The team recently attended, the Madera MadTown Throwdown off-season event in Madera, where we fielded three robots. The first two robots (which were run as team numbers 971 and 8971) were the two near-identical robots which we built during the main competition season, one for competition and the other for practice. The main difference between the two is that on the 8971 robot we used a new clutch transmission which was designed and built during the off-season and which we hope to try and use during the 2014 season. The third robot (9971) was built on top of our 2012 drivebase but the design, manufacturing, assembly and programming were all done by less experienced or completely new members, providing a great way to get new members more engaged during the off-season, when we have more time to spend training people and not just building the competition robot.
At Madera, we were able to field all 3 robots, which gave 9 members (5 of 9 were new to the team this year) the chance to be on drive team. From the stands, many mentors and parents commented on how when the robots needed some fixing up, there was a flurry of yellow spartan robotics shirts all over the arena. As was expected, we had a few minor issues with the main robot (971) and the third robot (9971) which took several qualification matches to resolve, resulting in several matches where the robots either performed poorly or not at all. However, towards the end of the Saturday qualification matches and for most of Sunday, all three robots were working well and all were picked during alliance selections. The main robot (971) was picked by the third alliance captain, 1836, the MilkenKnights and then picked team 1671, the Buchanan Bird Brains as the third team on our alliance. The second and third robots (8971 and 9971) were both chosen by the fourth alliance captain, team 846, the Funky Monkeys. The main robot (971) made it through the quarterfinals and upset the second seeded alliance (team 100, team 254, and team 1323’s second robot (1324)) in the semifinals, and lost in the first finals match against teams 9973 (973’s third robot), 1678 (Curie division winners from this season), and 9970 (team 3970’s second robot), and lost again the second finals match after a substitute team had to be brought in for 1836 when 1836’s drivetrain broke. The second and third robots (8971 and 9971, with 846) made it to the quarterfinals and lost over the course of three matches to 1323 (the host team), 8973 (973's second robot) and 2073.
As always, we would like to thank all of our alliance partners, team 1323 for hosting the event, and all the volunteers who help to make Madera such a great event.
Now that all of the off-season events are over, the team will be focusing on organizing the new room, training new members, and talking to sponsors for the 2014 season.
During the summer, we moved into our new room, but so far we have not had a chance to really go in and completely organize everything to our satisfaction. Now that there is no pressure from off-season events, we will be having meetings to organize the lab so that during the build season we have the best work environment we can make. Look for emails and look on the calendar for updates on this.
Because of the third robot project, we were able to involve new members at a much greater level much earlier in the season than normal. However, there is always a great deal to learn and we will be working on training people in various areas in preparation for the build season, be it just learning how to use the tools or an already experienced member being trained on the lathe.
And, as always, we will be needing to make sure that we have both the monetary sponsors and the manufacturing sponsors to tide us through the 2014 season: Monetary sponsors for the money which we need for registration, buying parts, maintaining tools and more; and manufacturing sponsors for making us the robot parts from drawings which we provide them. Both types of sponsors are critical to the team’s success and we will be talking to both old and potentially new sponsors about sponsorship for the 2014 season.