Jan 14th : We finished our new robot base which incorporates the rubber band roller and screw ball lift. Sadly, when we hooked the screw lift up to a motor it didn't work. The ball got stuck in the shaft and the motor stalled every time. We believed the wooden shaft that the ball was to be carried up was too small, so we widened it. Unfortunately widening the shaft did not help things. Media:File.ogg
Jan 15th: The main focus of today was again the screw ball lift. We now believe the problem is with the spacing of the screw's turns. The spiral contacts the ball on the top and bottom which prevents it from freely spinning upward. So we made a new screw with fewer turns. This one worked better, but balls still got stuck in the shaft.
Jan 16th : Today we solved a big problem with our screw ball lift. Previously balls would get stuck (every time) in our screw lift and the motor would stall. We believed this was a friction problem. Well one of our team members had the brilliant idea of adding some smooth scotch tape to the inner walls of our ball lift shaft, and now the ball can make it up the shaft. There was still a part of the shaft it would get stuck in. We had to shorten the width of the shaft, which we widened a few days ago, to fix this. The last problem with the lift is that balls do not come out of the hole in the top. We will work on that tomorrow. We also made the funnel that will funnel balls from the rubber band roller to the lift today.
Jan 17th: The beginning of the day was spent on getting our screw ball lift to finally work. Our last issue was that the ball would not come out of the side of the ball shaft. We found out that due to the slope of the screw, the ball would easily come out if the hole was instead in the back of the ball shaft. So with a quick fix in SolidWorks and a few new laser cut pieces, we had a working screw lift. The rest of the day was spent on modifying the second layer of the robot so that the sonars could be mounted under it and wiring some of the robot.
Jan 18th: Worked on a GUI that will be used to to debug the robot. It allows us to set the speed and direction of the screw ball lift, set the rubber band roller speed, and drive the robot around. It also displays readings taken from the ultrasonic sensors. More functionality will be added as more actuators and sensors are added.
Jan 19th: Wired up all of the Ultrasonics. At first only a few were working, but after changing some of the wires on the breadboard (some were too short) they were all working. We ran into an issue with the sonars where they would stop giving data after a minute. The time seemed random, and the sonars that would stop working seemed random. We are not sure where the problem is at.
Jan 20th: We decided to not use the ultrasonic sensors based on yesterday's bugs. So we removed them from the robot. We ran into a problem with the spiral lift where balls would get stuck at the bottom entrance. They were getting pinched against the spiral and the edge of the front wall of the shaft. Since the front wall does not really serve a purpose, we cut off the lower part of it. After doing so, we ran 100 balls through the spiral with no problems. So it seems to be problem free. We also finished wiring up the robot today. All motors can be controlled through the GUI now.
Jan 21st: Started changing the architecture of the code. We are making it more modular. We also started CADing the third layer of the robot where the ball sorting and dispensing system is going to be at.