September 2, 2015

Kickoff Banquet

We are holding our kickoff banquet September 2, 2015. The team will be setting up at 5:00 and parents, mentors, and sponsors are invited to attend at 5:30. Our tax credit, sponsorships, and t-shirt committees will be presenting. We hope to see you there!


Febuary 17, 2014

Reveal Time

Sorry for the delay in posting. It has been a hectic couple of weeks, but on the eve of bag and tag, we finally have a working robot. DK, our robot is 26" tall, 26.5" wide, and 30.5" long. He currently is sporting a nice piston powered catapult that is perfectly capable of scoring high goals with ease. There was one memorable test run where we almost took out the air conditioning ducts, and even hitting them and bouncing down still ended at the proper height for a goal. It is also using pretty powerful intake. Basically a metal frame of heavy flat stock and C brackets with a shaft with 1.5" and 3" Banebot wheels. It is powered by an AndyMark 9015 motor on a 100:1 transmission giving us massive amounts of torque so we can easily get the ball over our bumpers in into the bucket of our catapult. Below is a pretty glorious video of one of the first 3d printed couplers we used to attach the motor and the shaft exploding under the force of one of the earlier transmissions.

We also made a couple of mounting brackets for some range finders that we are mounting the front of the robot to help us determine both range to the goal and whether we are straight on the goal. In addition we have added a webcam with vision processing to help us determine in autonomous, which goal is hot. We have also submitted our first Chairmans award ever so please wish us luck. This is definitely shaping up to be one of the best seasons yet here at Team 1290 and we hope the same can be said for the rest of you teams!

January 22, 2014


We have a working catapult now! Basically we modified our piston design since our motorized version was not working because the motor was not able to reach a speed fast enough to really launch the ball in time. The new design is using two pistons and storage tanks right before the solenoids to ensure we are launching it really fast. Look at the video below to see how fast!

We also continued work on the frame. The frame is now cut to our liking and we are nailing a piece of wood on the bottom to mount the electronics and to keep the center of gravity as low as possible. We also have the transmissions and CIM motors mounted. We have also decided on a name for the robot. Keeping in with retro video games and Galaga from last year, the robot for this year will be called DK, short for Donkey Kong since it will be trhowing huge balls like he throws his huge barrels.

January 15, 2014

Build update

Its been about two weeks and four meetings into the build season. So far we have decided a number of things, and have gotten a fair bit done. Firstly we decided that defense is not something we should be going except in having a strong drive system to shove other robots around. This is mostly because the rules state that you can only extend above the five feet limit in a six inch cylinder in the goalie zone. This makes blocking ridiculous because we are restricted to a small zone and the total blocker size is so small that we were worried that we could not cover a significant portion of the goal or build a blocker sturdy enough. As for shooter design, after seeing the RI3D (Robot in 3 Days) videos on Youtube, the idea of a catapult gained a lot of credibility. We also discovered that our larger pistons do not extend with the speed required to effectively punch the ball and the idea of a ball puncher also went out the window. One team member Michael, tried making a ballista and found that he could launch with a fair amount of success, unfortunately nobody can think of a way of automating the launching process so the ideas is sort of on hold at the moment until someone can figure it out.

We also have made a number of decisions on the frame. We decided the frame that they give us is not shaped right for the purposes we want so we are going to be modifying it to make it longer. We will probably be borrowing a plasma cutter from auto downstairs to make the cuts perfect since the frame this year is so different than last years and more difficult to modify. We also prototyped a ball picker upper as displayed in the video below. Basically we attached some wheels to a shaft and the shaft to a power drill and tried to get the ball to roll over an old bumper set on the ground.

January 4, 2014

The Kickoff

Today was the kickoff. This years game is looking to be a joy already. Its called Aerial Assist, basically the objective to score these giant, nylon covered exercise balls into either small floor goals for 1 point, or a huge slots nearly seven feet in the air for ten points. The catch is that the robots can only ever be five feet high, forcing one to find a way of launching it. This years game is putting a heavy emphasis on teamwork as well; for every assist, basically a pass from the possession of one alliance robot to another in another of the three colored zones on the field, you get and additional ten points when the ball is scored. There is also a five foot two inch truss running down the center of the field, from which get bonus points for launching balls over and then catching. For more information watch the video below:

After attending the kickoff at Central High School in Phoenix, we all went back to the robotics room to start brainstorming and inventorying the kit of parts we received. The two prevalent ideas at this point are either using a catapult to launch the ball, just punching the ball with a flat pieced of metal attached to a piston. Either way accuracy is going to be terrible, but since we are not likely to making long shots in this sort of match, that should not be a problem. We also slapped together an extremely quick and sketchy catapult. It functioned, in a manner: on the test run where we tried subjecting it to competition forces, the hastily crafted bucket was torn to shreds by the g forces. Clearly it was able to produce a lot of power, but in absence of the ability to see whether or not it is actually going to be able to launch on of these balls in the manner we need it too, we can not draw any conclusions. We will be meeting next on this Wednesday for further brainstorming and to start on basic frame construction.

For more information you can read the game manual here or check out ChiefDelphi, the FIRST Robotics forum here here.

December 18, 2013

Special Change in Meeting Time

There has been a small change to the meeting time due to a half day of school. Currently, we are going to meet at Microchip at around 4:00 PM to take a picture with the CEO. After that, we will return to the Club to continue working until 6:30 PM.

November 21, 2013

Needs List is Now Up!

We now have a list of items that we need for any of those who are interested in donating them. The categories are tools and consumables. Consumables are items we are always going to need because we constantly use them up so donations of them will always be appreciated. The other category is tools, which should be pretty self explanatory. If anyone wants to donate anything just contact Mr. Alexander, his contact information is on the contact page.

November 20, 2013

A New Sponsor

We now have a new sponsor! Toyota Financial services has most graciously given us $1500 dollars and we would just like to extend a huge thank you towards them. On another similar note, we a are now officially registered for this years FIRST competition. The kickoff will be held this year at Central High School up in Phoenix on January 4 from 7-12 for those interested in going. There will be all sorts of speeches from the founders of FIRST and then they will introduce the game for this year. We hope to see you there!

November 6, 2013

Back From the Tuscon Tussle

So we did pretty terrible at the competition, a lot of things kept going wrong with the robot, some of the newer team members had made modifications that inadvertently turned the robot from the beautiful machine that we had during Nationals into the robot that we ended up bringing to the Tussle. We were not the only upset of course though, the NERDS went from first place in qualifiers at regionals last year to flat up last at this competition. In all, if was fun, educational, and gave some great hands on experience to the new players

October 25, 2013

Preparing for the Tuscon Tussle

Currently we are preparing for the Tuscon Tussle, a redo of last years FIRST Competition held Tuscon by our friends at Team 1011 Crush. We are revamping our Frisbee shooting system and adding the ability to auto-target and other functions we did not have the time to do for competition last spring. We hope to see you there! I want to keep this for when we have the news page working