5417 Eagle Robotics Build Blog | Open Alliance | 2023

Welcome to 5417’s 2023 build thread as a part of #openalliance! We have been running for 8 years out of Allen High School, first at the main campus and recently in the last few years, we moved to the Steam Center.

We will be hosting and competing at Week 1 Dallas and competing Week 5 Amarillo, hope to see y’all there!


Bumpers, Encoders, and What Nots


They suck, they’ve always sucked. We love them, but we have always found new innovative ways to ruin them throughout the season. So this off season, we sat down and scoured every bumper post in existence (at least every bumper post until my sanity was ruined), and tested various options to find the best one that fits to our liking. Here’s a few post that we really enjoyed and took inspiration from.


Previous Joint and Issues with it

We have always had problem with bumper joints, the past few years we have always just put L brackets onto the joints to secure two sides of the bumper together, however, doing this creates a gap between the bumper and the robot frame, causing both tolerance issue and having to add more mounts to fit with the bumper rules.

Looking through some of the white paper this past off season, we found one interesting joint idea that will allow us to minimalize the dead space between our bumper and frame.



This method when combined with wood glue and wood screw on the finger joints allow for a very high strength joint and comparably better than our L bracket joints that we have used to run.


We saw many different ways to mount the bumper on cd, ranging from the basic Bolt and Rivnut to other super custom latching system like the spectrum latching system. However, we found two fairly simply mounting systems that gave us enough play that we can build without much error and also provide good stability to our bumpers.

Clamp Mount

We first came across this from a 2046 mounting picture and we loved it immediately. However, reading through the replies, we saw that there was quite a bit of problem with horizontal movements with this mounting system. However, with a few modifications, I think we found a few good solutions.

By either mounting a screw in the middle on the robot frame, (which can be done after everything else to ensure that it lines up) or a screw exactly where the clamp is clamped down, the bumper will be secure horizontally and protected from slipping out.

Quick Release Latch Mount

Another way we found that was greatly used by many teams and simple to use is the quick release latch from Triple Helix. This was also one of the options that we ended up with before trying it out physically but we decided to go with the clamps as it was much easier to create without fault.

All in all, we think it came out to a very good design/config for us to proceed for next year, and we wrote an internal build guide for our students to follow, if any team would like to see how we approach building it.


Like many other teams, we have also been developing swerve during our off season, unlike many other teams, we didn’t use cancoders. The following is just a small comment on how to use the SRX Mag Encoder as a replacement for Cancoder + Canivore set up on SDS swerve for those who’s searching on cd for how it would work.

How we did it

First, we used a breakout board to take PWM, 5V, and Ground connection from the encoder wires into a 3 pin cable, which was plugged into the rio in the DIO ports. Then the DutyCycleEncoder Class can be used to extract data from the encoder.

The What Nots

This is all the lesser resources and projects that we have been doing or projects which have been mentioned on the discord but not in a proper blog yet this offseason.

The Suitcase

During the beginning of build season last year, we saw that many subsystems had spilt into groups to create separate prototypes, while this was a valueable process, we didnt have enough control system that were working smoothly to support this, so this year, we created a special suitcase which contained a single control system that fed out 8 motor slots for us to connect and test with. This will allow us to have a proper physical testing bench to match up with our prototyping dashboard.

The Direction

What is it that we want to do?

Every year, we would ask the team what is it that we want to do during a season, and that would help us align our design direction to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal.

1 RP, no matter what.

As long as I was apart of this team, we have always focused our design direction on the principle of 1 RP every match, no matter what. This was something we thought that allowed us to develop our mechanisms in a timeline and also not overreach too much. However, as our team’s situation change, we had slowly begun to lose sight of our design direction, which caused a few problems through last season.

Be the best first pick possible.

This was something we felt suited our current abilities and resources more. It also aligned much better with our current strategist and designers opinions on how to compete, compared to the 1 RP every match principle.

Looking for Mentors

We are also still looking for mentors for our upcoming season. Our team is led by Gregory Burnham and is heading into our 9th season of FRC. With over 70 active members yearly, the need for more mentors has increased in order to keep the team’s growth and development alive. At the moment, we have limited mentors to match our rapidly expanding number of students, so anybody who is in the North Texas area and has the time, commitment, and interest in joining our program can contact [email protected] with any questions about our club.

If you are interested, we can give an in-person tour to see our facilities and the various activities in which we participate. For more information on our club, here are the links to our social media and website.


FRC Instagram

Facilities Website (STEAM Center)




As soon as we saw the game reveal, we felt this was a cycle heavy game. Most if not all matches prior to worlds that we will encounter will be decided in cycle time.

The Cones are really squishy, while the Cubes are not.

Ground pickup will not be that necessary during early matches/events.

The Charge RP is considerably easy to get.


As we had a very early event (week 1), and 4 weeks in between our next competition, we came together and discussed what we need to do, what we should do and what we want to do specifically at our first week 1 event, as we had a decent amount of time to improve for our next competition.

Needs to do

  1. Drive Consistently
  2. Manipulate Cube or Cones
  3. Intake from Lower Human Player Station
  4. Score on bottom row + docked during Auton
  5. Be a Microwave, not a Fridge
  6. High speed, low weight

Should do

  1. Score on all 3 levels
  2. Score on bottom row + engaged during Auton
  3. Manipulate both Cones and Cubes
  4. Intake from the Upper Human Player Station

Wants to do

  1. Score preload at mid/high + engaged during Auton
  2. Righting the Cones
  3. Easier ground pickup
  4. Brakes for Charge Station

We felt having an auton that allows us to balance on the scale would be really crucial during our early competitions, as it was worth an extra cycle compared to docked. And will get us close enough to the charge station RP as all we need is to have 3 robots docked on the charge station during end game to earn the RP.

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Week 1 Update- Ideas First, Legality Later

Hi CD, my name is Jordan and I will be helping out Du with our weekly OA posts!

Rapid Prototyping

Throughout the week, club members worked on different manipulator ideas for the cube and cone pieces, along with brainstorming ideas for an elevator/ arm idea. Very early in the week, some members were able to rig up an old kit bot chassis with electronics and basic control systems needed to run the chassis. Students did this to allow our programmers to practice writing drivetrain code and help the different subsystems test their ideas. Most, if not all, of the different subteams, worried more about rapid prototyping using whatever materials and designs came to mind rather than trying to fit all the designs with regulations. As a result, this had given us a faster turnout on prototypes than in past years when we spent almost two to three weeks just making the prototypes—ideas first, legality later.

Later toward the end of the week, the team held a PDR to review the different designs and prototypes that students had come up with. Some designs include but are not limited to a timing belt-based claw, a pneumatic-based claw similar to one seen in RI3D, and a wheel+claw-based manipulator.

Pros/Cons list made during the PDR to note different flaws/pros of each design

As designs were reviewed and the team did more strategizing within the team, we reconvened and looked again at the predetermined priorities we made at kickoff, coming up with a few more.

Need To Do At Week 1

  • Drive Consistently
  • Manipulate Cubes or Cones
  • Intake from both Upper and Lower Human Player Station
  • Score on bottom row + docked during Auton
  • Be a Microwave, not a Fridge
  • High-speed, low weight
  • Pick up both pieces from HP
  • Place cones and boxes on all three heights

Should Do At Week 1

  • Score on all three levels (Moved to Need)
  • Score on bottom row + engaged during Auton
  • Manipulate both Cones and Cubes (Moved to Need)
  • Intake from the Upper Human Player Station (Moved to Need)
  • Design a Ground Intake

Want To Do At Week 1

  • Score preload at mid/high + engaged during Auton (Moved to Should and modified)
  • Righting the Cones
  • Easier ground pickup (Moved to Should)
  • Brakes for Charge Station

When compared to our kickoff priorities, a lot has been moved up, such as the ability to pick up both pieces from HP and place them on all heights being made primary concerns for the season. Along with this, the team has taken an interest in creating a ground intake to pick the cube or both pieces from off the ground and dispense them into the hybrid nodes.

Drive Time!

Another thing that rapid prototyping has led us to is more time for driver practice. Last year especially, drivers went into the first competition with little practice as the build time for the comp bot took longer than expected. With this in mind, we made it a goal to finish and integrate designs by week three to provide our drivers enough time to practice for an extended period, with the goal of cutting cycle times to that 15-20 second sweet spot. Hence, the completion of the kit bot and any attachment of prototypes to it will let driver candidates practice with a bot that will be similar to our competition bot but more complete and in regulation :).


Week 2 Update- Gotta Go Fast!

Sorry CD for the late post, but we got a lot done over week two and are getting a lot more done as we speak.

Prototyping Results

We continued developing our prototypes, with a focus on a activee claw and using the recently revealed everybot intake created by 118. With this in mind, we are trying to create simple yet effective solutions for this game to allow for more complex programming solutions. We made a realization that the benchmark for what makes a intake viable is if it can perform better than the every bot intake, so we are driven to design something simple but effective.

CAD of the active claw design

In other areas, we quickly manufactured the everybot intake and strapped it on to our proto bot to test both our virtual 4 bar code and the intake itself.

After the testing of both, we found the every bot intake to be efficient in picking up both pieces and that the active claw, although it did not perform as expected during our testing, had a lot more potential for success and warranted further development. We also realized that we would like to have another mechanism that could passively correct the position of a cone to the upright position when intaking from the ground.

Photo of Planning discussion for Week 1

As always, we went back and reviewed how our current discussion modify our week 1 goals and made a few adjustments. Overall, we still aim to have a auton that can balance on the charger and create a simple and effective intake.

In Other News…

SWERVE BABY! Well, not completely but it’s getting there. Although we are mostly married to having a kitbot frame for this competitive season, we still have allocated students to developing swerve in the meantime.

Besides this, we have also completed building field pieces! With this out of the way, we just need to complete the development of the proto bot to allow drivers to get some practice time and programmers to develop auton code!


Week 3 Update- It’s Coming Together

Helllllo Chief Delphi! Week three has seen us complete numerous tasks and have fun with an extra meeting or push day!

Another PDR!

As expected this early in the season, some things were bound to change. The proto bot was completed, and some drivers tested it, but it was later taken apart to separate the drivetrain and arm/claw systems. This would allow programmers to continue working on PID code for the arm and develop our auton till the competition bot is done.

Besides this, CADs for all the manipulators and drivetrain was finished, leading us to complete our robot CAD!

With the CAD done, subsystem teams gathered to review our CAD along with any other interested members. Although we held a PDR earlier in the year, having another one allows mentors and students to analyze the work done and discuss it. Some big things were structural integrity, specifically how to strengthen the arm a bit and the superstructure. Another thing was electronics packaging. We made a rough crayola cad for all the different items (PDH, compressor, etc) in order to see how everything would fit together.


After the PDR was held, we came back on Friday the 27th for an additional meeting day, aka, a Push day! Our rapid pace in designing the different mechanisms and prototyping the different ideas allowed us to use the Friday and Saturday Meetings to begin assembly of the Alpha bot. Although Fridays meeting wasnt mandatory, many members attended and assisted in different tasks such as helping complete one our claw designs and working on PID tuning.

Towards the end of saturdays meeting, parts for the suptructure (tower that holds arm) were built and mostly attached to the chassis. Bumpers were being made as well, with members having completed the wood layers and preparing to put bumper mounts on. Assembly of the everybot intake was started and PID tuning was completed. This puts the team at a good pace for assembling Alpha bot and getting our drivers something to practice with.

In Other News…

Members continued working on swerve. The students were able to calibrate the drivetrain and got the absolute encoders working, but are still having trouble with getting it fully working so that it can rotate and translate at the same time.

Thats a wrap on week three!


Week 4 Update- Snow!Oh No!

What’s a popping CD! I apologize for the lack of material in this week’s post, as the team was stuck at home for most of this week.

Home Sweet Home!

Fortunately and unfortunately, the snow came! As a result, our usual Monday and Wednesday meetings were canceled for safety reasons. During the time snowed in, some team members played around with schemes for the robot (something we rarely have time for).

Screenshots of some possible color schemes

It wasn’t till Friday the 3rd that we could gain access to our facilities. Once in, students continued working on bumpers for the robot while electronics and temporary belly pans were being created. Something this team isn’t used to, at least the build side, is being on time with deadlines! Last season especially. The sight of a nearly built (maybe not functional, but we’ll see later) robot has everyone’s hopes and minds running fast. This causes us to get ahead of ourselves and make a few mistakes. One such mistake this week was in our bumper execution. Measure twice, cut once! A lesson learned by many students this week as we went through quite a bit of material. However, we still move on and continue to learn from our mistakes. Either way, the bumpers are near completion and will be completed on our next meeting!

In Other News…

Sadly Nothing :frowning:

The Final Countdown

Catching up

Hey guys, the final push of the build season has caught up to our workload for many of us and we haven’t been able to push out a blog post for quite a few weeks, however, we have been updating our discord channel with videos and photos about our progress as much as we can. The tldr of what happened the past 2 weeks is that we have finished assembling the robot, and is now working solely on auton pathing after a few days of driver practice.

The Prep List?

what we noticed watching Week 0

  1. Auton balancing is quite necessary for a consistent rp scoring robot.
  2. Defense in mid field is very impactful.
  3. Being able to cycle the cones/cubes at midfield gives your alliance an big advantage.
  4. HP traffic will not be as crowded as we had thought prior.
  5. Being able to cycle 5-6 cone/cubes will.
  6. Being able to defense effective will play a big role in the match.

What we want to be during week 1

  1. Auton Balancing + 1 high cone/cube.
  2. Able to clear the midfield game pieces by ourself during one match.
  3. Able to cycle 5-6 cone/cube from HP during one match.
  4. Not break a single time.
  5. No penalties.

What we’re looking for when picking

  1. Clear communication and able to adopt on the fly (mostly a drive team thing)
  2. Know the rules, little to no penalties if possible.
  3. Be consistent, as the new elimination bracket is a best of one, we feel that consistent teams with little to no breakdowns during the qualification matches.
  4. Auton balancing, having a third/second bot that can auton balance will allow the other bots to run other auton routes, therefore allowing us to have the biggest advantage possible.


We will be implementing our new scouting setup, which was published a week or so ago:

Along with the scouting setup, we will be having a few separate more experience scouters looking for the diamonds in the rough, robot that could have potential but can’t be discovered quantitively.

To help improve match strategy, we’ll also be having a set of runners between the pit and the stands that delivers the upcoming match data of the teams for better strategy and discussion prior to match. This was something we found really useful during our second district event last year and it allowed us to coordinate better and develop deeper strategies.

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