New Sponsors, and other updates

Sheet metal just out of the laser

Over the last several months, a team of students and mentors have been working hard to contact machine shops, looking for them to make parts for us during the season. Over the summer, our main machining sponsors, Berger Manufacturing, went out of business, so the team leadership created a group for finding replacements for Berger.
There are two main types of sponsors which the team has. There are monetary sponsors, such as Google, or the Abbott Fund, or Intuitive Surgical, which provide the much needed money for buying tools, paying for regional registration, building the robot, and helping subsidize team travel to help students who can’t afford it. However, these because we still need actual machined parts for use on our robot, and because paying for machined parts can be very expensive, we also need sponsors which can assist us in manufacturing parts for the robot. Also, there are two main categories of manufactured parts on our robot: Sheet metal, which is what most of our robot is built out of, and machined parts, of which we have fewer than we do sheet metal parts. Sheet metal is, quite literally, sheets of metal which have had holes punched or lasered out, and are then bent. The machined parts are generally shafts, or mounts, created by starting with a block of metal and lathing or milling the unwanted metal away.
In the past, Berger created all our sheet metal parts, and there were several other very generous companies which donated the machined parts. When Berger closed down, we realized that we did not want to rely on a single sponsor, however valuable they were, nor did we want to put too much financial strain on any sponsor, so we began looking to find as many potential sponsors as we could, and then contact them, see if they were able to sponsor us, and ultimately have them say that they could manufacture some number of our parts.
Although this process is still ongoing, we have already had several very generous companies offer to manufacture some of our parts:

We are in the process of contacting more manufacturing sponsors, hoping to reduce the load on individual sponsors to avoid giving anyone an unreasonable number of parts. If you believe you have information that would be useful to our efforts, feel free to contact us using the contact page and selecting “sponsorship” as the category.

We won the Madtown Throwdown, with the help of team 1323’s two robots (our own second robot faced us in the quarterfinals). In the finals, we faced team 2399, team 399, and team 5073 (team 2073’s second robot). We also won the GBS Innovation Award, for having a unique, innovative robot. We had a great time playing with and against all the other teams at Madera, and we thank all the volunteers who worked to make the Throwdown such a great event.
Also, for the last couple years (this year and last year), the throwdown has hosted a fundraiser for Abby, a child with brain cancer. Although the exact number has not been posted, over $2000 was raised at this year’s competition, through the sponsorship of matches and donations by teams.

Behind The Design
Team 1718, The Fighting Pi, recently compiled several articles on the designs of various teams in 2012. We are featured in the article, which we have located here.

Holiday Meeting Schedule
For the holidays, we will be following an unusual meeting schedule. You can find the meeting schedule, as always, on the team calendar.

Leadership Council Meetings
The leadership council, the main leadership body of the team has been meeting over the last several months, and will continue to meet during the build season. The main job of the leadership council is to help to allocate resources well, especially human resources, which requires that we allocate jobs to different people (rather than all to one person), which requires all the various leaders of different sorts to come. All times are posted on the team calendar.