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The true raison d'être for FRC is found during build season, not in competition. This is where you learn. Pressure is high. Here you face your biggest challenges, and either overcome them, or are overcome by them.

Students join our team throughout the year, and most see competitions before build season, especially off-season events. Still, these students are rookies until they have passed through their first build season. Trial by fire.

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


  • We attended kick-off at Upper Darby High School (home of old friends team 357 Royal Assault)
  • Clem McKown gave a workshop on Pneumatic Systems
  • Returning to TCHS, we went through game rules
  • then engaged in several rounds of Recycle Rush using StudentBots on a simulated field and reviewed the results
  • We put together our first thoughts on game strategy

Week One (1/4-1/10)

Sunday 4-January

  • We identified the following key robot jobs:
  1. Facilitate loading of litter into Recycle Containers from Human Player
  2. Build stacks of totes in-situ (in the robot) & place these (to score) where desired
  3. Place recycle containers on stacks of totes
  4. Grab recycle containers from the step (without removing landfill totes)
  5. Auton - Stack (3) yellow totes in-situ & place in Auton Zone
  6. Coop Stack - Pick up (3) yellow totes (either as stack or stack them) & place on top of opfor yellow tote on step
  • From these, we came up with the following robot strategies
  1. Stacker Bot (The Chooser)
    1. Human Station Feed specialist
    2. Floor pickup specialist
  2. Recycle Container Specialist (The Chosen One)
  3. The Swiss Army Bot (Fills both above roles)
  4. Feeder Bot (supplies totes to Stacker Bot)
  • Stacker Bot Missions:
  1. Auton - (3) yellow tote stack
  2. Coop - Place (3) yellow totes on top of opfor yellow tote on step
  3. Collect & Stack totes in-situ
    1. From Human Player?
    2. From Landfill - Orientation?
    3. From feeder?
  4. Place stack where desired to score
  5. Stack height capability - 4 minimum - 6 maximum
  • Recycle Container Specialist
  1. Auton - Able to move robot, recycle container & tote to Auton Zone
  2. Eary Telop - Capture Step Recycle Containers
  3. Tele - Enable Human Player to easily load litter into recycle container
  4. Place recycle container on top of stacked totes (4 minimum - 6 maximum)
  • R&D Teams
  1. Determine how to stack totes in-situ (Josh, Alex, Patrick, Paul)
  2. Container Possession - how to grab step container (Lucy, Laura, Dana, Abbi, Douglas, Yahya)
  3. How to lift & stack totes (Brad x 2, Sully, Madi)

Monday 5-January

  • Simulated the stacking process - able to stack 5 totes (under a recycle container) in 25 seconds (too slow)

Tuesday 6-January

  • Met with new machining sponsor AMS Filling Systems
  • Pulled Al stock from team inventory for machined pivot parts
  • Worked on Human Player Station
  • Measured friction coefficient
    • tote-carpet - all orientations
    • tote-polypropylene - all orientations
    • wheel-polypropylene
  • Tested ability of stacker forks to align with and capture totes

Wednesday 7-January

  • Delivered Al stock for pivot parts to AMS Filling Systems
  • Worked on Human Player Station
  • Worked on Step
  • Built prototype stacker drive
  • Shifted stored supplies out of old FIRST totes into non-standard totes to free up more game pieces
  • Inventory COTS for pivot modules
  • 1st-Pass list of Stacker Functions
  • Team Meeting - Where are we? - Where are we going?

Friday 9-January

  • Worked on Human Player Station
  • Assembled a 2nd control test panel
  • Start identifying control logic elements & interactions

Saturday 10-January

  • Human Player Station finished & testing started
  • Worked on Step
  • Build new fork prototype
  • Collect stacker data
  • Complete lift prototype for control tests
  • CAD!!
DEWBOT XI Week One Build Season Photo Gallery

Week Two (1/11-1/17)

Sunday 11-January

  • Built scoring platform
  • Prepared ASME grant application
  • Identified Inspection Video gaps
  • CAD chassis & stacker
  • Noodle Vision
  • Q83 Brouhaha and work-around development

Monday 12-January

  • Build Step
  • Tested mini-dozer (fits in most overhead compartments, but does not move totes)
  • Test intake rollers (needs work)
  • Installed a RoboRio on DEWBOT IX
  • CAD stacker drive & fork deployment drive

Tuesday 13-January

  • CAD
  • Human Player load testing
  • Intake roller development
  • Determined lowest fork elevation needed

Wednesday 14-January

  • Tested DEWBOT IX with RoboRio
  • Tested "plain vanilla" autonomous (robot, yellow tote & recycle container into the auton zone) - successfully
  • CAD, CAD, CAD...
  • Started cutting metal for the robot
  • More Human Player loading testing
  • Noodle-Vision testing
  • Roller intake testing - successful

Friday 16-January

  • Rough-cut 6061 Al for chassis (ex-z dimension pieces)
  • Test new procedure for front loading from the human player station - reliability seems to be demonstrated (>40 tests)
  • CAD, of course

Saturday 17-January

  • Mill rough-cut chassis parts
  • Practice (teleop) "plain vanilla" autonomous routine; and if successful (yes)
  • code control software "plain vanilla" autonomous routine and demonstrate reliability
  • Calibrate distance versus encoder counts with DEWBOT X drive encoders
  • Build dual drive lift prototype for control development
  • Set up field (accurately)
  • Cut 7075 Al rod for pivot transfer axles
  • Are we finished with CAD? NO

Milestone: The team's CNC lathe, donated to us in 2011 in non-working condition, is now in good working order and cut its first real part on this day

DEWBOT XI Week Two Build Season Photo Gallery

Week Three (1/18-1/24)

Sunday 18-January

  • Drilled half of pivot mount rivet nut holes
  • Determined maximum necessary height for stacker lift (42" from ground to lip of tote)
  • Moved CNC Lathe
  • Bored (4) 9T type 35 drive sprockets (stacker lift drive)
  • Refined dual-lift prototype & started development

Monday 19-January

  • Replaced polypropylene slide in the human played tote chute with HDPE
  • Drilled remaining pivot mount rivet nut holes (mill)
  • Started cutting pivot stand-offs (lathe)
  • Rough-cut z-axis chassis elements
  • Tested step recycle container capture methods
  • Developed and tested control code for dual lift

Tuesday 20-January

  • More human player station testing - how to get the first tote in right every time
  • More mill work on chassis parts
  • Cut remaining pivot stand-offs

Thursday 22-January

Milestone: The CCIU completed an additional 208V 3ɸ line to our shop, thereby enabling simultaneous operation of the mill and CNC lathe. This evening, we had the mill and both lathes running throughout the meeting.

  • Cut 7075 Al pivot transfer axles (CNC lathe)
  • Bore and tap 7075 Al pivot stand-offs (manual lathe)
  • Milled 1" slots in chassis main beam (mill)
  • Rough-cut 1 x 2" EL for chassis
  • Tested effective field-centric swerve drive
  • Prepared and printed drawings for chassis welding

Friday 23-January

  • Completed turning transfer axles on CNC lathe
  • Continued tapping pivot stand-offs on manual lathe
  • Still milling chassis parts
  • Started welding chassis
  • Demonstrated straight-line controlled driving in field-centric drive mode
  • Demonstrated performance of dual-lift control
  • Cut and tested floor/guide (Andrew Floor)

Saturday 24-January

  • Mill chassis parts
  • Weld chassis
  • Grease BaneBots gearboxes
  • Start assembling lift gearboxes; replacing 50T steels gears w/ 7075 AL and drilling mounting holes
  • Complete pivot stand-offs
  • Start cutting pivot tubes on CNC lathe
DEWBOT XI Week Three Build Season Photo Gallery

Week Four (1/25-1/24)

Sunday 25-January

  • Chassis welding
  • Cut keyways in pivot transfer axles
  • Assemble transfer axles
  • Assemble steering motors and gearboxes
  • Assemble lift gearboxes
  • Start cutting lift axles

Monday 26-January

  • Snow day - no meeting
  • Picked up Pivot Parts from AMS Filling Systems

Tuesday 27-January

  • Assembled pivot module top & bottom plates
  • Broached keyways into steering pulleys
  • Finished cutting lift axles
  • Cut pivot coaxial drive shafts
  • Chassis welding
  • Turning pivot tubes

Wednesday 28-January

  • Cut gussets (via paper dolls)
  • Welding
  • Turning pivot tubes
  • Bore pulley
  • Cut down miter gear
  • Complete lift gearboxes
  • Trial assembly of a pivot cage
  • Prepare chains for pivots

Thursday 29-January

  • Weld Chassis
  • Groove Pivot Tubes
  • Broach keyways in 9T sprockets
  • Turn down 10-32s for sensor mounting
  • Assemble motors to pivot modules

Friday 30-January

  • Bore bearing holes in Pivot Tubes
  • Chassis Welding
  • Cut keyways in coaxial drive shafts
  • Prepare for Pivot Party

Saturday 31-January

  • Cut Keyways in Pivot Tubes
  • Weld Pivot Tubes into Pivot Tops
  • Turn Pivot Tube weld flat
  • Pivot Party!
  • Cut robot floor
  • Drill motor mounts in Lift Slide Anchors
  • Complete welding of both chassis (Prime & Deux)
  • Assemble DEWBOT X's pivots into Deux
  • Install lift sliders and floor into Deux
  • Human player station testing with Deux
DEWBOT XI Week Four Build Season Photo Gallery

Week Five (2/1-2/7)

Sunday 1-February

Monday 2-February

Tuesday 3-February

Wednesday 4-February

Thursday 5-February

Friday 6-February

Saturday 7-February

DEWBOT XI Week Five Build Season Photo Gallery

Week Six (2/8-2/14)

Sunday 8-February

Monday 9-February

Tuesday 10-February

Wednesday 11-February

Thursday 12-February

Friday 13-February

Saturday 14-February

DEWBOT XI Week Six Build Season Photo Gallery

Final Daze (2/15-2/17)

Sunday 15-February

Monday 16-February

Tuesday 17-February

DEWBOT XI Final Daze Build Season Photo Gallery