2020 Build Season

Week 1:

Excited by the teaser video, the team arrived ready for kick off on January 4th.  To start the day off, we split into teams and played a mini version of the Amazing Race.  As we ran around the high school trying to find and complete all of our roadblocks we had a great time building our team's energy.  Then we returned to watch the reveal video. Stirred by the challenge in front of us, we set to working through understanding the rules of the game. We then went through a rapid “design” session that jump started our overall robot design. Splitting into our subteams, we got busy working on the different aspects of this year’s robot.  The modelers began to design the different parts of the robots while the programmers were working on downloading the new software. The marketing team has been busy working on updating our pit design and getting our Super Bowl Squares fundraiser kicked off. Anyone who wasn’t busy with those tasks was helping build and assemble the practice field.  With a lot to do in a short amount of time, the team continues to test prototypes, design and program. Check back next week for updates!

Week 2:

A lot has gone down this week. One of the main objectives of the game this year is to shoot a ball into a goal to move on to the next level of the game while getting as many points as possible. The team had designed two prototypes, creating a part for the robot to shoot the ball into the goal with optimal success. On Monday, one of our prototypes couldn’t handle the power used to operate it and exploded one of the wheels. The problem was fixed and the team began testing the shooters on the practice field (which has been almost completed). Our team had a lot of fun messing around with the shooters and this has made for a great morale booster, being able to see the fruits of their labor. 

Week 3:

With so much that has been going on the past two weeks, the transition into this week was really easy. Another one of our teams have fallen into the limelight this week with their astonishing work so far: the climber team. The final obstacle in the game is to attach your robot to a hanging bar, keeping it elevated above the ground, and to balance the bar (watch the reveal video for more information). Our team has been working hard, readjusting the technology from last year’s robot to fit this year’s climber. Much of the robot’s design is being kept under wraps to prevent spoilers, but the strategy for this part has extended our overall abilities, making us an even better alliance member. The marketing team has also been working hard redesigning the layout of the pit and optimize space. The pit has to fit all of the team’s necessary tools, have plenty of storage for a clean work space, and plenty of work room for the team to use between matches. With the general layout finished, the team has begun making and ordering the parts of the pit. Finally, our school had its 8th grade night. All 8th graders who will be becoming freshmen next year were invited to go around the school and visit the many different extracurriculars around the school. Many of the students had shown a great interest in MARS/WARS as they watched last year’s robot spin around and do tricks as well as being given the chance to play with some of our miniature robots. We have great hopes for next year’s team.

Week 4:

This week, our mechanical team worked on the frame of the robot, making sure everything fit and nothing was hanging off of it. They also began to make a “ball hopper” (a place for the balls to sit inside the robot before being brought into the ball shooter) and made some of the smaller parts of the robot like the hinges, pins, and bolts. There was a brief mistake with the ball hopper since the modelers made a few changes while the mechanical team was in the process of making the part. Thankfully, the problem was easily fixed and the part is being developed further. Our team has also finished putting together another one of the pieces for the practice field: the control panel (a color wheel-looking device). During the games, our robot will have to drive to the control panel, make a certain amount of revolutions, and then also be able to turn the wheel to a specific color. Our programming team finished up the programming for the color sensor and has connected it to part of the robot that will mechanically turn the wheel. The color sensor is now ready for testing and we can’t wait to see how it goes! Make sure to check in next week to read about how the testing went!

Week 5:

Despite one of our practice days being cancelled because of the weather conditions, our group still completed a decent amount of work. The arm for our robot that is supposed to spin the control panel has been attached to the robot and is functioning. The ball shooter has also been completed and can be attached to the robot. Earlier this week, our programming team was having a hard time with the new code, so they spent the majority of their time trying to debug it. The marketing team spent their time this week putting together some of the finishing touches for the pit and have put together a fundraiser. (Make sure to check in again next week to learn more about this fundraiser.) Now the team is looking into customized team buttons and temporary tattoos.

Week 6:

The week-day work hours were once again, long and rewarding. The team members all knew what they had to do, making adjustment after adjustment to previously made parts. Saturdays tend to be the most productive days of the week, and this week was no exception. (Saturdays are so productive because all four categorical teams are working together at the same time for almost six straight hours, only stopping for lunch.) Some of our members started the morning with the Drive Team test while the rest of the team worked.  The mechanical team spent the day producing and adjusting parts throughout the day at a spit-fire pace. With the constant changes to the robot being made throughout the day, the modelers were busy keeping up with the big changes and small adjustments. Next, the electrical and programming teams were working together to try and finish up the wiring and movement and the drivetrain programming. Finally, the marketing team worked on making team buttons and open house preparation while information about the upcoming competitions were being passed out. MARS/WARS will be holding a fundraiser at the Metamora Eli's on Wednesday March 11th, so go get your coffee and help benefit your local FRC team!

Week 7:

The robot and all of its parts have been put together this week, but after a quick test drive, there were some immediate problems found. The team got to work again, working out the kinks. Our modeling members had to go back into the designs, solve what went wrong with the “ball intake” and make the necessary adjustments. Once they fixed the problem, the mechanical kids got to work, recreating the part. The electrical team connected the motors and the wires that allows the ball shooter to sense where the goal is. The programmers added music to the motors (for fun), got the robot to move and pick up balls, and are now working on the shooter and the elevator system. Another big thing that happened this week was discussing the Open House. Our teams broke down into their categorical teams (MarsCars, Modelers, Mechanical, Electrical, Programmers, the Drive Team, and Marketing) and began discussing their organization for the Open House. Don’t miss out! Make sure to come to the Open House, at Metamora Township High School, on March 7 running from 10-12. The Mars Cars official reveal will follow immediately after.