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Lessons from our Rookie Year

Lessons from our Rookie Year

Going in to our rookie year, we had no previous experience with FRC. Over the course of build season, the regionals, and going to the World Championships, we learned many lessons that will help our team next year. We hope that these lessons can also help new rookie teams who are just starting our with FIRST.

End of 2016 Build Season

End of 2016 Build Season

We have been diligently working on making our robot, and we were quite busy designing and manufacturing not one but two(!) robots. This update will summarize the progress we have made thus far in our inaugural season.

We would like to thank the parents and mentors for bringing food for our team. We will have an adjusted sign-up page after we finalize our schedule during the six weeks of the competition season, so please bring food if you are able.  We would likely be ending around dinner time every night if not for the delicious food the parents have generously provided.

We also appreciate all of the time and effort that the parents, students, and mentors have put into our robot, the mock-ups of the game pieces and field defenses used to test our designs, and our website.

The work space has evolved since the cluttered garage some of you saw at our kickoff gathering.  We started with the introduction of tables, tools, computers, whiteboards, and useful machines.  Since the beginning, we have continued to work together to evolve our space in an elegant, functional, and efficient space.  We are excited to show it off to you at our celebration dinner either this weekend or next week.  We are still waiting on details for the dining room from the kitchen and the administration, but once we have a firm date another email will follow with the details of our next team-wide gathering.

We have been able to accomplish all of the tasks we originally set out to do in the six week time limit, and began work on additional improvements to our design.  Our robot has a drivetrain with 6 powered pneumatic wheels, 6 four-inch HiGrip roller wheels (rear two powered), an open and wedged front frame, a shooter mechanism that raises and lowers to fire upon both the high and low goals, a slide rail to enable us to go under the portcullis defense, an electronics cage, and an articulating arm for ball intake and defeat of certain defenses.

Throughout the build season, our team members have been learning and completing CAD models of the robot and additional parts. With the help of our experienced mentors and teachers, we have learned a lot about project and time management, team organization, iterative design and prototyping, and how to correctly use an assortment of tools.

We bagged our competition robot at midnight Tuesday of last week, but we will continue working on improvements that we can bring to the competitions in late March and early April. We built a second identical robot for us to practice with that we will use in preparation for our first regional in Sacramento on March 23.

Thank you again for all your help. For being only a rookie team, we think we accomplished a lot. We’ll update you in a few weeks from our first competition, send a link to our soon-to-be-purchased website name/URL, and also send an email ASAP with details of our “build season celebration dinner.”

Thank you for everything, Team 5924 (SI Robotics)

FIRST Meeting

FIRST Meeting

The kickoff meeting for the FIRST Robotics Competition was held on Saturday, January 9, 2016.  The game rules were released on that day, and the team was able to begin their strategy session and discuss build options. The turnout was amazing: 27 students, 9 mentors, and assorted parents.  We’re off….

The first week of the build season has been exciting, productive, and filled with great moments and memories.  We would like to thank everyone involved in this undertaking, and share some valuable information with you as we head into week 2.
First off, a huge thank you to the parents who provided the team food during the week. The amount of thinking, brainstorming, and creativity exhibited by the students and the mentors definitely wouldn’t be possible (especially for the calorie-crushing teenagers) without your support parents.
Secondly, the mentors all deserve great appreciation for the progress they have facilitated with our students and our robot.