Team Documents


This page has lots of materials for helping team members learn more about designing, building, and fielding highly competitive robots.

  • Team Training - resources to learn more about robot design and describes how new members can be properly trained to use the robotics lab tools.
  • Team Organization - describes how our team is organized and conducts business.  Our team structure is a key part to our team's success in providing a quality experience for students and building quality robots.
  • Robot Design - provides a lot of detailed information for our robots including how to download CAD for all of them.  Other teams will likely find this section as interesting as our team members will.

Spartan Robotics team uses a bunch of documents to organize the team and design the robots. Some of these files require membership to the Google FRCTeam971 group to view. Contact Wyn Schuh to be added to this group.

Team Training

Participating on a robotics team provides a rich opportunity to develop different technical and business skills across many disciplines.  We encourage team members to develop as many skills as they would like and to specialize in one or more areas.  Due to the lack of unlimited mentor time, we are unable to give one-on-one instruction to students whenever they want it so we are providing the following guidance on how to learn skills in different areas.  The fastest way to develop a broad range of skills for robotics is to read the materials below and do development work outside of team meeting times.  Feel free to contact any of the team students and mentors for guidance and direct help.  Also send any suggestions for improving this page to Michael and/or Wyn.

    • Tool Usage and Tool Training
      Students, mentors, and guests all need to be trained on any tool they use before they use it. We do this for safety and to keep the tools in good working order.
      • Hands on Tool Training is given after people followed the steps to officially join the team.
        • Hands on Tool Training on the basic tools as well as the notcher, Rotex Punch, Press Brake, Sanders, and band saws is given by an authorized trainer after the above items have been completed.  Successfully completing the training is required for students and mentors to use the team tools.  
      • Electrical Safety Training - We will be updating this content soon.
      • Waivers from the team training requirements are only given by Michael, Austin, & Travis for people they deem qualified based on their experience.
      • The 971 Tool Training Log tracks who is trained on the various tools.  The privilege of using team tools is contingent on being properly trained and will be withdrawn if tools are not being used safely or being used in a way that will be damaging to the tools or anything else.  The team Tool Lead and Safety Lead have final say on who can use tools and how tools can be used.  Only people logged into the team Google Group can view the 971 Tool Training Log and Team Roles documents.  
      • Manuals for several of the 971 Team tools and machines are available in Tools and Machines folder in the teams Google Drive.  You have to be on the 971 Team Google Groups Elist and authenticate into your Google account to view these files.
      • We require that there be a district fingerprinted adult supervisor who is dedicated to safety in attendance at all meetings.  This is because often other mentors in attendance are focused on working with students and not general safety.  Adult supervisor requirements and guidelines can be found here.  Information on becoming a district fingerprinted adult can be found here.

  • Software and Programming
    • The Software team uses Gerrit GIT to manage all code. For access please fill out this form.
    • The 2017 software page describes how we set up the programming computers and robot code for the 2017 competition season.
    • The 2016 software page describes how we set up the programming computers and robot code for the 2016 competition season. 
    • The 2015 software page describes how we set up the programming computers and robot code for the 2015 competition season. 
    • The 2014 software page describes how we set up the programming computers and robot code for the 2014 competition season.  It also has a link to the 2014 robot source code.
    • The team programmers use Linux for code development.  Brian Silverman wrote this page that describes how to get started with FRC programming under Linux.  It has some brief comments on GIT in it.
    • Travis suggests that students look at these books if they are interested in learning about programming.  The full text of the books is available on line.  The author, Allen Downey, is a professor at Olin College of Engineering where Travis attended college.


  • First Youth Protection Program (abbreviated YPP)
    • As of May 1st 2014, FIRST Robotics has implemented a new protection policy to raise awareness and prevent unsafe working conditions for frc teams. For more information on the policy, please read this document. FIRST has provided us with an introductory video as a quick overview of this program. 
    • The First Youth Protection Program(YPP) is based on six fundamentals:
      • Supervision of program activities
      • Openness
      • Clear lines of communication, authority, and decision-making
      • Trust, dignity, and respect
      • Collaboration and Cooperation
      • Regular Review
    • As a team, Spartan Robotics works hard to maintain a safe working environment for all members. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns regarding team member safety.
  • 2013 Fall Robot Camp - Starting in 2012, 971 began putting on a robot camp for our team members.  Steve created Roboti Camp Videos for the introduction, example robot, CAD, Outreach, Programming, Leadership, and Student Stories sessions.
  • Karthik is a legendary mentor from FRC Team 1114, Simbotics, in Waterloo Canada.  He has given his "Effective FIRST Strategies for Design and Competition" presentation in many venues through the years.  Here are the slides and video of his 2012 FRC Championship presentation and video of his November 6, 2013 FRC Ask an Expert presentation.  The first hour of the 2013 video is his presentation and the last hour of it is a question answer session.  The Simbotics Team 1114 website resources page has a bunch or resources for building and designing robots and running a FRC team.
  • 2013 FRC Season Workshops - The purpose of the 2013 FIRST Robotics Competition Season Workshops is to provide teams the opportunity to learn from other teams, mentors, supporters, and suppliers.
  • FRC GameSense is excited to announce (9/18/14) that they are working together on a new series of videos:  Behind the Lines.  If you were familiar with the Ask an Expert calls, this is the newest version.  The purpose of this series is to educate and help engage participants in the FRC community.  We will feature experts on a variety of topics that are essential for FRC teams to know.  They also have a FRCGameSense YouTube Channel.

Team Organization

  • Team Leadership Structure - The team adopted this Team Leadership Structure before the 2012/2013 school year and uses it to manage the team.  Team parent and mentor Finbarr Crispie lead the effort to create the 971 team leadership structure.  He worked closely with mentors Wyn, Austin and Michael and student team leaders Kevin, Nick, Brian, and James.  Other students and mentors helped too.  Finbarr and Wyn talked with several teams at the 2012 FIRST Championship Event about how their teams.  Here are their notes from these team organization and structure conversations.  They are archived here so that our team and others can learn more about how teams are organized and how it works for them.
  • Team Rules and Expectations - This is a document that each member needs to read and agree to.
  • Team 971 Member Contract - We require a signed contract for each team member.
  • Team 971 Photo and Video Policy - We have specific policies regarding the distribution of team media during the season.
  • 2017-2018 Team roster with phone numbers and email address and web form to add new members.  Use your Google Group EMail list account to access the team rosters.  Wyn copies new entries from the web form to the roster by hand.  Contact her for changes and updates.  Rosters for prior seasons:2015-2016 Stronghold, 2014-2015 Recycle Rush, 2013-2014 Aerial Assist, 2012-2013 Ultimate Ascent, 2012 Rebound Rumble; 2011 Logo Motion
  • MVHS Robotics Lab Phone Number: As of February 9, 2014, the phone in the robotics lab, MVHS Room P5 can be called by dialing (650) 940-7472.  The phone does not ring very loudly so if no one answers, you can call back and try again or leave a message.  No guarantees that anyone will listen to the messages in a timely fashion though.  
  • Description of the Team Infrastructure Roles and the names of the people responsible for these roles.  
  • To help teams understand and implement the FIRST Safety Program, the FIRST created the FIRST Safety Manual.  It provides information on the FIRST Safety Awareness and Recognition Program.   Please read it to help you safely participate in the FRC program.  Instilling a culture of safety is a value that every individual in the FIRST community must embrace as we pursue FIRST’s mission and vision.  FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) has adopted safety as a core value and has established the framework for safety leadership in all aspects of the program. 
  • We have a permission slip that we may start using this season.  When it is used, this form should be printed, filled out, and returned to Wyn Schuh before a student can be an active member on the team.
  • FIRST requires that all participants (students and mentors) sign a FIRST Consent and Release form.  We use the FRC electronic Consent and Release form with is good for all FRC competition season events.  Students and their parents access the electronic form in STIMS and mentors access the electronic form in TIMS.  Pages 1, 2, & 4 in the “Process Overview Document” describe the process for students and their parent approvers.   Returning mentors need to go to the TIMS site and use their username and password from last year to sign the 2013 release form.  New mentors need to click on the "create user account" button on the TIMS page. 
  • Sub-Team Leader expectations.
  • Purchasing: use the purchasing form to make a purchase request and/or record purchased items.  The Ordering Procedures page describes how to purchase items for the team.  Purchases require pre-approval if you want to be reimbursed using team funds.  Reimbursements for pre-approved purchases can be made by following the reimbursement directions.  Pre-approval requests are made by email to Wyn or Austin who will approve or deny the request or direct people to the Leadership Council.  Purchases can also be approved by the leadership council.
  • We use two EMail lists to keep the team informed.
  • Team documents can be accessed on the Spartan Robotics FRC 971 Google Drive by those on the Google Groups FRC Team  Email List.
  • Team Blog
  • Friday Dinner signup list -  As a team, we establish a dinner rotation for Friday nights during the build season to support our students and mentors as they work.  Friday is usually a long work day, starting right after school and going into the evening.  Contact Dorit Perry for details.
  • Students use the 971 login Google application to log their hours for 2012 course credit.
  • Here is the process for adults to become authorized volunteers (also known as fingerprinted) so that they can supervise our team meetings.  As of Fall 2013, we can again use fingerprinted adults to supervise without a school district employee being present.  Dec 4, 2013, Wyn.
  • Adults must complete a MVLA School District Volunteer Driver Application and be approved as a volunteer driver to drive students for team related activities. The application process is described here.
  • Directions including a map for how to go with the 971 team to the NASA robotics lab.
  • IT computer system computer list, system logs, and design document.
  • IT Routine Updates 


Ideally this section will eventually contain pointers to resources that new students can use to understand how our computing hardware and software on the robots is set up and be able to program it.  For now, all it has are a few notes.  See the Software and Programming training section for general resources on learning how to program robots.  The 2017 software page talks about how to download and work with the robot code.

We used at fit-PC as our on robot secondary computer in 2012 and 2013.  We upgraded to a BeagleBone Black for the 2014 season.  We discontinued use of a secondary computer with the 2015 release of the roboRIO.

  • There is a README in SVN that has instructions on creating a bootable flash drive for debugging the fit-PC.
  • There is another README that has instructions on creating debian packages that allow building 32-bit software for the fitpc on a 64-bit development machine.


Robot Design Documents

Ongoing Design Philosophies

  • Bumpers
  • Electrical - notes on the materials that we use, how we use them, and where to buy them from.



  • The Game
    • Main FRC Competition Game Manual, one page game description, and the FRC game links for past competitions.
    • Details, Photos, and Videos for our 2018 FIRST POWER UP robot2018 Robot - Curiosity
      • Photos and Videos
        • Release picture and video on
        • Photos for the season including everything from brain storming, pitures of detailed parts, to pitures from the Championship and other competitions.
        • Videos from the competitions, Chairman's Award submission, and interviews.
      • Robot design details
        • The technical documentation details our design process and the technical details for our robot.  We gave this document to the judges at the competitions. 
        • The controls documentation  provides additional information on how we used inverse kinematics to control the motions of the robot. We also gave this document to the judges at the competitions.
        • The CAD file download page has the CAD for our robots starting with the 2007 robot and includes CAD for our 2018 robot.  For the 2018 robot, we have posted the CAD in STEP and SolidWorks Native format.  If you open the SolidWorks CAD files in SolidWorks, you will learn a lot about how we design parts and assemblies.
        • The 2018 software page has a snapshot of our robot source code.


2016 FIRST Stronghold

2015 Recycle Rush

    • The Game
      • Main FRC Recycle Rush competition page with game video and links to other important game documents such as the competition manual page with game description and rules and Field Tour Video.
      • The Competition Q&A System.
      • FRC Mechanical, Control System Hardware, and Software Technical Resources.  This is the main FIRST page for learning more about how to build and program the 2015 robot.
      • At 7:42 into the Kick Off Video, Dean Kamen talks about FRC teams and says that "Robots are nothing but a vehicle.  It is a vehicle that connects kids with serous professional adults."  He talks about teams at 8:30 in the video and says that a really good team is made up diverse members that can pasionatly debate their ideas and embrase the best ideas.  The kick off starts off by talking about mentors.  They repeatedly stess the importance and values of mentors.
    • Team Documentation
      • Robot Build Season Documentation.  This year we making an effort to better document all stages of the building process.  Documentation is located in the the shared Google Drive under 2014-2015 Season Files > Robot > Documentation. In this folder you can find instructions for how to format entries and folders for each week.  It is the responsibility of everyone working on a project on a given day (leader or not) to make sure an update is posted, even if that is just a one sentence recap of the work done. Everyone, leader or not, can and should contribute to the documentation.   Feel free to ask Morgan if you have any questions.   Jan 6, 2015
    • CAD
      • Everybody working on CAD, it is very important to pay attention to the properties of SolidWorks files that you create. These properties determine what shows up on the drawings we send to manufacturers, so if these aren't done right, we WILL get parts made wrong and/or not all of our parts made. Whenever you create a file, rename a file, copy a file, or delete a file, make sure to update its status both in the robot parts spreadsheet and in the properties for the file.


2013 Ultimate Assent 

2012 Rebound Rumble

    • Game and Season Information from FIRST - has links to the Competition Manual, Team Updates, Kit of Parts, game Q & A, Awards, News and Email Blasts, and more.
    • Team Updates - FIRST sends out revisions every so often to clarify or edit rules.
    • Rules Q&A - read up on how the new Q&A system works here.  It's a nice system that lets you sort by rule number as well as sections of the manual, and see what questions have been posted already.  You can also "follow" questions and be notified by email when a response has been posted by the GDC.  Evan Jan 11.
    • Everyone attending the 2012 competitions must take and pass this quiz. The deadline is March 1, 2012.  You can take this quiz multiple times, all that matters is that you eventually get 100%.  If you want to practice separately, you can take this practice quiz, it's exactly the same except that one does not require a login.  Teresa
    • BOM - Bill of Materials for the competition.  Jame Kuszmaul is the contact.
    • 2012 Game animation and field tour videos are available on this YouTube Channel.  Colbert and Woody Flowers presentation on "why first", creative process, and living in the 2100 century.
    • Bill's Blog - News direct from the Director of FRC at FIRST.

2011 Logo Motion

  • The FIRST Links page has links to the game documents and other important links.
  • The Robot Parts List is used tracking which drawings need and have been made. The drawings are given to our sponsors to be used to manufacture parts for the robot.
  • Notes on how the robot code works and is compiled and downloaded to the robot.
  • CAD file download page.
  • Here's some calculations on elevator lift speeds using the real weights for this robot. Parker did some detailed work predicting the elevator speed and lifting times. Austin's spreadsheet has some verifying checks of Parker's work.
  • Details, Photos, and Videos for our 2011 Logo Motion robot
    • Craig Zarmer's season wrap up video with a summary of the season covering the robot construction to competition matches.
  • Driver Station Notes:
    • Before the 2011 MadTown Throwdown competition, we would loose control of the practice bot.  It would not respond to stick inputs so we would have to disable it.  It appeared that the laptop was loosing communication with the USB devices used for the wheel, throttle, and manipulators.  Perhaps the powered drive wheel was part of the problem.  We replaced the passive USB hub with a powered USB hub and this greatly reduced the problems and may have even eliminated them.  The unit we purchased was a Winstar WS-UH3041 USB3.0/2.0 4-Ports Hub w/ AC Adapter Black 5Gbps for $30 from Central Computers on El Camino Real in Sunnyvale.  Michael & Alex.





2008-2007 Seasons