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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. Paradoxically, the time seems 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 7th, team 1640 students, parents and mentors drove to Upper Darby High School on to watch the events from Dean Kamen’s home in New Hampshire, see the objectives of the 2012 game revealed, examine a mock-up of this year’s play pieces up close, and pick up our kit of parts.
  • We attended seminars immediately following the Rebound Rumble Kickoff.
  • The Team returned to Creamery Way following Kickoff for a read-through of Rebound Rumble's rules.
  • Set up the field and ran Student-bot simulations

Week One (1/8-1/14)

Sunday 8-January - Brainstorming

  • KOP Inventoried
  • Formed Product Teams
  • Set key game-play objectives
  • Identified and prioritized prototyping plans

Monday 9-January

  • Product teams began prototye planning
  • BOM set for Bridge (field priority)
  • DEWBOT VI is getting some extra wheels! (to get over the barrier)
  • DEWBOT VII deux's arm and mimibot deployment come off to turn it into a testbed chassis

Tuesday 10-January

Drive-train Team
  • Discussed substitution of RS540 steering motors at 256:1 reduction (not an available choice this year) with RS395 motors at 132:1. Alternative is RS550 motor at 256:1. RS395 provides 0.94 lb mass savings vis-à-vis 2011 whereas the RS550 option adds 0.57 lb to the robot. Decision to move forward with the RS395 option. Parts ordered.
  • Demonstrated that 8" undriven wheels ½ - 1" above grade cannot enable the Pivot Chassis to cross the Barrier. Results were close enough (at maximum offset) to make it over with marginal human upward assistance. Landing was very violent (especially for pivots) and resulted in a non-negligible "jump".
  • Examined "skids" for the pivot wheels that may protect them during Barrier traversal. As designed, would not compensate for the "jump" present in the undriven wheel test above.
  • Examined math for 4-6wd wide over the Barrier with 8" and 10" wheels. Results allow for further pursuit.
  • Examined different steering and drive linkages available and their associated attributes.
Bridge Team
  • Concept developed for a straightforward arm to quickly lower the Bridge (and possibly the traverse the Barrier). Need to test. Started to fab a prototype.
  • Second screw-type concept also under review
Scoring Team
  • Started assembling a prototype shooter
  • Discussed possibility of a PTO to power both the drivetrain (specially a linked-drive pivot) and shooter via CIM motors, if CIM motors prove necessary.
Control Team
  • Discussed ramifications of RS540 to RS395 motor change. Determined RS395 are acceptable.
  • Flow-charted Hybrid mode strategy options
  • Discussed potential methods to select option and delays
  • Tested a catapult concept
Flex Team
  • Started Bridge-building

Wednesday 11-January

Flex Team
  • Complete Bridge
Drive-train Team
  • Update drivetrain requirements (both with and without Barrier traversal)
  • Test driven 8" Pneumatic Wheel w/ DEWBOT VI (kicker removed) to cross Barrier <-- test postponed pending arrival of wheels (preparation can begin)
  • Assemble 6WD-Wide chassis w/ 8" Pneumatic Wheels in front to determine whether this can cross the Barrier. Use either kit-bot frame or DEWBOT V chassis for this test.
Bridge Team
  • Prepare Bridge Manipulation appendage for test. Test, specially for time required and any impact upon landing.
  • Update Bridge (and Barrier) manipulation requirements.
Scoring Team
  • Continue to assemble prototype Shooter
  • Start work on ball collection and lift (at least conceptual)
  • Update scoring and collection requirements (both with and without Barrier traversal)

Thursday 12-January

Saturday 14-January

Drivetrain Team
  • Tested pneumatic wheeled pivot over the bump -- Success! Beautiful
  • Tested skid plate over Barrier -- not yet, needs to be lowered and re-tested
  • Continued work on 4-6wd testbed
  • Accepted pivot with provisions for driven or undriven pneumatic Bump Wheels or skid plates front and back (long-ways). Most likely, if the pneumatic wheels can be driven off the same Ficsher-Price motor+gearbox, we'll likely opt to cross the Barrier in either direction. If not, one wheel may be replaced with a skid plate if ball pickup, etc geometry allows.
Bridge Team
  • Mounted two prototype Bridge Manipulators on DEWBOT VII Duex
  • Helped the Flex Team build the Bridge
  • Began construction of backboard + rim in lieu of Flex Team
Shooter Team
  • Continued testing the shooter. Relatively consistent with various ball types within an approximately 3-4' circle centered at around 27' directly in front of shooter when launched at 60deg from horizontal.
  • Mounted shooter roughly at-height on DEWBOT VI and tested recoil and Barrier-crossing. Both should be possible, though they will require design attention.
Ball Acquisition
  • Conceptualized S-shaped ball conveyance
  • Investigated appropriate wheels and submitted inquiry to favored supplier
  • Conceptualized Beater Bar prototype setup and parameter variations
Control Team
  • Tested vision aiming for backboard. Currently accurate to over 14', will be farther with camera Ring Light.
  • Assisted with testing of various robot testbeds.
Flex Team
  • Continued Bridge construction
  • Fully constructed wooden Barrier with bottom board.
  • Investigated construction of Inbound Station (awaiting materials).
DEWBOT VIII Week One Build Season Photo Gallery

Week Two (1/15-1/21)

Sunday 15-January

Drive-train Team
  • Confirmed decision for Pivot Drive with driven 8" pneumatic wheels to clear the barrier
  • Main drive mode will be wide snake (fat snake) drive; stationary twist will be used to target the shooter; skinny snake drive will be used with the 8" pneumatic wheels to cross the barrier; and crab drive will be a maneuver & evasion tool.
  • Successfully tested the beater-bar ball collection
  • Bridge weighted to provide same action as field bridge
  • Inbounder station built
  • Field carpet extended to full field length

Monday 16-January

Drive-train Team
  • Started cutting Aluminum for pivots
  • Successfully prototyped the lower half of the ball lift
  • Drive-train & chassis design seriously started in CAD
Programming Team
Scoring Team
  • Ball lift & shooter design started in CAD
Bridge Team
  • Bridge arm design started in CAD
Field Team

Tuesday 17-January

Wednesday 18-January

Thursday 19-January

Saturday 21-January

  • Pivot parts are being milled
  • Assembled shooter wheels with appropriate gearbox & motor
  • Performed shooter testing
  • Assembled simplified, belt lift prototype
  • Tested the simplified belt lift prototype
DEWBOT VIII Week Two Build Season Photo Gallery

Week Three (1/22-1/28)

Sunday 22-January

Monday 23-January

Tuesday 24-January

Wednesday 25-January

Thursday 26-January

Saturday 28-January

DEWBOT VIII Week Three Build Season Photo Gallery

Week Four (1/29-2/4)

Sunday 29-January

Monday 30-January

Tuesday 31-January

Wednesday 1-February

Thursday 2-February

Friday 3-February

Saturday 4-February

DEWBOT VIII Week Four Build Season Photo Gallery

Week Five (2/5-2/11)

Sunday 5-February

Monday 6-February

Tuesday 7-February

Wednesday 8-February

Thursday 9-February

Friday 10-February

Saturday 11-February

DEWBOT VIII Week Five Build Season Photo Gallery

Week Six (2/12-2/18)

Sunday 12-February

Monday 13-February

Tuesday 14-February

  • Punchlist available.
  • Explored alternative, single U-shaped E-panel concept

Wednesday 15-February

Thursday 16-February

Friday 17-February

Saturday 18-February

DEWBOT VIII Week Six Build Season Photo Gallery

Final Daze (2/19-2/21)

Sunday 19-February

Monday 20-February

Tuesday 21-February

Saturday 25-February - First Unsealing

DEWBOT VIII Final Daze Build Season Photo Gallery