pic: Taking Out the Trash


Ken Patton will be so mad at me for this… :smiley:

Well, Bill the machinist made poor Ken do this… The gripper mechanism was something that he and a few other students and engineers made, and he was so proud of it, because it worked soo well, in a mechanical kind of way. It had interlocking claws controlled by a helix type movement, all pulled by a cable through the arm.

Very great and innovative idea, only it was too slow, and it wasn’t strong enough to hold a tetra through vigorous competition.

On the Practice day of the Midwest Regional, one of the team members, Stevie, decided it was enough of the gripper mechanism, and wanted to ditch it, and replace it with a skewer. Ken was reluctant, but, on a vote from the team, decided to go ahead with it.

The skewer was built on Friday, and upon losing the second or third match of qualifications, the gripper was replaced.

The skewer proved the team watching in the stands that it was obviously better than the gripper. And it led us to get picked (Thank you soo much to teams 383 and 903 for picking us, it has been a wonderful alliance!!!), and led us to become regional finalist.

In this picture, poor Ken was saying something around the lines of
“No! This isn’t right! Why!”
Poor gripper too… RIP Gripper…

One last thing too-
PH33r T3h M0hAWk!1111!1

Ken Patton rocks my socks off!

Even if he does try and copy my hair cut:)

I still think one of the most touching moments of this entire competition was Ken running up to Chris Noble and I after Huskies were defeated, and was grinning ear to ear and hooting and hollering “DID YOU SEE US!! DID YOU SEE US! WE DID SO WELL!! WE WORKED SO WELL! DID YOU SEE US!!! I CANT BELIEVE IT” It was awesome to watch you guys and awesome to get to work with and talk with such a great man!

I agree with you 100%

I am so grateful that this man is, and has been, our founder and devoted engineer for our team for 9 years and counting! To him, there is no such thing as losing a match!
It was a great loss and a great gain to him for ditching the gripper… He worked soo hard on it, along with Brian on our team, and it was replaced with something made in three hours :stuck_out_tongue: . I applaud Ken with his gracious professionalism, and supporting the replacement arm.

Ken, you are the best.

you guys actually throw stuff out? we usually keep stuff as souvenirs. i can see at least 6 unused/wornout/spare parts ranging from 2002 to 2005 just sitting on my desk.

Aaaaaah! The decision to toss this design and go with a simpler solution beat us in Chicago.

More to the story:

We were neighbors to team 65 this past weekend. Ken turns to me on Thursday afternoon and tells me that his team is ready to give up on his gripper design. He asks me what I think. I say, too, that it should be tossed and replaced with their newer, more simpler design.

So… Friday, team 65 is dropping tetras with their new design, but getting slowly better. By Saturday morning, they are OK at it, and end up with a great last Q match of the day and scored 5 or 6 tetras.

Then, in the elimination rounds, the alliance of 383, 903, and 65 meets the alliance of 269, 45, 706 in the semi-finals. Team 65 and their new gripper proceed to trounce us all in tetra scoring. During the first match of this semi-final round, we traded tetra scoring with them and ended up with a stack 10 high (we both wanted to own the center and side goals). When the second pick on one alliance (383, 903, 65) can keep up with the scoring ability of another alliance’s (269, 45, 706) first pick, there is trouble brewing for the other alliance. At the end of that round, 383, 903, and 65 were the victors and we were packing our pits.

Great job to 65 for making the change and creating a quick tetra scorer. They were averaging 6-7 tetras each match in the finals. I forsee them to only get better in Atlanta. Kudos to Stevie, Ken and all of the Huskie Brigade.

Andy B.

Nah, we didn’t literally throw it out, we kept it. This picture is to show that we “ditched” the gripper design.

Thanks Andy, for adding another perspective to the story! :slight_smile: I didn’t know that you also agreed to ditch the gripper… Thanks for the kudos! See you in Atlanta too!

Some additional details…

There was an ongoing “discussion” among students, engineers, and teachers on the team about our effectiveness with the old gripper. It was very hard to align the robot+arm when picking up, but it was nice when jousting at the top of a goal. I was convinced we just needed more practice. We had done well with it in practice, and we had gotten as many as 4 tetras during a match. Not great, but, but, with a little more practice…

The “lets ditch the gripper” camp was making noises about switching, and one of our students wrote me a letter saying in essence “we don’t need more practice, we need a better robot.” I was saddened, angered, and, uh, convinced. So I walked up to the scouting station where this student was working and laid down MY gauntlet: Give me a new arm, make sure it works, make sure we fit in the box, GET TO WORK.

A subset of our team pretty much took off all of the “cool” parts on the arm, leaving a piece of aluminum tubing, then mounted a tetra stop made of aluminum scrap and polycarb from the hardware store.

By the end of the day Saturday, it was working pretty well… :slight_smile:

Still giddy,

Edit: It will NOT get thrown away. Its a legit spare that we might need (not the cool parts just the stick). I have a special place for such discarded parts - this place rhymes with “Hall of Fame”.

Sometimes, I hate when I am right.


Andy B.


All I can say is that you guys have OWNED us the last few years - its about time the dogs started chasing the kats…

TechnoKittens watch out, the dogs are back, and ready to bite.

MEOOOWWW!! (HAhaha i got paul to say Meow in reference to the technokats at Midwest, definately one of the highlights of the competition for me, blair did it at Boilermaker as well, I think that should forever be associated with Mr Baker and the technokats)

Andy you guys know i love you:) Always one of my favorite teams to watch, and I owe you and your team much after all these years. Its just that Ken’s hair is cooler then yours

The Technocats have a wonderful robot this year! You guys were excellent! Thank you for being a wonderful opponent… :slight_smile:

:smiley: I heard Paul Copioli blame the Technocats for that little technical mishap at the beginning of that match… I remembered he mentioned something about breathing too hard on the radio… Meeow :stuck_out_tongue: . Hilarious!

Man I thought you were going to shove the robot down my throught Ken lol. I’m just glad you gave me a chance to change it. Thank you very much Ken.

Even though I am very saddened that we lost Midwest for the THIRD TIME IN A ROW!!! I am (one) very happy 45 and 269 didn’t beat us and (two) in awe of how many years in a row that 71 and 45 can make an awesome robot. :cool: :smiley: