Team SPORK: FIRST Robotics Team 3196

FIRST

Awards

2010 NC Regional
  • Rookie All-Star
  • Best Website
2011 Palmetto Regional
  • Imagery Award
2011 NC Regional
  • Creativity Award Sponsored by Xerox
2012 NC Regional
  • Engineering Inspiration Award
  • Dean's List Finalist
2012 World Championships
  • Dean's List Winner
2012 Website
  • Website Excellence Award

Our Sponsors

Best Web Site Award - 2010 NC Regional TeamSPORK.com composed by hand in valid HTML 5. Best Web Site Award - 2010 NC Regional

Chronological History 2009-2010 Season, FRC Rookie Year

The Challenge:

2010 BREAKAWAY Challenge

Preseason

  • Formed team, paid $135/student dues, and met weekly beginning in September
  • Decided on team name, imagery, and student roles on subteams
  • Applied for and received a NASA rookie grant that has enabled us to field an FRC team this year
  • Completed FRC registration procedures and NASA grant questionnaires
  • Identified and recruited technical and business mentors with informational/organizational meetings
  • Began databasing students, parents, and mentors, with contact information
  • Ecstatically we found that Ingersoll Rand was able and willing to provide a build facility
  • Received many generous gifts of tools and materials from Newell Rubbermaid, Ingersoll Rand, and others
  • Began to load and learn LabView, Pro-E, HTML, and CSS programming
  • Researched website and robotic designs of other FRC teams; webteam met several times and found that it is harder to access the internet with unfamiliar computers and locations than we thought.
  • Outlined business plan content
  • Discussed designs of robotic drive trains, chassis, and electronics
  • Initiated our team's new website and prepared a content outline (You are HERE!)
  • Mentored Grade 1-8 PLP student in afterschool robotics clubs (Lego League)
  • Displayed Lego League and FTC/FRC robotics at school wide fair to students, teachers, parents, and grandparents
  • Formed team, paid $135/student dues, and met weekly beginning in September
  • Decided on team name, imagery, and student roles on subteams
  • Applied for and received a NASA rookie grant that has enabled us to field an FRC team this year
  • Completed FRC registration procedures and NASA grant questionnaires
  • Identified and recruited technical and business mentors with informational/organizational meetings
  • Began databasing students, parents, and mentors, with contact information
  • Ecstatically we found that Ingersoll Rand was able and willing to provide a build facility
  • Received many generous gifts of tools and materials from Newell Rubbermaid, Ingersoll Rand, and others
  • Began to load and learn LabView, Pro-E, HTML, and CSS programming
  • Researched website and robotic designs of other FRC teams; webteam met several times and found that it is harder to access the internet with unfamiliar computers and locations than we thought.
  • Outlined business plan content
  • Discussed designs of robotic drive trains, chassis, and electronics
  • Initiated our team's new website and prepared a content outline (You are HERE!)
  • Mentored Grade 1-8 PLP student in afterschool robotics clubs (Lego League)
  • Displayed Lego League and FTC/FRC robotics at school wide fair to students, teachers, parents, and grandparents

Kick-off

  • Cohosted NC FRC state kick-off presentation with Penske Technology Group
  • Cohosted NC FRC state rookie team quick-build event with Ingersoll Rand
  • Filmed as one of Time Warner Cable documentary's featured FRC teams
  • Assembled chassis and drive train of kitbot
  • Completed electronics board prototype (on wood)
  • Loaded programming software on laptop and imaged the C-Rio
  • Posted meeting calendar with mentoring, facilities, and food responsibilities
  • Took photos and began Engineer's Notebook

Build Season

Week 1
  • Met about 22 hour this week, five days total
  • Brainstormed game strategy and robotic design
  • Assessed high and low score gaming strategies
  • Got kitbot moving, It's alive!!!
  • Began to build practice field and its components
  • Modified chassis to lift gearbox and chains above bump
  • Designed, evaluated, and/or built rough prototypes for manipulators:
    • Pneumatically controlled puncher
    • Spring release mechanism
    • Baseball hitter
    • Rollercoaster slide concept
  • Discussed scheduling, budget, and operational constraints
  • Discovered salad can be as tasty as pizza and lasagna
  • Read manual and took a really, really hard knowledge test
  • Coded HTML and CSS for most of web homepage, determined color hexcodes
  • Took a lot more photos
  • Began creating thank you notes and giant SPORK cutouts/gifts for mentors
Week 2
  • Met 23 hours over 5 days.
  • Built prototypes using wood, PVC, and other materials for:
    • Ball kicker
    • Ball handler
    • Antenna carabiner thingy for a tower grappling hook
    • Pneumatic puncher
  • Continued to monitor manual updates and discuss game strategy
  • Coordinated systems integration for weight, volume, and balancing
  • Ordered parts for final construction
  • Completed questionnaires describing ourselves for Team webpage
  • Played soccer in the Ingersoll Rand parking lot
  • Showed progress to teachers from another local charter school interested in FIRST
  • Judged Grade 1-5 students work in schoolwide FIRST and Engineering Showcase
  • Hosted four teachers from neighboring schools to Showcase to interest them in FIRST
  • Pleased to learn that three of our six mentored FLL teams won awards at Regional, including first and second place in Overall Robotic Performance and an Honorable Mention for Enthusiasm and Spirit. Four of the six teams qualified for the state competition.
Week 3
Dr. Marshburn
  • Met 23 hours, over 5 days.
  • Got camera R/C servo mount moving (yeah!)
  • Purchased additional supplies with an increasingly hot, melting charge card
  • Continued developing kicker mechanism in prototype
  • Ate cupcakes and sang (Don't get us wrong, it was for a student's 16th birthday.)
  • Tried to move ball handling roller with Fisher Price motor, which was either too fast or too slow, darn it
  • Determined the perfect angle for the antenna carabiner
  • Debated using two or three pieces in telescoping grappling hook contraption
  • Completed team logo by importing a Pro-E created spur gear into PhotoShop and then layering in a handdrawn spork and 3-D shading
  • Began writing text and more code for website and gathered corporate logos
  • Continued taking way too many photos and entering information into Engineer's Book
  • Finalized t-shirt design and ordered
  • Showed robot prototypes and designs to Dr. Thomas Marshburn, a NASA astronaut. Check out his bio on the NASA site
  • Stayed as long as the roads remained drivable on Friday night
  • Canceled Saturday's meeting due to icy, impassable roads; did a month's worth of homework instead
  • The roller team (David (12) and Bobby) mounted the roller
Week 4
  • Met 28 hours over 6 days.
  • In order to get through the snow, we asked parents who had serious four wheel drive vehicles to get most of us to Ingersoll Rand in order to build on Sunday.
  • We were thrilled to learn that Monday was a snow day from school! We spent the entire day building the robot, then had a snowball fight and created Snowman Spork.
  • The programmers (Drew (10) and Rourke(9)) programmed the kicker and the roller bar in LabView as well as connecting up the joysticks.
  • The ski roller bar team (Ian, David (12), Nik (11a), Nik (11b), Jake, and Drew (9)) made new brackets and got a bigger actuator.
  • The electronics team (Ian, David (9), and West) built the battery bracket.
  • The kicker team (James and Clay) designed and prototyped the final design for the kicker and mounted it.
  • The lift team (Marshall, Michael, Elizabeth, Brody, and Kat) made a wench and a mounting bracket for the telescoping pole and then swapped duct tape with a more permanent attachment.
  • The bumper team (Alex (10), Nik (11a), and Meghan) cut wood, ordered the fabric, and acquired the pool noodles.
  • The roller team tested and refined the roller.
  • The web team (Diana, Drew (10), Brody, and West) finalized the drop down menus and continued to write content and code it in using HTML.
Week 5
  • Met 31 hours over 6 days.
  • The web team wrote major content for the website and added a new banner, pictures, video, and animation to the website.
  • The arena team (Drew (9) and Alex (11)) worked with Ingersoll Rand mentors to nearly complete the scrimmage arena after a long effort since early January.
  • The bumper team cut and stapled the noodles and the fabric, and then Diana painted the numbers onto the fabric.
  • The electronics team changed the arrangement of parts on the robot and made a new bracket for the compressor. They also had to change the electronics mount from plexiglas (It broke in a test drive.) to Lexan.
  • The lift team modified the carabiner to have a spring action, shortened the bracket, attached the turnbuckle, attached the lifter, as well as set the optimal angle, and made the final motor and bracket.
  • The kicker team made modifications to the prototype and then completed the final design.
  • Teams noted activities, and Drew (9) continued logging in mechanical drawings into Engineer's Book.
  • Team SPORK discussed and demonstrated the robot to representatives working with Discovery Place (Charlotte's science museum) Tim Pula and Mary Bures. The robot was obedient and kicked a ball into the goal!
Week 6
Bubbles the robot.
  • Met a grueling 39 hours, every day the whole week. Students could ask for a day off if they needed to study for a big test, to maintain grades, or to compete in Varsity Athletics.
  • Some of us began tutoring other team members to make sure we all exceeded the mandatory 3.0 or greater GPA to remain on the team. We are all taking Honors (and many are taking AP) courses.
  • The lift arm team worked on building replacement pipes and putting the wench together.
  • The electronics team continued working on the pneumatics (leaking!), getting the camera mounted, building a new battery bracket, and finalizing mounting the electronics onto the robot.
  • The kicker team fine tuned the mechanics and design.
  • The programming team worked on LabView and plugging in the sensors.
  • The ball blocking team (David (12), Meghan) built and installed the blocking side bar.
  • The business team (Alex (11), and Alex (10)) finalized the first draft of the Business Plan and worked to complete it.
  • The webteam continued updating the team history and blogs, added mentors and sponsors, included helpful technical information and links, and finalized any programming that would shut down pages while we made major changes. We submitted it one day early!
  • Team SPORK and Ingersoll Rand invited NC and regional teams to a scrimmage on our arena. Three teams accepted the invitation, although unfortunately all guest teams cancelled on the scrimmage day. We were pleased that a coach for the RoboMonkeys and many guests from the community arrived to watch our robot in action as we did driver test runs. We were especially pleased that parents, spouses, children, and grandchildren of our Ingersoll Rand mentor partners also came to watch our scrimmage!
  • We fabricated a Lexan protective dome.
  • All teams removed all unnecessary weight from the robot. Steel nuts were exchanged for aluminum ones; holes were drilled, and extra material removed.
  • The crate was finalized, the robot packaged, and off it went in the huge Fed Ex truck as we waved goodbye.

Post Build Season

  • Met on a less intensive schedule, but focused on spare and replacement parts, pit construction, costumes, additional programming, and game strategy.
  • We also watched the live feeds of the other Regionals and were amazed at the robots' maneuverability and the driver skill required to do this. We were surprised at how few teams chose to try elevating their robots; however, the ones we did see hang did it in incredibly innovative ways.

Competition

At the April 2010 North Carolina Regional, Team SPORK enthusiastically received the All-Star Rookie and the Best Website Awards, earning a place to compete in the international FRC Championship games in Atlanta.


© 2009 - 2012 FRC Team 3196: Team SPORK. All FIRST, FRC, and sponsor logos used with explicit permission and may not be reproduced outside of this web site. Team SPORK and the SPORK logo are the intellectual property of Team 3196 and may not be used without our express written consent.