Six weeks. 42 days. What can you accomplish in six weeks? In 42 days could you go halfway around the world? Could you journey to the center of the earth? Could you explore the depths of the sea in an incredible submarine? Could you build a robot? Could you build a robot that can collect and then rapid-fire multiple balls, race across a 54 foot long field in 4 seconds, autonomously hang a gear on a peg, and… climb a rope?? No? We are proud to report that East Cobb Robotics FRC Team 4910 has successfully accomplished these last tasks in 6 weeks, complete with a steampunk theme.
Presenting our 2017 FIRST STEAMWORKS robot, Joules Verne.
During the Georgia Ice Storm of 2017, on January 7th, we were given the FIRST STEAMWORKS game challenge. Despite the small delay due to the weather, the team jumped on the task of designing, building and programming a robot in 6 weeks. We sketched, we calculated, we prototyped, we drew some more, and we started building a robot. At the same time, members of our team were answering 10,000 character essay questions, tackling programming, creating scouting programs, orchestrating CAD, designing our pit and costume theme, composing videos, crafting presentations, and doing Outreach to schools.
From this wide variety of tasks (again, all in 6 short weeks) the students have learned so many different skills:
- metalworking skills: beadrolling, mastering the English wheel, lathe, milling machine and polishing wheel
- wood working skills: prototyping, field elements, gears for Chairman’s presentation
- electrical and pneumatics skills: custom circuits, power calculations, soldering, CAN wiring, diagrams, pneumatics pressure management
- CAD skills: 3D robot model, field calculations, drive station design
- bumper fabrication: wood working, sewing, heat press, stapling, and some intense fabric origami
- presentation skills: public speaking, non-verbal communication, written communication, video composition and editing
- scouting and data crunching skills: custom scouting app, statistics, data management
- theme: steampunk research, costume design, pit fabrication and concept
- programming: vision tracking, PID control, and autonomous operation
- soft skills for all: teamwork, leadership, time management, Coopertition and Gracious Professionalism
We were also able to go to the public library and teach kids about electronics and circuits, talk to elementary schoolers about robots and STEAM, and assist some of our sponsors with events.
At the end of the 6 weeks, we put Joules in his bag to wait for our first qualifier in Gainesville which occurred this past weekend. (“Joules” is a reference to author Jules Verne, as well as a wink at joules – a unit of work or energy, referencing the game balls which are called fuel elements. Our practice bot is named H.G. Wheels.) At the Gainesville qualifier, Joules, his drive team and pilot worked together to help him zoom, hang gears, pick up balls, and climb. The team made it into the quarter-final rounds with some heart-stopping game play and we really enjoyed getting to put the robot through its paces and see what it could do. With this on-field experience we learned new techniques, discovered things we do well, and saw areas for improvement. We’ll be working on perfecting these prior to our next competition in Columbus on March 16-18. At the conclusion of the Gainesville qualifier, we won the Quality Award sponsored by Motorola, and we were runners up for the Industrial Safety Award sponsored by UL.
During the event, some of our students volunteered to help Georgia FIRST with field reset, and several others were out helping teams troubleshoot or build/program their robots so they could get out onto the field. Although we are a robotics team, building good humans is the underlying foundation of our organization.
We are so proud of the students and all that they have accomplished. They are growing and learning more and more every year. It’s inspiring and humbling to know that this 120 lb. collection of metal and wires can make such a difference in their lives and the lives of all they touch.
We could not have accomplished any of this without the support of our mentors, coaches, team parents/guardians, and sponsors. Thank you for helping us prepare these students to become the next generation of scientists, engineers and great thinkers.
You are helping us Build Good Humans. You are helping us change the world.
Please support our amazing sponsors:
Replay of Gainesville