A review of a year

Looking back, it has been a while since I last updated this blog.  I think this is because it was a crazy fully packed year.  Additionally my time was consumed by great projects such as EDD of which we worked in secret to prevent our opponents from discovering what we were doing.

Looking back this year start like a typical senior year.  There were good and there were bad classes all wrapped up.  Thinking back to first semester I was talking 8 periods worth of classes filling every second of my school day.  On top of the classes there was the constant need to work on college applications and the constant draw to manage the EDD project.  Just thinking about this now is making me tired.

Second semester was not any less tiring than the first.  While I decided to take one less class giving myself some free time during the middle of the day, FRC and EDD started their full on attack.  During the six weeks of the FRC season there was a lot of complications.  For starters there was the complications of figuring out how to shoot the ball.  Additionally, there was the complication of balancing on the bridge at the end to get the absurd amount of bonus points.  In an attempt to accomplish this we built a challenging frc robot.

At the same time as the FRC build season, there were many complications in the EDD class.  We were having to save the rover team as a joint effort between the two EDD teams.  The rover was designed by members of both teams to be the robot that we were going to rescue during the mission, but what happened is the rover team was unable to accomplish their mission of building the rover and thus required the attention of both teams to ensure its success.

After the build season for FRC, EDD started stepping up its game.  We started really working on our countless iterations on our frame designs for our sphere bot and adapters that we were working on for the propellers.  It was during this time when we discover the complications with the propellers and lift.  Our complications stemmed from the beginning with the RC community and not a full understanding of aerodynamics.  According to the RC community if one were to spin the propellers infinitely fast there would be an infinite amount of thrust.  Of course this does not make sense, but the point at which the equations were said to break down is where the pressure above is not able to replenish the air quickly enough to provide lift.  What we did not know is there are also the limits of the propellers flattening out which causes the propellers to not provide more thrust at a higher speed.  At this point we started our many iterations in an attempt to find possible solutions to our problem.  Out first attempt was to greatly reduce the mass of the robot, we were able to cut the weight in half.  Second we attempt to the most complex parts to date in our machine shop, the manufacturing of our own propellers.  Additionally we looked into making a larger frame, as going to propellers that were only 4″ larger in diameter were designed for 1.5 Kg vs 200 g helicopters which was a lot closer to the range that we were looking for.  We tried all of these designs in parallel which was a stunning effort and props (pun intended) to everyone who contributed.  In the end there were still complications with getting the flybar working, and at the last second our last flybar broke and we were unable to replace it.  In typical EDD fashion, we look back and say if only we had another month we could have accomplished what we set out to do (or if only we did not waste 6 weeks attempting to build the rover then maybe the sphere would have flown).

After all of the academics and robotics for the year was over, there were what now seems like an eternity of senior activities and gradutation to sum up the year.