FRC 2996 Cougars Gone Wired | 2024 Build Thread | Open Alliance

Welcome to FRC Team 2996’s 2024 openalliance build thread! We’re planning on rejoining this wonderful group of teams for the CRESCENDO season! The 2024 season will be our 16th year as a team, and our 2nd as an Open Alliance team.

We will be working hard to contribute as much open content as we possibly can, as this group of teams really did save our season last year thanks to all the information published, and we hope to do the same for others.

About Us

Team 2996 is from Coronado High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Currently, we have around 30 members, and 14 mentors. Our students come from two different schools around Colorado Springs, but all high school aged students in our district are welcome to attend.

In the preseason (August-December), we meet every Wednesday from 6-8 PM after school, but often schedule other work times after school to work on preseason projects as they come up. During build season, we meet Monday-Friday from 5-8 PM, and Saturday’s from 9 AM-4 PM.

Currently, we are planning on attending the Colorado Regional, and another out of state regional in the area. We are also attending the Kendrick Castillo Memorial Tournament (KCMT), Colorado’s off-season tournament, this October.

Open Alliance

I am planning to change the way we post OA updates this season. Last year we stuck to a weekly posting schedule, but I found that in some weeks, we didn’t really have something substantial to contribute, but in other weeks, we could have posted every day with something helpful. With the above in mind, we will post when we have enough to post, rather then posting on a weekly basis, hopefully not spamming your Chief Delphi feed in the process :slight_smile:

I’ll be posting our first preseason update soon. If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to reach out! Good luck this preseason, teams!

Team Links

-Riley, VP of Community Outreach


Pre-Season Update 1 - Welcoming New Members and Technical Projects

We got back into the swing of things on August 23rd and were joined by around 15 new members, many of which are underclassmen! This season, we are going to be utilizing our preseason extensively. We lost a good amount of experience last season with graduation and we are hoping to build a good foundation with preseason projects.

Welcoming (and training) New Members

We were lucky to welcome around 15 new members to the team this year, with possibly more to join later in the preseason. Besides the two preseason projects later in this post, we go through a general welcoming and training procedure for new members.

Team Building

One of the biggest cores of welcoming new members into the team actually has nothing to do with the robots, its playing games! For the first couple of meetings, we play various games to help people learn everyone’s names, and build stronger bonds between new and existing members. I’ll include the team building games we play below:

Team Building Games

The Name Game

This game helps for everyone to learn names, but also establishes a strict system of play, which can help new members understand how to follow instructions when learning how to operate a machine or tool in the shop.

  1. Get a bouncy ball, maybe a tennis ball, but it can be anything small and catch-able.
  2. Have the team gather in a circle, and one person (normally the team captain, or maybe the head mentor), begins the game.
  3. They begin by selecting a person, asking their name, and then saying “Hello (name)! I’m (name), here you go!”, and then throwing the ball to them. The person who catches the ball will then say “Thank you, (name)!”
  4. The person who now has the ball will then select the next person, and the cycle will repeat until everyone has had a turn to catch the ball.

Helium Hula Hoop

This is a simple game on paper, but requires close communication and collaboration skills between team members. It allows people to take the lead, and direct their fellow students in a mutual project/

  1. Have the team divide into small groups of 4 or 5, each with a hula hoop.
  2. All members will place one finger under the hula hoop with the hoop at around chest level, and their objective is to get the hoop to the ground. Members may not wrap their finger around the hoop.


Every preseason, the Safety Captain presents the Safety Presentation, and then members take a 60 question safety test, which must be completed with a 100% score before they are allowed to operate tools in the shop.

Training Presentations & Resources

Throughout the years, we have created and found numerous presentations for technical training purposes. I’ll be sure to update this thread with anymore we find this season :slight_smile:

Mechanical and Manipulator Resources
  • Mechanical Throughout FRC History: The Manipulator subteam created this document to compile the most popular types of manipulation (and soon to be drive and endgame) systems throughout each type of FRC game.
  • Thoughts on Manipulator Design: Focuses on the “touch it, own it” philosophy of piece manipulation, and goes into the various types of manipulators found in FRC.
Drivetrain and Mobility Resources
  • Common Drive Configurations: Not sure who made this, but the mobility subteam references this for basic information on each type of FRC drivetrain.
  • FRC Drivetrains by Ryan Swanson: Great resource, although outdated as it was made before the rise of easy to access swerve drive.
  • Drivetrain Design by Ben Barnett: Another great resource, also outdated for the same reason as above, although it is 86 pages of wonderfulness about not just the pros and cons of drivetrains, but also types of wheels and mathematical principles to guide your decision.
  • Kiwi Deep Dive: A mobility member last season did a deepdive into Kiwi Drivetrains, may not be common, but it is a resource nonetheless.
Other Resources
  • What are Field Drawings?: Goes over what the FRC Field Drawings are and where to access them for the purposes of building replicas of FRC field elements.


Losing a good amount of technical experience last season (4/6 technical VPs were graduating seniors), means that we have to train very hard in order to regain the knowledge we lost with those departures.

In order to train new members on technical processes, we decided to commit to two preseason projects in preparation for the Kendrick Castillo Memorial Tournament (KCMT), Colorado’s offseason tournament.

Repairing Arlo

Our 2023 Charged Up! robot, Arlo, has seen better days. After the Colorado Regional, the robot was left unrepaired throughout the summer, even through some community events, so the technical subteams created a list of things to repair, and improvements that can be made:

Repairs & Improvements:

Rewiring the Robot

Rewiring the Robot: Due to high speeds, impacts, and other unknown factors, the wires running up and down Arlo’s “arm” get very taunt when the arm is fully extended, causing the CANBus to disconnect and us partially losing control over the robot. Initially, we had loosened the zip tie holding the jumble of wires close to the arm to allow further movement, but the issue persisted. Due to this, electronics decided to take on the task of rewiring the robot in order to fix the issue, and train new electronics members.

Steel Baseplate and Tubes

Steel Baseplate and Tubes: Our biggest issue with Arlo has been our center of gravity. Currently, our baseplate is 1/16th in. aluminum, and the tubing is standard 1x2 aluminum tubing. We are hoping that our machining sponsor can assist us in cutting out a new 1/8 in steel baseplate, and new steel tubing, which will in total will bring up our previous baseplate and tube weight from around 12.1 pounds to 30.8 pounds. We are planning on bolting the steel baseplate. This also will let us take off Arlo’s Home Depot Ankle Weights, yes, those, which actually ended up damaging the 1/16th in. aluminum baseplate due to their weight and causing the rivets to constantly pop out, causing us innumerable stresses during the Colorado playoff matches. Systems Integration put together technical drawings to send off to our sponsor for the baseplate and tubing:

Second Robot - “Spot”:

Building a second robot for KCMT will let new members get extensive machining and tool time that they otherwise wouldn’t get until build season. “Spot”, as we are calling it, will be a cube only robot, which can place cubes low, and possibly shoot cubes to the middle and high nodes. We have been taking extensive inspiration from 1561’s 2023 robot, along with 4550’s 2023 robot for this design.

Initial Design

Initial Design

Initially, we had settled upon a fully motor powered design, using a worm gear to power the rotation of the cube intake, and a CIM or possibly a Falcon to power the intake wheels.

The intake wheels will either be green complaint wheels, or our 4499 inspired “roller intake.” More prototyping is needed before that decision can be made.

After discussing it further, though, we made the decision to power the rotation of the cube intake using pneumatics, with the core purpose of getting experience with them, in a competition setting.

Currently, Systems Integration is working on the math and geometries needed for the pneumatics. We utilize Fusion 360’s sketching feature extensively for figuring out geometries.

Looking Ahead

In the next couple weeks, we are going to be finalizing designs for ‘Spot’, and begin the CAD, machining, and programming process for that robot, with the goal of having it finished by October. In addition, we are waiting to hear back from our machining sponsor about the possibility of machining the new baseplate and tubing for Arlo.

The next update will provide an update on how the two technical preseason projects are going, and also will go into our Outreach projects for this preseason.

As usual, I hope you found something helpful in this post, and please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or comments!

-Riley, VP of Community Outreach


Pre-Season Update 2 - Finalizing Off-Season Robot Design, Advocacy Project, and Continuing Training for New Members

Over the past few weeks, we have gotten the new group of new members situated into their preferred subteams, and have started to focus fully on preparing for the Kendrick Castillo Memorial Tournament (KCMT), but also have focused on general training as well.

In addition, we decided on our preferred regionals for the 2024 season, those being the Green Country Regional in Tulsa, Oklahoma (Week 2), and the Colorado Regional in Denver (Week 4).

New Baseplates

We did send off our tech drawings and files for the new steel baseplate to our sponsor. Luckily, they are in the process of machining it, but they could not machine the steel tubes. That wasn’t a huge blow, and won’t drastically change anything with the robots.

One of our mentors was able to machine us a 1/4 inch steel baseplate as well. We are planning to put this baseplate on Arlo to reduce the center of gravity even more, and will be putting the 1/8in steel baseplate from our sponsor on Spot.

A Lesson in Thoroughness

When we had initially sent the baseplate design to our sponsor and mentor to machine, we made a major oversight to not include the battery holder bolt holes. Luckily we were able to let our sponsor know in time, and they had not started to machine the baseplate yet, but our mentor had already begun the machining of that baseplate, so it was too late.

After this incident, we have started to ensure that multiple people have checked over CADs and technical drawings, including a mentor, to slow down and be sure everything is correct before we begin to machine.

Offseason Robot - “Spot”


Spot has been moving along well. We have finalized the design and have started to machine and organize needed parts. Some smaller things still need to be decided upon, such as spacing for intake wheels the final electronic and compressor mounting locations, and another pair of bumpers.

We have started to machine the arm tubes, arm support tubes, and machined a wooden prototype for the intake. We are planning to machine the final intake later next week.

Intake/Place low position:

Shoot mid position:


This preseason we’ve opted to try multiple new methods of not just training new members, but building good habits as a team as a whole. Generally, the team leadership has made a point to ensure that new members prioritize organization over all else. Most training, though, has been done on a subteam by subteam basis.

General Training

Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunt

In order to teach new members where commonly used items are, but also to encourage good cleanup practices, leadership put together a scavenger hunt for a whole team training and teambuilding activity.

How it worked:

  1. Each member of leadership put together a list of the items, tools, and materials they used the most. Both Technical and Business leadership submitted items to ensure a well rounded list.
  2. The team was divided into equal groups (5-6 team members and 1-2 team leadership per group) and given the list of items.
  3. Team leadership was not allowed to help members find items, but were allowed to help members think through their thought process to find the item.
  4. After the scavenger hunt, the team came back together to discuss what went well and what didn’t, and how we can improve next time.

As a team, we found that we worked well together in order to brainstorm and figure out where items were, but we need to improve our speed and efficiency when searching for items, but that will all come with more familiarity of our shop.

Scouting and Strategy

Scouting and Strategy

In order to give new members a solid foundation in the principles of FRC gameplay and strategy, I have begun to put together a Scouting and Strategy class for new members. The purpose of the class is to explain to new members common FRC terminology, the structure of FRC competitions, and then get more in depth into scouting and strategy for people interested in that.

Currently, I have yet to finish the full course, but the first two classes that have been completed I will link below:

Mechanical Training

Brainstorming and Design

Brainstorming and Design

The Manipulator subteam conducted a quick brainstorming challenge in order to train new members to rapidly think of and present ideas. The point of it was to encourage members to list off as many ideas as they could think of in a limited timeframe, and then cohesively present their idea to a group.

The challenge went like this:

  1. The subteam was given a previous FRC game. They watched the reveal video and were given a quick overview of important design rules and how scoring works.
  2. Members got 15 minutes to work individually in order to come up with ideas for a possible robot, and then select the best one from their brainstorming.
  3. After the 15 minutes, the whole subteam came together for 30 minutes to share designs, discuss more ideas, and then decide on a list of prototypes.

Brainstorming and Design Challenge Powerpoint

Education on Past Games

Education on Past Games

On purpose or not, almost all of the mechanical subteams have been training members about what worked well in previous games. The purpose being so that new members have a strong foundation in FRC common practice once they enter build season.

The resources being used were posted in our previous Open Alliance post, but this has been such an important method of training we have used, so it was important to reiterate.

This method has worked well so far, hearing brand new members referring to a similar design they may have noticed in a previous game has helped to move along discussions on ideas far quicker, and will be very helpful once build season hits.

Programming Training

Reviving Old Robots

Reviving Old Robots

Two of our old robots, Grab n’ Go from the 2011 game Logomotion, and Sebestian from the 2013 game Ultimate Ascent are still fully wired and operable, and are used as either practice for programming or electronics. Sebestian, though, was forgotten about over the course of COVID, and left unmaintained until this year.

Both robots are very simple designs and easily programmable for new members, but most importantly they are both great examples of simple pick and place and shooting robots.

We’ve found great success in having new programmers program existing robots. It gives them a chance to dive fully into programming and gain instant experience.

The GitLab repos for both robots are below:

Advocacy Project

We officially announced our student advocacy project - ‘Colorado Cents for STEM!’ We posted a separate Chief Delphi post, and also made an announcement on the Colorado FRC Discord.

In short, the project aims to create a state level grant program that would provide grants to STEM extracurriculars, such as FIRST, in the State of Colorado.

The info sheet summarizes the origins and goals of the project, along with how to get involved. As of right now, this is a Colorado based project, but we hope that other teams can use our resources (link to folder containing all of our research and ideas) in order to start a similar program in their state.