“Saint Dominators Team 6224” Participates in FIRST Robotics Competitions in New England
The Robot team, after six weeks of frantic, frustrating and fun work finally tested their product and skills in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. The season began on January 7, 2017, when all teams were issued the rules, guidelines, and goals of the FIRST Robotics Competition. The team had six weeks to create their robot. Strainrite Corporation of Auburn hosted our team in their warehouse space, and the robot took shape. Actually, a few shapes as the design test and redesign process went into to full swing. Build season concluded February 21, at midnight. The team finished early at 9:30 PM.
Three weeks later (without being able to work on the robot due to the rules of the competition), the team travelled to Bridgewater. In early March, team 6224 competed in 12 matches over a two-day period. Each competition (over 90 for the weekend!) is made up of 3 BLUE Robots versus 3 RED Robots in what is called an “Alliance.” Team 6224 from St. Dom’s matched up with 42 other teams in these 3-team “Alliances” to score points by shooting “fuel-balls” into a boiler to make steam, or placing gears into the airship rotor system and finally to “climb-aboard” the airship when readied for “take-off.”
We found ourselves working with other teams as a unit in one match, only to be paired against the same team a few hours later. And of course, parts broke under the strain of the collisions and falls during competitions. When this happened, the team could have up to an hour or more to resolve the problem before the next match, or as little as 10-15 minutes. In a true test of creative and critical engineering problem solving, the team met the challenges and stayed in the game, never missing a match. At the Bridgewater competition, Team 6224 finished 22nd out of 42 teams.
Matt McLean ’18, Matt Roeser ’18, and Nick Welsh ’19, shared the driving responsibilities during the matches while Connor Samson ’17, Josh Fortin ’18 and Elliot Hachey ’17 manned the pilot and loading stations. Julian Rogers ’18 and Weber Meng ’18 kept the computer(s) running and Maggie Kase ’18 and Izzy Luce ’20 “scouted” other teams during the matches. Behind the scenes, Joe Pan ’19 and Daniel Huang ’18 jumped in wherever needed.
Three more weeks passed with the team using all of the 6 hours allotted to physically work on the robot. They spent many more hours in the design and fabrication of “new” ideas and parts to become more competitive in the Pine-Tree event held at the Colisee March 30 – April 1. That event saw the team once again meet challenges in the dynamic STEM environment, finishing in the top 20 of 40 teams. There are 2-3 potential competitions over the summer in Maine that the team hopes to compete in as we get ready for the next challenge, starting January 7, 2018.