Lets talk about resources
I love reading build blogs and looking at other robot designs, but I rarely come across a robot that I see and think we could copy it 1 for 1 because we don’t have the same resources. I figured I should make a post of our resources so other people can see how we operate.
Our line up of mentors seems to be different than other teams
- Our head coach works for the school and is a parent of an alumni. Their first exposure to FRC was 2012 when we were a rookie team, but she did not take over the head coach role until 2016.
- I started to help mentor in 2012 when I was a freshman in college. My rookie year was 2008 on Enigma 2075
- All of our other mentors are alumni from the team. Some are college students, some are not.
We basically have a total of 4 non college mentors that are at meeting frequently (at this point at least once a week), and 2 college mentors
This setup has positives and negatives. It’s convenient because everyone is familiar with how our team operates. On the other hand, we probably do some things that could be done better, but we don’t know any better. This is one thing I had hopped that The Open Alliance could help us find out.
We come from a small school with a total of 144 kids in the high school. Our team currently consists of 11 students. We currently don’t have the resources (mainly mentors) to support an FTC team so we also allow some middle schoolers on the team.
This is fairly good size team for us. It has benefits for being easier to manage, but having less people available for things like scouting can lead to issues.
We build out of a single classroom. The room is mainly used for us, but during the school day our head coach may have to use it. The front section with desks has to be cleaned up and ready to use as a classroom everyday but the back section allows us to store our robot and tools and field elements. While this is annoying, having a room we can keep everything is better than nothing.
Inside our build room we have a few main areas for work
Right at the entrance to the room we have our 3d printing area. It also stores the team laptops. We have a couple general purpose laptops and then 3 computer that are dedicated to CAD/Programming/Driver Station. We currently have 3 3D printers in our room. We have our Prusa Mk3s. This printer had an issue earlier this year where we needed to replace our hot end. While waiting for parts to come in, our sponsor, Bay Mills Community College (BMCC) offered to donate two Makerbot Replicator+s that they were no longer using. These are the printers we for most of our low load parts. BMCC also has two markforged 3d printers that we have access to.
We make extensive use of 3d printing parts in our designs because of these resources. Our belt pulleys, sensor mounts, and many other things are 3D printed.
In the corner of the room, we have an Omio CNC router. It is equipped with a mister from amazon, a tube magic jig from ozzyboards, and we use PVC as a waste board. Our mister uses a water filter housing as tank to hold the coolant (currently using cool mist), and air comes from a California Air Tools air compressor. We also store a vacuum under the router to clean up chips.
The Omio is our only form of CNC we have available to us. Basically every tube/plate on the robot goes through the Omio.
Other power tools
We have another table in the back of the room with our other power tools and small arbor press. We have a drill press, bandsaw, chop saw, sander, and mini lathe. The band saw is very rarely used. Besides the drill press and arbor press, the main tools on this table are the saw and mini lathe.
We have an Evolution Rage 3 saw. It’s a good saw for cutting aluminum tube. It has issues with cutting shaft. I have thought about upgrading to a band saw or something else. The clamp on the saw has worn out a bit and needs to be replaced soon.
We have a mini lathe from Little Machine Shop. For the work we do and the space we have available it works fine. I would like to upgrade it with a DRO, but other wise it does what we need it to do.
We then have the normal assortment of hand tools: wrenches, t handles, drill bits, drills, rivet guns.
We meet everyday after school from 3:30 until 6:30. We don’t require students to be at every meeting, just a set number of hours over the course of the season to attend competitions.
We have some amazing sponsors and community support. You can see a list of all of our sponsors on out website here
With their help, our program available at no cost to students. We cover travel/hotel so every student who wants to participate can.