Mentor’s Blog – Stardate 1.27.2016

IMG_20160122_161814903Sorry – that is probably dating me and confirming I’m an engineering geek. The team is a little over two weeks into the build season following the game drop and I thought it would be good to update everyone on what’s been happening. First off, First Stronghold is a big improvement on last year’s game. It offers many design challenges for the robot – multiple defensive obstacles, ball shooting through low and high targets, and an autonomous mode where the robot is on its own.

The team has embraced the challenge and is working some very creative designs . Interestingly, in talking to a mentor from a very experienced team, our team has taken a similar design approach – with what I view as some improvements – especially the tank tread drive system the team has designed. Their biggest challenge will be to keep things simple in the next couple of days. Yes, the team is a few days behind where we wanted them to be, but we’ll be pushing them to have a robot ready to drive by the end of next week. Think about that accomplishment when it happens – four weeks from a game drop to a driveable robot – that is a lot to expect of a group of high school students!

Copy of IMG_20160122_161618266_HDRI imagine that some of the students have been going home frustrated at times. This is not a surprise – the FIRST competition is very intense and pushes the students to deliver a complex system in just six weeks. We all need to remember that we have a relatively inexperienced team – mentors included (glad we have two that have experience!). I’m confident though that the students are learning what it means to be part of a design and build team, how to design and build a complex system, and how to work better with each other. They will make mistakes along the way, but this is part of learning. We (new) mentors are learning as well – we have a tough job keeping the students on track, on schedule, without dictating a design approach. I’m confident that we are establishing a strong foundation for future years. The talent is there this year and experience will help the talent succeed.

Tiger Dynasty Wish List

gallery-thumbnailsTiger Dynasty is a relatively young team and we haven’t yet been able to fully outfit our workspace with the tools and supplies that we would like. Build season is well underway now but we would be very grateful for the items listed below. To make a donation from this list, please arrange pickup with Sheri Molnar at

  • Any power tool
  • Height gauge
  • Electrical Tape
  • Surge Protector
  • Laptop (must run windows 7 or higher, good battery life, and have plenty of USB ports)
  • USB (wired) xbox 360 controller
  • Tip cleaner for a soldering iron
  • Jigsaw
  • Wrenches
  • Allen Keys
  • Sockets
  • Pliers (Snap ring, needle nose, and regular)
  • Vice grip
  • Drill bits
  • Screwdriver bits
  • Shop vac
  • Wood screws
  • Safety glasses
  • Sharpies
  • Tape measure
  • Work gloves

Week 1 Roundup

Welcome to Tiger Dynasty’s blog, The Tiger Stripe! Very recently, our team visited Launch Fishers for the kickoff of the robotics season! There, we learned what this year’s game for our robot is. This year, some Disney imagineers got involved in the game creation for the FRC competitions and came up with a game called SRONGHOLD. In summary, our goal is to build a robot able to overcome obstacles such as crossing moats, opening doors, and defeating the opposing team’s castle.  You can learn more about the competition down below.  Also, for several hours, we brainstormed what our plan was in a group discussion.

Now, we are meeting every day and putting in extra hours to make sure we are prepared for the first competition!  Currently, the systems design team is about done making all the parts in CAD for the robot.  They will be presenting their design to some Rolls Royce design engineers on Tuesday for them to critique their design.  The mechanical team is about done creating every game element for the robot to practice with.  The electrical team is helping the mechanical team get all the field elements created on time.  Lastly, the programming team is working on code for the drive base.