Saturday, November 05, 2016

Spaghetti Feed

On November 5th, our team had a successful spaghetti feed that helped raise some funds for the upcoming build season. We sold tickets to the local community, inviting them to the nearby middle school, Golden West, for a night of fun and a stomach full of spaghetti. We included many things to showcase last season's robot Loki and our 2015 robot Heimdall, as well as VEX and VEX IQ practice fields.

There were many things planned for the night: a basket raffle, a dessert auction, and robotics merchandise; all had stands surrounding the gym providing guests to come buy and help support our team. Students volunteered to serve the spaghetti to our guests. The spaghetti, desserts, and drinks were provided by the boosters and students, so thank you to everyone who helped make this night a success! We had a presentation showcasing our growth and development as a team, discussing FIRST, and how we hope to do many great things in the following season. In the end, we managed to raise $4500!

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Summer to Outreach

  Hey everyone! Sorry for the lack of blogging, we're now starting to settle everything down. Over the summer, we've accomplished many outreach programs. Such as some of our students volunteering their time to help clean up Lake Berryessa on June 5th. Not only were they cleaning, but making a difference in our environment to become a better place.
    Some of our students were given the opportunity to help teachers at Camp Athena, a STEM program for students in grades 4-6, where they learn fundamentals and experience the excitement of technology. This amazing two week program from June 16th - 24th, encourages  the youth love engineering, math, and science with many fun projects.
     We've also had a rookie camp day on June 17th, in which we introduced the new students
to more about FRC. A lot of the rookies were from the Golden West Middle School VEX team, so they knew a little bit by themselves! We also hosted a second rookie camp in August to teach them more about the separate committees and try to find their stride.
     Another summer program that we've been doing for the past few years is Migrant Education Camp, where some of the students teach children from migrant families the excitement and opportunity to learn the fundamentals of STEM in a fun environment with robots.
     Oh, and we can't forget about what happened on August 2nd. Our team had the opportunity to demonstrate our robot at Intel for "Bring your Kids to Work Day"! The kids got the chance to drive the robots we have made over the past years and learned about the fundamentals of how Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math come together to create something amazing.

On August 20th, we also had a blast hanging out while playing paintball with FRC Team 3250, Kennedy Robotics. Our teams bonded so well, we plan on hanging out more together later on in the years.
    Currently some of our students have been mentoring VexIQ at all of our local elementary schools(Center, Foxboro, Cambridge, and Scandia). These kids get to experience a friendly competition within each elementary school and learn how to manage time, encourage gracious professionalism, while competing under pressure.
     We've also had some students volunteer to mentor at Golden West Middle School which they are learning about Vex. They help these kids transition from Lego-like pieces to aluminum metal parts.
    Stay tuned for more. Go Robovikes!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Capital City Classic

Capital City Classic was another one of our off season competitions. This time we brought along TWO robots to compete, both of them driven by our two drive teams and our two pit crews to practice, gain more experience, and prepare for the new season. There were some occasional problems that arose during the beginning of the matches for both of the robots, similar to the problems we had during Chezy Champs, with our drive train and transmissions. We went back to quickly fixing out robot, which was a success because we were able to fix our problems and go back to playing the games efficiently and skillfully. We began to score more and more boulders, and were able to make it into the quarter finals with both robots. Unfortunately we were knocked out during that round, but that did not stop us from cheering our drivers on.

Overall, our team had a lot of fun, and our excitement grew for the next season!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Chezy Champs

 Chezy Champs was our first off season competition. We tested out a new drive team and our last seasons robot, Loki. We had many struggles such as a malfunctioning drive train that failed to be effective during our matches, causing us to try and quickly fix the robot after every match.
 Despite the problems that continued to occur during the game, our drive team and pit crew stayed strong and positive. We all gained lots of experience, especially in fixing our robot in a quick amount of time.
 The new rookies also gained experience in scouting, preparing their scouting skills for the next build season. There was quite a bit of a problem in our tablets for scouting, but thankfully we managed to fix it in time. Though this was another thing to stress us out, we quickly over came the difficulty and led us to think of improvements to our scouting program.

But Chezy Champs was overall a very fun experience! We received a Judge's award for all the outreach activities we were able to do this year. It brought all our spirits up and increased the pride we have in our team.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Since the season ended, we've been focusing on completing housekeeping tasks, training rookies, doing student elections, and changing command of committees. We've cleaned out our robot shops and have selected new student leadership. Next year, the committee heads will be trained in leading the committee instead of just taking the role from the previous head.

New Student Leadership:
President: Connor Thrasher
Vice President: Gabby Hansen
Engineering Director: Edesiri Mushale
Secretary: Eirene Ednacot
Business Director: Tia Dayrit
Outreach Director: Devina Velasquez

New RPM Leadership:
President: Mark Crusoe
Vice President: Bernadette Aldrich
Secretary: Adrian Palezi
Treasurer: Duane Murphy
Financial Secretary: Jenny Rosell

We are planning out our events for the summer. We are working on Heimdall and Loki, as well as Practicebot (to put it in full form for one of our offseason competitions). We are also planning our rookie camps and other outreach events and camps we are helping out with.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

2016 Recap and History Making

Well, our goal was our motto this year: Einstein 2016. Although we did not achieve that goal this year, we still made history yet again. We became the 10th team in California to complete the Engineering Quinfecta in its team history: Engineering Excellence Award (2007), Quality Award (2006, 2013, 2015), Creativity Award (2013), Industrial Design Award (2012), and Innovation in Control Award (2016). Along with winning Innovation in Control at Idaho, we won the Judges' Award at Central Valley and the Gracious Professionalism Award at Sacramento. Edesiri, our co-outreach director, was a FIRST Dean's List at Sacramento, and is headed to the FIRST World Championships.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Back At It Again with the High Goal Shots!

Well, these past couple weeks have been extremely busy. Although we had a rough time in Madera, we walked out of the Central Valley Regional with the Judges' Award. Since we were having trouble with aiming with the camera, we focused on breaching and scoring in the low goal. We ranked 6th overall, being the captain of the 4th seeded alliance with teams 2073 and 2761. We lost in the quarterfinals in a 3rd match. After returning home, we got right back to work. We created a photon cannon to help with accuracy in possibly shooting into the high goal. We got some more drive practice in as well. At Sacramento, we had great success with high goal shooting. On our last practice match on Thursday, we scored 7 out of 7 high goal shots. Then, during Friday and Saturday, we struggled through a tough strength of schedule that pitted practically all of the top teams against us. We placed 17th, being the 1st pick of the 5th seeded alliance. We squeezed through quarterfinals but fell in the semis after Loki tipped over in autonomous while attempting to traverse the ramparts. We left Sacramento with the Gracious Professionalism Award (we got that at champs last year) and a FIRST Dean's List Finalist (Edesiri Mushale). We are doing one more drive practice before we fly out to Idaho on Wednesday.

Central Valley Photo Album
Sacramento Photo Album

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Headin' Out

Since build season ended, we have been using Practicebot for drive practice over at Sierra Vista. We have been working on our pit setup, Chairman's video, and team standard. Today we are heading out to Madera for the Central Valley Regional, our first competition of the year.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Day 46: Minutes to Midnight

Well, we worked on Loki throughout the Bag and Tag Party. While parents were watching the Robot Reveal video and Mr. Green and Gabby and Edesiri were thanking individuals for their hard work this season, a portion of the team cuddled around Loki, working on replacing the small chain with big #35 chain. We got it finished late, but Loki is done.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Day 45: Mission Control

Now, we have run across a bigger problem. This deals with our ability to scale. We are currently discussing if we should go ahead with scaling, considering the tiny, squeezed-up space of the robot as well as the amount of battery drained over one match and the weight limit. We also did drive practice yesterday. We worked on the consistency of shooting, crossing defenses, and, of course, shearing sprockets. We again modified the shooter skids, and now they pretty much work fine. They definitely have a longer life on the field.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Day 44: Behind Us

So, we were unable to finish Loki today, yet again. The programming and mechanical committees put quite a few hours to get Loki to full form as quickly as possible, but we have run into numerous problems. One big one is the chain issue. Since our first drive practice, we have sheared teeth on sprockets, causing us to lose chain on the right side, particularly. We still are discussing the situation.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Day 43: Oh, No!

Well, we made a goal a couple days ago to get Loki done by today at noon. Unfortunately, that goal was not met. Even though we crossed off all five checkpoints that we wanted to hit by the end of the day, Loki is not yet completely finished. The mechanical and electrical committees were cuddled around Loki like penguins all day today in the electrical room. The programming committee stayed with Practicebot in the physics room, working on programming autonomous and teleop, as well as the sensors.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Day 42: Six Weeks

We did drive practice today. All of the driver applicants drove with different co-driver applicants to get a feel of the robot and communication strategy as well. After practicing for an hour or two, we started doing test runs. Each driver did one test run with a co-driver. There were 4 drivers applicants and 3 co-driver applicants, so each driver got 1 run with each co-driver. The object was to obtain a boulder, traverse a defense, and score a ball in the high goal as fast as possible. All of the drivers got through their runs, and now the decision-makers for drive team are pondering who will be Drive Team A and Drive Team B.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Day 41: Lookin' Shiny

Practicebot is complete and fully prepped for tomorrow's drive practice. Drive Team's A and B will be decided tomorrow. Also, Loki is making great progress. We still have Sunday as our deadline for getting it completed. The greatest news of the day is that we received Loki's shooter and intake from powdercoating. We first attached blue tape to necessary place for when we drill so that we don't mess the coat up. Loki is coming together pretty nicely.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Day 40: Full Form

Today was a short day, so we didn't do a whole lot. We modified the design of the skid, making it thicker and improving the design to lengthen its life. We started mass 3D-printing them today. We plan to bolt them on when in use. Also, we finished repairing Practicebot. We switched out the chain and drive system on the side where the chain repeated kept coming off during practice. We also replaced the sheared sprocket.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Day 39: Loki Tuesday

Today, we focused much of our attention on Loki. We worked on adding pneumatic components: Solenoid, tanks, compressor, etc. We added the electrical board farthest back on Loki's frame, hugging the battery slightly. We also got to work on Practicebot, and repairing its "injuries" sustained from yesterday's breach-filled practice.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Day 38: Train Wreck!

Today, we got drive going. While a few people stayed behind at the shop to work on Loki and weld, a group of us went over to Sierra Vista Elementary School to practice driving with Practicebot. This robot was flying today. We were in high gear much of the time, and as a result of going so fast over the defenses, Practicebot hit some nice airs. Even the intake arms were raising themselves up. And the robot stayed intact...mostly. On the not so bright side, we damaged almost all of our wooden defenses...LITERALLY. A couple had cracks on the seams and in other places. A sprocket tooth got sheared when driving over one of the defenses, and the 3D printed skids on the bottom of the shooter wore out easily. But we got some good drive time with the Practicebot, and shooting went pretty well.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Day 37: Loki is Our Valentine

We attempted driving with Practicebot. Not fully functional, but we are getting somewhere. Meanwhile, Loki is coming along nicely. Valentine's Day is spent with our beautiful, half-finished robot and its twin, plain brother Practicebot.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Day 36: Sorry, Practicebot

Now that Loki's frame is finished, we are spending more time on Loki. The programmers are in two groups. One group is working on our autonomous and teleo-operated programs for the controls and robot. The other group is working on getting Practicebot fully functional. Practicebot was at one point driving and shooting, but now the group has run into errors that prohibit the robot from fully functioning. Meanwhile, a good portion of our team is working on attaching components to Loki: transmissions, the mini electrical boards, and more.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Day 35: BatteryKart

Yesterday, we finished the battery cart. It looks pretty sick. (Click the photos to enlarge.) There are 2 columns of 6 racks to hold the batteries in the front, while the 4 chargers are mounted vertically on the back. The batteries rest on pieces of pool noodles.  Though the cart weighs a ton when fully loaded, it is a big upgrade from our previous wooden battery cart that we pulled with a string.
Meanwhile, Loki's chassis is going nicely. We are continuing to carefully make measurements, drill holes, and all that jazz on its frame. We have blue tape all over the chassis for when we drill holes and make these measurements. We had driver practice today. All the field components are finished.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Day 34: Working on 3 Different Frames

Not a whole lot was done today. We started working on Loki's chassis, now powdercoated. We added transmissions and started drilling necessary holes. We CNCed out parts requested by a new local FRC team, 5430 Pirate Robolution. We adjusted the angle of the shooter on Practicebot as needed for how and where we shoot the boulders into the high goal. We also made great progress on the battery cart.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Day 33: Goal!!!!

Well, today, after almost a full week of debugging, hair-pulling, breaking, and fixing, Practicebot is able to drive AND shoot. Programming was a success, and now, we can transition to making parts for Loki and practicing driving. Drive practice starts Friday. The potential drivers, co-drivers, human players, and coaches have not taken the drive portion of the drive test, only the written portion. The situational portion is still to follow.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Day 32: Progressive Much?

Today, we continued fixing up Practicebot. We focused on testing the intake as well as the shooter. We also discussed possibly taking off the polycord which is on the intake. Meanwhile, Fish made good progress on the first tier of Loki's chassis.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Day 31: Syntax

Well, we have continued to debug Practicebot. We realized today that as we made changes to the material of the frame of the robot, we forgot to account for one of the tiers of Practicebot. Now Practicebot's frame is 0.25 inches short of what we want it to be, and considering how little volume we have, this is crucial. We discussed this problem and are going to implement slight changes that may alter the overall bumper design but should make up for the 0.25 inches lost.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Day 30: Break, Fix, Break, Fix

It has been grim working on Practicebot. When progress is made, something cancels it out. Break, fix, break, fix. We have been carefully testing components of the robot. Recently, we have been having problems with the programming of the intake talons as well as the compressor and pressure switch. Meanwhile, the welding of Loki's 2nd and 3rd tiers have been completed.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Day 29: The Son of Odin

We hovered around Practicebot all day today. We finished the intake and the arms for the intake. We then realized that, once the scaling mechanism is attached to Practicebot, the robot will be overweight. We started discussing many possible ideas to lessen the robot's weight. We have not decided what mechanical aspects of the robot we will modify, but the electrical committee started tightening electrical wires to lengths as small as possible. We dismantled Protobot. RIP Proto! All of its parts will be used for Practicebot as well as our final, competition robot, Loki. Speaking of Loki, we started creating its chassis.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Day 28: All But Transmissions

Today was one of our crunch days. We planned to have Practicebot entirely done by TODAY. Sadly, transmissions hindered us from completing our final goal. We got the intake arms done and attached. The students going for Drive Team took the written tests today, and some practiced for the drive tests, which take 50% of the overall test score. The electrical committee started finalizing changes to the electrical board. The mechanical committee spent all day by Practicebot.

Oh, and by the way, we voted on our robot's name. We are naming our 2016 FIRST Stronghold robot Loki, the son of Odin. A bit of history: In 2012, Rebound Rumble, we named our robot Odin. The design of Loki was based of and really just modifications of Odin's design. This corresponds well with the fact that Loki, in Norse mythology, is Odin's son.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Day 27: Goals

We have huge milestones today. We agreed at our "briefing" that we are a bit behind. Last year this time, we had Practicebot finished and were working on Heimdall. Right now, Practicebot is not finished, and Protobot's intake is still in the works. We accomplished driving with Practicebot today. The intake arms fit snugly on Practicebot, and it is loooking even better than Protobot.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Day 26: Transmissions 2: The Chairman

We continued working on transmissions today. We spent much time on the Chairman's and Woodie Flowers essay, as they are both due today. Our process was very heavy this year. We sent our Chairman's essay to numerous English teachers as well as giving them to many team students to read individually and comment. We made many edits after our original draft, and our final product is much more improved.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Day 25: Transmissions

Today, we focused on the transmissions of Protobot. We noticed some flaws in the transmissions that needed to be adjusted, and we got those done. We replaced the old transmissions with new ones. We also fixed the intake arm bolts, because they were catching when the intake ran. The intake for Practicebot is now welded; all we need for that is the FTC tread. The Chairman's essay is extremely close to being finished.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Day 24: Intake Track

Today, we worked heavily on the intake. While some of us tested Protobot's intake arms, Fish welded the intake arms for Practicebot. Wiring continued to take place for Practicebot, and the programming committee continued to work on programming auto. Slowly and steadily, Protobot and Practicebot are becoming a lot like each other.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Day 23: Proto and Practice Looking Similar

Practicebot is starting to look a bit more like Protobot. The shooter for Practicebot has yet to be made, and the intake for Protobot has not been fully modified, but the robots are coming together. The shooter on Protobot is finished, testing and mechanical/electrical modifications. The intake is still being worked on. We are ordering FTC tread for Practicebot's intake.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Day 22: Supersonic Shooter

Today, we made significant progress. We tested the shooter an innumerable amount of times, and the ball projects at quite a high speed. We created all of the electrical "mini boards," and adjusted Practicebot's frame to fit it onto the boards' mounts. We continued working on programming the drive encoders that we recently created for the Talons. We made some new code that allows us to see on the driver station who is driving and who is co driving so that if problems arise, we can edit real-time without having to redeploy code.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Day 21: Arming the Robot

Today, we continued work on Practicebot's electrical board. We layed it out and started drilling holes for the pneumatic components. We finished the CNCing of the intake arms and their construction, for Practicebot. We finalized the design of the shooter, and plan to test it tomorrow.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Day 20: When Green is Gone

Today we made much progress. Practicebot's chassis and battery mount are finished. (Oh: by the way, the battery cart is finished.) The electrical committee got hard at work with the new soldering iron. The mechanical committee worked on the modifications of the shooter, attaching it to Protobot. The design committee continued finalizing Practicebot's design, and the programming committee continued programming autonomous. Our coach, Mr. Green, left early with a couple of us to help set up a VEX competition at a nearby middle school. The video is the result of his absence.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Day 19: Checkpoint

Today was a Wednesday, so we only stayed after school for an hour. We continued to lay out the electrical board, working on the encoders. We continued welded Practricebot's frame up, along with the nearly-finalized battery mount. We also continued finalizing the shooter design, as we have been modifying it recently. Practicebot is well into formation.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Day 18: All Committees Are Go

All of our goals today are for the new Practicebot, which will succeed our current Protobot. Practicebot's design on Autodesk Inventor is completely finished, so all committees are go. We continued making pieces for the intake, CNCing out the second arm. The mechanical committee successfully tested the modified shooter. The electrical committee cut out the Lexan panels for the electrical "mini boards" and connected drive encoders to the Talons. Much of the frame of Practicebot was welded. The programming committee finished the basic code for the drive motors and intake/shooter motors, and started programming autonomous.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Day 17: Putting Proto to Practice

We continued to put the shooter together and we had groups of students trying to fit the shooter on Protobot.  In addition, we started to CNC out our intake arms that we are going to use on Practicebot.  We still need to finish it but we have already cut out one of the arms and groups of students are still putting it together.  The chassis was almost finished welded and would be most likely finished by tomorrow.  The design is incorporating the electrical components of the robot and each committee is preparing for the chassis to be finished welding before they work on it.  Programming is still adding more buttons to fit the co-driver's preferences, but a button for the portcullis is done.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Day 16: Practicebot in the Making

We continued our consistent efforts with building the robot and are working on different components.  Last Thursday we decided that we wanted to start working on Practicebot. We just finished welding the frame for it. We have students trying to put the shooter together so that we will be able to test the new shooter with Protobot's chassis.  In addition to working on the shooter for Practicebot, we have been currently trying to test out the intake and make minor changes to try and make the intake as efficient as possible.  The programming committee struggled a little throughout the day but most of the debugging was done by the time lunch started.  By the end of the day we had started to weld the chassis for the robot and plan out the layout for our electrical board.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Day 15: Intake Modifications

Today, we spent much of our time on the intake. We ran an innumerable amount of tests on the intake connected to the robot. We edited the way that the intake rollers were facing, the polycord, etc. We continued working on the programming code, as we were having a couple of problems with that when we had our electrical imbroglio earlier in the week. We also worked on creating the defenses, with the help of parents and mentors. A couple mentors worked on a compressor backpack for quick compressing during robot drive practice. We got access to The Grid, a website builder that creates a website using artificial intelligence. It was not as easy as it seemed to the student and mentor working on that.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Day 14: Drive Finished. Next, Intake

Protobot can finally drive. Now we are focusing on intake and shooter. The electrical committee continued improving the electrical board's organization (specifically the wires, that are all over the place). The design committee worked on making a new electrical board layout on Autodesk Inventor for the upcoming Practicebot. The mechanical committee worked on starting the chassis for Practicebot as well as working on the intake and shooter for Protobot.