Category Archives: Team Copioli

Team Copioli: Drivetrain Design

Team Copioli considered a variety of drivetrain configurations. Even though we finally settled on one, we’re presenting all 6 configuration examples, along with details on the gearing for the community to see. All options are West Coast Drive for using the VersaFrame and 6 wheels.

First, the two wheel options:

1. 4″ VersaWheels

2. 3.25″ VersaWheels

325wheel side

We also considered three different drivetrain options:

1. 3 CIM Ball Shifter – including gearing with 3.25″ wheels or gearing with 4″ wheels

2 cim in ballshifter 325in wheels
3cimballshifterspeeds 325in wheel
3 cim ball shifter speeds 4in wheel

2. 2 CIM Dog Shifter – including gearing with 3.25″ wheels or gearing with 4″ wheels

wcp shifter 325in wheels speeds
wcp shifter 4in wheels speeds

3. 3 CIM Single Speed – including gearing with 3.25″ wheels or gearing with 4″ wheels

wcp single speed 325in wheel speed
wcp single speed 4in wheel speed

Our team decided to go with the 3 CIM Ball Shifter, except we’re only going to use 2 CIMs. (We’ve already allotted two CIMs to the launcher, so we only have 4 available for our drivetrain.) Why not just use a 2 CIM ball shifter in this case? Good question. The 3 CIM Ball Shifter is designed to be mounted right into a West Coast Drive, thus it’s a natural contender for the VersaFrame. We’re going with 3.25″ wheels, for compactness.

Team Copioli: Aerial Assist Priority List

Team Copioli has been working diligently on creating our priority list – which in fact is completed well in advance of our anticipated schedule. We’re working well together and have finally hit a groove. Although Aerial Assist has thrown some interesting challenges our way when you consider our abbreviated build season, the brainstorming went relatively smoothly and we’re ready to get cranking on the prototyping work ahead of us.

We set our priorities as follows:

1. Drive! – Our team feels strongly that this always needs to be number one. If you cannot move, you cannot play this game offensively or defensively. (There is an option for a stationary passer, but it’s really too restrictive for our liking.) There’s a lot of opportunities for strategic movement around the field, and so we want to ensure our drive system is robust.

2. EJECT! EJECT! EJECT! – If a ball gets stuck in your robot, your entire alliance ceases to be able to score any points. This is very bad. Every team in FIRST needs to be able to release the ball if they plan on carrying it… otherwise they’re taking a pretty severe risk that they could be hindering their alliance partners. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when the stakes are high.

3. Human Players – Receive & Possess – We decided that receiving and possessing a ball from a human player is a basic functionality all teams need to have. Most teams will overlook how difficult this task can be, so we want to put particular focus on the human player role. You can’t do anything with a ball if you can’t possess it, and we believe this is the easiest way to acquire it. We thought about last year and how difficult it was for teams to slot-load frisbees from the human player station.

4. Score Low – We sat down and figured out that the low goal, with one pass and a truss, equals an easy 21 points. The high goal, with one pass and a truss, equals 30 points. The math doesn’t lie – low goal scoring is 70% of high goal scoring. However, it’s important to factor in that scoring low is much easier than scoring high. We think a robot that gives up the option of scoring high can still end up a top tier robot in this game. This was an interesting discovery.

5. Ground Pick-Up – If a ball ends up on the ground and no one can pick it up, your alliance comes to a grinding halt. We also thought it was valued more highly than attempting to truss, because it certainly gives you more options on the field. There’s going to be many more opportunities to pick up from the ground, so we felt it was an important capability.

6. Trussing! – …that being said, obviously we’d like the capability to truss. Big points, and we think it will be easier to do than scoring high – it requires less accuracy, for one. The goal has a 36″ opening and the balls are 24″ themselves – that doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room for the robot to shoot. Also the points aren’t reliant upon a goal being scored – it’s just 10 points on the board no matter what.

7. Catching the Ball – Trussing isn’t reliant upon a partner, but the scoring is the same. So we placed “catching the ball” lower on the priority list than trussing for that reason: it’s a more difficult task. Not to mention the accuracy that is involved… that could also be difficult to dial in.

8. Score High – To be honest, this is low on the list given the difficulty. It’s not easy to be a very high-scoring robot in this game, and the value of those high-scoring options seems lower once you consider the ease of the other options. It’s notable enough to be on the list, but very low.

Now we’re set to start our prototyping, and our CAD team is going to crowd into Paul’s office to get to work. More coming soon!

Team Copioli: Battle Plan & Schedule

This afternoon, Team Copioli sat down to talk through their 2014 Build Blitz Battle Plan & Schedule. We believe that setting a finite schedule will help them avoid the panic that comes with so much to do in so short of a time frame. Today, the team set their main goal – “Beat Team JVN”. Sounds simple, but it won’t be easy. We identified three main strategies in this plan:

  1. Build a robot that is better in every way than the Team JVN robot. The team plans to do this by finalizing a complete design for aspects of the robot that are not game-specific, and finalizing prototypes of game-specific elements no later than Sunday evening. Based on the judging criteria, the team decided that the robot itself, the process, and the documentation were most important to win the challenge. Final robot assembly confirmation is planned to be complete by Monday at noon, and iterations on the robot’s design will be completed by midnight on Monday. That will leave Tuesday morning for the final system test and driver practice.
  2. Follow a strict design, engineer, prototype, and build process. The team created a Build Blitz Schedule that emulates the proper design, documentation, and implementation that would be utilized in real-world engineering applications. Because an hour of the Build Blitz is equal to 14 hours of the regular six week FRC season, the team decided that standardizing our schedule into four hour blocks (or roughly two days of the build season) will allow us to evaluate our progress to ensure we are meeting our goal.

    Day 1

    Day 2

    Day 3

  3. Provide detailed documentation during each phase of the Build Blitz Process. The team will be utilizing whiteboard captures and spreadsheet analysis during their game strategy discussions. We plan to publish all pertinent screen captures on potentially crucial design decisions and breakthroughs. We also plan to publish our assembly drawings, custom and COTS component modifications, and all analysis/calculation documentation. We want to emphasize to FRC teams that the documentation before, during, and after the build is an important part of the process. Many teams begin building before establishing their strategy, but our team believes in working smarter, not harder. The additional time spent planning will pay off in determining mistakes before they happen, or avoiding time wasted on actions that ultimately won’t support our goals.

We’re excited to get started! But now for some sleep before the chaos begins…

Team Copioli: Build Plans

Team Copioli: Build Plans

Q: Is your robot going to be “fully legal” for competition?
No. Due to time constraints and achieving objectives we believe are more important, we will not be using the FRC Control System. However, the robot will be designed and packaged so that an FRC-legal system will fit on the robot. Instead, we’ll be using a VEX Cortex Microcontroller with the VEXnet Joystick and VEXnet 802.11 Wireless Link. ( This is actually an excellent setup for FRC teams that have additional practice robots but don’t have a spare FRC-legal system. It will additionally help us get up to speed faster for testing and refining the robot prior to judging.

Q: What are Team Copioli’s goals for Build Blitz?
Our team is going to have heavy emphasis on process & documentation. It’s our goal to “capture the magic” – to show viewers that even with a constricted time frame, we can still follow sound design and engineering processes. This starts with establishing our objectives and developing an overall team strategy. In this way, we’ll begin to understand the problem at hand – the 2014 FRC game. Having a set schedule means we’re less likely to panic. With proper planning and following simple rules of engineering, the time restraint will be less of an issue. We’ll do as much as we can to fully detail the design and documentation throughout the building, execution, and iteration of the design. Hopefully we’ll end up with a competitive robot in the end! We believe that showing how all of this can be done in just 72 hours will show teams how important this is to do in the full six-week period.

Q: What do you think will be the most difficult part of Build Blitz?
It’s going to be tough to really stick to the pure engineering design process. It’s just in our nature to want to start building as soon as we can, but the last thing we want to do is to build first and ask questions later. We’ll obviously cut corners where we can in the interest of time, but we have to hold ourselves to process and planning as much as possible.

If you have any more questions, send a message to @TeamCopioli on Twitter!