Oscar's Blog

OSCAR Stays at Home

June of 2020

Summer is already a difficult time of communication for school-based clubs, but the recent health epidemic has only made contact more difficult. Thankfully, OSCAR Robotics is not giving up, not now and not ever. Even though students and mentors have been unable to convene in person, we have developed multiple new ways of meeting to share ideas and learn. If anything, these new toils and strains have only made OSCAR stronger as a team and as a competitor.

OSCAR has weekly meetings for a wide variety of occasions, including business meetings for outreach and sponsorships, curriculum meetings with student leadership and mentors, and teaching meetings for our younger members. You can see these meetings in our calendar page. Feel free to drop by using the link provided in the Google Calendar!

Our true gem is our student-developed, mentor-moderated learning program. Dubbed "OSCAR Stays at Home", it features student- and mentor-led lectures each Saturday and wide variety of assignments suited for any level of subject proficiency. Subject areas include electrical, strategic, mechanical, programming, business, and design. Not only have our student leadership been actively involved in creating these assignments, but they are also encouraging underclassmen (even freshmen!) to contribute to this program. The purpose of this program is to teach students what they would have learned if the season was not cut short, and to advance their knowledge so that we are more prepared for the upcoming season. Even our alumni are helping to advance our program, returning as mentors! Learn more on our "Learning Program" page under the "Our Team" section.

We are opening this program to you! Join our Google Classroom at code: ebpkn2c. We ask kindly that you moderate your posts to be appropriate. While new ideas and suggestions are always appreciated, inappropriate or hateful content will not be tolerated and will result in being banned from our class.

OSCAR is raring and ready to go. We will be having our first in-person meeting on June 28 (check the calendar!) and our members are estatic to finally see each other again.

Written by: Christina WuEdited by: Sumayyah Repole

3 Week Plan

March 2 - 8, 2020

We started the week with the hope to finish our competition robot. Before we did that however, we had to come up with a plan to make sure we were able to efficiently build the robot. So we came up with a 3 Week Plan. By our next competition we wanted to have built an entirely new robot, this included working on the spindexer, this was the part which rotated and contained the Power Cells. We wanted to create a new overall design, the design and fabrication was to be done during the first week. The intake we had gave us some problems such as, not intaking the Power Cells efficiently, and spitting them back out if we did pick any up. There were two types of intakes were considering a VFB (Virtual Fourbar) and slider. We worked on assembling the drive train of the robot, and by the beginning of the next week we wanted to have the superstructure mounted.

Written by: Sumayyah RepoleEdited by: Ryan D'Angelo


March 1 - 2, 2020

As the first competition of the season comes to a start, adrenaline rushes and nerves soar. We have to compete in the second match of the day but still we had lots to get done which include integrating bumpers, mount the belly pan, and get an autonomous programmed. Fortunately we were able to get all this done before the opening ceremony. However, we still lost our first match, but this did not lower our spirits. We learned from the mistakes we made during that match and went on to win our next match. We continued to learn and progress throughout the competition, not only with our match performance, but with how we connected with each other as a team. We ended the first day of matches in 7th place but due to a match in which the radio was not connecting to the robot and field, our place dropped lower. We later found a problem in the wiring and are looking for a solution. On the second day we started off great, later we ran into a huge problem, all the electronics on the robot stopped working. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out and solve the problem. We had to go into a match after we weren't able to solve the problem so we deactivated all functions except for driving, this allowed us to play defense of the opposing alliance. At the end of all rounds, play-offs were set to happen. Sadly, we did not it into top eight however, we were chosen to play in the play-offs with an alliance.

Written by: Sumayyah RepoleEdited by: Nadya Paschall

Time to Fly

February 24 - 28, 2020

As the build season comes to an end, our team can feel the impending pressure of the first competition: Gainesville. We still had our intake and climber to build, but we wanted to focus on what would earn us the most points during a match. Since our endgame climb would award us more points than shooting Power Cells, it seemed the obvious choice. For the climber, we decided to go with a climb extender and a winch. The climb extender is made with rev extrusion strung together with string making a continuous lift. At the tip of the lift is the hook we constructed. When the hook latches on to the Generator Switch, it detaches. We then use a winch (that has a string running through a crossbar on the robot's superstructure) to pull the robot up. Luckily, we were able to finish within a few days, so we moved our focus to the intake. With our original design, we faced many problems such as the intake being unstable and not effectively sending the balls to the spindexer. So, we prototyped other designs that may work better. We decided to leave the original intake on, but modify it and add better components. Later on, we focused on completing the vision tracking on the Turret. This allowed us to shoot more accurately and consistently. The week ended with us packing the robot into the trailer, mentally and physically preparing for our first flight.

Written by: Sumayyah RepoleEdited by: Christina Wu

Shots Fired

February 9 - 15, 2020

Our team has finally finished the turret and superstructure of our robot. We also finished assembling the hood for the shooter. With that done, we were able to test our robot, and good news is, it successfully shoots! After some celebration (courtesy of Publix), our team went to Kennesaw State University to bend the competition robot chassis and turret.

Written by: Christina WuEdited by: Rajath Prabhakar

RayPaul Coating

January 26 - February 1, 2020

This week came with many successes. The biggest of which is our new sponsor: RayPaul Coating!! They are a powder coating company (and are very easy to work with) that has agreed to help us powder coat our parts for our robot. Check out their website here. In other news, the drivetrain for the 2020 season finally started coming together, and we also started coming up with names for our robot.

We have a tradition in which we name our robots after animals that share characteristics with them. The name we originally had in mind is Hippo, however, this year we wanted to change this tradition. We now want to name it HindSight, chosen to reflect our past mistakes--and successes. This robot is meant to be the culmination of all our past, coming together to build the ultimate performing robot.

With our drivetrain being assembled, we started working on the other components of the robot, specifically the spindexer, the part of the robot which rotates with the powercells. The top of the spindexer is divided with Glyphs (foam blocks from FTC Relic Recovery). These compartments are what divide the powercells. We were able to get the spindexer built. The only thing left to be added was the electronics. We also worked on the CAD of the turret to in the middle if the spindexer. The turret also houses the shooter. We prototyped multiple intakes, different compressions, and different wheels for the intake. We decided to use a steel rod with rubber lining inside of it and we mounted it to the robot. Afterwards, we tested it, and found it worked quite well.

Written by: Sumayyah RepoleEdited by: Christina Wu

The Fresh Market

January 19 - 25, 2020

The business team is excited to announce that OSCAR Robotics is now sponsored by The Fresh Market!! Check out their website here! They have agreed to supply us with food during our competitions, and we are looking forward to working with them.

After many days of consistent stress, our design team has made changes to the Project Mule drivetrain in CAD and came to a decision to try a Spindexer and turret combination as the shooting and intake mechanism for our robot. They also decided to use a sliding climb

Our team tested a two-wheeled shooter in comparison to a one-wheeled shooter. Although they are still deciding upon which is better, the majority of our team leans toward the one-wheeled (hooded) shooter, since it is more consistent in it's targets. Our driver, Matthew Greenberg, also practiced driving tank driving and got familiar with the driver controls.

Written by: Christina WuEdited by: Sumayyah Repole

The Beginning of Greatness

January 5 - 11, 2020

As our first week comes to a close, members breathe out a sigh of relief. It truly had been a hectic week, filled to the brim with projects, difficulties, and successes.

Our mechanical group was most successful. Although they did begin to work on field and the Project Mule drivetrain, their crowning achievement for this week was their two prototype shooters; a two-wheeled shooter and a hooded one-wheeled shooter.

Our programming and electrical group combined to adapt our off-season robot motor controllers to work with the prototypes made by the mechanical and design teams. The purpose of this was to test the control variants of the prototypes. The programming team also began the framework for the 2020 robot code.

Last, but certainly not least, is our design team. They finished CAD (Computer Assisted Design) for a shooter prototype and a prototype intake.

Written by: Christina WuEdited by: Sumayyah Repole

Season Kick-Off

January 4, 2020

Marking the beginning of the game and build season, FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) announced the game for this season's competition. We read the rules and guidelines to newcomers and started on choosing the best outline for this year’s stage. We then voted as a group to come up with the best drivetrain option based on maneuverability (traverse ability), price, maintenance, and etc. Here are some first-hand experiences of the kick-off:

Nadya: I thought that the game reveal was really eye-opening as a new member and I look forward to being apart of this FRC!

Dev: The game reveal was nicely setup and complex. As a programmer, I think that the robots and prototypes would be fun to code.

Matthew: It’s going to be an interesting robot to code. It was a good event. It was great to learn about the game along with friends.

Davis: It was good. A lot of support showed up and good brainstorming. This years game has a lot of math involved and I look forward to that.

Will: The game reveal was very good.

Alec: I understood the game, therefore I like it.

Written by: Nadya PaschallEdited by: Christina Wu

Project Mule

December 8 - 14, 2019

As a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team, most of our off seasons was spent focusing on our FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team. As a result, we went into the new season with inexperienced students. Because of that, this year, we decided not to take part in the FTC league.

Instead, we worked on a project that explored possible components to be used in the upcoming season. This includes if the drivetrain would be made out of extruded metal or sheet metal. We were also able to experiment with other components, such as the transmission, type of wheels, and the overall structure of the robot.

We named this project "Project Mule". This project not only gave us a head start on ideas for next season, but also introduced new members to the experience of building and designing a robot--without the high stress of the build season.

Project Mule not only helped with the mechanical and design team, but also the programming team. The majority of the new members took an interest in the programming section. Most of them had programming experience from a class they were taking, however to sharpen their skill,s our two main programmers and a mentor worked with these members.

We came up with two design ideas; the first was to use extruded metal to build the drive train, the other was to use sheet metal. The design team split into two groups to complete the design idea, and whichever group presented the better model would see their idea executed. The teams made CAD or 3-D model designs of what they wanted the robot to look like. The models included the features that would be on the robot. This process went on for 2 weeks before the team decided on a design.

While the groups were competing, the team decided on the type of wheels and the transmission for the project, and they were quickly built by the mechanical team. The Sheet Metal drivetrain design group presented the superior model, and so, they won.

We took the CAD designs and transferred them to our CNC machine. The machine cut out the patterns and holes needed for the project. We then took the cut metal to the facilities of one of our sponsors, Kennesaw State University, to get the metal bent. After the metal was bent, we brought it back to the school to assemble the robot.

After the assembly was done and the code was implemented, we drove it and experimented with the drivetrain. It was positively fantastic. We are going to use it to help our programmers improve their code. We are always trying to improve our team and sharpen our member's skills.

Written by: Sumayyah RepoleEdited by: Christina Wu

Team Tube Versus Team Sheet

November 17 - 23, 2019

We focused on continuing our major drive train off season project. The tube-focused team (aptly named "team tube") and plate-focused team.

Written by: Davis PooleEdited by: Christina Wu