3512 Spartatroniks Build Blog | Open Alliance | 2023

Short update

3512 is currently having issues with meetings due to a flash flood warning here in our home town. Unfortunately we arent able to meet today and finish up our kickoff schedule and if we have to cancel tomorrow as well, we will have to do an over zoom meeting to finish up our plans. The rain is expected to last through at most the rest of the week, but we hope that we can get back as soon as its safe to meet at our build shop.

Ill continue with the rest of the Open alliance members on adding to our kickoff recap since we have extra time to get it out, but hopefully post an update on what we plan to protoype and build.

Thank you all for your patience, and hope to see you all soon.


Hope everyone stays safe!


Slight update on this, all school has been cancelled today due to Flash Flooding in the area so 3512 will be hosting a zoom session tonight to finish up kickoff.

By the end of tonight we should be have settled the following:

  • Match strategy
  • Priority List of robot actions for Needs, Wants, and Wishes
  • Intial ideas for prototyping avenues to go down

Kickoff Recap

After an unlucky start in week 1 due to flash floods, 3512 is back in business for the 2023 kickoff and for a new season to begin.

After the kickoff stream our team went into analysis of all aspects of the game, whether that be rules, restrictions, field analysis, match strategies and mechanism brainstorming.

To effectively organize everything into a condensed, yet neat and concise format, we took inspiration from 3847 spectrum and made a PowerPoint presentation to show off everything we are working on week by week.

Our schedule for the rest of week 1 is to start prototyping and gather information. So far we have been following ri3d redux for some early ideas, Open Alliance as well has some really good information on things to protoype as well.

Robot Goals

  • Utilize swerve
  • Simple and effective design
  • Neat/Protected electronics
  • Powder coating aluminum
  • Robust frame and subsystems

Competition Goals

  • Be organized
  • Strategize effectively
  • Scheduling
  • Rank high at our regionals, and or win
  • Work hard on all awards (entrepreneurship, engineering, autonomous, impact, deans list, WF, GP, etc)

Internal Goals

  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Team bonding
  • Safety
  • Team spirit

CAD will start after this Saturday on making our early robot design, we try to get everyone involved with prototyping to have a wide understanding of what we are going to build.


Week 1 Recap

Wow, its already been a week? Well here’s our recap for our progress of week 1!
This will be a long post since we prefer to give a weekly recap of everything we have done, so prepare to scroll!


Prototype Videos

Weed Wacker Prototype
Roller Intake Prototype
Springy Boi Prototype vid 1
Springy Boi Prototype vid 2
Springy Boi up against wall


Other Cool Stuff!

Looking forward to Week 2, also thank you to everyone in Open Alliance for all the help!

All of our Media can be found at this link!:

Written by,
@Nick.kremer @DaMoose3512 @niczip @Ry3512


Pincher Intake Prototpying

After seeing the successes of pincher intakes from 3847, 1339, and Everybot we decided to jump head first into prototying our own version.


We built our version with 3D Printed HypeBlocks, 1x1s, churro, and various types of wheels.

Single Row of VIWs Configuration

We wanted to explore adding TTB VIWs so we started with a single row of VIWs on the middle axle.

We quickly found that this did not center the cones effectively due to friction from the squish wheels on the top shaft.

2 Rows of VIWs Configuration

Next we tried having both cones rollers be fully VIWs.

We found that while this worked great at centering the cone, the VIWs did not have enough grip on the cone.

Cone centering test

Cone scoring test (notice how the lose the cone is)

2 Rows of VIWs w/ Center Squish Wheels

We had an idea that to improve the grip on the cones we could add squish wheels but only in the center where the cones are vectored to. This proved to be the best of both worlds and we are very happy with the performance of this configuration.

Cone Centering Test

Grip Test 1

Grip Test 2

Cone + Cube Test


We think VIWs + some sort of grippy wheels in the center for the cone intake shafts is the best configuration of the pincher intake. It centers the cones without sacrificing grip and none of these changes had much impact on the cube.

Magic Numbers/Testing Notes for Final Configuration

  • Front and Middle shaft center to center distance is 3.5"
  • Middle to Back is 8.5"
  • Ten 2" Vectored wheels w/ 0.5" spacers and colson or compliance wheels in the middle for both front and middle shafts
  • Five 4” Green Compliant wheels with 2” spacers for middle shaft
  • Centering cube isn’t very necessary as the length of the cube node is 1ft and 6.25.”

See more testing videos in our week 2 media folder!


Looking great! Could you guys record a video of having the cone on the ground and having the prototype approach the cone not centered and more on the vectored wheels? I’m worried about initial pick up with the hard plastic like surface of the VIW rollers.


We’re awaiting our small mecanum wheels to arrive, but glad to see your testing giving the results we’re after. Thank you for posting these videos.

Have the Andymark wheels on order, and not sure how their polycarbonate rollers would compare to the PLA from Thriftybot.

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The rollers on ours are nylon, the wheel housing is PLA.


We should be able to test this Monday, however we haven’t noticed any issues with the VIWs being able to initially grip the cones, only maintaining grip once the cone has already been intaked.







Week 2 Recap

This week we worked on Autonomous, Robot design selection, and our last prototype! Going into week 3 we will be posting more frequently and including posts about award progresses. After this post is up, we will be posting about our finalized digital animation application, so stay tuned.


Design Matrix and Robot Selection


Robot Progress



2 Game piece Auto
3 Game piece Auto


Auton test 1
Auton test 2

Written by

@DaMoose3512 @niczip @Nick.kremer @Ry3512

See all our week 2 Media here!


Nice! Somewhat surprised yall are getting good AprilTag detection results at such a low resolution, but hey.


Digital Animation Award Submission

Alongside our robot progresses, we will be posting on our award progresses as well, this is including Impact, entrepreneurship, and a few others!
To start us off, lets talk about our Digital Animation Submission!

Digital Animation Video!

One Small Step - FIRST 3512 Spartatroniks Digital Animation Award Submission

Our members that worked on this spent a lot of time and effort into making this as quality of a project as possible, they had 3 weeks to learn how to animate in blender with no prior knowledge and knocked it out of the ballpark with this one.
Amazing job to our Digital Animation team!

Written by

Hailey - Accounting Lead


Same here. It’s running on one of our cameras from last year, using the Pi Camera V1 and a Pi 3. Our electrical mentor is planning on building 4ish(?) new cameras using the Pi 4 and the Pi Camera V1. It will be interesting to see if the performance carries over or not. It most likely will since I know Pi 4s have the GPU acceleration now (wasn’t the case in 2022, which is why we opted for the Pi 3 then).

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You should see a pretty decent bump from Pi 4 over 3 – most of the super hefty Apriltag compute stuff still happens on CPU. Looking forward to hearing y’all’s results tho!

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Public CAD and STEP File Releases

I just noticed our 2023 CAD models weren’t added to the GrabCAD Partner Space, this is now resolved and it should update now as we push changes.

Native SolidWorks CAD can be found in the Robot Folder:

That being said not all teams use SolidWorks, so I will commit to twice weekly CAD releases on every Sunday and Wednesday where I will post a STEP file of our main robot assembly to be accompanied by a CD post. I will title each release with the current day’s date as shown below:

End of Week 2 STEP File Release

Here is our progress at the end of week 2!


Here’s the requested testing:

Pincher Intake ground cone intaking

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