When we recruit new students, one of our favorite lines is, “Nobody who joins the team knows how to build a robot. We’ll teach you.” As an established team, we go to competitions and see younger teams, some of whom don’t have engineering mentors, struggling to learn lessons we have learned the hard way. We see our role in growing FRC as helping those struggling teams become better more quickly, so they remain inspired, and don’t fold.
Last fall our students came up with the idea of producing a series of instructional videos. These would teach our incoming rookies the skills they would need to be productive robot builders. We see this video series, and the ones which will follow, as a tool which can help educate inexperienced students on our own team as well as other teams across FRC.
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Latest complete CAD model of Genome Kappa, the Triple Helix robot for the 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition game, FIRST POWER UP.
This video was provided to judges as part of our submission for the 2018 Chairman’s Award. Triple Helix received the Chairman’s Award at the FIRST Chesapeake District – Hampton Roads event at Churchland High School in Portsmouth. Here’s what the judges had to say about our team:
The Chairman’s Award is the most prestigious award in FIRST. It honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST. The Chairman’s Award is presented to the team judged to have the most significant, measurable impact on its partnership among its participants and community over a sustained period, not just a single build season. The winners will demonstrate progress towards FIRST’s mission of transforming our culture. The recipient team will be invited to the District Championship where it will compete for the Chairman’s Award against other winners from other qualifying events and compete with their robot.
This team’s effort to spread the word about FIRST and STEM stretched from Richmond to Virginia Beach and dozens of locations in between. They have held events at local universities, a military base, other federal facilities, a tourist attraction, a professional association, museums, and even a public garden. This team helped stand up new FRC teams, supported rookie teams, helped revitalize an existing team, mentored additional teams, and held a popular off-season event. They also support an FTC team, and mentor and support four FLL teams, pulling triple duty for their work with FIRST. Hosting a round-table and summer camp, participating in a variety of STEM events, giving presentations to STEM-related organizations, and leveraging social media to reach a broader audience, clearly inspiring today’s youth to embrace science, technology, engineering, and math is embedded deep within this team’s DNA.
Final Cost Accounting Worksheet for Genome Kappa, presented to the team’s inspectors at the 2018 FIRST Championship at the University of Maryland. Genome Kappa is our robot for the 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition game, FIRST Power Up.
Triple Helix presented at the Virginia Occupational Therapy Association’s 2018 School System Symposium. The focus of our presentation was how therapy professionals can use skills and tools of “makers,” including 3d printing, to make customized products for interventions with their patients. Our partner in this presentation was Maryland FTC team Green Machine Reloaded; this team presented on their work with the Go Baby Go program.
Abstract: “Makers” use the engineering problem solving process, and their hands, to bring their ideas to life. The competitive high school FIRST robotics teams Triple Helix Robotics and Green Machine Reloaded share the makerspace techniques to rapidly design and create assistive devices. The two teams will demonstrate the tools and technical skills used to 3D print small plastic objects as well as how to modify ride-on toy cars to create low-cost adapted mobility equipment.
Reveal video for Genome Kappa, our robot for the 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition game, FIRST Power Up.
Latest complete CAD model of Genome Iota, the Triple Helix robot for the 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition game, FIRST STEAMWORKS.
Drivetrain incorporates custom gearboxes designed to be easily fabricated using our laser cutter. Gearboxes use 3 miniCIM motors mounted over the wheels, to maximize space inside the frame.
CAD of our 2017 competition robot drivetrain, with VexPro shifting gearboxes replaced by 3 miniCIM gearboxes designed and fabricated in summer 2017. This drivetrain configuration was competition tested in two 2017 fall offseason competitions.
Compiled by mentor Nate Laverdure in fall 2016, this document lists the top resources that have been helpful in his growth as an engineer and a mentor. They are representative of his interests and opinions, and therefore lean towards mechanical systems and fabrication techniques.
Taken together, they constitute his idea of an archive of fundamental resources (papers, presentations, videos, websites, etc) which are essential to being “good at robots” in modern FRC. The idea isn’t quite right– in truth, every team has the capability for designing and fielding excellent winning robots regardless of how well-developed their library of knowledge is. However, compiling these resources gives new FRC designers a significant leg up by rapidly exposing them from lessons learned from hundreds of people, some of them with over two decades of experience in this competitive robotics program.
The biggest thing to learn from these resources is simple: that nothing in FRC is so complex or far advanced that it can’t be understood by anyone willing to put in the time to understand it.