09 Mar

Good afternoon everyone, we've got a lot to cover in this newsletter, and our Open House and our competitions are fast approaching. Stay tuned!
First of all, our first comp is SOON!
We'll be going to the Sacramento Regional from March 23-26. Your student's school forms must be submitted by Tuesday, March 14 to be processed in time for comp. As always, those forms are attached. If your student will be attending the competition on Friday, March 24, they must have all of their teachers sign the back of the permission form, otherwise an absence on Friday will be considered an unexcused absence. Also, please read Christine Arnould's email about signing up and paying for food at Davis. Please try to be as accurate as possible when signing up for food, since at CalGames we had lots of food go to waste. Make sure that you check and update this spreadsheet, as per Ryan's email. 
Also, keep in mind that we'll be going to a second competition from April 5-8, which'll be at San Jose State University. It'll be substantially easier to travel to, and we'll give out more information (and paperwork) for that once it gets closer. To go to either comp, you'll need to fill out FIRST's online consent form here.
To check whether you have the proper forms, reservations, and signups, you can reference this sheet. You can navigate the various tabs at the bottom for different info (so convenient!)
If you or your student aren't sure about going for financial reasons, you can secure a travel scholarship. Since these competitions are the culmination of months of hard work, we'd love to see all of our students there. If you believe that you will need a scholarship, please contact Mr. Roisen at proisen@seq.org.

If you'd like to donate to the team, you can reference the bottom of this document.

Again, we have a few photo albums: One for kickoff, and another for the rest of this season here.
And now, the robots: 
We assembled the majority of our first robot (temporarily christened "UltraLuke) during the first weekend of Midwinter Break. We encountered several challenges during assembly, beginning with our storage system.
Our storage system is essentially a conveyor belt that runs through the middle of the robot. Once the robot picks up cones or cubes with its intake, it'll keep them in the storage area to be picked up by the arm. The belts that we wanted to use were supposed to arrive on the Friday night of the crunch weekend, but got lost in shipping. Fortunately, we were able to devise and prototype a new belt system on that Saturday that used a completely different type of belt and roller, but still worked with the original mountings. We tested it last weekend, and it was able to transport both game pieces with ease. 

Our next challenge was the intake. This year, we tried out a new intake system our team had never used before: the linkage intake. Unfortunately, our lack of experience meant that the intake came out a little bit... floppy. We decided to rebuild the actuator arms of the intake after break to be 50% thicker, which resolved the issue. During crunch, we also assembled and attached our arm and gripper system, which required some surgical precision (and also a large mallet).  

After returning from break, we took the arm off to replace parts of the joint. We continued working on electrical and pneumatics systems of the robot, and we've been slowly troubleshooting various motors on the robot. Meanwhile, our programmers have been hard at work preparing to put code on the robot, which we hope to do in the next week. They've been working on a wide range of systems, from easily programmable auton to camera-based localization. You'll be able to learn more about their various projects at our Open House next week. We also started our driver training earlier today, using "Connor," our old swerve drive from CalGames.
What's Next?
Our next event is our Open House/Robotics Expo, which will be on Wednesday, March 15. It starts at 6:30, and it'll include a quick presentation about our season so far, a demo of the robot, and several student-led stations where you'll be able to learn more about certain systems. We don't have any limit on max attendance for Open House, so make sure to invite family and friends!
In terms of scheduling, we'd like all of our students to attend the meetings on Monday, March 20 where we plan on giving more student-relevant details about both of our comps, and Wednesday, March 22, where we'll need the maximum number of students to help pack up equipment. Also note that as we get closer to our comps, it'll be more common for Friday and Saturday meetings to run longer than usual (potentially past midnight). Naturally, there is no requirement for students to stay late, although it is fun.
We hope to y'all at Open House. Goodbye, and Sko Bears!

Tommy Knox

Tech President, FRC 766

* The email will not be published on the website.