TCT Robotics Team Ready for 2017 Spring Competition

The Tri County Tech FIRST Robotics Team 2165 is pumped for the 2017 competition in OKC March 22-25! Since January, the team has been meeting weekly. Once the year’s official game (FIRST Steamworks) was released, the team members read through the game manual and decided collectively what would give them the most points. The game includes so many opportunities to earn points that teams must narrow their focus.

What is this year’s game?
The 2017 game – FIRST Steamworks – is comprised of “two adventurer clubs (alliances of three teams each) that prepare for a long distance airship race by collecting fuel to build steam pressure, installing gears to engage rotors, and climbing aboard for liftoff. The airship best prepared for flight when the launch timer reaches zero wins! Alliances earn points by the amount of steam pressure built.”

What is the TCT team’s strategy?
The TCT team’s robot is designed to 1) get a gear and place it on the airship and 2) to climb a rope at the end of the game. The idea is that if the TCT robot is really good at these two things and, yet, is still not one of the top eight teams, one of the other top eight teams will want to pick TCT for their alliance.

What was some of the design process like?
When the TCT team was engineering the best gear catcher, they used the cameras on their phones along with slow-motion photography to gauge where the gear was falling during trial games. This allowed them to adjust the angle of the gear-catcher every time which has resulted in near 100% accuracy. This experiment was an excellent concept for testing their robot’s efficiency. In addition, using the software Inventor, the team designed, tested, and then 3D-printed the wench that’s used to climb the rope.

Why get involved with Robotics?
TCT’S team members get to learn advanced engineering concepts from the best – retired mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineers, a PhD physicist, and highly skilled machinists. They learn about programming, electrical, drive trains, pneumatics, and the field of engineering’s design process. Students also get to develop essential collaboration and team-building skills.

“Robotics isn’t just about building a robot. It’s also about building the students’ people and communication skills,” says Lanny Seals, a retired Phillips Petroleum Engineer and mentor to the robotics team. Just like the real world, the team has to modify theirs plans during a build, adjusting things like budgets and where they focus their energies, Seals says.

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TCT Team 2165 with Mentors