27 February 2005

Me and my daughter - one of the three pit bosses at Nationals, Atlanta, GA, 2004 Posted by Hello

23 February 2005

It's done...

Ok, it's the day after shipping deadline.

Too bad I can't say that things went swimmingly, 'coz they didn't. The biggest disappointment came from the electrical/controls group who steadfastly claimed that "it'll only take about an hour" to get the drive and compressor going.

Well, that didn't happen.
On Monday, they toiled away until 11PM when we put the machine into its shipping crate and walked out of the building. Never drove it, tried to grab up a tetra off the floor or attempted to work off the autoload station.

After our unveiling on Thursday of last week where several of the teams that our sponsor helps showed off their machines, I was pretty confident that we had a winning machine. Drive was working, but the compressor wasn't, and so it seemed pretty straightforward as to what was causing it.

We looked pretty good, and I must say that for that short instant that I watched from a distance, it seemed that we were pretty much done.

Wrong. Sloppy assembly and "good enough" attitudes prevented the lift from extending. The racks were installed such that as the lift extended, the inner sections of the lift wedged together. No amount of pulling was going to get it to rise any higher.

At first glance on Friday of last week, it appeared as though the vandoor motor wasn't powerful enough to lift the stages. On further inspection, we discovered the problem with the slides and made repairs. A little care in assembly would have certainly prevented this near catastrophy.

So, by the end of the weekend, two 12-hour days, we had the lift and arm mechanisms functional.

11 February 2005

Last week on the horizon

Another scheduled day off from work. Can't say that I am disappointed about that.

As with the last scheduled day off two weeks ago, we're going to open the area at 4PM and work until 10. That was agreed to on Wednesday.

We didn't work yesterday on account of the Nor'Easter that caused havoc on the roads during the latter portions of the day. The morning looked promising, only rain, but as the day wore on, things got more foul. While cutting into the build, the night off was certainly welcomed.

Fortunately, many parts have been returned from the shop and we're set for assembly. That process is slow, there are many new team members who have not had any experience, but that is slowly being rectified.

I am seeing lots of enthusiasm and teamwork. I can't ask for more than that. Well, I could, like a winning machine, but that's gravy as far as I'm concerned. We're already a winning team.

08 February 2005


Getting there, that's about all one can say.

Things are coming out of the shop and assembly is moving forward.

Drivers are working together to see who matches up with who and are practicing with the 2nd 'bot.

I am getting very tired, all the details that were taken care of by others in years past are now in our collective laps, and there are LOTS of details.

The area is now an official laboratory and the rules by which we operate have been established, training delivered and everyone seems comfortable with everything.

Much thanks to everyone at the company for helping us out, from training to setup to acquisition of materials. We most certainly appreciate everything you are all doing for us.

Tomorrow, more snow is predicted, and could potentially interfere with the build. Friday is an off-day for some of the mentors, and so we're planning on being at the build site at 4PM when the students can arrive. This plan worked two weeks ago and should help out again.

Sleep. Need more...