The Vexmen of Brandywine Robotics

Blog Post

Vexmen Spring Sessions – Now Two Options

This year the Vexmen will be offering two spring sessions to enhance our skills and techniques.

The first class will be on Tuesday evenings and will be like last year’s spring class focusing on building techniques, torque, gear ratios, and the basics of programming sensors. This class is geared towards roboteers who have an understanding of Vex parts, and how to hook things up but not necessarily the why things work like they do.

The second class will be on Wednesday evenings and is going to explore using line followers and programming techniques to use them wisely and in conjunction with other sensors. We will have a line following maze course that gets progressively harder as you go through the course. We will score each week and see who can get through the maze the fastest with the least off-course activity.

Like last year, each class will be $100 per student and parents who want to learn along side are free.

Building Techniques

When: Tuesday evenings 6:30pm – 8:30pm
March 25th through May 13th
Where: 122 Oscar Way
Cost: $100 per roboteer, parents wishing to attend are free
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This class will cover proper building techniques and we will critically look at the Toss Up robots for improvements. The design process and solid building techniques will be taught along with a look at programming techniques for autonomous, skills, and driver control.

2014 Tuesday Vexmen Spring Class Syllabus

The typical Vex robot has three main subsystems – the drive base, a grabber for the game elements, and an arm. We will look at the design process for ensuring you plan for all the elements of the game so you have as little rework as possible. You want forge ahead, not be forced to redesign over and over. Students will learn of the perils of bending forces and friction hampering their robots ability to be completely awesome.

Wednesday Class: Line Following

When: Wednesday evenings 6:30pm – 8:30pm
March 26th through May 14th
Where: 122 Oscar Way
Cost: $100 per roboteer, parents wishing to attend are free

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Lines are a part of every Vex game yet we tend not to use them to help our autonomous programs. This course will investigate the use of line followers and various techniques to follow a line closer and closer with more speed. Students can use their existing robots or share time on a speedy square bot fitted with three line followers and speed motors geared even higher.

This is a more advanced class than the beginning class. Students are expected to know how to use Robot C and how their robots operate. Basic trigonometry will be referenced in this class along with some concepts from Physics and pre-calc in the PID control.

2014 Vexmen Spring Session Line following Intro

In the first week we will be learning about the line followers and the basic three line follower configuration. The three line followers will help guide the robot along the course forever. Week two will be continuing to work on the basic line following with our first challenge scores posted.

In subsequent weeks we will learn about proportional control for smoother turns, logging your results to the screen for effective analysis, current monitoring and slew rate, breaking up your program into segments using encoders and aligning to the course, finding the line and getting back to it efficiently, using multiple line followers to detect special elements like crosses, using multiple sensors together to arrive at the best version of truth, and solving the mysteries of PID and tuning your robot to it.

Vexmen Line Following Class Maze

The stars represent different starting points available. You can get bonus points by finding the line from a straight position, 90 degrees offset, or 45 degrees offset. The first weeks techniques will get the robot through the first two segments but additional techniques will be needed as you progress!