Team 3792 The Army Ants Build Thread

Welcome to The Army Ants build blog! I just now decided to actually make one of these partly for my own memory and documentation. I am the team captain of team 3792 The Army Ants and I will be the one primarily posting on this thread. I plan on posting updates as needed and weekly recaps.

Our team will be competing at the following events:

  • Week Two St Louis Regional - St Louis MO
  • Week Five Seven Rivers Regional - La Crosse WI
    *Houston Championships! (If we qualify)

Some Team Links

Reveal day

Reveal Day began with a lovely breakfast prepared by parents, and we are incredibly grateful to them for all of their hard work!
After the live stream our team split into groups based on sections of the manual to read and bullet point important things the whole team should be aware of. Each student got a chance to present their section and talk about how this effects our strategy and construction.
Our match play group lead by Our Scouting Lead, Drive Coach/CAD Lead and our Programming Lead, began to strategize immediately after the manual reading. We managed to crank out a strategy by the end of Reveal Day putting us ahead of schedule.
Our goals are to reach the back post on the grid and to have a short cycle time to increase overall points scored in a match.
Some of our weaknesses we are trying to improve this year include but are not limited to consistency errors and cycle time speed.

First Week

We began this week on Sunday discussing possible mechanisms and completed our first prototype.

Prototyping continued through the week with a new prototype being produced every day.
On Tuesday we finished our first small scale model to get a general idea of field piece size and robot designs.

On Wednesday and Thursday prototyping was still a priority as well as the CAD department continued designing the layout of the robot.

One of our fabrication department leads has been working on an engineering notebook as everything progresses.

Along with all robot related things our awards team has been hard at work preparing the Impact award essay and Woodie Flowers essay.

We ended off this week with an almost complete idea of what our robot will look like and cutting the first few pieces for the chassis! We are so far several days ahead of schedule which is absolutely amazing. We are so excited for this season and can’t wait to see what other teams create and how everything plays out this season.


This is very interesting to see another team posting build threads! Really helping expand all the different stories in FIRST with how teams work through there seasons. Unique to see the physical engineering notebooks, reminds me of the effects of pltw.

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yay army ants!!!


Week Two!
We are very excited to share our progress with you all!
We are also excited to announce that we are joining openalliance

New links

Some random things to get us started

Outreach is working on the new claw for ant bot - our custom mbot for outreach!
CADing and 3d printing prototypes for a claw attachment for an mbot.

Our button has been designed but the file needs to be revamped before being printed
we may have wasted a bunch of paper trying to fix the printer.

Happy Birthday to one of our programming leads Saathvik!

Our current plan

Our so far design is a simple elevator and boom arm mounted on a turret similar to a cargo crane used on ships. Our claw has been the most contested design, we have had over 7 prototypes made of different renditions of the claw/intake. We have basically landed on a better version of the every bot intake but that is still being prototyped and cadded as of now.
We are using 6 wheel tank drive with an outer frame of 35" by 24" with 6" omnis mounted on corners and traction wheels mounted in center to give us optimal maneuverability.


Almost done with executive summaries for impact award
Woodie flowers is almost done - essay is being revised this week.
We are starting the process of creating a business plan as well!


Big prototyping day: true to size prototype chassis that we can mount stuff on.

Added a second roller to the intake prototype

Allows for more control when the cone is being guided into the robot

Made a smaller more compact version of the claw they originally made

Our engineering notebook is also going well!


Had people start working on belly pan.
Started working on the turret.
Restarted CAD turret - started gear driven vs belt driven
Brackets added to elevator.

Chassis construction has officially begun and a robot is underway!


So excited!

Some updated engineering notebook photos

Prototyping photos

Vice Captain Caroline on the left and Fabrication lead Michael on the right

Turret with elevator and boom arm prototype

CAD member Ellis on the left and Programming member Keaton on the right
Intake prototype

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Thanks so much for including this in your progress updates - more teams probably need a reminder about these looming deadlines that’ll be here before you know it!


Very true! our team has fallen victim to writing the essay a week before its due so we really fought to be on top of it this year.


Thank you so much for allowing me to come by your build site. The information your team was able to provide about your structure and subteams will be very helpful as we continue to develop 9031. You guys are doing awesome and can’t wait to compete with yiu in St. Louis.


Week three baby!


Chassis finished
Working on the boom - *Find the springs to see if we can make it ourselves.
-looking on McMcaster
Finished the CAD intake.

Mast is CADed

Johnny working on mounting the mast.

Most of CAD is close to being done, wrapping up loose ends.

Ordering water jetted parts.
We mainly just need the bellypan (~ 2 metal) and 3 lexan panels for the intake.


Wired all the components for the whole robot.
Started uploading programs and connected it properly to the motors.
Using the 2.0 RIO

Next goal is to rewire the robot with the new components.
Waiting for more electrical people here to do that.


Almost all of programming has been working on electrical.

Has decided on the framework for the robot.
First project has been an auto stabilization on the charging station.

Have been working on vision.
Has photon vision working?
Electrical and vision have been trying to work together.
Working on getting autonomous worked out with vision.

Hoping to work on the pathing of the robot.


Chassis frame is together completely.

Fabrication member Langston on the left and Fabrication lead Anna on the right

Need to powdercoat and bake some brackets.
Making new brackets

Fabrication member Emma

Finishing everything we need for the drivetrain.


Woodie Flowers

Have a second WF draft done.
Working on a third draft
Going well! On schedule
Deadline is the 9th.

Impact award:

CERF (Columbia Educational Robotics Foundation) meeting soon to help information.
Basically done with the outline
Starting to assign people to paragraphs, wanting to get it done by next Saturday.

Have drafted executive summaries plus the essay.

Business plan:
Working on the business plan, researching other teams’ business plans
FIRST website also had guidelines for business plans.

Setbacks this week

Our rivet gun was not working at all so the mentors took an emergency trip to the hardware store to buy a new and easier to use one.
Because of this and some user error we had to re rivet parts of the chassis 3 times.
Discovered one of the beams is slightly crooked but issue was solved with bracket placement.
The water jetting order should’ve been finished several days ago but some design error prevented that.
CAD had some troubles placing the electronics panel.


Week 4!

Goodness goodness time flies

Drive train is coming together
We did almost drill the holes in the wrong spot
Bumpers are being assembled!

SLC member and WF lead Nora on the left, Fabrication member Langston on the right
Yes that is a snowman hole

Full CAD expected by the end of the day

Still needs finished intake and boom arm

Programming & Electrical
Driver and operator controls are being worked on
Electronics panel is being made. Fabrication made a mock panel out of wood for them to test layouts and wire management

Electrical lead Yasmine


3rd draft being edited

We officially have our presenters chosen!
Congratulations to Yasmine, Aditi and Langston
Essay is in the works.
We have finalized executive summaries.


I have been working on a scouting and strategy plan for comp this year.
One of our programming leads is working on making us a statistics program for scouting and strategy.
Our communication structure is as follows
Scouting leads
-Match scouting lead
-Pit scouting lead
-Pit communications (A person who communicates our data and strategy in the pit to other teams scouts)

Strategy leads
-Alliance rep and Data compiler in drive team (This is me!)
-Drive Coach
-Main Driver

We have been having some attendance issues but some of that is due to a lot of our team being on debate since there have been a lot of debate tournaments recently.



Things were slow for a bit but they’ve really picked up!

Belly pan to be added very very soon!

It JUST got powder coated green!

testing light placements on chassis

Test electronics panel on chassis
It can drive

Parts for main elevator have been cut!
Sandblasting has begun on other parts to elevator

Boom arm
Pieces have been cut and are being sandblasted

We still need to 3d print the custom endcaps.

Final prototype of intake has been made, now mainly testing different grip materials.
Intake is a modified version of the every bot intake


Some fabrication members have also been working on redesigning the pit and making new numbers for the stands
Also! here is a better look at our rainbow brackets

Found out our bumpers were illegal today so oops fixing that


Basic Vision has been completed

We have LED lights programmed to communicate the status of the robot

Turret moves!

One of our programmers is starting on a predictive data analysis app for scouting and strategy.


CAD is functional!

Many CAD members have been helping out in the shop


Woodie Flowers
Essay has been submitted! we selected STL as our nomination location. Make sure you ask what your mentors actual first name is because we did not know he goes by his middle name and almost had a problem submitted the essay.

Draft of the essay is being edited.

Im going to try and post a mid week update during week 5
Our current goal is to have a full assembly by mid week 6!


Oh my goodness how time flies

This week has been productive, we are on track to potentially have a robot by the end of tomorrow!
Turret was attached today and the elevator was assembled.
We began the boom arm and have the parts for the intake finished!
A more in depth update tomorrow.

Fabrication member Langston (left) and Fabrication lead Anna (right)

Fabrication member and awards lead Nora

Programming is working hard on vision and debugging.
See y’all tomorrow!


Week 5!


Intake has almost been finalized

Boom arm has been assembled for the most part

We aren’t able to mount the carriage on the elevator because we are still waiting on pullies that will be here Monday.

Tomorrow we will finish up carriage construction and the intake.
Monday we will hopefully be able to mount everything on the bot

We ran into some setbacks with chain on the intake today, our chain breaker broke (haha funny) and we had to buy a new one and figure out how to use the new one which put intake construction back several hours.


Electrical panel has been water jetted and electronics are being transferred over to the new panel
Vision is progressing
All main robot controls and components have been programmed


Impact essay has been submitted and presentation scripts have been started!

We are going over previous years binder and presentations and updating old information
We may be able to get a monitor for the pit to enhance the EI presentation but that’s still tbd

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The build up to competition is killing me!

Some updates because issues have happened.


We ran into an issue with the endcaps in the boom arm, they broke-
We are printing stronger ones through mizzou but we don’t get those until Monday. So we are getting everything else worked out.
Re cut the carriage piece to a more effective size and are rebuilding it.
It was rushed so we had to spend an entire day fixing it.
Our intake is way too heavy for comfort so we are cutting it down a little and doing some weight management and adding braces on the boom arm.
still a little concerning but a lot of teams we’ve seen have slightly warped boom arms so its more of a common problem then originally noted.

Programming & Electrical

Programming only has debugging left to do.
They have been working hard on our scouting software as well
Electreonics panel has electronics on it and is ready to be connected today


Impact scripts and presentations are making good progress.
Business plan is coming along


Our scouting program is coming along nicely
Interface progress

We are going to be visiting with some other teams next weekend for driver practice so look foward to that!


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