Promet Demo

Teaching Peter (Promet engineer) how to drive the robot while Jackie answers questions

We met with Peter Kadoulka and the engineers at Promet Optics to show them our robot and how much we’ve grown since our previous demo in 2019. The demo started with us giving an overview of the FTC program as well as what we do as a robotics team. We then showed the engineers this year’s game and what our robot can do. The engineers took turns driving our robot and we answered questions about the program such as how their kids can get involved, and many others. They took turns talking about their college experience and what they do at the company. Overall we had a lot of fun being able to see the company again and we look forward to seeing them at the State Championship.

AAE Tour and Demo

Show AAE engineers our robot (left) and Sonny looking at our wires and giving us advice (right)

We met with Sonny Sinarath and his coworkers at Air Automation Engineering (AAE) to show them our robot. After our demo, we talked to Sonny about ways to improve our cable wiring as our grabber wires would get caught in parts of our lift. He approved of our wiring box design which AAE had helped inspire two years ago. Sonny suggested we keep all the wires in one contained cable and pull it away from the lift where it could get tangled. He gave us some finger trap material, which covers and protects groups of wires, for our grabber wires. We have implemented a retractable wiring system that can pull the cable back because of Sonny’s suggestion.

Science Museum Tour

Talking to someone who worked in the Omnitheater

We met Mark Dahlager, the Vice President of Museum Experiences, at a previous demo at the Science Museum of Minnesota with Wrench Dressing and he invited us to tour the Science Museum’s exhibit shop. First, we went to the office space where exhibit ideas are discussed and designed. We met with some engineers who helped with various parts of the museum such as the Omnitheater and temporary exhibits. We learned about how they come up with ideas for exhibits and how they develop and prototype their designs. Then, we went down to the shop where most of their manufacturing is done. We met with several engineers who used a CNC router, 3D printers, and soldering to create exhibit parts. Two of the engineers we talked to actually competed on FRC teams in the past which was really cool to learn. Overall, it was really fun to see how exhibits are created at the Science Museum and how different engineers ended up working there!

Meeting with Dr. Julie Hui

Showing Dr. Julie our shell prototype 

We met with Dr. Juile Hui to show her our robot CAD. We walked her through this year’s season and the objectives our robot was built around. She liked what we had so far and gave us tips to enhance the design like stripes. It was suggested that we look to automobiles for design inspiration. It was interesting to learn about Julie’s career path, her studies, and how she’s an assistant professor at the University of Michigan. With the help of Julie, we learned about different places to get design inspiration from as well as design tips.

Droid Days Demo

One of our team members discussing the robot with Bakken Museum visitors

Our team was invited to the Droid Days event at the Bakken Museum. There, we let kids drive our robot around and stack cones onto a low junction. After they finished, we gave each kid a robot driver’s license. We also explained our swerve drivetrain to some of the staff at the museum. A few of our team members knew them from previous experiences, such as the Form 5 Prosthetics Workshop, so it was pleasant to see them again. We really enjoyed demoing our robot at the event and would like to demo there again.

MURA Field League Meet 3

Emceeing a match (left) and queueing teams for matches (right)

Our team members volunteered at the Pepin and Mille Lacs Leagues Meet 3, which was hosted at MURA Field. We helped set up the judging rooms and concession stand before the competitions began. We also made sure the tournaments ran smoothly by conducting field inspections and ensuring that all teams made it to their matches on time. It was very fun to see all of the amazing robots, and interact with the different teams there.

Helping BCS Vikings

Discussing possible solutions with BCS Vikings over discord

After we met BCS Vikings earlier this season, we invited them to join our Discord server. Through the server, they asked us for help with their IMU because it wasn’t working properly. We met with them online to talk it through together. After some time we realized that their control hub had a newer chip that required a software update, so we helped them figure out how to update the hub. They also had issues driving without drifting to the side which turned out to be two of their motors not being plugged in. It was exciting to mentor a team from another country and work through problems with them! Since then we’ve been continuing to help them through our Discord server.

Mentoring Warrior Robotics

Showing Warrior Robotics how to drive our robot 

We heard of a rookie team in our area who had a tournament soon and didn’t have a field to practice on so, we invited them to our HQ and offered to do a couple of practice matches with them. When they arrived we showed them around our HQ and let them drive our robot since theirs was not fully finished. Afterward, we explained how judging worked and answered all their questions. We also gave them suggestions on how to improve their robot. It was really fun helping them out and we hope they do well at their tournament!

Mentoring BCS Vikings

Talking with BCS Vikings about pit design and tournament structure

BCS Vikings, a rookie FTC team from Norway, posted on social media that they needed general help from other teams, so we reached out and offered to help them. First, we introduced ourselves and what we do on the team and then they went through their introductions. After that, we helped them with some of their software issues. We explained why C++ doesn’t work well for FTC and why they would be better off using Java for programming. We also helped them figure out how to track joystick movements correctly as they didn’t know that the y-joystick values are reversed (up is negative, down is positive). We talked with them about how tournaments are run and the general outline of tournaments. They asked about pit design and we described how we design our pit and what is required for a pit. During the meeting, they mentioned that they were low on money because they are the only Norwegian FTC team in the last 15 years. We talked about how we contact companies for sponsorship by cold-calling and they described how cold-calling isn’t a thing in Norway so they have been emailing companies instead. They were also curious about 3D printed custom parts and asked if there were any restrictions on 3D printing. We talked about how we use a lot of 3D printed parts and how there aren’t strict restrictions on 3D printing. It was exciting to mentor an international team and we are going to stay in contact with them.

Meeting with Zeus

Discussing the robot with Bob and Duane

We met with Bob and Duane, two of the engineers from Zeus Electric Chassis. When we were meeting with them, we voiced our concerns about our robot tipping over when the lift is extended. They suggested that we use Matlab to calculate the center of gravity so we can anticipate if it will tip. We discussed how to keep our drivetrain stable and prevent it from cantilevering. One of their recommendations for this was to connect tension lines to the tops of the motors to prevent them from moving. We also explained our prototype of the swerve pod and our issues with finding the best way to attach it to the drivetrain. They are going to put us in contact with a company that specializes in creating bearings. Hopefully, they will be able to help us find an attachment solution. Besides giving us feedback on our robot design, they also gave us lots of general life advice. They suggested that we come over to their company sometime to talk to their engineers. Overall, they were super helpful and we hope to see them again soon.