Monthly Archives: February 2014

Meet Atlas!

Greetings friends and followers of The Fighting Calculators!

After six weeks of hard work, our team is proud to unveil their latest creation. Without further ado,  let us present our Atlas, our robot for Aerial Assist, to all of you.

Atlas Unveil Video

As you can see, Atlas is one of our greatest builds yet. It features a roller arm intake with polycarbonate shock absorbers and a spring powered catapult-like shooter.  Initial testing has shown that with these it can pick-up, shoot, catch, and pass the balls reliably. Atlas is also equipped with a six CIM, six wheel drive train, making it one of our fastest and most powerful robots.

We’ll be competing at the Northern Lights and North Star regionals this year, and we look forward to seeing everyone there. Stay tuned for more details as the events come up!

Build Update – Two Days Left!

The build season is ALMOST OVER. It’s hard to believe just how fast it has gone.

As stated in the last blog post, we had a very functional robot at our week zero competition at Centennial High School, but (of course) that was only our practice bot. Today we’ve been focused mainly on finalizing our actual robot, which at the end of the day had a functional intake, drive frame, and shooter. The robot looks really awesome; it has definitely topped our 2012 robot Blue Thunder for the Prettiest Bot award – the main question now is… will it work?

As the last day of the build season approaches, we’re hopefully going to start driving with our actual robot, fine-tuning our shooter, doing drive practice, and working on autonomous. We have very high hopes for this year’s robot!

Be prepared for the unveil video!

Build Update – Day 3-Days-To-Ship

As promised, here’s a more detailed update on what all has been happening over the last couple days!

We’ve been busy working on both our practice robot and our final bot–last night, we finally finished up just about everything on the practice robot, which we then took to a practice regional today. Our final bot is about halfway done, because we wanted to wait and see how the practice robot performed today.IMG_9025 That leads me right into today: it went GREAT! We weren’t sure what to expect, but this is one of the first years that we had a working robot at a week zero scrimmage (shoutout to the Centurions and KnightKrawler for hosting)! We were able to pick up and shoot, with just a couple minor hitches throughout the day. Now we know what our robot’s flaws are and have the next three days to make the slight alterations and finish up the final bot. It was lots of fun to see everyone else’s robot, and now we’re even more excited for our regionals to come!IMG_8938

In other news, the new team shirts came yesterday, and we got to use parts of our new pit today at the scrimmage.IMG_8904

We have three days left, and we’ve already gone through over forty. It seems crazy how every season goes by so quickly. It’s not quite over yet, but we’d still like to thank everyone who has supported us so far, from parents to sponsors to community members. You guys are the best!

Look for some fun videos after Tuesday, when build is over and we have a little more time. We’ll try to put up that video update we’ve been talking about for a while, and there’ll be a robot release, too!

Build Update – Day 4-Days-to-Ship!

Wow! Sorry for the pause in blog posts–the shop has been crazy, with all hands on-deck. We just left the shop for the night, and are proud to say that we have a working robot! It can drive, shoot, and pick-up.

Of course, there are a couple flaws…and by a couple we mean a lot…but this is progress! Major progress! We’ll be at a week zero event tomorrow at Centennial High School, and then we can really test out the bot and see what we need to fix up.

Look for a more exciting update tomorrow after the event!

Build Update – Lots of Days

Yeah, we’ve lost track.

Our last few days have been so busy at the shop that we haven’t even had time to blog! Our biggest accomplishment over the weekend is that WE NOW HAVE A ROBOT. Ok, it’s our practice bot, but it looks amazing! It’s almost completely wired, pneumatics are done, and all of the parts have been added except for the bumpers. And… we’re going to be driving it for the first time TONIGHT! We’ve also got a nice start on our actual robot, having completed the entire drive base. I wish I could show a picture of the robot, but unfortunately I’m not able to yet. You’ll have to wait for the unveil video!

On Saturday we sent a small team down to the FLL state tournament, where we showed off our state champion robot Trap to the teams there. Kids enjoyed driving the robot, and a few also got the pleasure of watching it shoot. Altogether it was a successful venture!

Just a few more things of note: up above I said that the bumpers had not been added, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t working on them! They’re almost completed, and once again they look wonderful! Our new pit continues to be assembled, and we’ve also started working on a new drive station! We were well due for an upgrade. And one last thing; on Sunday we had a small group of people practice driving Trap through an obstacle course, which I really only note because it was super fun! Nothing is quite as exciting as controlling one of your own creations.

So that’s what’s been happening! Of course, there’s been more going on, but this is only a blog post, not an essay. Hopefully we’ll soon get a mini video update out so you can see a little bit of what I’m talking about.

And now I must leave, for our robot is ready to DRIVE!!!

Build Update – Day 33

It was another busy building day. We had a little bit of everything going on!

Some team members worked on welding our shooter supports, while others made brackets for hinges and the shooter mounts. Some team members worked on bumpers and bumper supports–including a quick JoAnn’s run midway through thenight. Still more team members worked on the “arms” for our roller bar. 

2014-02-07 19.53.12

Our new belly pan arrived today, and it’s beautiful! Many thanks again to all our sponsors and all that they do for us–without them, we really couldn’t make this happen.

Finally, a quick shout out: We’ll be doing demos tomorrow at the MN FLL State Tournament–come hang out with us and look at the super cool lego robots! We’ll be there from about 1:30 to the end of the tournament, at Washington Technology Magnet School (formerly Arlington High School). Hope to see you there!


Build Update – Day 32? Well, we’re really not sure anymore.

Today was a fun day! While some team members worked in the shop, a small group travelled to a local elementary school and did demonstrations at their science fair.unnamed

At the shop, lots of building, drilling, and milling took place. The bumpers are looking good, bumper rails have been cut, drive sides are being milled, and we got to test an electronics device made by team members during summer sessions!

At the science fair, we showed one of our past robots and talked with elementary age children and their families. An FLL team mentored by one of our team members worked with us, and it was lots of fun to be able to share the message of FIRST!IMG_20140206_184507336_HDR IMG_20140206_184116441

Build Update – Day 30

Ok fine, so we’re a day late. Superbowls mess up everything.

Not like we were at all interested in watching that non-robotics stuff.

As for news in the shop, the biggest achievement that we reached today is that we now have a robot sitting on the floor, with drive chassis and shooter almost fully functional! Of course, it’s a practice bot, but we’re making progress! We have a really nice chain settup that I will not go into details about because I would probably bore most everyone, so you’ll just have to believe me when I say it’s really really nice.IMG_4505[1]

Our pit is also looking beautiful; definitely a step up from what we had before! It’s going to look amazing when it’s finished.

Oh, and our bumper frames are coming along nicely!

And yes, I actually did watch the Superbowl. I do enjoy that non-robotics stuff.

Build Update – Day 29

Things are really starting to come together! The practice bot is in good shape–if everything goes well, we may have it running tomorrow. All of our gearboxes are completed, the bumpers are in progress, and final robot parts are arriving each day.

On top of all that good stuff, we had an even busier open house today! It was so much fun to see all the interested folks, from sponsors to families to the director of our high school. IMG_8567

In other news, all of us are still shocked at the fact that it’s week FIVE already–how in the world did that happen? The arrangements for our first competition are being finalized, and we’re still making robot decisions! Luckily, everything seems to be fitting together nicely. Tomorrow should be a productive day!IMG_8610