Recognition in all that we do. It’s not just building robots.
At each event, two teams are selected for the Pit Safety award which recognizes through the FIRST Safety Advisors an exemplary safety program. The safety team must go through an interview process and have the Safety advisors visit their pit. There are 40 teams at an event. Only two teams are chosen for this honor. I am very proud to announce that our safety teams beginning with Autumne in 2017, Erin in 2018 and now Erin and Serena in 2019 have received the Pit Safety award at not just our local event, but BOTH events for each of the last three years. Congratulations ladies, and thank you for keeping the team safe!
It was a rough starting to our first competition this season. We won our first match. Lost our second. We won our third and lost the fourth. We won the fifth, but lost the sixth. The team was getting frustrated. It was obvious we had a strong bot. We were leading with total cargo scoring, but we just were not getting enough ranking points to stay on top. Then, everything changed. We won match seven, then eight, then nine! We continued to win every match we played all the way through to match 12. By the time qualification rounds were complete, MegaHurtz had earned the ninth ranking position out of 40 teams and were placed as the captain of the number seven alliance going into the quarter finals.
Unfortunately, the good news ends there. We were eliminated in the second round of the quarter finals. While we were toe to toe with scoring the the match, none of the bots on our alliance could climb the third hab level. Without that end game boost in points, we simply could not win the match and the better alliance prevailed.
Even with losing, we proved we have a superior bot in many ways. We did not have a single mechanical breakdown during the entire competition. The team did an excellent job working together and we earned a captain's position during alliance selection. We had one of the highest cargo scoring bots during qualification. We have a lot to be proud of.
A sneak peak at our 2019 Robot
WEEK 4 -
Most of the country was hit hard with snow this week, and we lost precious time to snow days. However, we made the best of it and have still gotten a lot done.This week we focused on our lift and gripper mechanisms. Our lift is coming along well and is able to go up and down with a great deal of weight on it. However, we are having issues with binding, where the lift gets stuck coming back down. We have redesigned our cargo gripper and it works significantly better than our prototype. We have started work on an articulating arm that will give our robot greater maneuverability with picking up and placing game pieces. Our robot is starting to take shape, but there is a long way to go.
WEEK 5 -
Our robot is almost complete! After several prototypes, our robot's articulating arm is now fully functional and attached to the robot. We have also added our cargo gripper and a hatch manipulator onto the arm. In a few days, the robot was wired up and made fully controllable. The only thing left to do is to add sensors and cameras. We have done lots of driving, including driver tryouts.
WEEK 6 -
It is now time to put our robot in a giant plastic bag (for the last year ever until bagging is no longer a rule) and focus on other things. This week, we added two cameras and sensors, including limit switches and a gyroscope, to our robot. We were invited to join several other teams at Team 2959 CW Tech Robotarians' workshop for a day of practice on their annually built field. This was an amazing opportunity and we would like to thank them again for inviting us. We were able to work out bugs in our design and code that would have caused issues at our first competition. Now we must focus on other things, like constructing our new pit setup.This has been a great build season, and we are all excited for our first competition in St. Joe on March 7-9.
The Chassis is built. The drivetrain installed. We have a drivable robot and are well on our way with the ball gripper system. We have also redesigned the lift (elevator) system we used for last year's bot. The gripper/ball intake will mount to that so we can reach up the nearly 7' to the highest hatch.
In the first week of robotics, we planned out ideas from the team and meshed them all together into one design.
We ordered the needed parts from Vex and started working on a mock-up model of a gripper for this year. While we're designing the bot, a few others were getting ideas for the uniform designs for this year.
MegaHurtz Receives $5000 NASA Sustaining Grant.
Planning for and raising the funds to compete in the 2019 FRC season has been a huge challenge. MegaHurtz continues to be a fully self-funded team. This means that we receive no actual funds from the school district and all support comes from our community and generous sponsors. Buchanan is a small rural area and the challenge of raising the $16,000 we need each year has been made more difficult with each passing year. We are very fortunate and happy to announce that we applied for and received a $5000 grant from NASA as part of their Robotics Alliance Project for FRC teams. This grant pays the $5000 entry fee for FIRST and allows for us to compete in two of the District level competitions held around the state.
We wish to sincerely thank the folks at NASA, FRC, all our supporters and our sponsors for making the 2019 season possible for our team.
Information on the grant award:
Information pulled from the NASA Robotics Alliance Project website (https://frc-grants.arc.nasa.gov/rcs/directions.php)
Sustaining Grants: It is recognized that this is again an extraordinarily difficult year for many teams due to the national economic situation. Due to the extreme circumstances, many long-term teams have lost significant corporate sponsorship and are on the brink of ceasing operations. It is our intent to provide short-term assistance to those teams to allow them to continue productive participation in the program while they identify and acquire new long-term sponsorship. Toward that end, NASA will accept applications for "Sustaining Grants" to provide registration awards for qualified veteran teams. Sustaining Grants are intended to help teams on the verge of dissolution, and are not intended funding for participation in second or third competition events.
To qualify, teams must document that they have lost one or more of the primary financial sponsors that they had during the 2018 season, and explain how this loss of sponsorship affects the potential for survival of the team. The team must also describe their plans for recovery of long-term sponsorship, and how this will be acquired in time to sustain the team beyond the 2019 season.
The Sustaining Grants are one-year, one-time grants, and may not be offered again in the future.
Gracious Professionalism: It's a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. I am so very proud of how my team showed their Gracious Professionalism this weekend.
There are so many things going on at a robotics competition. When the team arrives on Thursday, we have to unpack the trailer, carry everything into our little 10’ x 10’ space that will be our home for the next two days and set everything up. We have to track down inspectors, get the robot weighed, update our software, have our radio configured for field play and stake out a good spot in the bleachers to watch all the action. While all this is going on, 39 other teams are sending representatives to introduce themselves and ask about our bot. It can be a bit overwhelming for a veteran team, so it’s no surprise rookie teams get completely lost in the all the comotion. This is where MegaHurtz really shined this weekend. Despite everything we had to do, our team members stepped up to help a rookie group of students that came to competition with a partially assembled and completely non-functional robot.
Team 7302 the BCPS 21st Century Bearcats from Battle Creek, consisted of four students and two mentors. They meet in a library basement and started this season with nothing more than the desire to be a part of FIRST. When we met them, their robot chassis was not put together correctly and was missing parts. They had not programmed their bot or even knew how and unfortunately, more things were held on their bot with zip ties than anything else. Two of our team members came back to the pits asking what we could do to help them. It was decided that two students and one mentor would take whatever extra parts we could spare and help out. In total, we spent three hours with them on Thursday. On Friday morning, we all met back at our workshop and gathered more supplies and tools to take with us to St. Joe. With our help to fix the chassis and drive system, and two other teams programming and extra parts Team 7302 had a drivable bot ready for competition by lunchtime Friday.
With FIRST, it’s not about winning. While everyone wants to win, it’s the experience that matters. During a day and half of qualifications, you’ll play with and against every other team that is there. One minute the team that just squashed you in one match is by your side helping you to squash someone else. There are no rivalries or grudges. If something happens in a match and your bot goes down, the opposing team is likely the first to come up to you and genuinely ask if you need assistance. They do this not because they beat you, but because they know it could just as easily have been them needing your help. This weekend we finished 26th our of 40 teams. We didn’t get picked for an alliance and we didn’t win any awards. We did however, give a tiny rookie team an experience they’ll never forget. This weekend, everyone embodied the spirit of Gracious Professionalism and represented our community well. I could not be more proud of my team.
This week in the MegaHurtz workshop, we tweaked our lift system, ordered new motors, and worked on the gripper for the robot.
Our lift system is complete! After a few last minute fixes and tweaks, our lift system is fully functioning. One of the main issues with the lift system was the motors, they were internally damaged. We quickly ordered new motors, which thankfully have just arrived.
The main event of the week has been the gripper. After building it, we had to take it apart and reassemble it with some adjustments. The main issue with the gripper was its weight. It was simply too heavy. The issue has now been resolved, and our robot is nearly complete.
This week in the MegaHurtz workshop, the electronics team has begun their work on the robot, graphic panels are being designed, and we have nearly perfected our lift system.
The electronics team have begun their work this week with the installation of cables. Several parts of the robot were reworked to make sure wire connect perfectly. Although progress started slow, we're now speeding up and continue to work with electronics to make the robot functional.
Because of the frame of our robot, we have the chance to add panels with good graphics onto the robot. Since Power Up is themed around old video games, we will be designing the panels to look similar to the start screens of arcade games. We will also be featuring our sponsors on the side graphics.
MegaHurtz Team Blog