Week One Build Update

Week One of Build Season for the 2019 challenge, Destination: Deep Space, has certainly been a blast for Team SPORK. We started this past week off by analyzing the various elements and scoring strategies in this year’s challenge, and by discussing ways to tackle each problem. Our members have spent the week hard at work on designing and building.

The Mechanical team has created a slew of prototypes for manipulating Cargo (13″ balls) and Hatches (19″ disks), and have started construction on the field elements for our robots and prototypes to use. Meanwhile, CAD team has been tirelessly modeling our designs, models which will eventually be fed back to the Mechanical team to build. Additionally, our Electrical team has been drawing out some early circuit diagrams for our robot. The folks over at the Programming team have been busy too, working on our vision processing system to ensure our robots can easily line up to place game elements.

We also had a great time this Saturday by stepping away from the back-breaking FRC grind, and going as a team to volunteer at the Lawndale FLL competition, where our student and mentors helped by refereeing and judging. We loved seeing all the FLL students’ robots and projects!

Going forward, we hope to get some more building done and to start fleshing out our final robot design. Team SPORK is tremendously excited for the rest of Destination: Deep Space, and we can’t wait to see what the remainder of build season has in store. Cheers! – Justin Stephens, Team SPORK Director of Engineering

Some Team Members prototyping a potential design

Lawndale FLL Competition

Team SPORK volunteered at the Lawndale FIRST LEGO League Competition on January 12th, 2019. Our students served as Referees, Field resetters, and Queuers, while the mentors and loving parents volunteering with Team SPORK served as Judges for the FLL teams.

The adult and students from Team SPORK who volunteered at the 2019 Lawndale FLL Competition.

A handful of our extremely dedicated members and mentors made the trip to Lawndale the Friday night before the competition in order to set up so that the rest of the volunteers would be ready to roll at 7:00 sharp the following morning. A special thanks to the Lashley family for their hard work.

Scott Lashley lifting with his knees, not his back, when setting up for Lawndale the night before.

Some more photos from the event:


On October 27, 2018, Team SPORK attended the iMAGINE STEAMFest in Rock Hill, South Carolina. This annual festival promotes Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.

While at the STEAMFest, Team SPORK ran a game with our robot, SPORKReach, where kids could take turns driving the robot. While not driving, they could throw beanbags into cascading rings (much like Skee-Ball).

Team SPORK also took our SPORKCannon and our 2018 robot, SuperSPORK64, which we demoed during two 15 minute stage shows. During the shows, we explained FIRST, FRC, the 2018 challenge, and some of the technical details of SuperSPORK64. We wrapped up each show by firing off a couple of T-Shirts.

FIRST LEGO League Kickoff

Team SPORK attended the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) kickoff event in Greensboro, where our students gave a presentation analyzing and breaking down the INTO ORBIT game rules to FLL teams. SPORK members also led a break down of the FLL Kit of Parts, where our students went through the components available for use on FLL robots. These include the EV3 brick (the controller), motors, lego pieces, and an array of sensors such as color, bump, and ultra-sonic sensors.

Additionally, one of Team SPORK’s mentors, Mr. Lashley, gave a presentation on “Awesome FLL Presentation Styles”, regarding successful ways for FLL teams to excel in the project portion of the competition. The FLL project has students creating innovative solutions to real world problems, and accounts for 1/3 of an FLL Team’s judging.

PLP Podcast

Recently, SPORK was invited to appear on the Pine Lake Public Radio podcast. Representing our team was Jacob (Engineering Director), along with Jeremiah (Mechanical lead) and Jackson (Mechanical, Marketing). During the 15-minute Q and A, SPORK members discuss a variety of topics, including this year’s challenge and our team’s progress, structure, and operations.

You can check out the podcast below (SPORK interview begins at 18:09):