Bag and Tag was a practice night for 4127. In the last few days of build season we rewrote our code to clean it up and integrate our final mechanical changes. We had begun to have trouble with it locking up in the final days (Murphy struck hard). In reality we probably have a superior product because of the problems. On the last weekend we perfected our indexing system, a cam controlled by switches, so our final controller configuration was not established until near the end. Our drivers spent Monday and Tuesday practicing using the buttons they will use during competition.
On Tuesday half our team, including our programmers, was with the band performing the National Anthem at the opening of the Oregon Legislative Session. When the rest of us got to practice our camera was off line. The code was there, but Labview was not reading the source file properly. We practiced without our targeting system for a while until the band came back. When our programmer got back he reestablished the link to the source file and put us back on line. We went on to practice for another hour, gave ourselves a collective pat on the back and bagged the Loggerbot at 8 pm.
It’s hard to believe the season is almost over. We are now meeting to clean our workspace and plan for regionals. In Vernonia we have been building in our old school before it is demolished in a month. Our bigger celebration will happen after regionals. Our team will end the season with a social gathering, probably pizza again, and move forward with planning for next year. We have been a NASA team during our first two years and now the hard work begins—funding ourselves independently.
In the past, our team has had a tradition of working on the robot until the last possible minute. This year, however, something unusual happened: the Raiderbot was actually fully functional days before bag and tag! At first it felt wrong to be done, but there was nothing left to do except for practice, which we did for hours upon hours. There was music playing in the shop with students leisurely sitting back and watching Raiderbot zoom around happily, and we ran that robot hard! With the extra time, we managed to fine tune Raiderbot to perfection. Every student took some time to write a few words of good luck, farewell, or just something funny on the bag that the robot will be put in. The robot was supposed to be bagged at 8:30pm, but we trained so hard that we broke two of the wheels. The tread on the wheels had been worn down to the rivets and the metal of the wheels themselves had cracked. Faced with this last minute repair job, everyone worked frantically to fix as much as we could as quickly as possible. The robot ended up being bagged at 9:43pm. In celebration, everyone one on the team traded high fives and gave the team cheer: ‘Raider, Raider, Raider!’ We decided to break the tradition of pulling an all-nighter and, instead, go home at a reasonable hour and get a good nights sleep. We’re looking forward to a day or two away from robotics, knowing that we have a well-tuned machine for the Regional.
We’re all looking forward to the upcoming competition with more enthusiasm than could possibly fit in 52 human beings