Kicking it Into High Gear (Week 3-4 Update)

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Robot photographed Tuesday January 29th We got started getting the drive train together and then ran out of rivets, so had to put that on hold. The students putting the wheels together ran out of the right sizes of bolts. The students putting together the game pieces ran out of the right sizes of lumber. Four different packages came so the fabrication team spent a few hours working in the trailer getting things organized and making room to put away the new things. The goal is, by the end of Saturday, to have a mechanically complete drive train and a set of drive train code that builds and can be tested on our electronics test board. Once we know the code works, we can then put the motors and controllers on the robot itself to get started doing the actual wiring. We have three weeks and four weekends left before…

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Week 1 Updates (January 6 – January 12)

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It has been a busy week for Cypress Circuits. On January 5, the new challenge was released, Destination: Deep Space (which you can view here.) Stevenson students arrived from winter break on January 7, and Cypress Circuits had their first team meeting on January 8. The team spent the first day getting familiar with the rulebook through a fun quiz, and the following day, the team used VR technology to explore the game field. On January 12, the team entered its annual Lock-in, during which the team analyzed the rules, worked on strategies, prototyped, tested, and developed plans for this year’s competition (read more about the Lock-in here). The various subteams–including fabrication, programming, and business–worked hard to launch into the season with a strong start. The fabrication team began CAD work the night of the Lock-in and built prototypes for potential mechanisms; the programming team finished up refining FRC-specific coding…

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All Systems Shutdown?

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  Pretty powerful storms have hit the neighborhood, which led to the power being knocked out. Despite this, the Cypress Circuits adapted around this issue. On Wednesday we wandered around campus looking for a place where all of us could sit and be productive. One building on campus had power and internet through a generator, but most of the rooms had already been claimed. We got booted out of four different rooms, some of them twice before we settled in a foyer with semi-working internet and power over super long extension cables. These working conditions weren’t ideal, but we got really far into the design process. We ended up finishing up the CAD design. Thursday, a handful of students worked in the trailer with on things that could be accomplished without power (sort parts, make bumpers, assemble wheels and gearboxes, etc.) while, the rest of the team to read the…

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2019 Lock-In Recap

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It’s the beginning of a new year and we’re headed to a new location: Deep Space! On January 5th, FIRST released this year’s game: FRC 2019, Destination: Deep Space. Here’s the link to the game animation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rb1byfe_5TU On January 12th,  Cypress Circuits had our annual Lock-In: a 24-hour meeting at the Treasure Room during which the entire team strategized for the upcoming season, prototyped potential mechanisms, and participated in various team-bonding games. In the afternoon, we held our annual regional strategy meeting with: Monterey High Robodores (Team 4255), Pacific Grove Breakers (Team 5104), Santa Catalina Nuns-N-Bolts (Team 6665), and Plus Ultra Team 7413. Each team gave presentations about their upcoming season strategies and received feedback from other teams. After the presentations, teams and mentors split up into breakout sessions to discuss Climbing, Hatch Mechanisms, Coding, and Cargo Mechanisms for the next couple of hours. By the end of the Lock-In,…

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Home Stretch!

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What a whirlwind it’s been! Like teams across the country – all over the world, actually – we are frantically working to make the final adjustments to our robot. Right now, it’s all about refining lists and prioritizing. No doubt the teammates are a little tired of my insistency to solve one problem at a time. But that’s what it takes in these final moments, where CAD and finesse will not cut it anymore. Sometimes it takes brute force and a bigger hammer! Safely, of course. I’m proud of the team leads for sticking to it. There have been some hard days, where it’s easy to feel like there’s no chance we’ll finish. There’s been some conflicts in personalities, exacerbated by stress and deadlines. But we persist, and sometimes the boarding teammates look at watches and announce “we’ve missed dinner”. That’s OK, pizza is a phone call away…. Most practices have gone…

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Update from Team Leads

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Ian Smelser – Coding Team: Earlier in the build season, I focused on getting my team acquainted with the programming language and style. We also focused on computer vision in the weeks before the build season and developed a few profiles for targeting the retroreflective tape on the game pieces. Now we hope to have accurate game pieces by Tuesday. Once we get that, we can start testing our computer vision profiles and developing prototypes for the ball shooter. As of today, we have our core control system on a board which we can mount on our soon-to-be finished driving base. I feel confident that our coding team can get a basic drive train working soon. Our next challenge will be creating a proportional control system for the drive system. We probably will not use the built-in PID controller because it seemed to be causing errors. Eric Zhang – Machining…

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Coach’s Corner: We’re Halfway There…

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The team is in the throes of building season, and this past Saturday marked the halfway point. We approach our fourth week of six with grand plans, but few tangible things to show for it. That’s about to change. We’re anxious for the entire drivetrain and pneumatics control to arrive tomorrow, allowing us to leap forward and likely to have a driving base in a day or two. With one out of three solutions prototyped successfully (the rope climb), we are well on our way. I’m equally excited that while we’ve waited for parts, the team has built a second robot base that will let us practice and tinker outside of build season. My dream of a gatling t-shirt cannon may yet come to fruition. In the meantime, the marketing team deserves much kudos, for wrestling with a fickle wordpress template and the difficult process of naming and branding our team appropriately. Tenacity, at…

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Thank You Hayward Lumber!

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In order for our team to practice the missions we build and program our robot to complete – we have to build props out of wood to the specifications of the FRC robot game. Today, Hayward Lumber supplied us with plywood and 2X4s so we could get started with the game field. Thank you, Hayward, for being a partner to Cypress Circuits!

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Shout Out for Week of January 8th

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This week’s shout out goes to design & prototyping member Nathan M. – for furious design tenacity despite power being out in the robotics trailer, even after everyone went home. Kudos, Nathan! What’s this for? Shout Outs are posts to recognize team members going out of their way, saving the day, or just being downright awesome for one reason or another.

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Local FRC Teams Visit Stevenson for Design Feedback

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On Saturday January 14th, the following teams visited Stevenson School: Monterey High School, Pacific Grove High School, Santa Catalina, and York. The purpose of the meeting was for teams to present their ideas for both game strategy and robot design, so that other teams can be inspired and offer any critical feedback for the teams. The teams enjoyed meeting each other and being given the opportunity to network, and the coaches offered more ideas to keep the momentum of a regional presence of FRC in the Monterey Bay area. We’re excited that so many teams could join, along with their coaches and mentors, and hope that we can offer more meetups and workshops in the near future. Thanks everyone for coming!

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