Mount Olive District Event – Taking Home the Gold!

Oh, what a weekend it has been. This weekend, the Raiders participated in our first competition of the season at Mount Olive High School. Our scouting team constructed a winning alliance that soared to first place! Shout-out to our alliance members: Team 303 – the T.E.S.T Team from Bridgewater, NJ and Team 1923 – The MidKnight Inventors from Plainsboro, NJ. The win was truly a team effort requiring everyone’s unique skills.

The district event began on Saturday with qualifying matches where each alliance was psuedo-randomly assigned. All in all, there were 74 matches, each team participating in 12. Members of our scouting team sat in the stands keeping a tight vigil. We recorded a variety of statistics about all the teams competing, including shooting efficiency, rate of delivering gears, and ability to climb the rope. Very quickly, it became obvious which teams were able to consistently perform at a high level. Teams like 222 – Tigertrons, 293 – SPIKE, 747 – Flight Crew, and others caught our scouts’ attention. In one of our matches, our fellow alliance members didn’t show up, resulting in a 1 versus 3 game. We lost the game, but were still able to put up a large sum of points. Despite the setback, we relished the opportunity for our robot to shine solo and were sure other teams took notice.

The qualifying matches wrapped up Sunday morning and our team, along with teams 222 and 2016, scored the highest score of the event thus far (400 points) in the second to last match before alliance selections. With a record of 9-2-1, our team finished ranked second out of the 37 attending teams. During the alliance selection process, the number 1 seed, 293, selected team 222. We then selected team 303 and were excited to also pick up 1923 on the second half of the serpentine draft.

Our alliance bested the 7th seeded alliance in the quarterfinals and 6th seeded alliance in the semi finals. In the finals, we and our opponents (teams 747, 75, and 1403) had very similar strategies, focusing on gear delivery occasionally augmented by shooting fuel. Team 303 really shined in this area. Their firing rate and aim gave us the edge. While the points from fuel are small, they make a difference when opponents have matched gear delivery and climbing abilities. Ultimately, our alliance emerged on top!

Team 25 really shined today at Mount Olive. Between our pit crew, scouts, drivers, and alliance members, we all really clicked and were able to successfully execute our planned strategies. We hope our auspicious start is a sign of bigger victories ahead!

Our next competition is the MAR Montgomery District Event held at Montgomery High School in Skillman, NJ April 1-2.

Build Season 2017: Weeks 5-6

Week 5

As the weeks have flown by, more of the robot’s subsystems inch closer to completion. We are now driving the robot on a daily basis to find potential issues, debug them, and iterate our designs. We have also been using the drive time to test new robot drivers. Last year’s operator, Adam, will be this year’s driver. After some practicing, we were able to score five gears in two minutes. 

The scouts have made good progress in the past weeks. We quizzed them on their knowledge of the game rules so they now know the game inside and out. Their eagle eyed efforts will be essential when making alliances. Our publicity team is quite busy, designing and creating unique steampunk apparel and decorations tailored for the robotics team. You can see some of our pieces in previous blog posts. As the week comes to a close, it’s exciting to see that the end is nearly in sight.

Week 6

The final week is in progress, and the robot is finally complete. We’re glad to report that our robot is fully operational and ready to take on this year’s challenge! The build team was able to hit all bases with FIRST Steamworks. The robot can obtain and deliver gears, shoot balls in both the low and high goals, and get itself on the rope and hit the buzzer. This level of functionality came from the dedication and creativity of our build team. This year, our robot will perfectly encapsulate the spirit of Team 25, with many logos and colors adorning it. We are also making adorable buttons to hand out on game day. As the final week comes to a close, the tension is building, and we’re excited to prove our mettle in competition.

Travel arrangements are always difficult to make. Coordinating hotel booking, meals, transportation, and luggage delivery is a whirlwind of details. Every year, the Raider Robotix Parent’s Association (RRPMA) makes sure that all the travel arrangements are made in advance for the team. It just one of the many things that RRPMA does for team so that we run smoothly. So much is handled by the Parents Association, Team 25 wouldn’t be the same without their help. On behalf of Raider Robotix, we would like to thank our parents for keeping us running like a lean, mean winning machine.

Build Season 2017: Weeks 1-4

Week 1

The anticipation was gnawing at us as we entered Montgomery High School for the 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition season kickoff. Like thousands of other students around the globe, we were eager to learn the details of this year’s challenge, FIRST STEAMworks. The secrecy was noticeable all throughout the kickoff. Game elements were safely tucked away in a locked trailer and the kickoff video was securely stored on a flash drive. Even files on the FIRST website were encrypted. Finally, all the teams in attendance gathered together in the auditorium to watch the live stream and the game was revealed to us. Our team members got to see wooden models of the game elements (hoppers, boiler etc.) and we started to formulate ideas in advance of our next meeting.

 

We held our first meeting of the season on the Monday after Kickoff. The biggest topic of the evening was our strategy. We prioritized which parts of the game we wanted to focus our attention on and made a plan for achieving our goals. Two of our mentors, Kristian and Shaun, traveled a long way to help us out. Both of them are team alumni who have influenced many of our older members and their experience has helped our team focus ideas and bring them together.

Week 2

The team was super fired up for the build season. We started creating designs in CAD and figured out ideas for manipulating the game elements. In terms of progress on the robot, we hit some key milestones. We finalized the drivetrain design and started assembling it using parts we had in stock. We are awaiting the delivery of other parts we ordered (like new idler gears) before it can be fully completed.

On the scouting front, Spencer Ng started to create our Android scouting app. This app will be used to record information about other team’s robots during matches. Since it will be hard to count exactly how many balls each teams will be scoring this year, we had to develop a model that allows scouts to estimate these counts.

Last season we graduated a large class of seniors and so we have a very young team this year. It took some time for our newer members to settle in, but they’re finally getting into the swing of things as the build season momentum picks up. All in all, we’ve made some great progress this week!

Week 3

The construction of the robot is developing thanks to the dedication of the build team. With the rest of the parts we ordered in hand, we finished fabricating the drivebase. We decided upon a method for storing balls effectively and framed out the upper portion of the robot (we anticipate being able to hold at least 80 balls). Next, we began to brainstorm methods to successfully climb up the rope. Furthermore, we started creating the robot’s bumpers making sure we had the proper clearance to adhere with this year’s new robot-sizing rules. Once they are complete, the robot will start resembling its final form.

The team parents have really been pitching in and making sure that the team has everything they need to succeed. Parents have been taking turns bringing in meals for us every day. Because of their efforts, the team is able to focus on building the robot. Hats off to our team parents for being so caring and supportive!

Week 4

This week we started working on wiring the robot’s electronics. Knowing exactly where the robot’s intake and shooter will be positioned allowed us to map out and permanently mount the control system components. With this task completed, the robot is now driveable! Currently, we are manufacturing the mechanisms required for the robot to pick up fuel from the ground and score it the boiler. We have also created a prototype mechanism for climbing up the rope; however, it has not yet been attached to the robot as we continue to iterate its design.

Our team coach, Mr. Cokeley, has been providing invaluable direction for us. He takes the time to teach us how to use our workshop tools and educate us on safety guidelines. We really wouldn’t be where we are without him! On a team spirit note, Team 25 is producing personalized steampunk themed items like goggles and hats!;

Brunswick Eruption 14 Fun!

On Saturday, November 9th, we hosted our annual off-season competition, Brunswick Eruption for the 14th time.

The fun of setting up for the event started the previous day. Team members arrived at NBTHS at 8 am and emptied out the POD trailers containing the playing field. We broke up into teams to divide and conquer. Cases of field parts were rolled into and staged in the main gym. Another group began lining the auxiliary gym, which would host the pit area, with gym guard to protect the flooring and set up each team’s pit table. The carpets for the field were rolled out in the middle of the main gym and construction of the playing field began. Once erected, the field electronics were wired and A/V systems tested. After the food concessions area was set up in the Commons, everyone went home to rest up for the big day ahead of us.

The next day, volunteers and 42 FRC teams from CT, PA, NJ, and NY started to arrive beginning at 7am. As they arrived, we put the finishing touches on the arena. After they settled into their pit areas and got their robot radios programmed, teams took to the field for practice rounds.

Next, the opening ceremonies took place, members of the NBTHS band played the National Anthem, qualification match lists distributed, and the competition got started! Our masters of ceremonies Katie Stevens and Nikki Stout continually introduced the six teams before each round and the on-field action was narrated by the charismatic game announcer duo of Ian Noel and Eric DelSanto. Matches ran smoothly and alliance selections were conducted before breaking for lunch. One scout from each team took to the field and exercised their knowledge of all the robots in attendance to form the strongest alliances they could for the playoff rounds.

1. 2607, 2590, 3142, 4653
2. 694, 869, 2601, 1626
3. 303, 1923, 3637, 3718
4. 4575, 1089, 25, 2602
5. 56, 222, 2495, 375
6. 271, 293, 369, 224
7. 1989, 1279, 2554, 806
8. 5666, 533, 395, 1807

Before the elimination matches began, our famous Evil Sundae contest was held. One student from each team volunteered as tribute to consume a rather nonconventional mix of ingredients atop ice cream. Butters from Team 869 finished his sundae first and proved he had the strongest iron stomach.

A short awards ceremony followed the evil sundae contest:

Team 806, the Brooklyn Blacksmiths, contributed the most items to both the food and shoe drives. This was their 5th year in a row winning the food drive and 4th year in a row winning the shoe drive. We continue to appreciate all of their donations and the difference they’re making in the community!

Team 2601, Steel Hawks, was the peer-nominated recipient of the Mahalo (GP) Award!

Kevin Mastropietro from Team 3637, The Daleks, was the winner of the Kumu (Mentor) Award.

Team 25 alumnus Howard Cohen was this year’s Big Kahuna winner.

At the conclusion of the elimination rounds, the third seeded alliance of teams 303, 1923, 3637, and 3718 finished as finalists after three hard fought matches against the number one seed and winning alliance of teams 2607, 2590, 3142, and 4653.

As teams left, it was time to tear down the field and clean up. We would like to give an extra big Mahalo to Team 869 who stayed and helped us with this effort. We appreciate the helping hand your team is always willing to lend!

Overall, Brunswick Eruption 14 was the event’s biggest year yet! We can’t wait to do it all again next year and hope you will visit to experience the excitement for yourself! Check out pictures from this year’s event on the Brunswick Eruption Facebook page.