Regionals



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After defeating the other teams in our class, some revisions were made for the regional competition. Initially, the position of the fishing pole before release (which determines how far the lure will go) was indicated by a marker moving along a protractor. This was not precise enough, and was difficult to read. This was replaced with a digital display. The display was simply a panel meter connected to a potentiometer, which was linked to the main shaft by a belt. The panel meter measured the voltage and displayed it. This gave us a reference number, which indicated precisely how far the lure would travel. Another major change was switching from a large half-pulley to a smaller full pulley. The weight required to swing the pole was less than anticipated; therefore the unbalanced pulley weight became a significant factor. The smaller pulley simply used a larger weight, and produced a constant acceleration with improved results. Finally, it was decided that the pole impacting a spring to push the cast button was not adequate. We determined that the button should be pressed before arresting the motion of the pole. I attempted to use a solenoid to press the button, however the results were erratic and not very precise. To solve the problem, Steve designed a quick return mechanism to press the cast button mid-swing. The quick return mechanism was attached to a gear, which meshed with a stationary gear mounted on the body of the machine. As the pole rotated on its shaft, the quick return gear moved about the fixed gear, causing it to rotate. This quick return mechanism pushed the button when rotated to a certain position. By varying where the gears meshed, the angle of release could be changed.