Build Season Week 3

Build Season Week 3

We can't believe we're halfway through build season!! This week, we made lots of progress on our chassis and manipulator mechanisms. Our U-chassis has been completely welded and is in the process of assembly. Our trifold, the 'walls' between which the stacks of totes and containers will be built, is in the process of fabrication as well. Our collector, gripper (previously called 'wedges') and shack mechanisms have all been CADed completely! The gripper will begin (and hopefully finish!) assembly tomorrow, Tuesday. The electronics boards are very close to being finished, also. Programming finished…continue reading →
Build Season Week 2 & FLL Regionals

Build Season Week 2 & FLL Regionals

Week 2 was just as busy as Week 1! In Mechanical, we finished the bottom part of our U-chassis! We added a new part - the 'doors' - which function to hold the stacks from falling out of the U-chassis. Programming worked on autonomous and the mechanum drive, as well as finishing most of the code for the subsystems. The programming team has worked hard to create several different autonomi, as we call it. Among these include picking up 1 container and 3 totes, 1 tote and 1 container, or just 1 container.…continue reading →
Build Season Week 1

Build Season Week 1

The first week of build season was hectic yet successful. Starting with a five hour brainstorming session following icy roads on kickoff morning, we designed, prototyped, CADed, tested new wheels, and began the chassis of our robot! Chassis & Programming: We are currently working on a U-shaped chassis with mecanum wheels. By Thursday, programmers had received the prototyped chassis to begin testing how the wheels handled different weight distributions, driving over the scoring platforms from different orientations, and finally, we began working on PIDs. Tuesday, January 13, programmers started coding subsystems, since we…continue reading →
Preseason Meeting #12

Preseason Meeting #12

Today in Girls of Steel, we had our last preseason meeting.  This was the last day for the girls to build their team's End of Preseason Project robot.  To start off the meeting, the girls went over a presentation addressing what the start of build season will look like.  During this presentation, we also had a guest speaker, Mary Widom, who came to talk about the Leap at CMU program.  The girls also welcomed the President of Oakland Catholic and the founder of iTwixie, who came to listen in on the Girls of…continue reading →
Preseason #11 & Dr. Chris Atkeson Visit

Preseason #11 & Dr. Chris Atkeson Visit

Tuesday was an exciting day at Girls of Steel! Dr. Chris Atkeson, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who inspired the robot Baymax in the new movie Big Hero 6 came to speak to us! He told us how he was involved and the reality of inflatable robots. He also passed out action figures of Honey Lemon and GoGo Tomago! In fact, Girls of Steel played a part in inspiring these characters, when Disney visited us in 2011.   We also had our second day of the End of Preseason Project! The girls…continue reading →

Preseason Meeting #10 & EOPP

Today Girls of Steel held their 10th preseason meeting.  During the start of the meeting, the End of Preseason Project (EOPP) was announced and presented.  The EOPP involves two teams, the blue team and orange team, to build a fully functioning robot over the course of the next three meetings.  This means the team only has nine hours to design, build, and create a robot!  At the end of the project, the two teams will have their robots compete against each other in matches. After the meeting’s start-off presentation was completed, the girls…continue reading →

SCRA & Preseason Meeting #9

This week has been filled with excitement! On Sunday, we hosted the SCRA (Steel City Robotics Alliance) Workshops at Carnegie Mellon. There were four sessions, each with 5-6 workshops, presented by various teams, mentors, judges and students, that attendees were able to choose from. We gave several workshops: Fundraising 101, Beta-Testing Results and Building a Pipeline for Girls in FRC. Thanks to the following FRC teams 1708, 1743, 2051, 2656, 3260, 3955, 4031, 4150, 4467, 5740 and everyone else who participated, SCRA Workshops was a successful event! We also hosted a Food Drive…continue reading →

Preseason Meeting #8

This week in our preseason meeting, we began with a presentation by Mr. Eppinger, who explained the step by step process of how to access and use the Girls of Steel affiliated Amazon website.  After this helpful session, Patti announced the winner of the previous week’s talent time - great job to these girls who participated :)! Next, the girls split up into their business sub teams.  In media, the girls were assigned various jobs to focus working on, including the Girls of Steel YouTube account, Five Awesome Robots, Tumblr account, Rookie Firsts,…continue reading →

Preseason Meeting #7 & 2014 SWATposium 2014

At our last preseason meeting, we accomplished many great things! First, during the business meetings, we worked on event pages, the business plan, our presentation for the SWAT Symposium, and brainstormed for outreach. We met with a professor from CMU's Tepper School of Business, who provided great guidance for our presentation! During the technical meetings, we made lots of progress! At the electronics meeting, we learned about pneumatics. We learned how to cut pneumatic tubing properly, the different parts of the pneumatics system and how they work. We look forward to setting up…continue reading →

Preseason Meeting #6

On Tuesday, November 4th we had our 6th preseason meeting!  We started off our meeting with "triad talent time."  This fun-filled 15 minutes included talent acts such as dancing and singing.  Following our triad time, we went into our business sub-teams.  In media, we worked on event pages and blog posting.   Outreach also worked on event pages, and additionally looked for potential events for Girls of Steel to attend. Finance worked on putting together the instruction sheets for the light bulb fundraiser that we are preparing for.  In addition, the finance sub team…continue reading →

Preseason Meeting #5 & Spaghetti Dinner

On Tuesday, October 28th we had out fifth preseason meeting! For the first hour we split up into our business sub teams and worked on specific tasks as well as event pages to document all the things we have done each year! Our technical level training meetings today consisted of Welding, CADing, Mechanical, Electronics and Programming, as usual. Today the welding team got hands-on and worked on some metal scraps. The programming team introduced robot-builder in eclipse to all the new girls. We also thanked all the girls who showed up to the…continue reading →

Preseason Meeting #4 & Self Defense Class

On Tuesday, October 21, we had our 4th preseason meeting! At this meeting, we had all technical level trainings, including CAD and welding, and worked on business tasks, like usual! We also had a meeting for all the Girls of Steel's parents! At this meeting we talked about the schedule for the upcoming year and team obligations. Last Sunday, the Girls of Steel took a self defense class for team bonding! They learned many skills and even had a chance to try them out on one of our mentors .. with protective armor,…continue reading →

FRC Beta Testing

We made good progress on testing the 2015 FRC Control System last week. We wrapped up the report to FIRST on putting the hardware on our summer/pre-season robot project and porting last year's code to the 2015 environment. We had no big issues to report for either. The electronics were tested under low battery conditions to confirm that power to the radio was not interrupted as the battery ran down. That's important because the Field Control System needs to remain in constant contact with all the robots during competition. Finally, the various options…continue reading →

Preseason Meeting #3

We were very busy at our 3rd preseason meeting on October 14th. Girls attended their first business meetings where they were introduced to their new business sub-team: media, outreach, or finance.  Then they went to the Level 0 training for their respective technical sub-teams: programming, electronics, or mechanical.               We also hosted special guests, Ms. Lesley Perry and Ms. Gloria Blackwell of AAUW (one of our awesome sponsors), who visited us while they were in Pittsburgh for a conference.  They went on a tour of the high…continue reading →

Preseason Meeting #2

October 7th was our second official preseason meeting! We had business taste testers - Media, Outreach, and Finance, and Level 0 CAD training, lead by our wonderful mechanical leader! Next week we look forward to finding out what technical sub teams we are on and we'll have our first full meeting with business sub teams!continue reading →

Preseason Meeting #1

Today we had our first official preseason meeting. We rotated from mechanical, electronics, programming, shop tools, and hand tools so the girls all know about the different aspects of the technical side of our team. We also took our team picture, which can be found on our home page or Facebook. Thanks to our leaders and mentors for teaching us about these sub-teams and skills!continue reading →

FRC Beta Testing

On Tuesday September 16, we had another successful beta-testing meeting! Last week FIRST released Update Suite 5.0 and we tried reflashing the roboRIO with the new re-imaging system. Unfortunately, after the re-imaging, we found that we could no longer download code to the roboRIO. For now, we have decided to tackle this problem by downgrading back to Update Suite 4.0. Hopefully we will have more updates on this front next week!  The second task completed this week was taking apart Eve, our 2013 robot. Eve was stripped of bolts, electronics, and any other…continue reading →

FRC Beta Testing

On Tuesday September 9, we cut out the electronics boards and completely wired the super-shifter robot.   In regards to other technical progress, we successfully began transferring code from last year into Github, our new repository, which we are using this year instead of SVN. Our programming leader also setup the Linux machine with FRCSim which means we can start testing out the robot simulator next week! Check back soon for our next update! -Arushicontinue reading →

FRC Beta testing

Hi everyone! We hope you are having a good start to the school year and FRC preseason!! We wanted to give you an update about beta testing! Girls of Steel was one of the teams selected to test FRC's new control system. We’ve been testing out the new electronics in bench testing mode, with all the components wired together on a table instead of mounting them on a robot chassis. We’re really excited about the reduced size and weight of all the parts. Having the digital sidecar integrated right into the roboRIO module…continue reading →

STEM Girlz Summer Camp

This summer, Girls of Steel collaborated with STEM Girlz*, a program of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh*. Thanks to the National Girls Collaborative Project* for funding this collaboration! I have always had an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It was truly rewarding to have had the opportunity to expose such lovely young women (STEM Girlz) to the tremendous world of STEM education and careers. For two weeks in July, Isabella, Anne Kailin, and I worked to aid middle school aged female students of the Pittsburgh Propel Schools* in their exploration of the…continue reading →

Post-Season Scrimmage

Hey guys! Last Saturday we co-hosted a post-season scrimmage with SHARP, FRC Team 3260! Teams 4150 FRobotics and 3955 4-H Gears joined us for some practice matches, obstacle courses, and more! We even had a match with just humans! During that match, autonomous was played with their eyes closed. The rest of the game was just a frantic frenzy. Along the sidelines there was a bake sale, courtesy of SHARP, and pizza! All in all, last Saturday was a great time. We're happy to have co-hosted with SHARP, and work with the rest…continue reading →

Buckeye and Pittsburgh Regionals

Coming back from back to back regionals. Whew! About a week ago, the Girls of Steel went to the Buckeye Regional in Cleveland, where we demonstrated our ability to assist well! We ranked 22! We were picked by Alliance 6, and had a final tough match on Quarterfinal match 3, but lost to Alliance 5. We had a great run, and we are really happy with how well we did. Girls of Steel received the Entrepreneurship Award and the Engineering Inspiration Award, which we are very happy about! We are going to St. Louis!…continue reading →



Build season is over! Bag and Tag lasted to 11:00PM for the Girls of Steel. After Build Season, I realize how much I have learned since Kickoff. Rachel, a member of Girls of Steel, wrote about what she learned during Build Season!

This is my first year on The Girls of Steel robotics team….


On Tuesday the 11th, three Girls of Steel members went to Hershey for the Pennsylvania Education Technology Expo & Conference (PETE&C).  There we presented in the student expo during the morning. We brought Eve (our robot from last year) and showed her off to the crowd. After answering a billion of questions and demonstrating the robot's driving (shooting frisbees wasn't safe) the girls got the opportunity to go to the booths and talk with real tech companies. Many people repeatedly told us about how impressed they were with our team and there were so…continue reading →

End of Week 4!

The robot is finally coming together! This week our goal was to have the robot completed. Although we did not meet our goal, we have made excellent progress and adjusted our schedules accordingly.  We started off the week with a driving chassis and a regular, plain chassis.  By the end of the week we were able to mount all of the electronics onto the second chassis, as well as the wheels, chain, motors, and the pivot mechanisms.  On the side, we are working on developing the collector arm.  By the end of the Tuesdaymeeting, we were able to…continue reading →