FRC 4131 Iron Patriots 2022-2023 Season

We are super excited about joining #openalliance this year! This presents our team with an opportunity of documenting all the positives and negatives involved with our build season.
As a team we have high expectations and big goals for this coming season, we are working towards reaching world championships this year, and earning our very first robot blue banner. We will try our best to do bi-weekly updates and post all our positives and negatives.

Here are some of the resources and social media our team runs:

I will be posting a weekly update tonight so be on the lookout for that :slight_smile:
Thank you,
Vachan Shah | President


11/22/2022 Pre-Season Updates
These past few weeks have been very productive in almost every aspect and we thank you for all the interest and support that you have given us.

First off, we have been able to achieve a substantial amount of team-wide training. Also, each subteam has made significant progress with their offseason projects. I am extremely proud of the dedication and hard work every student is putting in towards ensuring that our goals are met.

Additionally, we have been able to raise a lot of funds fully paying off our competition registration of $19,000, with a staggering $21,400! Any funds we raise from now on go straight towards parts and the whole team is ecstatic about that. Another reminder to see if your company has a matching funds program to see if you can further help the team. We greatly appreciate all the parents who have helped already with the amount raised.

Below are the links to photos and videos from the past couple months and some of the cool projects that we have been working on.

Even with the fun and productive meetings we have had the past few weeks, they have been far from perfect. We have always struggled in the past with not having the most trained crew this prompted us to start working on organizing a method to standardize training procedures for all different subteams using Excel sheets and checking people off based on knowledge they have been tested on (as simple as can connect to the robot or knows how to use the drill) . More info about this will be posted once we get the experience of it and can positively give it a rating and list its pros and cons.


Another cool project we worked on over the summer and these past couple months is a new battery cart. The current plan is to have a laptop charging station in the back [shown in the second image] and using the top as a workstation during comps for our software subteam. This battery cart came with a lot of procrastination and being annoyed by our old one.
Below are some of the lessons we learned from the old one and implemented in the new :

  • Use vertical space
  • Tilt the batteries eliminating the need for straps
  • Have a compartment for Laptops and a workspace on top
  • Keep weight low in the cart

We noticed this cart weighed a lot, and would like to figure out solutions for reducing the weight in the future. But are very satisfied with this design for this year :slight_smile:

Vachan Shah


12/19/2022 Pre-Season Updates
Its been a few weeks since the last update, and even though we set an ambitious goal, it was all on pause due to a week of snow.

We did get lucky that the snow melted enough for us to host our 2nd Unified Robotics Competition, which went as smooth as we could have hoped for. We had enough students of the team volunteer and couldn’t have done it without everyone. There was a bit of a hiccup which was us trying to push our T-shirt cannon up a hill in the snow to bring it to our gym but after about 20 minutes of hard work we did it and it went well :slight_smile: In fact we used our T-shirt cannon to shoot out a piece of paper inside a T-shirt with the names of the wildcards which really cheered everyone up and brought a lot of energy to the event.
Here was a video that we showed to our school inviting everyone to the competition -

Although we did not get as many tasks done as we had hoped we were able to finish off a few significant achievements including re-organizing our CNC room which holds all of our tools, metal stock, and pretty much everything else we own that is used towards making robots.
We also are trying to switch over to #10-32 socket head screws this year to standardize to one size for most applications on our robot, and got a PO sent out for a large number of the screws mentioned. This will add additional work at the start of the season getting used to these screws but in the long term will help us standardize towards one size.

Another place where we got more progress done was Photon Vision. Our software team started familiarizing themselves with Photon Vision and started learning the basics. We did run into one issue with being able to detect the targets but not getting any data from PhotonLib. Our understanding as of now was that this was due to this issue mentioned on the Common Issues page of Photon Vision Troubleshooting, although we ran out of time before winter break to be able to update both the limelight and Photon Vision to the same version. This will be one of the first things we do when we get back from break.

Another thing we worked on was using training spreadsheets to start getting people checked off. Each subteam has their own and I am going to use the software subteam as an example. There are 3 levels to check off to be proficient in everything to do with the subteam.
Here is level 1 for software, the basix.

Here is level 2, le java

Here is level 3, end goals

The past few weeks have been hectic with training, snow, and any last minute projects before build season comes around the corner but I am glad we were able to stick to our goals and get our prioritized items finished. We are not meeting over winter break and are going to start meeting again on the 3rd of January, so look forward to more updates during the first week of build. We hope everyone has a safe and good winter break.

Adios Amigos,
Vachan Shah


1/14/2023 Build Season Updates Week 1

We have been super busy with kickoff and the past week of prototyping, software planning, and finalizing our game and design strategy. So, here are the things that came up over the last week of discussion and progress. We consider ourselves to be a mid-tier mid resource team that has limited access to CNC machines, so we are putting limits on ourselves and prioritizing simplicity to make the best robot our team can build.

After kickoff and discussions about rules we split up and brainstormed multiple strategies and here are some of the things we agreed on in a priority list.

Priority List

1. Balancing

We figured out that balancing is essential since it is the easiest bonus RP to get, only requiring one other robot to get on the charge station at the end of the match.

2. Scoring cones

With cones having 2 times as many scoring positions we determined a robot that scores cones only would be more valuable to an alliance than a robot that scores only cubes.

3. Links

With links being the only other way to get a bonus ranking point, we decided in our game strategy getting links would be more beneficial towards our team and ranking than higher scoring options. Links being 5 points each helps to subsidize the lower-scoring strategies prioritizing the ranking point/ link.

4. Cube pickup

Cubes are necessary for links on mid and high. They also score the same as cones and will require higher gameplay levels.

5. Knocked cone pickup

The ability to pick up cones that are dropped in any orientation would significantly help to reduce cycle times and help us score more links and therefore rank higher. We are also reserving the right not to do this at all because we can get cones in a known orientation from the feeder station.

Here are some of the things we have done this past week.

Both departments have begun the fabrication and assembly of our drive base. We have decided to go with Swerve Drive Specialties Mark 3 modules. We currently have all the parts needed to make 2 drive bases.

We coded our own swerve because we realized that SDS libraries were now deprecated. This was a surprise at the start of the season but may end up benefiting us in the long term. We also talked about some path planning and created a control scheme using a 3 x 3 button grid. This allows our drive team to pick exactly the grid they want to score in. We also were able to get our robot to track April tags while driving around and give us accurate data within 0.25 inches.

Our next weekly update will include the design of our robot and our goals for the season, as well as the progress we make in this week :slight_smile:

Adios Amigos,
Vachan and Noah



1/29/2023 Build Season Updates Week 2 and 3

The team has been super busy, we came to the conclusion that we want to create 2 robots this year, ensuring software always has a robot even throughout driver practice. In the past week, we had our Preliminary Design Review with our parents and mentors and it went super well. We have finished our version one of our robot CAD and are in the current stage of iteration and finishing up our robot 1 to get it handed over to software and drive team.

Now that finals week is over and semester 2 is starting, we get our schools metal shop all to ourselves for the rest of the year, and with a lot of re-arrangement we were able to fit part of a field in there to keep for the rest of the season.

We also finished up 2 drivebases this weekend and are happy with the way they look. Plan is to add a beam that runs across the 2x1 alluminum running down the side of the robot to make the robot abide by bumper rules.

Here is what each of the sub teams have been doing.


We have finished manufacturing parts for 1 full robot and are waiting on getting in more parts that are on order. We have also assembled 2 drivebases and 1 of them is handed over to software and the second one is still with electronics. Another thing we have just finished assembling is the superstructure for robot 1.


We have been working on creating a PoseEstimationSubsystem and have successfully gotten a drive to pose command working. This helps us lineup faster once integrated with the april tags for getting field relative location and integrating that with odometry. We also have figured out how to get our auton paths to run at an accurate pace and distance. Moving forwards in the next week we will be discussing exactly what commands and subsystems we want to use in our code and test our different auton paths.


We have been working hard and finished up our version 1 of our robot CAD. This leads us into one of our harder weeks as we continue iterating our design and focusing on smaller details, while coming up with better designs for our claw.


This has been a busy week and we have worked hard and wired up 2 of our robot drivebases. We did also run into an issue with our Can Coder not having a led and one of them not being installed correctly, and it took us a day to troubleshoot that. This hard work is enabling us to stay on schedule and we were able to hand over one robot to software yesterday for auton pathplanning and the second one is going to hardware on Tuesday for attaching of the superstructure and the arm.


We have been working on our Impact Award essay and our handout. We are also starting our Woodie Flowers award Nominee writeup. Today we discussed and “finalized” an idea for our Impact award video and are going to continue filming and documenting over the next week or two.

We appreciate you for reading through and be on the lookout for CAD releases coming out soon.


2/11/23 Build Season Updates Week 4 and 5

The team’s momentum has not dropped at all, and a significant amount of work has been completed. A lot of this week was done to be able to have a working robot that could have all the basic functions done for drive trials. We decided we wanted to have our drive teams decided as soon as possible to allow for the most potential drive practice.

Our drive trials went on for about 5 days, during which people could self-nominate and practice with the robot while we took note of their skills. Then we had an invite-only day where we then decided on our drive team.

Our CAD of the first version of the robot is complete, including all of the limit switches and other electronics. The robot can score in all locations of the grid as shown below.

We were able to finish our arm and intake assembly and had it mounted onto the robot.

We saw many possible improvements for the claw and we have prototyped a second version.

We have also finished assembling our wrist. This wrist will let us flip the cone into its upward orientation without having to rotate the robot, saving more time.

Here’s what each of the subteams has been doing:
Hardware: Manufacturing and assembly of the first arm. Starting on manufacturing the second robot.
Design: Wrapping up all the CAD needed to be done to have a finished CAD.
Software: Worked on the efficiency of the arm by tuning its PID controller. We also worked to implement further changes to the arm and vision to get started on automating cycles for specific nodes.
Electronics: Wired all the mechanisms for the first robot.
Media: Finishing up the Impact Essay and Handout. Starting on the Impact Video.


Love the simple V2 of the claw. Do you have any CAD of it?

1 Like

Sure ting,


That’s a solid, simple robot. Good job.

One caution: That lazy-susan bearing might work OK for your wrist, but I worry you’ll grow to hate it. They’re designed to lay flat and take vertical loads only. (The balls lose contact unless the two halves are being pushed together - leaving only the steel lips to rub against each other).

If you eventually find you need something a bit sturdier, I recommend something like these x-contact bearings (recognizing that they are harder to mount): 3" OD x 2.5" ID x .25" X-Contact Bearing


can you tell me the gear ratio you have lifting up that arm? my team has ~10lb arm and 1:28 gear box and are trying to trouble shoot.

1 Like

I have no affiliation with the team you are asking but you’ll want something much higher than that. You can do that through the sprockets too, but something at minimum of 150:1 by the time you get to the arm. Gearbox = 50:1 and another 3:1 with the sprockets. It’ll still be plenty fast.

1 Like

We have 1 motor running 60:1. Were still messing around with it (will probably stay where it is) but its plently enough to lift our arm.


2/11/23 Build Season Updates Week 6 and 7

Attendance these weeks has been rough, making our robot progress fall behind schedule, but we have finished the robot that we are likely bringing to the competition!

With our first competition approaching soon at Glacier Peak, here are our goals for the comp:
-Rank higher than 13th
-Rank as a 4-5 captain or be 1st pick
-Get some elimination points (make it past round 1 of elms)
-No drive failures
-No “stupid mistake”
-Robot doesn’t completely break down
-Help at least 1 other team
-Win an award

Our robot has the second version of the arm. We have done some changes to the arm to further stabilize it and fix some of the other problems we’ve had during the last two weeks.

Our claw and wrist are also attached, with some minor changes added to the claw to have a better grip on the cone and cubes as well as easier access to the motor in case it breaks.

The names of our robots have been decided: our competition’s main robot will be Phobos and the second robot will be Deimos. Our front plate highlights the name of the robot

Overall, one of the prevalent issues shown this week is our dependence on certain people, leading to a bottleneck when they aren’t available for that meeting. We need more people capable of certain things to avoid the bottleneck issue better. Communication this year has been dramatically improved, especially with the use of and maintaining our officer meetings.

Here’s what our subteams have been doing:
Hardware: Building the second version of the robot, and we have also been organizing our pit for comp.
Software: tuned current limiting and other safety precautions to prevent brownouts and other potential damages to the robot. Also wrote some autons but have yet to be tested
Electronics: Wired limit switches and subsystems (excluding drive base)
Design: We worked on the 2nd design of the robot with hardware
Media: We have our impact handout printed and our impact video is in progress.


3/23/23 Glacier Peak (Late) Overview
Recently, we went to the Glacier Peak Competition and we were able to accomplish a lot of things: 1. We were in rank 13 after our qual matches
2. We were the first pick from 2nd alliance the Bearcat Robotics (7627)
3. We made it to finals but unfortunately lost to the first alliance
4. We won the Engineering Inspiration Award
5. Double-medaled!!

With these many accomplishments, we were able to meet over half of the goals that we established for Glacier Peak. For future plans, we met to see what things we could improve on the robot for the upcoming competition in Yakima, and we came up with this list: This list illustrates almost all the issues we saw with our robot at glacier peak, then is paired with potential dilutions to those problems. There is then a list that shows the difficulties ranked by how high of a priority it is coupled with the person taking the responsibility of getting that task done. With our next comp at Yakima, Sundome, we had limited time on how many of those tasks we should accomplish, but we made fixing the first five on the ranked list mandatory. With our limited time and resources, we demanded that the first 5 were of the utmost importance to successfully compete at Yakima.


3/23/23 Yakima Competition Overview
A lot of work went into trying to get our robot improved for Yakima, and we did not disappoint. Here are some of the things accomplished in this competition:

  1. We were 3rd rank after our qual matches (the highest rank our team has ever been)
  2. We were 2nd alliance captains along with teams 1318 and 3712
  3. We won the Impact Award!!

    Our drive team has been doing incredible, with qual 53 letting us reach about 11-12 cycles in one match. Here is a video of that qual from the robot’s perspective.
    Even with a lot of accomplishments, we are still striving to be better, and one of the biggest priorities for our robot is to increase the durability of our robot as well as the continued refinement of the code.
    With defense playing a more significant role as competitions continue, we saw that our robot must be more durable to ensure we stay competitive. More issues were also put in this document:

A lot of work from here on will be to finish our 2nd robot Deimos and other slight improvements on Phobos. While this year has been a lot of firsts and accomplishments, we can continue to be better with what is left of this year.


Really Short Team Update 3/30/2023
Our team worked on some new autons and we are excited to be running our JV drive team for our 3rd competition. We have been training hard over the past couple weeks and we were finally able to get both our bots identical and running today, giving software the chance to work on autons while JV drive team practiced.

On another note are going to be using our 2nd robot Deimos at Auburn district event starting tomorrow!

We are very excited to run our new autons at auburn here’s one of the sneak peaks!!!


Can’t wait to compete with y’all at Auburn!



Hey yall as the students all recoup and prep for our next steps I’m going to take the time to write out a blog post about our DCMP journey.

To say that I am proud of my students and what they accomplished would be an understatement. The sheer grit that they had demonstrated through all days of the competition was nothing short of inspiring and its moments like that where I remember why it is that I do this.

Between Auburn and now we made one MAJOR MAJOR improvement to the robot that helped dramatically with our reliability and functionality that being switching from a fully 3D printed piece to one reinforced with aluminum. (I plan to write more specifically about this when I get time) We also used one of the other mentors work SLS printer to make a load of new fancy pants parts.

Pictured bellow:

This simple change lead us to not have any sort of reliability problems with the robot and maybe unfortunately no more funny clips of our intake flying off like this one!!! (Side note piece did not count and lost us the match if the intake fell over it would have counted i think lol)



2023 PNW DCMP was by far the closest comp that I have ever seen so far in Charged Up I don’t think its a stretch to say that any of the 8 alliances had what it took to take home the banner. Now I dont want to sound like a bit of a complainer but man we were put through the ringer at DCMP.

We werent the only ones put through it if you look through the rankings, and if you know anything about PNW youd be surprised to see a lot of other powerhouses down past the top 10, 2930 rank 16 (1 event win), 7461 rank 19 (1 event win), 2147 rank 26 (1 event win), and 2046 rank 27 :exploding_head: (1 event win). Which goes to show just how much your schedule can effect your competition. We ended quals ranked 31 and were praying for a high pick to get us enough points to go to worlds.

See below photo showing SOS (Strength Of Schedule) according to statbotics:

Stats wise we performed amazingly despite our record and our schedule we were putting up number averaging around 7-8 cycles a match most of which on the high grid making us the 3rd highest individual point contributor at the competition.

These numbers were noticed by 2521 SERT the 4th alliance captain who after seeing us tune in one of our “sicko mode” autos (pictured below) decided we would be a good fit for their alliance.


For our 3rd we decided on team 2522 as they were consistently one of the highest low scoring robots averaging 7 game pieces a match with 4-5 of those being low. This told us that they were capable of filling the hybrid nodes while us and SERT focused on the mid/high. We also chose them because they had been very reliable no dead on field matches just movin and groovin. They had also played the most matches out of any of the other options for teams as they had been to the Hawaii Regional as well.

Unfortunately they ended up having some issues on the field but were still able to PUT UP NUMBERS AND BALANCE which was AWESOME!!!

See magic smoke bellow:

But unfortunately we just didnt have enough points to win any of the elimination matches but I think it perfectly encapsulates our experience at the comp. One of perseverance.

After we were out of the running for elims we had to depend on the awards to get us to worlds and going in we werent sure which we would be up for if any. With so many amazing programs and so many amazing robots it seemed to us that all the judged awards had been accounted for, but the comp had a couple tricks up its sleeve the first one being this…

I have only good things to say about this individual and I am beyond excited and proud for him to be recognized for his efforts to improve the world we live in.

Not only that but we managed to get this…

This was a welcome surprise and thus auto qualified us for worlds for the first time in seven years.

To say this has been a record breaking season would be an understatement, the kids completely shattered our previous records ranking 13th overall in district points and winning one of the inaugural Regional Impact Awards.

To show some growth real quick here are our stats, from statbotics, from our 2022 season to this year.

These students and this program have exploded in the past few years and it doesn’t show any sign of stopping. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again the sheer determination that this team has shown will bring us further than we even think possible. Be on the lookout for 4131, forging a better future for our students and community.

Noah Eckfeldt 4131 Design/Strategy Mentor Signing Out :saluting_face: Screenshot_20230125_140001_Discord_11zon-1


gg fr


seems like a solid team