IRI Mecanum Wheels for Intakes
We spent a lot of time on the practice field during IRI 2016. Nothing wrong with that.
During one of our sessions on the practice field I was looking around at the other robots on the practice field and realized that three of them used mecanum wheels for their intake rollers. They all used them basically the same way. This makes a lot of sense. Looking further, I noted a lot of robots using mecanum wheels in boulder intakes at IRI.
Mecanum wheels provide a drive force vector at a 45o angle to the drive axle. So by using mecanum wheels, the wheels not only drive the ball into the robot, but they act to center the ball as well. If ball movement into the robot is constrained, they will drive the ball to the intake center. DEWBOT XII is using rollers and polycords; these drive balls into the robot but do not act to center the ball. We add deflector plates to center, but these do not work well, as they end up fighting against the polycords.
Generally, omni wheels in the center drive the ball into the robot, while also allowing the mecanums to center the ball without fighting against axial friction.
I think it is time for the next version of our intake.