A new season of Girls of Steel FTC has started!
We were introduced to FTC at the 3-hour FTC boot camp on September 16th and our weekly meetings started on Tuesday, September 18th. At boot camp we played around with the pieces that we would actually use for the season. We split up into 3 groups to build the simplest kind of robot, and practiced driving. This was important because it gave us an insight of what the upcoming season would be like.
We were formally introduced to the Girls of Steel Robotics program at the New Girl Meeting on Thursday, September 20th with a presentation by the leadership council. We also did a team bonding activity so we could get to know the FTC girls, the new FRC girls, and the leaders.
The FTC game this year is Rover Ruckus. It is space themed, and the main mission is to collect “minerals” and deliver them to a lander in the middle of the field. For people who do not know this game, each match is 2 minutes and 30 seconds long. The first 30 seconds are for the autonomous period in which the robot is programmed to do a few tasks, followed by the remaining 2 minutes driver-controlled period. The last 30 seconds of the driver-controlled period are called endgame, in which you do special tasks and lastly, park.
This year FTC started off with 18 members. We are now on three teams: 9820 Hypatia, 9821 Hopper, and 9981 Lovelace. At the beginning, all the teams reviewed ways to design their chassis. The teams were all very productive! Everyone talked about drive-train options effectively, and most teams decided on tank drive. Other than that, we also started building the chassis. While trying to construct it, we learned that we needed to think about where to place the screws in the extrusions so that the brackets would be attachable.
The teams have continued building their chassis. We had to decide how many motors and wheels we needed so that we could prepare for the upcoming FTC Drive It! Workshop on Sunday, October 28th at NREC. Many of us, new to working on a robotics team, still had difficulty with planning ahead and figuring out where to most effectively place the screws.
All of the teams settled with a rubber band mechanism to grab minerals and linear slide to both lift minerals and the robot. Team 9821 is thinking to create a latch on their arm. The 9821 chassis will have one Omni wheel in the middle and 4 normal wheels on the corners. The 9981 chassis is rectangular, and their wheels will be tank drive, but with four Omni wheels. Team 9820 is also working on a tank drive. We have been working efficiently. Our chassis are near completing, and we hope to be finished at the end of Meeting 7, on October 30th. We’ve been meeting every Tuesday from 5:30 to 8:30 pm, but starting in Week 7, we’ll have meetings on Thursdays so we can have more time to get ready for the competitions.
On Sunday, October 28, 2018, our FTC teams Lovelace, Hypatia, and Hopper hosted the Drive It Workshop at NREC. We did not get to drive our robots, but we did a lot of work on our chassis. One other team, The Martians 13336, attended our workshop. We also had a presentation from Ms. Daphne Frownfelter, our FIRST regional director, about how scrimmages and competitions are organized, and a talk from Dr. Daphne Belén-Cordero, a FIRST judge, about how judging is set-up and what judges want to see at competitions. We had great time working on our chassis and learning more about competitions.
Stay tuned for the next update about our upcoming scrimmage on November 10th at Peters Township Middle School. We’re also attending two qualifiers – the West Central PA Qualifier in Johnstown on December 8th and the Southwestern PA Qualifier in Upper St Clair on January 19, 2019.