Team 5817 Uni-Rex: Dream Big Work Hard

I wanted to write and post the story of our way to the finals at the 2016 Central Valley Regional.

Dream big, work hard

Team 5817 Uni-Rex

After our last qualification match we knew that we were only ranked 35, but we were in the top 10 for OPR and came in 4th for goals. So our chances of getting picked were pretty good, but we were not sure which alliance we would be on. In preparation for eliminations we decided to do a full bot inspection. It was at this point in time when we discovered that 3 out of 4 of our swerve modules were missing some small screws used to hold the modules to the mount plate. Without these screws the modules could fall right out of the bot if the wheel left the ground. Since we had plenty of time to fix them we decided to take all of the modules off of the bot and to add the screws back in before eliminations. We were listening to the alliance selections while working on the modules when we heard 1323 Madtown Robotics ask us to join the number 6 alliance. We played a match earlier with 1323 and knew that the defenses that they preferred to cross and where they liked to shoot on the field meshed well with our robot. We had just dialed in our Low Bar shot just before alliance selections and knew that quick shots and cycles under the low bar would allow us to score quickly and would also draw defensive bots away from 1323 freeing up their shot as well. We also picked team 8 after the great blocking defense they played on us in our last qualification match, however they had issues with their robot, and we needed to call a back-up bot in to take their place, luckily we were able to partner with 5677 who had a very reliable robot and was almost an alliance captain themselves. Our first match was going to be against the number three alliance of 3482, 1671, and 3303.

We went into the first quarter final match ready to play. However we suffered a major defeat of 105 to only 77. After the match we took the bot back to the pit to do another inspection. This is when we found the issue that 3 out of our 4 swerve modules lost the small screws that previously had an issue somewhere on the field. There was a moment of panic when we realized that we wouldn’t be able to cross any defenses or risk having a module fall out of the robot. Our pit crew was trying to figure out a solution to the problem. It was at this point in time where I had an idea… “What if we zip tied the modules in place?”. All of the students and other mentors looked at me and I could tell this idea wasn’t going to go over well. I explained that if we put two large zipties around the module mount it would keep the modules from being able to fall out, and the zipties will act as a spacer. Since it was the only idea that we could try easily during the time out we started adding the zipties. The students worked hard to get the zipties on and once the first module was modified it appeared that the idea might actually work. We finished the modifications with only 60 seconds left in our time out. When the bot was placed on the field every single student, mentor, and parent was nervous to see how the bot would perform. When the second quarterfinal match started, we saw the bot raise its shooter and sink its autonomous shot from the spy bot zone. However once tele-op was engaged we saw the robot start to move, and there was a sigh of relief. Not only was the robot driving around, it was crossing defenses, and intaking boulders from the secret passage! Our Low Bar shot was right on target making 5 of our 6 shots! At the end of the match when we saw that we had won with a score of 132 to 106 the whole team and supporters went nuts!

When the bot returned to the pits we checked the zipties and none of them broke during the match! The next match was the one to win, if we lost we were all done. The robot once again drove well and was shooting high goals with ease. But the defense that the number three alliance put up was a lot harder than in the previous match. But in the end our alliance was able to pull through and we won the match 115 to 98! However, our road to getting to the finals was not done yet.

After moving on to the semi-finals the bot hit another roadblock in terms of mechanical problems. In the last quarter-final match the drive shafts on the swerve modules that control the wheel rotation snapped, leaving us with only 2 functional wheels on the same side. We had replacement shafts made in the pits, but it would take time for us to fix them. The students went right to work removing the broken shaft still in the module, and replacing it with a new shaft. However, we had to sit out for the first match of the semi-finals. Our alliance worked hard but we still lost. Once the shaft was replaced we had 3 functional wheels on the bot, which would be enough for us to drive and shoot. In the second semi-final match our alliance was able to breach the defenses as well as capture the tower! We beat the number 2 alliance with a score of 164 to 111! Our bot was hanging on by a thread after each and every match. After another inspection of the bot going into the last semi-final match, we found that we broke another drive shaft. However our 2 still functional wheels were mounted diagonally from one another, which would allow us to compete in the final match. Going into what could have been our last match with only 2 functional wheels was nerve racking, however the bot still fought to play the match! And our alliance won with a score of 124 to 118! We were moving on to the finals, and since 254 is a hall of fame team, and 1678 won the 2015 World Championship. We knew that 1323 and ourselves earned a wildcard spot to nationals! However, due to other wildcards at the event our other alliance partners 8 and 5677 also received wildcards. It was a great thing to see every bot in the finals earn a place at Worlds!

During the awards ceremony we also won the Regional Rookie All Star Award. It was a great experience for the kids to fight after every single match to keep the robot alive. And no matter what huge mechanical problem occurred the students fought to keep playing harder and harder. Being a rookie team and making it to the final rounds and to compete against world champions was a great experience. Thank you to our alliance members 1323, 8, and 5677 this was a great first FRC event for 5817!

Your low bar shot was incredibly consistent. We weren’t sure if that shot was possible to hit consistently, but maybe we have to rethink that!

IMO you had the third best robot at CVR, right after World Champions from the past two years. Congratulations on qualifying for the World Championship as a rookie, and on building such an incredible, ambitious machine for any team.

It was a pleasure watching you guys on the field! Good luck in OC and St. Louis! I was very happy to see your number on the script for Rookie All-Star, you’ve got a pretty/effective bot, and a cool drive team!

(Though it’s worth mentioning you guys didn’t end up getting a wildcard because you qualified by rookie all-star, the rest of your alliance got 254, 1678, and 1671’s wildcards!)

Best rookie team I saw, well deserved RAS and trip to worlds . Hope you don’t break down again.

Okay First off, I love your team, I absolutely adore your guises, robot, marketing everything. The fact that you’re a rookie team and have made something this incredible makes it even better.

From watching your robot video I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Such an incredibly robot with so much dedication. I was really hoping we would be competing at the same regional. Well it looks like we’ll be seeing each other in St. Louis!

~I cant wait to see you guys there and play on the same side of the glass.

First of all, congratulations. Second, thank you. I know that my entire team very much enjoyed working with yours during eliminations and throughout the tournament. Watching a rookie team with so much knowledge and dedication was inspiring.

All of your team members were amazing to work with and we very much enjoyed being your neighbors in the pits. I hope to work with your team again soon. The best of luck in the future and see you in St. Louis.

You guys were so much fun to play with. You guys are all awesome, from your pit crew to your mentors to your drive team. We were so happy to see that you were our backup team. I don’t know how you didn’t get picked! :smiley:

Awesome work Jon. Really proud of all you accomplished this year with your team. Well deserved Rookie All Star. Can’t wait for OCR :slight_smile:

Oh cool I’ll get to see them in OC…nice thanks for mentioning that. Wow OC is going to be interesting.