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The 2013 build season starts hard on the heels of an unexpected and very fast move from 427 Creamery Way, Exton to 122 Oscar Way, Chester Springs. we're still setting up shop even as we head off to kick-off. My old friend Nietzsche used to say: What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. I sure hope so...

Because we'll need it! Build season is the heart of the FRC year. It is the 45 days during which the team's students and mentors put their hearts, minds and hands into designing and building a great robot. The time is both far too short and much too long.

This page contains a day by day breakdown of what we did. Dates hyper-links go to the corresponding photo gallery.


  • On Saturday, January 5th, team 1640 students, parents and mentors drove to Upper Darby High School on to see the objectives of the 2013 game revealed, examine a mock-up of this year’s play pieces up close, and pick up our kit of parts.
  • Clem McKown gave a pneumatics seminar to a packed audience
  • We returned to Oscar Way and reviewed rules (shop & game)
  • Studentbots simulated the game
  • A number of potential strategies (King Kong, Feeder, LowBot, Mid Dunker & High Shooter - not necessarily mutually exclusive) were developed to help guide our prototyping efforts
  • Scoring simulation made for each strategy
  • Potential strategic objectives identified and assessed along different metrics
  • Multiple climbing strategies under investigation
  • Begun collecting data, videos, reports etc on differ disc launchers

Week One (1/6-1/12)

Build Season Week 1 (Au)
Sunday 6-January
  • Set up the Ben Table as a 1/7th scale model of the Ultimate AscentSM competition field.
  • Studied a lot of disc shooter videos & designs
  • Identified several different shooter approaches and created punchlist for full prototyping operation
  • Started prototyping shooter mechanisms
  • Built a PVC portion of the pyramid for climbing tests
  • Taped up goal targets
  • Inventoried Kit of Parts (all present & accounted for)
  • Corner caterpillar climb concept under development

Monday 7-January

  • Shooter prototype (arc shooter) is working pretty well
  • Kellom Klimb concept under development
  • Magazine prototype built & tested
  • Preliminary planning done by the programming team (see programming projects)

Tuesday 8-January

  • Electrical service run for the mill & welder (thank you, Keares Electrical, Inc!)
  • Magazine development promising
  • Goals being built
  • Linear shooter testing in alpha (same results as arc alpha)
  • Tank drive code on 6WD bot re-done and tested – successful
  • Quadrature encoder code testing underway on programming sensor/test board

Wednesday 9-January

  • 90deg Arc shooter prototype is performing well
  • Kellom Klimb prototype simplified
  • Corner caterpillar math developed
  • Magazine in beta prime stage
  • Arc Shooter working very well, thank you
  • Tested and determined linear shooter infeasible for our team
  • Welder working first time since Waterloo. Kira & Marina are welding graduates!
  • Retro-reflective target for targeting system development made and preliminary target system code started
  • Programmers began converting 2012 code to 2013 framework, starting with 6WD tank drive and sensor/test board programs

Thursday 10-January

  • Articulated some key robot strategies & objectives – prioritized without cutoff mandates
  • Drive-train decision made (Pivots!)
  • Set key programming objectives
  • Started cutting and welding for pyramid
  • Switching shooter prototypes (4" & 6" wheel versions) to HiGrip wheels
  • Started mapping resources to functions
  • Started articulating functional specifications

Friday 11-January

Okay. This was supposed to be a day off. Not a real meeting, but a chance to get a large part of the pyramid welded.
  • Welded top and bottom horizontal squares for the pyramid. Middle is in two halfs still.
  • Milled feet for the pyramid
  • Finished top goal
  • Started chassis CAD

Saturday 12-January

  • WildCogs meeting!
  • Rough cut pivot top plate metal (1/8" 7075 Al)
  • Empirically tested 6” & 4” shooter
  • Disassemble previous pivots for parts
DEWBOT IX Week One Build Season Photo Gallery

Week Two (1/13-1/19)

Sunday 13-January

  • Rough cut Pivot Side & Top plates (1/2" 6061 Al), pivot module bottom plates (3/16" 6061 Al) & pivot braces (1/8" 7075 Al)
  • CAD completed on machined pivot parts. Holes were added for mounting a Hall-effect sensor and for securing wires from both sensor and motors.
  • Machined pivot parts were laid out for CNC milling
  • Started cutting down miter gears
  • Assembled pyramid in large measure, but did not start welding.
  • Built middle goal
  • Confirm strategy lock post-Wild Cogs
  • Continue/integrate magazines with shooter
  • Parts reclaimed from old spare pivots (miter gears, gearboxes, bearings, etc.)
  • Materials ordered for 2013 pivots after inventorying reclaimed materials. We will build 10 pivot modules (enough for 2 robots and 2 spares)

Monday 14-January

  • Completed welding the pyramid (for climbing - excluding top goal)
  • Shooter definitions developed; reliability tested; shooter angles determined for pyramid shot.
  • Magazine and chambering prototype convincingly demontrated
  • Rough chassis is in CAD

Tuesday 15-January

  • Pyramid welding was completed (the top goal welding)
  • Banebot motor plates drilled
  • Pivot parts inventoried
  • All but (2) miters gears cut down
  • Feeder station (mostly) complete
  • Climbing system in design

Wednesday 16-January

  • Started setting up practice field
  • Completed miter cutting
  • Cut pivot wheel axles
  • Shooter & magazine testing

Thursday 17-January

  • Chain gang - cut #25 chain for pivots
  • Broach 12T #25 drive sprocket for pivots
  • Pivot module top and bottom plates and pivot braces are machined
  • Finished carpeting practice field
  • DEWBOT VIII tested in starting to drive up the corner
  • Design work and discussions on corner drive clamps
  • Feeder station slots fitted with inclines

Saturday 19-January

  • Finished pivot module top & bottom plates (tapped holes, deburred, cleaned-up,...)
  • Pressed 1" and ½" ball bearing races into all pivot module bottom plates
  • Assembled, lubricated and installed 132:1 BaneBot P60 gearboxes onto half of the pivot module top plates
  • Cut 1-1/8" 6061 Al rods for pivot tubes
  • Cut ½" 7075 Al rods for pivot transfer axles
  • Laid out pivot side & top plates in MasterCam - started milling after meeting
  • Assembled and installed the pyramid goal (sans post)
  • Shooter testing - focus on magazine and chambering reliability
DEWBOT IX Week Two Build Season Photo Gallery

Week Three (1/20-1/26)

Sunday 20-January

  • Finished (deburred & contersink) pivot braces
  • All steering motors & gearboxes prepared and installed
  • All coax drive shafts cut (but not grooved)
  • Started to build climbing prototype
  • Finished pyramid goal with post & chains
  • Design review for climbing mechanism
  • Control needs becoming defined
  • Prototype testing of feeder interface

Monday 21-January

  • Built climber prototype; subsequently improved on it
  • Cut most of the metal for the chassis frame
  • Continued testing and designing feeder
  • Started cutting gusset blanks
  • Provisionally specified clamp cylinders and incorporated into CAD model

Tuesday 22-January

  • Cut all light-weighting holes in the chassis frame elements
  • Cut more gusset blanks
  • Tested installation of ¼"-20 & 10-32 rivet nuts in 1/8" Al
  • Further testing and improvement to climbing prototype
  • Further testing of feeder & shooter & magazine systems
  • Started cutting bumper wood
  • Prepared (6) more 4" wheels by tapping hub holes and pressing bearings

Wednesday 23-January

  • Chamfered chassis light-weighting holes
  • Cut more gusset blanks
  • Milled 2" gussets
  • Welding preparation
  • Installed rivet nuts in chassis frame and used old pivot module bottom plates as welding jigs
  • More work on climber & shooter prototypes

Thursday 24-January

  • Started welding Prime, creating the main frame structure
  • Cut the last of the rough gussets
  • Milled the 3" gussets
  • Installed Igus bushings into the pivot module top plate

Saturday 26-January

  • Continued Prime & started Deux chassis frame welding
  • Ran successful trial of the climber prototype
  • Mated wheels with sprockets
  • Worked through climbing pneumatic logic
  • Design coming along in CAD
  • Sought shooter mojo, now lost; where could it be?
DEWBOT IX Week Three Build Season Photo Gallery

Week Four (1/27-2/2)

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Sunday 27-January
  • Pivot side plates & tops machined - finished both on mill
  • Corrected holes in Deux and welded main chassis
  • Cut axle spacers
  • Bored & broached steering pulleys
  • Cut metal for caterpillar drives & cylinder mounts
  • Rebuilt shooter prototype (still looking for the mojo)
  • Pressed transfer axle bearings into pivot side plates

Wednesday 30-January

Thursday 31-January

  • Pivot assembly - assembled the first few pivot cages

Saturday 2-February

  • Pivot assembly - day 2
  • Prepared an electronics panel for deux
  • Painting tests
DEWBOT IX Week Four Build Season Photo Gallery

Week Five (2/3-2/9)

Sunday 3-February

  • Machined caterpillar drive parts
  • Basically completed pivot assembly
  • Installed pivots on deux and wired to provide a driving chassis
  • Painted prime's chassis frame
  • Using a 6" wheel with stitched bicycle tread, we obtained superior performance from the shooter prototype
  • Patrick C & Yahya successfully carved a bow-tie out of polyurethane

Monday 4-February

  • Welded caterpillar legs

Tuesday 5-February

  • Laid up composite for shooter
  • Machined skid extensions
  • Cut skid stand-offs (now radiused)
  • Tested shooter with new 6" HiGrip wheel (bloody awesome)

Wednesday 6-February

  • Assembled and tested a mock-up caterpillar claw using polymer claws
  • Revisited stress calculations around the caterpillar drive; modified part designs as needed
  • Cut & drilled shooter support parts

Thursday 7-February

  • Started welding the first caterpillar frame
  • Machined first caterpillar claw levers
  • Partially assembled first caterpillar claw
  • Cut & drilled shooter support gussets

Friday 8-February

  • Finished welding the first caterpillar frame
  • Finished machining caterpillar clamp levers
  • Fully assembled the first caterpillar claw
  • Made first cable connection
  • Drilled clamp cover holes in caterpillar claw mount plates
  • Machined and tested various caterpillar wheels

Saturday 9-February

  • Assembled all caterpillar claws
  • Welded and installed a crane to spot the robot during climbing
  • Demonstrated Ocelot drive with deux
  • Assembled deux shooter
DEWBOT IX Week Five Build Season Photo Gallery

Week Six (2/10-2/16)

Sunday 10-February

  • Welded 2nd caterpillar frame
  • Completed welding on both chassis frames
  • Completed machining on the skids
  • Assembled skids & tested the pneumatic extension (perfect)
  • Painted prime chassis & caterpillar frames
  • Laid out deux electrical panels
  • Laid up composite for prime electrical panels
  • Prepared deux cat-drive gearbox for installation. Disassembled prime cat-drive gearbox in preparation for light-weighting
  • Fully assembled the first cat-drive leg (with bow-tie wheel)

Monday 11-February

  • Assembled additional cat-drive legs
  • Installed the first leg on deux
  • Cut metal & partially welded a "practice" pyramid post: the "pyramin"
  • Reviewed electrical layout
  • Installed skids on prime

Tuesday 12-February

  • The pneumatic cylinders are in! The 2" pancakes are mounted on both robots
  • Molly & Siri Maley designed fabulous battery boxes for us, which were laser cut
  • Two caterpillar wheels are on deux and some chain run
  • Caterpillar drive motor and gearbox are mounted on deux
  • Patrick C finished two more bow-tie wheels
  • Philip cut and installed Delrin® (polyoxymethylene) guards on the caterpillar legs to prevent the legs from marring the pyramid corners and visa-versa
  • Some electrical components mounted on deux
  • The pyramin was finished

Wednesday 13-February

  • All cat wheels on deux
  • Compressor on deux
  • Prime cat-drive gearbox rebuilt with (2) Al 50T gears
  • 0-wheel extension cylinders installed both robots
  • Battery boxes formed
  • Deux wiring advanced
  • Battery box supports cut

Thursday 14-February

  • Started solenoid manifold assembly
  • Installed pivots on prime
  • Installed deux shooter on prime and tested (awesome)
  • Installed cable on cat drive leg 2 (deux)
  • Battery box installed (deux)
  • First climb test (unpromising)

Friday 15-February

  • All solenoid manifolds assembled
  • Springs installed on cat drive wheels 1 & 2 (deux)
  • All cables installed on deux
  • Delrin corner bumper installed (deux)
  • Battery box installed on prime
  • Laid up composite electrical panels for prime
  • Made first (entirely manual & very short) climb with cat drive

Saturday 16-February

  • Completed wiring
  • Installed pneumatics to the point of being able to test (still need more storage cylinders and three actuators are proxies)
  • Router installed
  • Tested (drove)
  • Caterpillar legs installed
  • Caterpillar drive installed (gearbox, chains, etc.)
  • Electrical panels cut
  • Cut arm material
Team 2607 visited to test using our pyramid ( old friends)
DEWBOT IX Week Six Build Season Photo Gallery

Final Daze (2/17-2/19)

Sunday 17-February

  • Deux turned over to programming - fixed air leak
  • Deux started day at 101.3 lbm; finished at 102.6 lbm
  • Prime shooter assembled
  • Prime pneumatics installed
  • Prime electrical panels installed
  • Prime arm assembly started
  • Prime springs installed
  • Prime started day at 84.9 lbm; finished at 91.5 lbm excluding 9.1 lbm shooter which it had at the day's start (100.6 lbm total)
  • Hats painted

Monday 18-February

  • Prime is nearly electrically and mechanically complete. 116.0 lbm
  • Arm & Hand fabricated
  • Still stuggling with deux from a control standpoint
  • Team photos taken

Tuesday 19-February

  • Bumpers fitted to prime
  • Wiring complete on prime
  • Shooter mounted on prime and tested
  • Compressor control issue on deux solved
  • Cat-drive pneumatic sequence testing on deux
  • Single acting solenoid on rear cat-claw changed to double acting to keep the rear cat-leg inside the perimeter at start (both robots)
  • Prime was sealed just before midnight after weigh-in at 118.4 lbm
DEWBOT IX Final Daze Build Season Photo Gallery