Joey Explains Magnetic Attachments PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Cougars   
Tuesday, 05 October 2010 18:37

Question

Quick question about the magnets.  I'm a 2nd year coach but this is the first I've heard of them.  I see how and what to order, but exactly how did your team use them?  Are they used to attach attachments to the robot instead of "clicking" Legos together?  Did you ever have problems with attachments falling off their magnets, or are they pretty strong?

Answer

Magnets:  Don't over-rate their usefulness.  They are 1 means to an end.  There are multiple ways to do what we are doing with magnets.  The logic-stream goes like this.

1 - Highly specialized tools are more effective at performing specific tasks with simple programming.
2 - Time is the most limiting resource in an FLL round.
3 - If we can make attachment switching both very fast and reliable then we can utilize highly specialized tools without running out of time.
4 - We used magnets.  We have seen other teams use a girder in hole kind of method, one team had a standard slot under the robot and pushed tools out and left them on the field, and one other team used a remove tools only kind of process.  The goal is the same.  To make the in base transitions quick, reliable, and easy for the kids to do.

This year we had 3 different tools that attached in the same way to the front of the robot, with magnets, and 1 more tool that snapped over the arm and attached with magnets.  This year our robot had a flat front made out of girders.  That flat front had 2 one pip spots in it where the girders left a hole.  The tools had flat backs (to mesh with the robots flat front) except where the robot had a hole, the tools had a girder sticking out 1 pip (we used an "L" girder to accomplish it), that would fit in the hole in the front of the robot.  So the tool, if held against the front of the robot, was generally stable and would not slide around if held against the front of the robot.  The magnets were then used to "hold" the tool against the front of the robot.  The magnets weren't needed to keep the tool from getting too close to the robot.  The magnets weren't needed to keep the tool from sliding around on the front of the robot.  The magnets were only needed to keep the tool from pulling away from the front of the robot.
 
And yes, the magnets are pretty strong. 

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 October 2010 21:04
 
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