Robotics 3559 Starting Strong

Garrett Armstong, Carson Vaal, Blake Hentrup, Sterling Kiefer, and Ethan Clayton are discussing possible designs for their robot.

The JHS robotics team, 3559 Thundercats, is starting off their season strong with many new members. The team is in their second of six weeks to design, build, and test their robot. After six weeks are over, the team will take their final product to compete in First Robotics Competitions (FRC) for a chance to go to the state competition. Roughly half the team is gathered around the cardboard prototype to discuss possible changes to the frame that they are assembling. They use cardboard to quickly create rough models of different designs. Those cardboard prototypes can then be used to check for things like functionality and efficiency in each member’s ideas. Seniors Nick Bredhold and Will Schmitt are working on last season’s robot so that they can use it as an example for testing concepts. The team’s current idea is to use a similar ball shooter as the previous year. They use what they already have to test a design instead of spending time and materials in building a new robot for prototyping.

New members are learning, from senior Will Schmitt, how to use the verticle cutter to cut the frame sides to appropriate dimensions. They are also practicing proper machine safety by using safety glasses. Every team is provided with a “kit of parts” at the FRC kick-off. Teams can either cut the pre-drilled frame pieces or design their own parts to be machined out of aluminum. This year, JHS robotics is using the pre-made frame sides due to the simplicity of the game mechanics. During the previous year, the team used Inventor AutoCAD to draw parts for the sponsor Jasper Engines to cut using their water jet machine.