On March 21st our team boarded the bus for the 7 hour drive to Cedar Falls, Iowa to participate in the FIRST Iowa Regional. Thursday brought practice matches, where we were able to test and modify our robot and the 2 cube scale auto we had been working on. On Friday, qualification matches began and the Chairman’s team presented to their judges. Saturday brought more qualification matches, as well as playoff matches. After qualification matches finished, we were ranked #3 with a 10 win and 4 loss record! For the second time in our existence, we were alliance captains. We chose teams 2526 and 5690 as our alliance partners. We made it to the semifinals were we faced the #2 team. We won our first match, but in the second match our robot tipped on the scale during auto and we were red carded. Prior to the third match, team 2526 was not able to continue, so team 4646 subbed in for them. Unfortunately, we lost our match and did not advance any further. During the awards ceremony, we received the Quality Award again! Throughout the whole competition, our team continued to work as a team and we left everything out on that field. We look forward to recapping and setting up our returning members with the skills necessary to be successful next year.
– Emily Martin
At 6:30 am on March 1st our team, along with team 7048, boarded the bus to head to Grand Forks, ND for the inaugural Great Northern Regional. Thursday was a day for practice, and a day to figure out how to fix all the kinks in our robot. On Friday, 3 team members gave their Chairman’s presentation. Also on Friday, qualification matches started. By the end of qualification matches on Friday, the team was ranked 19 with 7 wins, 7 losses, and 1 tie. Our team was selected by team 2491 to be on alliance #5. Coincidentally, our other alliance partner was our sister team, team 7048! We won both games of the quarter finals and were on our way to the semi finals. In the semi finals we faced the #1 seeded alliance. Unfortunately we lost two matches and were out. At the end of the regional, however, our team was awarded the Quality Award! This was awarded to us for the reliability, high performance, elegance, efficiency, and maintainability of our robot design. Overall our robot, and team as a whole, performed well, despite having numerous issues with our intake. We are already bursting with ideas on how to make our robot more efficient. We look forward to attending the Iowa Regional in a couple of weeks!
The 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition game is Powerup. The objective of the game is to place power cubes on the scale and switches to gain control of them, as well as use power cubes to gain powerups.
There are two alliances during the game, each consisting of three robots. Alliances can earn points in numerous ways. An alliance will score points for every second they control the scale or their own switch. They can provide their alliance with power cubes to activate one of three different powerups (one is played during the end game and the other two can be played during any point in the game).
The game starts with a 20 second autonomous period where robots are pre-programmed to cross the baseline or place power cubes on the switch or scale. Following autonomous is a teleop period where human drivers drive their robots to earn as many points as possible. The game finishes with a 30 second end game period. During this period, robots drive on the platform or attach to the rung on the scale to gain extra points. This is also when the third power up can be used. The team with the most points at the end of the match wins!
– Emily Martin
On September 29th, we had the privilege to present to a local elementary school: Freedom Elementary. Our goal for this presentation was to show over two hundred fourth and fifth graders our robot from last season, as well as make them aware of the FIRST Lego League teams that their school has to offer. Through an interactive presentation, we were able to achieve our goal! The students loved watching our robot from last season pick up and shoot balls. We were also able to spark many interests, both in the students and in their teachers, about FIRST. The students had numerous questions about both our team and their own school’s FLL teams. This presentation helped fill the three FLL teams at Freedom Elementary! We will be returning to Freedom twice a week to help with those FLL teams, but more on that to come in the future.
This season our team welcomed several new members to replace our seniors that graduated last season. These new members, along with returning members, were able to learn many new skills. These skills ranged anywhere from learning how to use a power drill, to learning about the Chairman’s Award, to even learning about how to design an efficient robot. The skills that the students learned over the season will benefit them in their future endeavors, be it with FIRST, school, work, etc.
On March 1st, we headed over to Duluth, MN to partake in the largely competitive Lake Superior Regional. Despite the tough competition, our team finished in 47th place, we learned a lot about how our robot could improve for the next regional competition.
On March 21st, we drove the long bus ride to Cedar Falls, Iowa to participate in the second annual Iowa Regional. Our robot performed much better than it did in Duluth- we ranked 33rd, but were selected to be a part of alliance number four. Unfortunately, our alliance did not qualify past quarter finals, but we are grateful to have been chosen as part of the alliance.
The Chairman’s Award team was also able to take away many things from their presentations at both regionals. The Chairman’s award is the most prestigious award that can be won through FIRST. The purpose of this award is to explain how your team demonstrates the ideals of FIRST. Our team did not win Chairman’s, however we have numerous ideas to help the community and various FIRST teams in our area for the upcoming season.
After both of these experiences, we were able to take away new concepts that would help us in the future. For example, one concept we learned helped us face the challenges with our swerve drive train. This challenge inspired two of our members to design a custom tank drive for practice, as well as possibly for next season’s game. All departments of our team are excited for what next season has to bring.
The 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition is Steamworks. The objective of the game is to score fuel in the boiler and get gears to the airship so that your alliance can take flight.
There are two alliances during the game, each consisting of three robots. Alliances can earn points in numerous ways. Robots collect fuel from hoppers to score into the boilers by either shooting them into the high goal or the low goal. Gears can be put on the robot and brought over to the airship to get the rotors to turn. The more kilopascals of fuel scored into the boiler, the more points the alliance will earn. The more rotors the alliance has turning, the more points they will get. In the last 30 seconds each robot can climb a rope for extra points.
The game begins with a 15 second autonomous period. During this robots can cross the baseline, score fuel in the boiler, or deliver gears to the airship.
During the post-season, our team likes to take our robot and present it to different companies and to younger students. We take our robot to local elementary schools to talk about the FIRST program and to get the students excited about their future in STEM and FIRST. When we go to the school, we talk about FRC and our team’s robot this year. We also talk about FIRST Lego League, something that they can do in the near future. Since we 3D print a lot of our parts, we bring our 3D printer along. The students seem to really enjoy our robot and seem interested in FIRST when we leave.
It is a great opportunity to be able to teach younger students about opportunities that they have in the future. The kids seem very excited about our robot and to see something that students not too much older than them created and actually got to work! Our goal is to inspire as many students as possible to join FRC or anything STEM related and to show them cool things that they can do in high school. We love to involve the students and to show them that we can shoot the ball into a basketball hoop!
On Wednesday, March 3rd we left for the Lake Superior Regional in Duluth, Minnesota at noon, and arrived at about 5:30pm. I am a senior and part of the build team for 4818, The Herd. At Duluth I occasionally stand scouted, which is where we use an app that some of our students and mentors developed to rate teams as they play their matches. For a good part of Friday, I was the fill in safety captain that every team has in their pit area. I also helped fix any issues on the robot that we found during matches. Talking to all the teams was an amazing experience. I talked to other teams as they came to check out our pit and robot. I was able to speak to others with the same interests as me and exchange information about how best to do different parts of the game. The amount of collective knowledge was quite outstanding. I learned so much from talking to other teams, and as a whole the experience was amazing. This is my first and only year doing FIRST Robotics and I regret not joining earlier.
-Matt Martin ’16
Building the robot is a long process. After kickoff, the team went straight into brainstorming mode to figure out what exactly we want the robot to be able to accomplish. After we determined the main tasks, the experienced members of the team went to Fargo Automation to design the robot using 3D software.
While those members were busy at Fargo Automation, the rest of the builders worked on learning how to do everything they would need to know to be able to build the robot. They then proceeded to build the outer works for the practice field while the parts were being made for the robot.
The programming team worked on learning how to code and also built a prototype of the robot’s shooting mechanism. They tested out the code that they wrote for shooting and vision sensing.
Once the parts began to come in, both builders and programmers worked together to build the robot and test the code that the programmers wrote.
Yes, the robot is the main focus of FRC. But just as important as it is the build the robot, it is also important to build a practice field for your robot to be tested on. It is hard to know whether or not your robot properly works without being able to test it.
According to our build team, the building of the practice field went pretty smoothly. The team mentioned that the measuring of the materials needs to be exact. Cutting the wood to the exact dimensions was difficult for them, especially since it is the first year on the team for many of them. The team spent the first week or so building the field, waiting for the robot to be designed and parts to come in. Their goal was to get as much of the field done so that once the parts for the robot came, they would be able to build.
Our builders built six of the nine outerworks. They did not build the sally port, portcullis, or drawbridge.