Robotics Preseason Practice Bot

As a rookie FIRST Robotics team - FRC Team 5804 - we have a lot of work to do to get ready for the build & competition seasons. To help get us going we are starting off by designing a practice bot that we will draw in Autodesk Inventor. The drive system that we are using is a type of “holonomic drive” - it can drive in any direction even while rotating - using a type of wheel called mecanum.

Imagine pulling up alongside a parking place with just a few inches to spare at the front and rear of your car. Most people can’t parallel park in this situation. Using mecanum wheels and a holonomic drive, you simply drive sideways into the spot. No problem at all. For a robotics competition this type of drive provides ultimate maneuverability, but it is lacking in terms of pushing power. When it comes to the actual design challenge which is released on January 9th, this is one of the many decisions we’ll have to make - do we want a ballerina or a linebacker? Do we need to finesse our way around the field or push other robots out of our way (or maybe just stand our ground)?
The holonomic drive base we are building for the preseason will also provide us excellent opportunities to develop our programming skills and to integrate a wide variety of sensors so that the robot is “aware” of its surroundings to assist in autonomous operation (no human driver) as well as tasks like targeting of the scoring objects. Before we get to that, though, we need to bring our team members up to speed with hand and power tools - everything from screwdrivers, nut drivers & allen wrenches up to drills, jigsaws, drill presses and band saws. We also need to become acquainted with the standard components found on a typical FIRST robot - motors, gearboxes, belts and pulleys and about a hundred more things.