The Gearheads’ build team have created a working “boulder” launcher for the FRC 2016 challenge, First Stronghold. The boulders are 19 in. diameter gray foam balls. The object of the game is to launch the balls into a target in the opposing alliances castle.
“We started with a very basic design, and over the course of 4 days we kept adding more pieces to it, refining it further to make it accurate and effective. The only issue now is it’s 20 pounds, so we’re working on how to downsize its weight.” says Build team captain Aidan Reikart.
One interesting concept we saw was them prototyping used a bucket to hold a boulder! How cool is that!? Seeing that the bucket was of good use, they modified the general idea and instead replaced the bucket with four rows of conveyor-like wheels to scoop up & guide the ball, they also installed a set of two stock wheels with repurposed light duty drive motors to which can spin to draw the boulder in just like a vacuum! Then reverse the spin to assist in the shooting of the boulder
Another part of the launcher is borrowed from Howie, the robot from two years ago. It is a short travel wide bore pneumatic cylinder, from Howies howitzer cannon. This actually helped the team a lot, allowing us to cut time use by not having to build a launcher of the same purpose.