Same-Day Spindle Trick Saves the Day

Wednesday, December 04, 2019
RHIT RoboMaster team members

Determination and problem-solving proved as important as engineering skills for the team at the RoboMaster competition this August in Shenzhen, China

Rose-Hulman’s RoboMaster rookies rallied. They overcame logistical challenges and tough opponents, faring well against international competition in China.

It’s a battle among robots, but not all the action is in the arena. The Rose-Hulman RoboMaster team found themselves in Shenzhen, China in August, suddenly needing stronger spindles for their robots. One team member found someone to manufacture them that same day using CNC machinery. Half the team replaced the spindles that night. The pilots then took over, tweaking controls before the next day’s competition.

Such determination and problem-solving proved as important as engineering skills for the team, which earned respect as one of the strongest rookie teams. Team captain Mingyang Cai was named Outstanding Project Manager, leading a squad that nearly knocked off the regional champions.

Even getting into RoboMasters is an achievement. Only 17 of about 40 teams who applied were invited to join the competitors from the U.S., Canada, Japan and Hong Kong. RoboMaster is sponsored by drone maker DJI.

Lessons learned, says Cai, include:
  • The importance of leaving time for training and fine-tuning before competition
  • Durability, reliability and maintainability are paramount.
  • Little things, like cable management, can have a big impact.
Professor Eric Constans says he’s proud of what the team accomplished.