The Design Process
In the past, game analysis was always initiated immediately after the new game release in April. This year however, the game analysis process formally began in June once the team roster was finalized. Because our first build session was set for late June/early July, we had less than a month to strategically prepare ourselves before the actual construction process began. During this month, we read and discussed forum posts, brainstormed specific features for a number of subsystems on our robot, completed scoring point analysis and devised strategies for both driving and autonomous. By the time our first build session was upon us, we had a handful of strategies and a host of robot designs that we were eager to test out.
Summer Build Sessions (Prototype)
Our robotics program, Cranbrook Robotics, hosts two summer build weeks every year to help teams get a head start on designs and to help them prepare for the Monroe Summer Fair Competition held in early August. We are very grateful to have these sessions, as they are an invaluable resource for prototyping and testing out strategies and designs. Once these build sessions were completed, we had a cap-scoring robot (Viper I) ready to go for the Monroe County Fair Summer Scrimmage. Check out our YouTube Channel for video footage from the competition!
Once we had the opportunity to test out some of our preliminary designs in competition, we brainstorm changes that need to be implemented and we apply those changes through careful CAD design. In the month following the summer competition, Saaim dedicates his time towards designing a competition robot that meets all strategic and scoring requirements that we desire. The goal to complete this stage in the process would be before our first robotics meeting at school, in mid-September. Visit the CAD Designs tab for drawings, 3D files and more!
With our completed CAD designs in hand, we set out to build a competition-ready robot that incorporates all the aspects and designs covered in the CAD as well as some external features that we notice on the forums and YouTube. This competition build will also include all the sensors necessary for our success, whereas the summer prototype did not contain any sensors or encoders.
Based on our performance throughout the season, we make the necessary changes to ensure success for our robot and our team. These changes can range from simple modifications and tweaks to major redesigns. We will typically conduct a thorough rebuild over the course of a school break, (either winter or Thanksgiving), to allow for ample time in the redesigning process. This process is usually more streamlined and quicker, because the metagame has started to emerge, allowing us to make more informed decisions regarding the changes that we want to incorporate.