Altana

Altana, a misspelling of the city Atlanta, where the FIRST world championship is held, is a running gag in our club. Originally, Fred, our current Vice President wrote on our website in 2008 “Were going to Altana!”

This year, at the Seattle Regional, we were the 2nd seeded team. Yes, 2nd out of 64 teams. We also had the most Coopertition Points, and therefore got the Coopertition Award. We also won the Industrial Design Award, sponsored by General Motors.

Unfortunately, we were knocked out in the semi-finals again by the eventual winners of the event, Team XBOT, Hotwire, and SOTA Bots, so congratulations! We also did not win the Chairman’s Award, however Skunkworks did, so congratulations to them. So we again don’t get to go to “Altana.”

In related news, Kevin Ross and Deb Mumm-Hill announced that the state government DOUBLED the FRC grant money, so that more FRC teams can be started. This lead to the announcement of a possible second regional in the Seattle area, which we hope will be timed so that our team can attend it as well as the current Seattle regional and the Portland regional.

Again with the mill type thing

Yesterday, Sunday, I got the opportunity to cut out some parts on our nice new mill we got last week. It’s fast.

So far, we’ve been running the mill with just spraying with WD-40 as a coolant, but once we get actual coolant running across the tool, we can cut even faster than with just WD-40.

The hard part of making a drain to recycle the coolant is mostly complete, Mr. Prelesnik, a fabrication mentor put in a drain hole, through the shower vinyl that covers the table the mill rests on.

Mill type thing

The Tahoma Robotics Club recently purchased a CNC mill that we got delivered to us yesterday. Today, we got the mill moving and running GCODE via the Mach3 Mill control interface. When we first connected to the mill, we were unable to move the X axis but after a complete reset of all the machines (mill controller and computer) and reseating of the parallel cable, we got control of that axis and ran a program that was cutting in mid-air.

Unfortunately, we cut a lubricating tube because our Z-limit switch didn’t function. Thankfully, that part is easily replaceable.

The mill is actually a manual -> CNC conversion done by IH CNC. Kudos to them as they gave us help over the phone, even at 21:00 their time zone.

I’ll eventually post pictures.

Home, home again

I’m back home again, after a slightly disappointing Autodesk Oregon Regional. There were some Super Bowl XL like calls, but we did fairly well nonetheless. We lost in the semi-finals to the eventual winning alliance.

We are working on making improvements to our robot, that hopefully will give us a better performance on the field.

Final Qualification Matches, Beginning Elimination

Today, the qualification matches at the Autodesk Portland Regional finished up, with us performing much better. We ended up in 34th seed. When the top 8 seeded teams were choosing, we were lucky enough to be chosen by Team 8, The Vikings, and Team 1983, Skunkworks.

At the beginning of the elimination tournament, our first match we touched the opposing alliance’s tower during the finale, and judges are deciding h0ow to handle that situation during the elimination, they are claiming our entire alliance got disqualified, after they had said our robot just got a red card, which meant only our robot could not complete next match.

I’m slightly confused by the situation, but I am very pleased that we made it into the elimination tournament.

Things aren’t going too well.

Here at the competition, because of certain pieces not coming together correctly,  and our head programmer makes some very bad decisions. He blows off time that could be used. We’ve had so many issues, that we thought all the problems were fixed before the competition.

Also to facilitate more ranting, one of the mentors decided he has so much knowledge and that he needs to take over the club’s website. Thing is, he ain’t smart, at all. He doesn’t know about the PulseAudio exploit and went and used Fedora 8, a vulnerable version, in a world facing environment. The opposite of a good idea.

So now I’m debating whether I should just quit the club because I can’t get those two problem people out of my way from participating the way I want to.

Hello from Portland

I’m in my bed at my hotel, in Portland. Tomorrow starts the practice day for the Autodesk Oregon FRC Regional. We have some work to do on our robot, but we hope to be in practice matches by 13:00 (1:00pm). We brought our CNC mill, so we’ll have peak efficiency and ability.

Day of Trip

I’m waiting for the school announcements to end, or mention the competition I’m going to. Oh look, they didn’t mention it. I’m still excited for the competition.

We got a loaner trailer for our stuff, while our own trailer is finished being made and decorated. We were packing it last night, and we must finish that today.

I’ll post from Portland.