The Herd Stampedes over to Freedom Elementary!

On September 29th, we had the privilege to present to a local elementary school: Freedom Elementary. Our goal for this presentation was to show over two hundred fourth and fifth graders our robot from last season, as well as make them aware of the FIRST Lego League teams that their school has to offer. Through an interactive presentation, we were able to achieve our goal! The students loved watching our robot from last season pick up and shoot balls. We were also able to spark many interests, both in the students and in their teachers, about FIRST. The students had numerous questions about both our team and their own school’s FLL teams. This presentation helped fill the three FLL teams at Freedom Elementary! We will be returning to Freedom twice a week to help with those FLL teams, but more on that to come in the future.

-Emily Martin

2017 Season Overview

This season our team welcomed several new members to replace our seniors that graduated last season. These new members, along with returning members, were able to learn many new skills. These skills ranged anywhere from learning how to use a power drill, to learning about the Chairman’s Award, to even learning about how to design an efficient robot. The skills that the students learned over the season will benefit them in their future endeavors, be it with FIRST, school, work, etc.

On March 1st, we headed over to Duluth, MN to partake in the largely competitive Lake Superior Regional. Despite the tough competition, our team finished in 47th place, we learned a lot about how our robot could improve for the next regional competition.

On March 21st, we drove the long bus ride to Cedar Falls, Iowa to participate in the second annual Iowa Regional. Our robot performed much better than it did in Duluth- we ranked 33rd, but were selected to be a part of alliance number four. Unfortunately, our alliance did not qualify past quarter finals, but we are grateful to have been chosen as part of the alliance.

The Chairman’s Award team was also able to take away many things from their presentations at both regionals. The Chairman’s award is the most prestigious award that can be won through FIRST. The purpose of this award is to explain how your team demonstrates the ideals of FIRST. Our team did not win Chairman’s, however we have numerous ideas to help the community and various FIRST teams in our area for the upcoming season.

After both of these experiences, we were able to take away new concepts that would help us in the future. For example, one concept we learned helped us face the challenges with our swerve drive train. This challenge inspired two of our members to design a custom tank drive for practice, as well as possibly for next season’s game. All departments of our team are excited for what next season has to bring.

-Emily Martin

FRC 2017 Steamworks Overview

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The 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition is Steamworks. The objective of the game is to score fuel in the boiler and get gears to the airship so that your alliance can take flight.

There are two alliances during the game, each consisting of three robots. Alliances can earn points in numerous ways.  Robots collect fuel from hoppers to score into the boilers by either shooting them into the high goal or the low goal. Gears can be put on the robot and brought over to the airship to get the rotors to turn. The more kilopascals of fuel scored into the boiler, the more points the alliance will earn. The more rotors the alliance has turning, the more points they will get. In the last 30 seconds each robot can climb a rope for extra points.

The game begins with a 15 second autonomous period. During this robots can cross the baseline, score fuel in the boiler, or deliver gears to the airship.scoring

-Emily Martin

Elementary Visits

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During the post-season, our team likes to take our robot and present it to different companies and to younger students. We take our robot to local elementary schools to talk about the FIRST program and to get the students excited about their future in STEM and FIRST. When we go to the school, we talk about FRC and our team’s robot this year. We also talk about FIRST Lego League, something that they can do in the near future. Since we 3D print a lot of our parts, we bring our 3D printer along. The students seem to really enjoy our robot and seem interested in FIRST when we leave.

It is a great opportunity to be able to teach younger students about opportunities that they have in the future. The kids seem very excited about our robot and to see something that students not too much older than them created and actually got to work! Our goal is to inspire as many students as possible to join FRC or anything STEM related and to show them cool things that they can do in high school. We love to involve the students and to show them that we can shoot the ball into a basketball hoop!

-Emily Martin

Duluth Overview

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On Wednesday, March 3rd we left for the Lake Superior Regional in Duluth, Minnesota at noon, and arrived at about 5:30pm. I am a senior and part of the build team for 4818, The Herd. At Duluth I occasionally stand scouted, which is where we use an app that some of our students and mentors developed to rate teams as they play their matches. For a good part of Friday, I was the fill in safety captain that every team has in their pit area. I also helped fix any issues on the robot that we found during matches. Talking to all the teams was an amazing experience. I talked to other teams as they came to check out our pit and robot. I was able to speak to others with the same interests as me and exchange information about how best to do different parts of the game. The amount of collective knowledge was quite outstanding. I learned so much from talking to other teams, and as a whole the experience was amazing. This is my first and only year doing FIRST Robotics and I regret not joining earlier.

-Matt Martin ’16

The Building Process

Building the robot is a long process. After kickoff, the team went straight into brainstorming mode to figure out what exactly we want the robot to be able to accomplish. After we determined the main tasks, the experienced members of the team went to Fargo Automation to design the robot using 3D software.

While those members were busy at Fargo Automation, the rest of the builders worked on learning how to do everything they would need to know to be able to build the robot. They then proceeded to build the outer works for the practice field while the parts were being made for the robot.

The programming team worked on learning how to code and also built a prototype of the robot’s shooting mechanism. They tested out the code that they wrote for shooting and vision sensing.

Once the parts began to come in, both builders and programmers worked together to build the robot and test the code that the programmers wrote.

-Emily Martin

 

Creating the Practice Field

Yes, the robot is the main focus of FRC. But just as important as it is the build the robot, it is also important to build a practice field for your robot to be tested on. It is hard to know whether or not your robot properly works without being able to test it.

According to our build team, the building of the practice field went pretty smoothly. The team mentioned that the measuring of the materials needs to be exact. Cutting the wood to the exact dimensions was difficult for them, especially since it is the first year on the team for many of them. The team spent the first week or so building the field, waiting for the robot to be designed and parts to come in. Their goal was to get as much of the field done so that once the parts for the robot came, they would be able to build.

Our builders built six of the nine outerworks. They did not build the sally port, portcullis, or drawbridge.

-Emily Martin

What does an FRC Team do for Marketing?

An FRC team does many things throughout the on and off season to market their team. The team website is something that is constantly changing and improving. The website contains information about team members, the team’s history, articles about the team’s news, and many more. The website also links you to the team’s social media pages.

Social media is a big aspect of the marketing team. Social media is a way to put the team out for the world to see, and also to keep in touch with other FRC teams. The social media pages are also a way to document the team’s progress and season via pictures and videos.

Team outreach is an important part of the FRC experience. The marketing team keeps in touch with other teams. They can help start new teams, give advice to new teams, or simply just talk about their designs and/or strategy.

The marketing team helps put together events for the team to showcase their work and to help spread the idea of FRC. The team goes out into the public to help anyone, especially younger students, get excited about building robots and learning the ideals of FRC.

The team sets up multiple presentations for the Chairman’s award and for sponsorships. The Chairman’s award is a presentation showcasing all of the work the team has done within their community and around the world. It involves answering online questions, creating a video, and making a presentation to present to judges at regional competitions. Gaining sponsors are important for the team to grow. Sponsors can give the team anything from money, to parts, to handouts. The marketing team works on making scripts to contact sponsors and then calling or emailing the sponsors.

At competitions, members from the marketing team go to other teams’ pits to talk to them about their robots. They also go to gain information about their strategy. On the flip side of that, the marketing team is responsible for designing their own pit design so that it is both easy to navigate and is appealing to the eye.

The marketing team is in charge of making handouts at competitions. This can include brochures explaining the team, business cards showing the team’s contact information, and/or little things that other teams can pick up (bracelets, key chains, buttons, etc.).

T-shirts are also a part of the marketing team’s responsibilities. The shirts help other teams know who you are and where you are from. They can also promote your sponsors. The shirts can display the team logo and help with team spirit.

Lastly, at competitions, teams are allowed to have a flag that the announcer holds up when the team is announced at competitions. This year, teams are also in charge of making a team standard. This is a flag that goes above the control station during a match. It can have anything on it that showcases the team.

-Emily Martin

The Herd Volunteers at a local FLL Scrimmage

Members and Mentors from FRC 4818 The Herd helped out at the local  FLL Scrimmage. Between everyone, we were everything from project design judges to traffic control. Thank you to the following members and  mentors for helping make this scrimmage go so well!

Grace Bailey – Project Design Judge
Rose McNamee – Robot Design Judge
Bethany Teets – Project Design Judge
Devin Larson – Traffic Control
Chris Garty – Head Project Judge
Brad Baltrusch – Game Referee
Steve Larson – Project Design Judge

Andrew Vetter brought last year’s robot in and let all the kids get to see what else you can do in FIRST. We had a blast volunteering good luck to all the FLL teams with the rest of your season!

– Bethany Teets

FRC 2016 Stronghold Overview

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The 2016 FIRST Robotics Competition game is Stronghold. The objective of the game is to earn points in a variety of ways. Points can be earned by shooting boulders into the castle, crossing outer works, or breaching and scaling the castle.

There are two alliances during the game, each consisting of three robots. Alliances can earn points in numerous ways. One way to do this is to cross over the outer works. Outer works must be crossed  twice in order to score. Alliances may also shoot boulders at the castle via the high goal and/or the low goal. Each alliance is allowed a defensive robot to try and stop the opposing robots from shooting at the castle. After eight boulders have been successfully shot into the castle, the castle is captured and all robots must sit on the batter surrounding the castle. In the last 20 seconds, robots may scale the tower to gain additional points.

The game begins with a 15 second autonomous period. Robots can attempt to touch or cross the outer works and/or shoot boulders at the castle.

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-Emily Martin