[项目类] How to Establish a RoboMaster Team - by Virginia Tech

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版主training spl
2019-2-19 16:49:28 显示全部楼层

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本帖最后由 training spl 于 2019-2-19 16:50 编辑

Guest Writer - Yipin Zhou, a junior student from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, also a team leader of VT RoboGrinder.

English Copywriters – PR Managers from McMaster University, thank you all for your effort!



This year is the third year since RoboGrinder is established, and this article summarizes various difficulties and solutions RoboGrinder has come through since establishment in hopes of providing some help for other teams from overseas, including how to get support from professors in the school.
      
Because of the distinction in different systems, starting up a team from overseas is very different from starting up a team in China. For teams from overseas, the difference in school systems (public/private) is also a very significant factor regarding the difficulty of establishing a team.

School Introduction:

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) is a public, land-grant, research university with its main campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Team Establishment:

In September 2016, Youming Qin who is the former founder of the team and finished a 6-month internship at DJI before establishing the team. He told his friends some stories about the internship in DJI, including the RoboMaster.

Everyone revealed a keen interest in participating in the competition. Researched were initiated in September regarding how to participate in the competition. In the 2016-2017 rule book, an advisor was required for the registration. The first problem was encountered in this process, how to find an advisor in school.

In the USA, most professors may mentor and supervise graduate students conducting research for a thesis or have a job in a company besides teaching, which is very profitable and beneficial for both professors and school.

As a newly established team, it was very difficult to find an advisor in school. Majority of professors would turn down the request after hearing an unfamiliar name or knowing the immense workload.

Ultimately, we find professor Bob in ECE department who was willing to become our advisor. In the communication process, we countered the following problems:
  • Insufficient preparation prior to the conversion and inadequate understanding of the competition.
  • Incomplete English information, because the competition was just initiated.
  • An executive summary was not prepared. EVA (Education value added) needed to be covered in this documentation. The advantages and disadvantages need to be shown clearly. What can be learned in the competition should also be demonstrated.
  • Professor was not able to decide whether the students can participate in the competition or not, approval from school leadership was required.
  • Finding a professor who is cooperative and want to coordinate resources was the key to build our team successfully.

After several rounds of conversion, ECE department approved professor Bob as our advisor and sponsored a fund of $5000. Our team was established and would be conducting a project in AMP Lab.

Student Organization Classifications:

  • Student organization: It is the most common and numerous student association, which is similar to clubs and with low entry requirements. Whereas, less access to resources and insufficient funds are major obstacles to RoboMaster.
  • Academic Student Organization: It will benefit a lot after becoming projects in the laboratory. And different laboratories can provide different assistance according to the various equipment. For example, in the AMP Lab (Autonomous Mastery Prototyping Lab):
  • It subordinates to the ECE Department, with all kinds of facilities and components relating to electrical engineering such as resistors, capacitors and inductors of all types. After completing the safety training, we are all allowed to use the lab for 24 hours a day.
  • In addition, Professor Bob provided us with two lockers to keep the materials for robots. After becoming the project in AMP Lab, we can enjoy not only the advanced equipment and working environment, but also more resources and professional technical support.
  • In the beginning, 5000 dollars were given as funds by the department. But in the second year, we were told that materials could be purchased directly using AMP Lab funding, which is almost unlimited to us. As just one equipment in the lab will cost thousands of dollars, our needs are nearly nothing compared to these.

Resources and Technical Supports:

After becoming the project in AMP Lab, several funds were collected from a different department in the university. In Virginia Polytechnic University, it has special appropriations for students researching.
As a project approved by lab and professors, we will be more competitive in raising funds. Also, we successfully got access to using another lab through effective communications. These are the advantages that being a project in a lab can bring.

In fact, there is a more professional project in our university called senior design, which is the goal of our organization this semester. Senior design is similar to the capstone design course in the last academic year of undergraduate, which is also a requirement of graduation. All the programs of engineering have their own senior design. And the key to becoming senior design is to have an instructor to arrange the assignments and teaching contents systematically, which means that every new member will learn a lot of useful knowledge after one year if our team become senior design. However, it is difficult to find a professor in charge of these things. As firstly, the teacher should be interested in the project, meanwhile good organization ability is required. Then members can be divided according to programs to learn effectively.

After becoming the senior design, the biggest benefit to the club is that it will be more attractive to new teammates, and it will be easier to manage. Because when this becomes a class, there will be teachers to score each stage, and these scores will directly determine the final grade of your course, and this course is also one of the courses that must be completed before graduation.

Document signing and authorization:

In the United States, intellectual property is a very serious issue. If you want to use the school badge and school name for the competition, you must pass the authorization of the school trademark office. The RoboMaster Organizing Committee has a special document on the use of the school logo in the competition. Some schools do not allow student organizations to use the school name and badge. This requires the students to meet the professor for help or think of other solutions. For example, the name of the team is used instead of the school name, and the team logo is used instead of the school badge.

At that time, one clause in the contract provided by the RoboMaster Organizing Committee was called “The team is subject to Chinese laws and regulations”. Our school objected to this contractual clause, saying that as a US state university, we can only comply with federal law. After we talked with the legal department of the RoboMaster Organizing Committee, this clause was changed to "the team must abide by Chinese laws and regulations during the competition in China." The school also agreed to the terms and finally signed the contract smoothly.

Daily preparation experience and precautions:

Laboratory equipment

1. Involving high-voltage power projects requires the authorization of the relevant institutions of the school, students need to learn and pass the test to obtain the right to use. For example, the meaning of various types of hazard warning signs, the proper use of various equipment hazards/safety facilities (such as fire extinguishers), simple first aid measures, laboratory rules and regulations. A variety of equipment can be used after completing the test.

2. The laboratory advocates Sharing space. Different items have their own shelves or cabinets. You can use all the work stations freely when you work, but after using them, you need to clean the workbench and take back your own materials on the shelves or cabinets. Such a laboratory can accommodate more projects. RoboMaster is a machine-driven robot competition, and the various machining equipment in the laboratory is essential. In the United States, installing different equipment in the laboratory requires inspection by different safety agencies before they can be used. When we first arrived at AMP Lab, it was only an electronic engineering lab, so the entire lab only had a one-handed saw. And we have many aluminium square tubes that need to be processed, so our team has purchased a batch of machined equipment, including table saws, bench drills, wire saws, etc. It should be noted that the equipment cannot be used directly. If someone is injured during use, both the purchaser and the professor are liable and fine. The correct steps to add a piece of equipment are:
  • Need to be agreed by the chief professor of the lab.
  • Following the instruction manual finishing the assembly. It requires making sure does the equipment attaching the ground, does it need to be screwed on the ground, or does it require a special power supply? Also, if you have multiple electric processing equipment, they also have the exact spacing requirement. You can find detailed information in the instruction manual.
  • After finishing the assembly, these pieces of equipment need to be checked by school or local safety regulation institution in order to prevent the potential safety risk. Meanwhile, the team needs have at least one student passed the related safety training, and only the students passed these training are allowed to use the specified types of equipment or supervising others to use these types of equipment based on the local law.

Materials procurement experience:

The materials using in robotics are very expensive in American, a single screw cost more than 20 US dollars is totally possible to happen.

At the beginning of making the design and building the prototype, we are trying to use more recyclable or reusable materials. For instance, the PVC board and laser engraving machine are very convenient for the early age design, they can quickly make a 2D component, or even able to build some simple 3D component. Furthermore, aluminium extrusion is pretty useful for the framework building, especially when we are not sure about the final dimension, it can be easily adjusted the angle and location by using T-Nut and angular aluminium.

In the United States, wood material is really cheap. The material shops such as The Home Depot and Lowes are near our school, and we bought a lot of wood to build the competition field such as resource island and the sentinel track. Also, these filed building tasks are good for our new team members to practice teamwork and learn the competition rules. So now I am going to introduce some materials purchase website we usually use and their advantages.

Using for buying screws/shaft/universal connector/ hinges and other parts, the price is not eh cheapest, but the models are generally very complete, and the provide the corresponding CAD drawings. However, you need to pay attention to the difference between the units, such as screws are divided into metric and inch screws.

This website nearly has the lowest price for aluminium materials and corner connectors on the internet, and they are free shipping from Texas by using express shipping, which means the delivery will be very fast. In comparison, the McMaster mentioned above also provide aluminium materials, but the delivery will be very expensive. There are also some merchants on eBay, but they are ship from China and it will take a long time to get it.

Not all the necessary materials are able to be found online, we always need a lot of machined parts. We recommend that all parts be processed and mailed to the United States from China. Then it cost less time and only charge one-sixth of the processing fee than the United States, and the SF express is the best for international parcel delivery service.

Since our team is fully funded by our school, so we don't have too much experience in finding sponsorship. Overall, the above content is our two years’ experience in the construction of the team, I hope it is helpful to everyone.




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[项目类] How to Establish a RoboMaster Team - by Virginia Tech

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版主快拆小分队
2019-2-21 14:26:03 显示全部楼层

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[项目类] How to Establish a RoboMaster Team - by Virginia Tech

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版主快拆小分队
2019-2-19 16:52:24 显示全部楼层
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[项目类] How to Establish a RoboMaster Team - by Virginia Tech

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版主Eli
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[项目类] How to Establish a RoboMaster Team - by Virginia Tech

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2019-2-21 14:18:52 显示全部楼层

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