Our students design, engineer and build each robot. Of course, with electronics, programming, and designing, comes the actual, physical construction of the robots. After all, one of the main premises of the FIRST Robotics Competition is, in fact, the robot! However, mechanical construction delves deeper than just cutting metal and arranging gears. Our students in the program build all aspects of the robot, including basics: the chassis, drivetrain, and pneumatics.
What is the chassis?
The chassis is the frame of the robot, fastened with connectors such as rivets or screws. The chassis is the most important part of the robot, as it would not exist without a chassis, similar to how humans would not be human without their bone. All other components are connected or attached to the chassis, including the drivetrain, electronic circuit, pneumatic system, and anything else.
What is the drivetrain?
The drivetrain of a vehicle is responsible for its movement. This includes the motors, the gearbox, the chains, axles, and the wheels. The motors are responsible for the rotation of the gears within the gearbox, with spin the chains, turning the axles and ultimately, the wheels. Without a drivetrain, any motor vehicle would no longer be able to move.
What are pneumatics?
Pneumatics are the use of air power in a robot to push pistons that move certain parts back and forth. These pistons can serve an almost limitless number of functions that can be envisioned by a creative mind. In a pneumatic system, air is compressed and pushed through tubing, passing regulators, relief valves, and air tanks before finally reaching their designated destination at a piston. All of these functions can be controlled wirelessely through a robot's programming with a controller, and although not essential to a robots success, any components that involve back and forth movement almost always require the use a pneumatic system.