and figure out the mounting point. Need to order stuff from MacMaster-Carr.
Mechanical kicker – Most stuff is in Inventor. Motors, beater bar, and ball stopper are in Inventor. Materials can be ordered today even before drawings are finalized.
Electrical – Went through old BoM and started modifying it. Added stuff to shopping list. Took off Victors and added spike relays instead for kicker (we probably don’t need speed adjustment there). Need to correlate with Mechanical – sensors for kicker position, winch,etc.
Controls – Nailed down a rough idea of what the controls will be. Can do the inlay mechanical piece. Need to correlate with Programming to make sure all the controls are OK.
Programming – Reverted to base code and no CAN bus errors! The robot now drives using PWM. Base code for the upper mechanism was started on Thursday.Need to think about grouping sensors for driver feedback – all kicker sensors, all winch sensors, etc. – because there’s not enough I/O for all the sensors.
Drive-train – Parts are in, robot drive-train will be built today! Weight estimate is about 50 lbs. for the drive-train. Brackets need to go on the bumpers this year, because the allowed bumper weight has been increased to 20 lbs. That saves weight on the drive-train.
Speaking of Val and our other great parent-mentors. Did I mention that we had a new term for them? They are now “parentors”? Our other possible word was just “pentors,” with parent-mentors of returning students called re-pentors. That one didn’t make the cut. So parentors they are!
Time now for the seen and heard section:
I’m so glad for the input from all the students and mentors as I take my blogging notes each day. I really enjoy hearing from Mentor Bear. He always give me some unique insight to write about or at least takes the time to translate the activities of the programming sub-team into terms that I can understand.
Bear’s opening comment today, “We have tunes in the shop now.” The back story was that from the Fantastic Finds sale, Bear had purchased a cheap set of speakers. So thanks to Bear, we had “tunes!” I found myself at certain points of the day enjoying those tunes!
As far as the programmers go, they were able to complete enough programming to drive the base robot with the joysticks. They have much to do, but always seem to be asking for more to be put on their to-do lists. For pure entertainment in a very bewildering way, I will go into the alcove that we use for testing their code with the robot and listen to the talk of the programmers. Mixed in with the whole new language is a steady banter and for the most part good-natured ribbing…”what do you call an X-box that doesn’t play games?” “Yours” came back the jab to a student who was inquiring about ways to fix his X-box. Ah, programming humor!
In the controls group, Rachel was working with Mentor Eric A. on using a schematic drawing program to do the detailed wiring diagram of our control box. Eric had used the program as an afterthought lat year, but this year is trying to use it as a tool to assist in the control board wiring.
There are many new parts in the shop. Matthieu was leading the electrical group in setting up relays for the new motors being used for the kicker. Tresten was filing the rough bumps off of the encoders so they could be mounted on the drive-train, the transmissions were being mounted to the motors which in turn were being mounted to the motor mounts. A lot of drive-train fitting was going on, including rebuilding the drive wheels.
Computers were busy as Inventor designs and detailing was still progressing. Bills of Materials (BoMs) were being prepared so the our lists of items to purchase could be finalized. The Chairman’s essay was being cut and stitched – its still very fat, but is gradually coming down to size! Val was updating e-mail lists, parentor Lee was helping me tweak the formatting of the blog while giving a tour of the shop, and Team Leader Larry was working on Rally preparations (Feb 21 is the date for that!)
Team game and tool tests were being proctored by parentor Sharon. The field crew bought the carpet and carpeted a bump for the drive-train sub-team to use. The memory foam was cut with a hack-saw. And oscilloscope was being used to scale and calibrate the encoders for the wheels.
Visitors today included Shauna’s grandparents (to eat birthday cake) and Rob, a young mentor who always takes on the task of helping a rookie team each year. This year he is helping the rookie team from Pittsford. He will also be back next week to help us cook bacon when we have breakfast for dinner!
A bonus today – here is the recipe from Matthieu’s mom for the great vegetarian past dish we had earlier this week!
PASTA WITH CHICK-PEAS AND SPINACH
4 oz medium pasta shells
1 pkg (10 oz) fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 can (19 oz) chick-peas, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ cup vegetable or chicken stock
3 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt and pepper
juice of 1 lemon and lemon rind
¼ cup Pecorino Romano cheese
In large pot of boiling water, cook pasta until tender but firm. Drain. Add chopped spinach. In food processor, purée the chick-peas with the rest of the ingredients, except cheese. Stir into drained pasta, mix in cheese and serve. Makes 3 servings.
Photo of the Day! (note: Today there were so many opportunities for great photos! From Shauna’s cake to Crystal’s pink bunny and static hair, to the pattern on the oscilloscope, thanks for all of your ideas!)