Happy Competition Season fellow saltwater vertebrates!

Welp, it’s over. At approximately 8:54 pm last night (2/21/17), our 2017 competition robot was ‘completed’, bagged, and tagged. It now remains encapsulated within, in essence, a multi-gallon ziploc bag until the San Diego Regional in exactly two weeks.
As many of you already know, the intake/shooter/feeder module on the robot has encountered many difficulties in the past few weeks. Originally, the design was a simple belted funnel that channelled balls into a single-file line up and into the shooter. We soon, however, came to the realization that balls really don’t like being dragooned into one another to fit into a narrow channel. Since then, the module has undergone intense redesign with, tragically, no further progress. As stop day was looming closer and closer, we came to the consensus that we would not be bagging the intake/shooter/feeder assembly with the competition robot. Instead, a new design will be meticulously crafted within the weeks before the San Diego Regional and brought to competition as a part of the 30-pound withholding allowance. Keep your seat belts on - the ride’s not over yet. Above all, however, I am incredibly proud of each and every one of you. Though you’ve probably heard this around 50 times already, I truly believe this team has grown so much to jump over all the hurdles this year’s build season has thrown at us. Despite the dead CNC router and not-so-functional intake, we’ve managed to pull through and build a freaking awesome robot. Give yourselves a generous pat on the back and look towards an amazing 2017 Competition Season.

Sector Updates:

Mechanical: (drafted by Christian C.)
This build season was by far the most brutal season that I have seen in my four years on the team. It took far too long to get CAD done, then the intake didn’t end up working, then we realized that the gear mechanism had a fatal flaw, then our CNC router broke, then we realized that our second revision of the intake and elevator worked significantly worse than we thought it would. But despite all of that, we managed to power through. This build season threw everything at us and we managed to power through. Not only did we push through all of our issues, we built the most advanced robot we’ve ever built. Everyone on the team put in work that was invaluable to the construction of the robot, whether it be cleaning the robot, building the field, or fabricating parts for the competition robot. As a senior, I am comfortable with saying that if our team was capable of getting through this build season, then it will easily be able to survive and improve long after I’m gone.

Controls: (developed by Jamie S.)
It’s been a busy week and a half for all of us, and Controls is no exception. We’ve been busy wiring, debugging, and pneumaticsing the practice and competition bots, and I feel like our efforts have paid off. We got both bots running pretty well, and the shooter control code nearly worked the first time and gave pretty good results (for the 30 seconds that the shooter on the practice bot worked before a ball got jammed and broke the feeder… but that’s life). We were also able to test autonomous using our new feedback-loop-based move commands, and it worked quite well. Though the motion is a bit jerky, it’s accurate to within a fraction of an inch (our old commands were accurate to an inch or two). We didn’t get promising results from our gyro, but that’s why we developed the encoder turn as a backup. Next week, we’ll be busy fine-tuning and bugfixing our autonomous code with the practice bot, and helping Mechanical with their new shooter prototype.

Strategy: (formulated by Daniel B.)
This week has been transitional for strategy as we worked to finish up our regional databases, the drive team matchbook, and scouting training. In the following week(s) we will likely reach out to Team 2102 (Paradox) to exchange ideas and spend a couple more days conducting scouting prep. The lead data analyst system is nearly finished and strategy will be working with controls to convert the scouting sheets into bubble sheets that can more quickly be uploaded into a central database during competition.

Business: (reported by Jannie Y.)
These 6 weeks went by so rapidly! Business was busy this week working with Submissions on the Chairman’s Award video and presentation. We also got our first sponsorship basket sent off this week to ViaSat! The Chairman’s video is looking great so far with Chris R.’s talented film skills, and we are so lucky to be able to work with various members of our school’s conservatories! We have a couple interviews to complete on Friday, but besides that, it looks like the video will be completed by next week. For everyone that owns a narwhal t-shirt, please please bring/wear your shirt on Friday! We plan to fill our Chairman’s video with a couple b-roll shots of our team having fun hanging out together or working on various projects, so those that have t-shirts will be used as fillers for certain parts of the video. If you don’t have a t-shirt, please don’t worry about this. However, if you really wish to be in the video, please tell us and we’ll be able to include you somewhere. Speaking of t-shirts, Business was fixing issues with our t-shirt company this week. We were supposed to receive t-shirts last week, but they halted production due to a printing machine problem. There was also an imaging issue on our design, but that was rapidly resolved. We will likely receive t-shirts by next week, so stay tuned for the next announcement.

Probably the longest email you’ll ever see from me again (high five! - it’s 1104 words this time). Keep your ears open for Competition Season emails! In the spirit of build season, here’s a final quotation for y’all:

“Never give up on your dreams… Keep sleeping”

(We can actually sleep now that build season is over). Get that nice beauty sleep kiddos - we’re in for an exciting 2017 Competition Season.
-Raylen L

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