TerrorBits: Build Season Week 4 Update

Wow, we’re done with Week 4 already! If we had to summarize our last week in one exclamatory sentence it would be: Green paint everywhere! That usually means we’ve been working hard.

The green paint dries…

Fabrication has been working first and foremost on building the robot chassis and subsystems. The chassis base plate has been installed, which will allow the controls system to be installed. Our climber parts have been welded, and that structure is ready to be mounted. The metal structure of the shooter has been installed, and the gear manipulator is currently being assembled. Fabrication also mounted the gear manipulator prototype on the prototype bot. Excitingly, we have hatched a plan for improved bumpers, which could speed up change times significantly.

Design has finalized all the onboard pneumatics and cylinders, and made some changes to the gear intake geometry, to make it easier for us to manufacture. Design is now focusing most on providing important technical drawings, to be used by Fabrication.

Now that robot code testing has been completed, programming has moved on to developing PID control for many of our motors. PID is basically a math formula where we can put sensor input, and get out feedback to control the motors. It makes controlling the robot much more precise and intelligent.

Debugging the PID with an old oscilloscope!

Controls has finalized the electrical system layout, and order a few more parts in preparation for installation. As always, they also crimped a lot of wires.

We’ve ordered our team T-Shirts, which will feature our new steampunked logo, and our sponsors. The logo started as a joke, when one of our team captains sketched up a very dapper TerrorByte with a hat and monocle surrounded by a gear. When FIRST STEAMWORKS was released, we realized it would look cool on our shirts. They should be arriving soon! We also received an absolutely huge flag, for waving on the field, we hand sewed our a brand new banner to display while we’re playing on the field. They both look great!

Big ol’ flag!

The banner and its creator.

Well, that’s all for this week. Until next time, use your best judgment!

TerrorBits: Build Season Week 3 Update

As you probably guessed, progress on the TerrorBytes robotics team continued this week. We’re getting much closer to completing our robot, and we continue to prepare for our first competition of the 2017 season, in Winterville NC, from March 3rd-5th.

Design has finalized the shooter assembly, and met with our machining sponsor, Solara, early in the week. We received our parts just a few days later, in record time! Thanks, Solara!

The machined parts with a coat of green drying on.

Fabrication has continued work on the chassis, even though our the gearbox we plan to use still has not arrived. We hatched a crackpot plan to fix our wheel sizing issues, which involved machining down the wheel shape using a mentor’s homemade CNC machine.

Preparing a surface for the crackpot CNC plan.

Subsystem fabrication for the competition robot began, which went smoothly. We are now waiting for many parts to either ship or come back into stock.

Our prototyping activities are wrapping up, with our prototyping groups conducting final testing of their creations. We are also building a prototype robot, which will be a restoration of our 2014 robot chassis to host our prototypes. We successfully installed gearboxes and wheels on the chassis, and next up will be control system installation and prototype mounting.

The restored 2014 chassis, with old control system elements.

Programming team conducted their first tests on the test board last week, checking out the robot drivetrain, and most subsystems. They have completed nearly all the code, and submitted it for an initial review.

Controls this week mapped out the robot control system layout, working within some tight design constraints. As soon as the robot base plate is prepared, Controls(as well as Fabrication) is ready to begin integration.

We’ve made significant progress on building our new pit. The PVC sections have been glued together, and are currently being painted team colors. We’ve ordered new pit banners, and have begun work on general pit decorations.

Marketing has finalized the T-shirt design, and is ready to send out the T-shirt orders. We’ve got a special TerrorBytes logo for this year which will be featured on the shirt, and we think it looks pretty cool.

This was a great week on the team, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support we get from our sponsors, who are kind enough to fund our crazy ideas and adventures. So, until next week, use your best judgment!

TerrorBits: Build Season Week 2 Update

Progress has continued on the TerrorBytes during Week 2 of the build season. Overall, we’re moving forward fairly quickly with building our robot, with some minor delays here and there. Morale here is high while we move into the dregs of the build season.

Our Prototyping groups having been refining their prototypes based on feedback from the Design subteam. The gear manipulator prototype was rebuilt early in the week and was a great success. We are now assembling a third iteration based on Design’s specifications, which will provide valuable testing data and feedback. Our new shooter design prototype is working great. It’s accurate, fires quickly, and above all is fairly simple. It could be refined further though. Our climber mechanism has reached the final prototyping phase and has completed numerous full scale tests, mostly passing them with (literal)flying colors. Here’s some testing:

Fabrication subteam has gotten to work on the robot chassis. They have mostly completed the sides of the chassis but ran into a few issues involving our chosen wheel type. We’ll have to modify the robot chassis slightly to accommodate the wheel, but that shouldn’t present too much of an issue.

Along with Programming, the Controls subteam completed the test boards and is currently setting them up to run code tests. Controls also discussed wiring and sensor placement with various engineering leads.

Programming subteam this week made progress but also had some significant issues. Early in the week, the subteam encountered problems with GitHub and the configuration of team members’ computers. This was a large time sink, but the issues should not present themselves again. Programming also improved the code architecture and organization and is nearly ready to test all subsystems on the control boards.

Design subteam this week worked extremely hard to meet some very tight deadlines. The robot design was frozen this week, meaning no subsystems will be added, removed, or drastically modified from this point forward. Design completed the CAD for the climber and gear manipulator, and are currently working out some geometry and integration issues.

Shoot door? Yes, shoot door.

Various miscellaneous preparations for competition made a bunch of progress over the past week. Banners and our team t-shirt are being prepared and ordered, and we are currently building and testing a new pit design. The robot cart has been de-glittered and repainted with branding improvements.

TerrorBytes logo on top of the robot cart.

Recon has been in the planning phase, but last week they worked on formatting the data collection sheet for competition, making it easier to train for and use. There is also some general process streamlining in the works.

We’re preparing to send out our design to our machining sponsor, Solara Automation, next week. We’re also gearing up for more chassis building and robot assembly as parts arrive at our lab. So, until next week, use your best judgment!
P.S. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for more Updates: @TerrorBytes4561

TerrorBits: Build Season Week 1 Update

Written by Co-Captains Kaiz Akhtar and Julian Berla

All of us at the TerrorBytes are excited about the new FIRST Robotics Competition game, STEAMworks! STEAMworks is a steampunk-themed game based on getting wiffle balls into a goal to generate “steam pressure”, placing gears to start rotors, and climbing ropes. It’s been a week, and it still sounds crazy. For an official overview, see the STEAMworks game animation.

Unfortunately, we hit some bad luck with the weather. The night before kickoff a few inches of snow fell in our area. Seeing as this is North Carolina, all school related activities were promptly shut down for three days.

We hope the robot drives better than this.

In true TerrorBytes fashion, we didn’t let the inclement weather prevent us from moving forward with our plans. Over the course of the first weekend, our team conducted a close read of the rules and began strategy discussions online. By the time we reached our first build season meeting on Tuesday, we couldn’t wait to start prototyping.

Our strategy discussions moved fairly smoothly and quickly. We managed to stay on track through a team Discord server. In fact, the Strategy team completed their game analysis a day ahead of schedule! We’ve decided through our discussions to prioritize gear scoring and climbing, although we still strive to complete all of the game tasks.

The Strategy team discusses our team’s strategy and priorities.

On Tuesday, most of the team split into four prototyping groups: rope climbing, fuel shooting, gear manipulation, and a fuel intake. Guided by feedback from Strategy, we answered critical questions about possible robot subsystems. These answers will later influence our design process. We had great success with many of our prototypes, especially our rope climber. Thanks to the hard work of our whole team, prototyping progress has been moving quicker than ever.

With guidance from mentors, our students prototype a possible flywheel shooter using some old test equipment.

Comparing wheels for an intake.

Striking a pose with the Kit of Parts tote.

After the Strategy team completed its analysis of the game, the CAD team started work. They’re off to a great start so far, with the chassis almost complete save for a few minor decisions. Our ambitious goal of design freezing Tuesday of Week 2 will press the CAD team, but we think we’re on track to meet the schedule if things continue to run smoothly.

The Programming team met officially for the first time on Saturday (1/14). During our six-hour meeting, they accomplished more on the first day than in any previous year by a landslide; completing work on a basic drivetrain, finishing basic architecture for all subsystems, and setting up the team’s GitHub repository.

That’s about all for this week. We’re preparing for a pretty exciting Week 2, so stay tuned. Until next week, use your best judgment!

THOR 2015

We will be competing at this year’s THOR competition, an offseason FRC event for North Carolina. The competition will be the same as the one in the spring, Recycle Rush. We’ve been revamping our 2015 season robot, Jack the Gripper, to compete at Reidsville High School in Reidsville, NC on October 10th. The event is free to attend, so come see us compete if you are in the area.

See you there,
The Terrorbytes

Build Season

Build Season

The Terrorbytes have been hard at work this season building our robot for this year’s FRC game, Recycle Rush! So far, we’ve constructed the drive train, and we’re almost done with our elevator system. We feel very confident about our robot for this year!


IMG_20150120_185542Not actually our lifter, but I liked the photo


Mounting the old control system


Testing the drive code

download_20150121_185634Programming team

Expect more updates soon.

Project Silly String

As incentive for The TerrorBytes’ Otis Spunkmeyer fundraiser all students who sold 10 or more items got to participate in “Project Silly String”.  When the fundraiser was finished head mentor Tyler ended up being the recipient of the contents of each student’s can of silly string.

One of the few things that can make all mankind satisfied and filled with joy, is the gleeful gathering of comrades and colleagues in the humiliation of a personage by the stringing of the silly.  We hope that you will enjoy this collection of humble and cheerful pictures of the silliest of the silly strings.

In a world where string has been denied the right to be silly, one team of robotics students joins together to rise up against the tyranny of professionalism and banality.

-Alex Brown

Lego Building

A few weeks ago, our team captain, Myles, found a great team work game for everyone to play at our meeting. The rules were simple, use lego pieces and design a machine to move the stone blocks to build the pyramids. Everyone built their own and then had to collaborate with others. In the end, we had some great machines and everyone got to practice designing as a team.

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