I mentioned a while ago that I was working on this project, now it’s done – the portable field perimeter doesn’t include any mount for the “driver interface” box in each driver station like the metal perimeter does, so I designed one.
All the parts are 3D printed except for the 1/2" schedule 40 PVC pipe. Pipe of this size gets used in pretty much every VRC game, so you probably have some kicking around already. The length isn’t super critical but somewhere between 20 and 28 inches works well. We’re using pipes from the back of Change Up corner goals, which are 25.5 inches long.
Standard 8-32 hardware is used to mount the post to the field and the driver interface to the post. The mount to the perimeter is secured with a single 3" screw, which is longer than comes in any VEX kit (I think) but still a widely-available length.
Next we need a V5 Field Control Driver station which would take the smart cables from the V5 Field Control and have an RJ 11 barrel for teams to plug into without destroying the smart cable at the end of match
Love the idea, but serious question … is this even legal to put on your field? Especially since this is touching the top of the field - which is not outside the field of play. I’m always worried about robots and/or discs hitting this and impacting game play.
So the Drive Station posts worked well at last competition. This coming competition we added pass through RJ11 connectors for short driver cables (likely to break) and have the long cables to the V5 Brain protected.
For grins we mounted a camera on the pole - maybe an alliance station view of the game? Might try that this at this weekends events. Will also try mounting on the top of the field nets for dramatic disc shooting views!
Given that matches may be run with a stop watch (extreme case) - I am hard pressed to see where field setup to protect those very fragile long cables is a bad thing after having seen the chaos first hand of a V5 match cable go bad at another event.
Also, the reason I pursued this is that at the EP Summit it was discussed with engineering folks by another EP (forgot who) who was also taking a similar approach - no push back. Things we do to keep events running.
Now for useful “pro tips” when using V5 Brains as Smart Field Control as a result of breakdown at said event:
Have V5 Brain exposed where you can easily reach it, read display, and repatch cables
Have V5 Brain and raspberry Pi on a power strip you can power off and back on
Label each cable ends so you can identify problematic cable quickly (for example RED RED and RED WHITE bands of electrical tape for each cable at an alliance station (“hey Joe - 44 is having port issue - they are on RED WHITE”)
If you get Legacy Port error - try moving cable to a new port, if that fails hard reset power restart
Kinda late to the party, I’m working on opening a Etsy shop that will give 3D printed stuff to teams that do not have access to 3d printers to make their own, any chance I can have permission to sell these products to people to cover costs of printing and a small profit? I already got permission for the battery chargers, trying to build up the shop.
I’d message separately but looks like they turned off direct messages.
Sure, the STLs are published under the GPL license so you are free to print and sell them if you wish. If you could include a link to this thread in the product description on Etsy, I’d appreciate that.
And while I’m here I actually have some updates on this project:
I revised the “perimeter mount” to be a bit shorter – turns out the fit was kinda loose and I was making up for that by over-tightening the screw and bending the part.
I designed a 3D printed thumbscrew which is the right length and has 8-32 threads on the end. I wasn’t really expecting 3D printed fine machine screw threads to work, but it actually turned out to work really well! I did have to to turn the layer height way down on the threads though.
(pro-tip: PrusaSlicer, and probably other slicers as well, will let you set different layer heights for different parts of the model, so the threaded part can be really fine without making the print time for a single screw too long. The bad news is, I learned this after I had run the 60-hour print job to make all the screws I needed. The good news is, that batch turned out to be slightly too short, so I had to print a whole new batch, on which I was able to use that optimization.)
I’ve also uploaded the project files to Printables, which I’m starting to like more than Thingiverse:
I am concerned about anything that mounts to the perimeter that isn’t related to the game. As teams become more aggressive the perimeter takes a beating, and its more likely that a robot will hit a stanchion or snag a cable. I stopped mounting the screen five years ago and most EPs in my area don’t use the stanchions anymore.