Tips and tricks for FIRST LEGO League (FLL) 2018 Into Orbit

As each year we are not releasing any "solutions" until the season ends. As mentors, there are some directions we could give. As a team, you could learn from our tutorials and building instructions and develop your own solutions to the missions. When you do, send us some pictures and videos :)

A very good description of the missions could be found at the first lego league site

Approach

What we could do as mentors, is to help with directions and questions based on experience and tutorials from previous years. We plan to update the page a few more times during the season, so check for updates from time to time.

Prerequisites

Move through the FIRST LEGO League Robot Game Preparation. The complete guide before proceeding to the resources below. This will give you a much deeper and better understanding of the references that we are making

Picture for FIRST LEGO League

With a subscription for all the team members, students could move together through the courses, building instructions and programs while the mentor tracks the programs and navigates them.

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Missions Inspiration and Directions

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Go and place the payload carts. You need to precisely place them on the rail. To achieve that use the white panel in the back of the rail to align your attachment. There is no need to use a motor to drop the carts in place. You can just have a sliding mechanism.

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This mission involves just one simple push or pull. You can do both with one robot movement. The only issue is that the Solar Panel Array is at distance so you will need a longer passive attachment to reach it. It's one loop, so probably the simplest attachment will do the job. However, the loop should be lifted during collection, so it's best to go with the rubber band attachments

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Same as mission 1. The main difference is that the core sample has no loop so the attachment must be a little different. The second part of the mission is to take the ejected brick and bring it to the planet area. The tricky part is to take the brick and move it without losing it. This can be achieved either with special attachment or with slow and precise movement of the robot.

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Here you just need an agent with large wheels. Note that it is not necessary the robot to be that agent. We've shown a number of constructions with larger wheels and a frame, but the frame could be removed.

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This mission can be solved with a simple passive attachment. However, if you want to collect the core samples you will probably want to use some kind of container. In that case it will be easier for you if you use a simple active attachment. Once you have collected the samples, you can bring them to base and later deploy on the desired places.

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Now this is interesting. It will require quite a lot. The mission is divided in two parts. On one hand, you have to take out modules from the space station and on the other, you have to attach new modules. However, both of them require precise positioning. This can be achieved by using self-aligning attachments.

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We are in an argument here among ourselves. Should you lift the Gerhard astronaut directly up and then release him into the airlock chamber or.... should you take him with the robot, return to base and use another attachment to release him into the airlock. We have a couple of videos for taking the astronaut with the loop collect mechanism. Release is with a carabiner.

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Again two main approaches. You could have a simple active attachment that repeatedly pushes the handle(s). Another way would be to have a passive attachment and move the robot back and forth and push on the handles. This will reduce the number of attachments that you have to build with 1, but the solution will probably be slower because you have to move the whole robot. Or as a third option, kind of advanced is to have an attachment with rubber bands to continuously push them.

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The bar should be lifted about 8 LEGO units. When lifting is involved you can use Rack(s), Gears, Scissor Mechanism and the different variations of these mechanisms.

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At first glance the mission is quite simple you just have to push the bar. The challenge is to push it at the right speed and to the right distance. A flywheel with a rubber band is an interesting way to do such missions and you could use the benefit if the attachment does not require a motor, but a rubber band.

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Hit it. And hit it hard. You can use some more complex attachments with rubber bands and motor, but the simplest way would be have a long level with a weight at the top. The weight could be a tire. This will use the inertia of the robot and will not even require a motor.

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Move with an object. When moving with an object you could lift the object in the air, move and then release it. We've done this in a previous Natures Fury competition for an ambulance and a truck. Here it is not necessary to lift the object. You could just push/pull the satellites and you could do this with the robot itself and without any attachments

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The easiest way, probably, would be to use the robot and push on the lever. How important are the 2 to 4 points that you could make if you manage to push it to the orange section. If they are important for you use the light and gyro sensors to align to the borders and the lines and precisely position the robot.

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You've got to 'throw' a ball. This could happen with a kick with a motor or with a rubber band. It really depends on the distance and the speed.

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Catch it. Then it would be easier to return it to base. On some of the next runs out of base you could place it in the target area along with other things you've collected.

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Know all the competition rules in order not to get caught off guard.

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