Day 19

The pace is starting to go faster, we might be finding our groove. Its now a balancing act to keep every one busy, engaged and productive with out overworking anyone. Its only week three we can’t have any one burn out now. Sunday meetings got brought up but I’ve successfully pushed them back until March at least. Sundays tend to burn our team out pretty quick.


Manufacturing really started to make progress on the hanger build. The plywood was cut yesterday and the 4 x 4s were getting attached to the bases today. The hub also got the remaining lower fenders attached today.

Today was the start of assembly for the gear boxes. We have enough gear box plates to assemble 4 gear boxes, still need to cut two plates for a spare. We hit one snag on the gearboxes, I ordered the wrong quantity of motor pinions so we were only able to assemble two gear boxes at the moment. The other pinions got ordered and shouldn’t take too long to get, small advantage of being in Texas. The gear boxes went together with out issue, woho!


At the start of the meeting I had to banish CAD from the shop to get back to working on CAD, they were trying to assemble prototypes. While this is useful CAD needs to get done and will not do complete itself. I managed to give away my task of hand holding the CDS/Shooter team to a senior student who returned from covid quarantine this week. With a few manufacturing students to help we started assembling the wooden prototypes.

Intake V3

One of the changes for Intake V3 removed a run of three belts to a single shaft. The removal of three belts on a shaft speed up assembly a ton. We had an issue with one of the belts not fitting, it was resolved when we used the correct pulley for the job. One of our students printed a bunch of HTD pullies for us to use this year. Only improvement I’d make this far is adding the tooth count to one of the faces!

The CDS/Shooter prototype was made out of MDF because we had some to spare. This makes it incredibly heavy. Much heavier than the mounting spots we had planned in CAD can support. So we have to make some manual changes. A hole to fit a 2 x 4 was cut into each piece of MDF. This hole will fit against a 2 x 4 laid across our frame(seen on the right photo). There will be another support in the back that will also help take some of the load. The hooded shooter got assembly started near the end of the meeting today. Its a stretch but maybe just maybe we might have a robot moving around by the end of the meeting tomorrow. More likely on Saturday 🙂

Random Mentor Moment

So today was our team recap meeting. We have been doing weekly recap meetings where each student department leader presents what their team accomplished the past week. Side note I know the meeting should be on Tuesday(our first meeting of the week) I’m working to get us there. On Monday we had a student leadership meeting where we talked about progress and talked about the presentation for Tuesday. All leads were reminded to add their progress to the slides.

Looking at the slide deck at 9am Tuesday, it was blank, no progress added. I sent a slack message to the leads pinging them, telling them to add their progress before the meeting at 5. I started getting worried at 4pm before leaving to go to the meeting when the slides where still empty.

On the drive to the lab I was busy thinking about how to handle the meeting. I came up with two good options and a bad third option. Lets get the bad one out of the way, starting the recap meeting with nothing in the slides and asking the leads to explain their progress. This is a bad approach, as the students will lose credibility, feelings will be hurt, just not a great plan. I’ve always liked the phrase “praise in public, reprimand in private”. The slides being empty is really just a learning moment for the students. So lets move to the other options, fill the slides out right before the meeting(as last minute as possible), and postponing the recap until Thursday.

I was okay with moving the meeting to Thursday to give students time to fill in their slides. It doesn’t help us get on track to giving the recap meetings on Monday but no one looses any credibility, no unpleasant moments. However enough of the student leads showed up early enough to add the required information to the recap slides. It wasn’t perfect, and I don’t think they enjoyed being rushed but we gave the team a recap today. Tomorrow I’ll talk with the student leads as a group and try and reinforce the importance of deadlines and getting things done when you say you will.






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