Some Progress and Some Fundraising

Swerve Assembly

A student and myself started assembly of the swerve modules on Wednesday. We were disappointed to see that there is still no written assembly instructions for SDS MKi4. There is only a video, so we had great fun rewinding a video every 15 seconds and trying to find out which pieces he started with and where they went. By the end of the night we only had about half of the module assembled. Assembly got a late start because the students were signing up on the FIRST website to be a part of the team and we had to cover some Night of the Robots plans with the team. I expect that we will be able to assemble the modules quicker after our first one. The first student will also train up another student to help them with assembly. Hopefully we will be able to get the first four modules assembled by the end of next week.

The CAD/design for the front/back and side frame rails for the swerve drive base have been finished and released to manufacturing. We don’t have any one trained on the Haas now(due to graduating seniors) so we are training up a new student. Writing this out I’ve discovered we’d be in the same spot next again next year. The student who is learning the Haas is currently a senior. I’d rather not do the same thing again next year, so I’ve asked for two other students to be added to the training(who are not seniors). The swerve drive rails might take a bit of time to get completed as every one gets learns how to use a new complicated tool.

Looking at our Trello board I see that programming is using Trello actively, but manufacturing seems to have dropped off completely… Some of that might be attributed to manufacturing currently training on the machines. There are a lot of projects on Trello for manufacturing that I’d like to get done before the season starts. But we have not made any progress on them. It’d be a shame to have to figure out some of this stuff during build season. On Wednesday I’ll talk to manufacturing about Trello and assign people to some projects so we can start moving them through the process.

Manufacturing To Do

Night of the Robots

What is Night of the Robots? Well its one of our teams fundraising events. We open up our lab to kindergarten – fifth grade students, for a night of fun STEM based activities. The event costs $50 per student(less than a parent would spend for a baby sitter for a night), this event allows their kid to have fun with STEM, and the parent gets a night out, or a relaxing kid free night in.

During the event we have six different actives that groups of kids rotate through. There is robot demo, physical activity, Lego mind storm, programming based board games, electricity, and arts and crafts. There is a set of students who lead each group of kids, and another set of students that lead each activity. This allows the kids to bond with their group leads, and ensures that kids make it to each activity on time.

This year we had 65 kids for our first event. This is a new record for us and is probably the most kids we can fit in our lab at once. We don’t have any more room to add any additional actives(needed to keep the group size down) or room for more tables at dinner. The event only costs about $300 to put on assuming you have all the items for your activities already. The only real cost for the event is food to feed the kids and student volunteers. With 65 kids signed up we raised $2950 for the team on a single Friday night. Of course its not fair to say the event only takes a single day, there is a lot of setup and prep activities that need to happen before hand.

We are planning on running three Night of the Robots events this year. Our mentor group is currently brainstorming different activities that we could use to expand our audience from K-5 grade to 6 – 8th grade. We’ve had a lot of parents express interest in a middle school version of our event, but we have struggled coming up with engaging activities for the older students. If we manage to put together a good activity lineup before the end of the year we might add a fourth Night of the Robots targeted at middle school students.

The event is also a good bonding experience for the students on our team. They interact with other students outside their departments and the event has a certain energy, every one understands the importance of the event and ensures that it runs smoothly. Of course a lot of goofy stuff happens at the end during clean up. This makes Night of the Robots a good source of material for our end of the year videos(I’ll write a blog post about that soon). Next week our team learns who the student leads will be, swerve drive assembly continues and all groups continue their fall training.






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