2582 PantherBots Build Blog | Open Alliance | 2024

We loved being on an alliance with you guys!!! Thank you for being an amazing alliance captain and an amazing team. Looking forward to seeing you guys at State and even Worlds :orange_heart: :blue_heart:


Ya’ll were exceptional and we were thrilled to have you on our alliance. When we had damage or technical issues you guys carried us.

In the future we hope to be on the same side of the glass more often than we are on the opposite.


We met with our mentors and team leads discuss the good and bad of our first event.

I think most everyone on the team felt that we had a good event, but also felt we were very close to having a great event and need to continue to improve on a few little things to make it to the next level. This post will likely have a bit more focus on the areas we need to improve because that is the majority of my notes.

The good:

  • We came prepared: Spent most of the time inspection day helping other teams rather than working on our robot. Had some of our best matches right out of the gate.
  • We had good communication with between our pits and drive team.
  • Won our first industrial design award
  • We had spares of all of the parts we needed and replaced parts efficiently
  • We could compete at a very high level at the event, and could do everything but the trap (Ranked 3 (only 1 RP point out of 1st), 2nd in OPR, 1st in Avg Match Score, 1 in Avg Auto)

Things to improve:

  • Add some additional tool storage pegboard to the pit
  • Cross train more pit members to perform powered systems checks
  • Make more spares - we were on our last spare on a few items and ran with some slightly damaged parts due because we did not have a significant amount
    of backups on a few items
  • Add inverter to the robot cart to avoid dead driver station batteries
  • Keep disciplined on the battery usage list and post match checklist.

Robot Improvements

  • Strengthen weak points - mainly intake
    Move to more solid intake sideplates:

    Add Some cross struts so the front bar is not unsupported for the full length
    (need to test to make sure it does not reduce the effectiveness of the intake)

Add a piece of steel tube as an attachment method on the back of our front bumper

Should be legal if it is our attachment method and the weight will of the bumpers should be less than 15 lbs.

  • Better protect sensors or add redundant beam break sensors
  • Work on autos - they worked great at the start of the event, but were off late in the event, why?
  • Work on auto playbook sheet to make it more clear to the drive team on which ones have been tested and which are “theory”
  • Create a digital version of the auto playbook to help drive coach share during scout sessions
  • Work on the auto aim and shoot from positions other than next to the stage
  • Look at hard stop setpoint - most shots were missed high very few low
  • Figure out how to be able to score in the speaker if we have already moved to amp mode, currently notes catch on the camera a little and cause the speaker shot to miss.
  • Adjust intake camera to a better angle


  • Work on a more formalized way to pit scout and share information between strategists and drive team
  • Start scouting meeting earlier - possibly go straight to hotel and have food delivered rather than getting food and meeting afterward.
  • Set up and share team google sheets before the event so everyone is on the same page
  • Add info for passing and shuttling game pieces
  • Make sure all tablets have correct configurations

Drive Strategy

  • Develop a better system for drive and operator to know amplification status and the proper location to score
  • Focus on precision rather than raw speed in drive practice
  • Make sure the human player knows the proper time to amplify to get the most cycles

This is a long laundry list of the areas we think we can improve, but we think we can implement most if not all of them by week 3 in Ft. Worth.


We learned a new trick. We can intake from the source if our arm is at the right angle.

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Preparing for Fort Worth

New 4 Note Auto

Shooting over D from podium

Shooting over D near subwoofer


I think this is yalls best robot yet. Loving it!


FiT Fort Worth Recap

This week we competed in the First In Texas Fort Worth event with some of the best teams in Texas. We finished qualification matches 7-5 and ranked 8th. We ended up captain of the 5th alliance and won the Quality Award.

Full Recap - (Wall of Text Incoming)

This was a tougher event for us than our first. The field was very deep with good robots and we had several issues that hit us in a few different matches that we did not have at our first event that we had to work through.

Our first qualification was kind of indicative of how the event would go. It was a bit chaotic had some really bright and memorable moments but was challenging.

In autonomous our alliance had some robots go in unexpected directions greatly reducing the expected outcome. Shortly into the match we had an encoder cable on one of our swerve modules come loose and our driving was shaky. We still managed to score a good number of notes, but we were obviously limited. Another interesting thing happened is that apparently the human player that was manning the amp had the wrong driver button (they were wearing the technician button) and could not man the switch so our operator ran around to the amp mid match to coop. All of these things were not a recipe for success and we started off the day with a loss.

Once we made it back to the pits we found the loose encoder cable. We are using the ReduxRobotics Canandcoders and have been very happy with them. They connected to Spark Maxes with the 10 pin port. The data cable was tied on with a zip tie, but the connector managed to work its way loose. We fixed this issue by hot-gluing the cable in the data port and did not have this issue again at the event.

Second match our launcher feeder wheels appeared not to be working after autonomous. We are not 100% sure what caused this. We could not re-create this in the pits and did not have this same issue again at the event. We did win that match because our alliance partners carried us.

Our next match we finally ran a pretty clean and scored a good number of notes. We ended up on the losing side but did not have any of the major issues that plagued us earlier in the day.

The next match we had connectivity issues the whole match. Before the match we were constantly connecting and disconnecting to FMS. We managed to stay connected long enough for the FTA to start the match but had intermittent connection issues throughout the match. We had a decent match considering, but it still wasn’t ideal. We think it was a computer issue on our end after rebooting and we did not have these issues any more at the event.

Then we had a few really good matches where the robot functioned as intended. One that we managed to get a 4 ranking points with our alliance partners.

Then we had a match we had a tall robot played defense on us. When contacted they drove up over our bumpers and caused some significant damage to our swerve module encoders and our launcher hard stops. This made it very difficult to drive for the rest of the match we managed to limp our way back to our side of the field and climb.

To keep this from happening again we used some spare swerve module parts to build some encoder shields. We are using West Coast Products Swerve X (Legacy version). We are using the modules in a bottom mount configuration, but we had some of the top mount plates. We made a small cut (so our bumper mounts would still work) then put them on some standoffs. They provided protection throughout the rest of the event and we did not have this issue again.

That ended our first day. It was definatly up and down. The venue that FiT Fort Worth is really unique. It is a fantastic gymnasium for the event, but the pits are a bit far away and the size is limited to just a little over 30 teams so there is very little time between matches. It seems like you could make it to your pits do a quick systems check then you were queued for the next match before that was finished. It was a very fast paced and full day.

Our scouting meeting that night was interesting. FMS was not working properly and not publishing match scores. The only thing it was published was the ranking table. It was definatly a bit different than most of the other recent scouting meetings where you could reference statbotics or the blue alliance. Without FMS data those resources were not available. We could only rely on the data that our scouts took.

After looking at our stats we suspected we would end up somewhere between the 4th and 6th seed alliance. Our numbers were not that great due to all of the issues that we had during the day. We just knew that we needed to have some good matches the next day and we would be in decent shape.

First thing the next morning we performed a systems check and our launcher wheels were not working. The interesting thing is it was working when we left the pit the previous night. We found that a breaker was loose on our PDH (not sure if this might have been related to the launcher issue we had in our second match) we reinstalled the breaker and it fixed the issue.

We then performed pretty well in all of our matches that morning. We had a 4 and two 3 RP matches. We had a few matches where we played the feeder bot to a scoring robot by passing notes across the field. We had a few where we ran cycles, but the robot performed well.

After qualifications we ended up ranked 8th became the 5th seed alliance captain. We were thrilled to select 5411 RoboTalons and 9156 Trojan Robotics to join our alliance. We were knocked out of the playoff bracket in our first two matches, but we had a great time working with our alliance partners.

We were thrilled to be selected for the Quality award. This was our first ever quality award as a team.

Congratulations to the event winners 2468 Team Appreciate, 3005 RoboChargers, and 7540 Timberwolf Robotics. Your alliance was incredible, and it was a joy to work with you.

Congrats to 2468 for the Impact award and two Deans List Finalists.

Congrats to 3005 for the Engineering Inspiration.

and 9492 LadyTalons on the Rookie All Star.

I want to thank all of the volunteers and team 4206 Robo Vikes for making this event possible.

What Next

Although not official we feel that we likely have enough district points to qualify for the district championship event. We also feel that our goal of qualifying for World Championships is still within reach, but we will have to have a very good FiT District Championship event.

We will meet as a team sometime this week and discuss our team’s goals what went well and what went wrong to make a plan and prepare for FiT.


Earlier this week the team met and discussed what went right at our last event and what we need to improve.

Things we did well:

  • Worked through a lot of random issues with a positive attitude and improved throughout the event.
  • Much better record-keeping on battery usage than previous event
  • Kept robot working in short turnaround times
  • Never had the same issue cause us problems twice

Things to improve:

  • Had too many preventable issues (encoder cables loose, exposed encoder where other robot can run over and damage)
  • Make new launcher side plates
    • Add bearing keepers
    • Increase launcher speed (1:1 → 1.4:1)
  • Drive and practice hard with defense
  • Work on maximizing amplification
  • Increase speed of climber (verify that it still holds the robot up disabled)
  • Improve auto reliability
    • Robot jitters too much. What is wrong?
    • Red auto-aim points to the blue side of the field
  • Update pit system check checklist
  • Formalize trailer loading checklist
  • Develop pit slideshow
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Scouting Data for FiT Champs Mercury Field

This is the data our scouts captured it may have errors so use at your own risk.

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Texas District Championship Recap


During the Texas District Championship, we were in the Mercury Field, which allowed us to compete against some of the best teams in the state. We managed to win 8 out of 12 qualification matches and ranked 6th overall. As a result, we were the captain of the 5th seed alliance and were thrilled to invite 2881 Lady Cans and Purple Haze to join our team. Unfortunately, we lost in the playoffs after a closely fought match 10 to end our tournament.


We are thrilled that the Judges selected our team for the Gracious Professionalism Award. It is truly an honor with the teams in attendance.

We ranked 24th in the First Texas District, qualifying our team for the World Championship. Once again, we look forward to competing against the best in the world.

Dynamite Yes GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY


Below is as up to date of link to our CAD as we have. The original document that is linked in the OP has some strange issues happening, but there are a lot of things linked and I don’t want to delete or modify it too much at the current time so I just made another assembly.

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First Championship

What a whirlwind of an event.

We did a thing…

Our team won its very first blue banner thanks to a bit of help from some of our great friends and alliance partners.

We finished qualifications in the Johnson division at 4-7, ranked 51. The number eight seed of 5813 Morpheus, 1477 Texas Torque, and 3061 Huskie Robotics selected us as their alliance’s fourth robot.

After our alliance dropped the first match against a very good number-one alliance, we fell to the bottom bracket. Match by match, we clawed our way back to the finals. Then, our alliance won the finals in two matches to advance to Einstein.

It was truly impressive to see the teamwork on display in this alliance. The sum of these robots was more than the individual parts. The part that our team played in the win was small. We added an extra set of eyes with our coach on the field, helping to determine when the opposing alliance was amplified and when we should send defense to cause the most disruption in scoring cycles. We were ready to play if we got the call, but fortunately, our other alliance members suffered very little damage through the playoff tournament and could play at full strength.

I want to thank our alliance members for selecting us. We truly had an amazing experience working with each of you, and it was a pleasure seeing you work.



5813 mentor here. It was awesome to have you guys. And definitely don’t downplay what that extra set of eyes and ears can do on the field. Congrats on the event well played!


An event recap that our students put together for World Championship.

I hope to meet as a team soon so we can reflect on the year and plan for the future.


Congrats Chad, Beth, and the rest of the team on the blue banner! Also, thank you Chad for keeping this build blog this year.


Post-Season Wrapup

We met as a team and discussed our strengths and areas for improvement. Our mentor group sent out a post-year survey, and we looked back at the goals we set before the season started.

Goals Review


  • Pass on knowledge to incoming students and other teams
    → Proficiency in knowledge of tools, equipment, processes. Team lead reviews, self-assessment survey (beginning and end of year), Team interaction at events
    and through social media/blogs
    Goal Achieved
    Team Survey Results

    1 - Didn’t Lean Anything to 5 - Became and Expert

  • Have a safe workspace, both as in no injuries and a welcoming environment
    → Recorded injury/near miss log and end of year survey
    Goal Achieved
    No recordable injuries just minor scratches and scrapes.
    Team Survey Results

    1 - Needs Improvement to 5 The team does a great job at this

  • Be an alliance captain or 1st pick at all of our district events
    Goal Achieved

  • Qualify for the FiT district championship
    Goal Achieved

  • Submit award essays for Dean’s List and Woody Flowers
    Goal Achieved

  • Exhibit Gracious Professionalism during team meetings and the heat of an event
    Goal Achieved - Won GP Award at District Championship, and we had a significant number of teams provide feedback that they appreciated our students helping at competitions

  • Win an award at our both district events
    Goal Achieved Won Quality and Industrial Design

  • Improve time management
    → Document processes with engineering workbooks and build blog
    → Develop plan pre kickoff (update at kickoff) with key milestones
    [More detail in later post]
    Goal Achieved - I never actually posted our calendar in a later post like I hoped, but we did create one and actually stayed on track throughout the year

  • Post at least weekly and update this Open Alliance Blog
    Goal Achieved

  • Glitter the world
    → Make and distribute at least 200 lucky dust bottles per district comp
    Goal Achieved Sorry about all the glitter

  • Pretty purple powder coated robot
    Goal Achieved

  • Maintain clean organized pit and workshop
    → Leads checkoff nightly
    This area still needs work, we did improve our pit, but the workshop needs work

  • Do not beat ourselves in any match (No bad batteries, incorrect robot configuration, starting without charging air…) Drive Team, Pit Crew to have known responsibilities at events and practice, written checklist
    → Post competition review sessions
    Unfortunately we do not feel we achieved goal We had several gremlins that were self-induced in a few of our events, and we became a little laxed with our checklist occasionally

  • Be a finalist at least one of our district events
    Not Achieved


  • Raise $10,000 in new sponsorships/fundraiser ideas
    Not Achieved - Reached approximately $6K this year in new sponsorships this is an area we plan on improving
  • Increase social media following
    → 750 followers IG, 500 FB Not Achieved
    → 2500 average views on a videos Not Achieved, maybe if YouTube Shorts count
  • Be an alliance captain/1st pick at FiT district championship
    Goal Achieved
  • Refine current real time scouting system/app
    Goal Achieved
  • Qualify for FIRST Championship
    Goal Achieved
  • Win judged award at FiT district championship
    Goal Achieved Won our first Gracious Professionalism Award


  • Raise $15K
    Not Achieved

  • Win a Blue Banner
    Goal Achieved Thanks 5813, 1477, and 3061

  • Make it on to an elimination alliance at FIRST Championship
    Goal Achieved

  • Finalist at FiT District Championship
    Not Achieved

  • Develop sustainability plan to provide to judges
    Not Achieved

  • 5000 views on a team video
    Not Achieved again unless you count Shorts

While we didn’t achieve all of the goals we set out for, we had a very successful year as a team, and I am proud of all of our accomplishments. This has been an extraordinary team, and I look forward to what we can do in the future.

We are planning on having a team celebration in a few weeks. Then we will start our off-season training program.


So happy to help you deliver your first banner! Still cant get over our divison run together


@chadr03 @Beth and all the Pantherbots, congrats on a successful year and your first Blue Banner. What a great alliance to be a part of. Love all four of these teams and respect them so much.

I really enjoy our teams interactions being put neighbors all the time. You guys have been improving every year and pushing that bar of standard just a little higher each tournament.
It was great to follow along with your OA posts all year. I know many teams benefited from these posts.

Good luck in the off-season. @chadr03 we will try to keep @Beth busy here in ATX.


Firstly, congrats on the first Blue Banner. I am currently looking for alternative beam breaks to the Adafruit ones and was wondering what beam break you guys currently use, as well as any additional information on best practices, issues you faced, etc.

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We have just used inexpensive photoelectric proximity switches. We usually purchase them off Amazon. This link might not be exactly what we used, but it looks the same. There are a good number of sources for these types of switches. They generally are pretty reliable. The only issues we had this year is we destroyed one of the wires going to ours when we lifted our arm up going under the stage. Then when we replaced it was not tuned correctly and gave false positives near the loading station. It took us a while to diagnose that because it seemed fine in the pits and our practice field, but the drivers were saying intake wasn’t working by when they tried to load at the loading station. It seems the bright orange background of the notes threw it off. We also found this same behavior by our bright yellow fire cabinet. The sensitivity can be tuned by turning a screw. Once we adjusted it properly, we did not have any more issues. We have used these on various robots over the years and have occasionally had them just quit, but for the most part they work.

WWZMDiB 2Pcs Photoelectric Proximity Sensor Switch PNP NO Inductive Distance 3-80cm Adjustable for arduino: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific

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