Saturday, October 19, 2013

Finally, our first competition has arrived. We’ve worked really hard to get to this point, and I feel that our team was rather prepared. We arrived at school early this morning, then rode the bus down to Salem County College for the Duel on the Delaware, our very first competition.   

The morning was time to work our robot. We attached the block rake temporarily. This allowed us to test the components now, instead of waiting to attach it to the arm and test later in the season.   
We also attached the temporary autonomous block holder that was built last meeting. This will allow us to score with one block in the basket. I discovered today that the autonomous code wasn’t prepared. I was hoping to test the program, but we’ll just have to test it back at school once we set a field up. We decided to still use our block holder, because it allows us to preload a block and still score in the basket during the driver controlled period. The arm group continued working on the current ladder lift arm. The design had some flaws, so today we decided to go another direction. One of our Lockheed engineers explained a better design, so it would have more torque and move up and down faster and easier. Now the arm will be powered by string. A group began building the new arm. I’m excited about this new design. I know the team had doubts about the old one, so I’m hoping this design will work effectively. 
After lunch, we signed up to participate in the scrimmage. Enough of our robot was complete to perform. Unfortunately, our sister team 7433 was not able to have a robot complete enough to compete. I was hoping both teams could practice, but they didn’t have anything to drive. This was still a good work day for them though. Anyways, we were able to compete in the scrimmage. This was a great experience for us. We almost scored more points in one match than we did all of last year. During our first match, we experienced some problems and were unable to move successfully. The second match though, we performed really well. We scored 4 blocks: 3 on the floor and 1 in the pendulum.
We also were able to raise the flag. The interface works with the flag crank on the field. It took about nine seconds to get it up to the final position.
I couldn’t have asked for a better performance from our robot. Our team worked well since the beginning and created a robot that is more successful from our one last year. The great news is we still have a month to finish our robot before our actual first competition.
I also attended a class today on all the awards an FTC team could win. During the class, all the details of the awards were explained. This helped me target which teams I think the team can win. Some will not apply to my team, such as the compass award, or likely the innovate award. 4390 has only won the motivate award, and I hope the team can change that this year. I learned that we need a good engineering notebook to win most of the awards, and that a lot is needed to properly format the notebook. Ours is different than the physical notebook, so I am glad to know that some of the formatting things are the same. I discovered how much goes into the inspire award. We need to have a well rounded team that is good at everything. That our goal award. I think we have a chance to win it this year, but we have some work to do first. We need to perfect our engineering notebook and finish our robot. We also need to practice judging. 
This competition gave us a feel for the season. The new members of the team had a chance to experience a FIRST competition. We also were able to compare our work to that of other teams. We did some basic scouting today; we talked to other teams about their designs and goals for the season. Notes were taken in a notebook to refer back to if needed. This allowed us to judge how many other teams were planning on raising the flag and hanging, two limited use elements of the game. 
Finally, we concluded our day by watching the FRC team, who were also competing today. This was a strong example to team spirit, and showed the team how we should act at our competitions.
An all around good day was had. We learned and expanded upon our original design for our robot. Looking forward to getting back to the school and working more.
Until next time,
Grace Stridick
4390 Team Captain

Leave a Reply