Post-competition excitement

We all know the story. Competitions end, we all go back to our respective schools, and we’re all filled with this immense, hyperactive engineering “must build something now!” buzz. If we channel it somewhere and keep it going, we can stay excited until next build season. If we go back to school and forget FIRST until January of next year, we lose it.

I’m interested in keeping it for next year. I’m graduating from my team, but I think if we used that energy I could inspire them and teach them a lot of cool stuff before I leave. The question is, how do we channel it?

I’ve been tossing around a team design competition in my head (PM me if you’re interested, I’m not revealing details on CD because my team might read it ahead of time :slight_smile: ), and other fun things like attaching new arms to the 2004 robot (we have a bolt-on arm system; 4 3/8" holes are enough to come up with something completely different). My question is, what do your teams do in the off-season to keep the buzz going?

Offseason competitions, and more offseason competitions- we went to the PARC, Maryland State Fair, Duel on the Delaware, FInal Bin Bash, and Ramp Riot… (we hosted Ramp Riot so that itself was a LOT of work)

also, we went to so many community events, I can’t even remember everything… traveled to elementary schools in our district, demonstrated at a mall,etc, and hosted a 3 day mini competition at the NBC-10 Tech Fest…

I’d reccomend doing both- participiate in offeason comps and demonstrate in the community… but first, lets finish this season out- some of us haven’t even started yet :confused:

Start training and perfecting the skills of rookie members! Make sure that they are ready for when seniors start graduating and they have to step up and prove themselves. This is essential to the expansion and competetiveness of the team!

And as OneAngryDaisy said, offseason competitions, offseason competitions, offseason competitions. If your drivers are seniors, start farmiliarizing rookies with what it is like to control a robot on the field. Experience is crucial. Start perfecting the skills of your scouts with mock-scouting at the offseasons. Train everybody. This is the best time for it.

that team design thing is an awesome idea. I would love to be able to make something totally new, but still for the same game. Then we could go to our alternate strategy to see if it would have worked.

Team 138 will often dissect their last robot, and re-build it. we also train the newer members how to use the machinery in the shop as early as october.

by the time we finish playing around with our 'bots, we’re in the mood to make a monster by the time the 6 weeks rolls around

We on MOE have done things the same way for a few years now, and this is how we do it…

In the spring, after nationals are over, everyone basicly takes a breather for a week or two, while waiting for our tools and robot to arrive back to our shop in the crate. When we get everything back, we prepare for our first offseason competition of the year, PARC. Also, since we are a team made up of students from many schools in the area (14 different schools this year), we bring MOE on tour. Basicly, we set up demos at all of the local high schools, and go do demonstrations to try to recruit people for next year. That keeps us busy until school lets out in June.

Over the summer, we have a few subteams with set tasks to work toward. For instance, this past summer we had a team working towards community outreach, trying to find new ways that we could get in touch with the community, a segway team, which was working towards a working self balancing scooter, and a top secret “superdrive” team (sorry, can’t give any details). Since these were simply subteams, it allows for those who want to keep going to do so, and those who need a month or two break to get what they want too. Also taking place during the summer are numerous demos at museums, tech summits, etc.

Then, when school starts up in late August, we begin our season too. MOE University is in session. We have undergraduate level courses for the new students such as machine shop training, drive train basics, sheetmetal shop, pneumatics, animation, web team, electrical, programming, mechanical design. Basicly, it gets the new students aclimated to what we’re doing, and exposes them to all of the different aspects of the team that they can get involved in. These undergraduate courses are taught by a combination of mentors and returning students. There also also graduate level courses that the returning students sign up for. Some are continuations of summer projects, and others are further developments for the robot, web or animation. Once the new students get their machine shop training, they can also join in on the maintence of the past season’s robot for the offseason competitions to come, since the demos really take a toll on the robot. Once the offseason competitions and classes conclude at MOE U, it’s mid December, and it’s everyones last chance to rest up before it all starts again.

Hope this helps.

I agree with everything said. We run engineering demos to jog our brains back into function and prototype a lot. That is where we found our gum rubber. Minis are crucial to our team too. 6 minis and still wanting more. Any computer skills are good. I am not the most proficient in that area, but it is a good one to learn .:i am trying:. Also community outreach! that is what FIRST is all about.

With our bot design…We could add a second set of casters…throw on a seat…remove our paddle…up the gear ratio…and make it into a drivable vehicle instead of remote controlled. I picture myself driving down our schools main hallwall wrecklessly hitting all the other people… :yikes:

360 moved to a new build facility and had to/got to setup a new lab. That kept us going :yikes:

we’ve done that before. we removed our robots arm, and bolted a desk to the top, place the controls on top of that, and had some fun.

To keep up our excitement, we try to update everything on our bot, and we teach the newbies the ups and downs of the robot. Then, we play in every off season competition we can afford, and believe me… they can be almost as exciting as regionals!

We also train freshies in machining and how to use the CNC machine we have. We do lots of demos and we let the freshies drive to get expierience and later they can become Drive Team members and teach the new kids and so and so forth.