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FIRST - For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology

FIRST Topsite

Diamond State FIRST Vex Challenge Championship

Team 357's vex team competed at the 2007 Diamond State FIRST Vex Challenge Championship Event on Saturday, January 27. We competed against 43 different vex teams.

At the start of the practice matches we hit some snags with the robot, such as our microcontroller timing out, which ended our performance, or our shafts coming loose. When we came back to the pit area there was always something for us to do, which was very fun because it meant that we didn't have to sit there and do nothing. When we got in to the judging we were very nervous about what the judges were going to ask us or what they were going to say to us. We were surprised at how much information we were able to provide them about our robot, and how we were able to extensively answer their questions. When we returned to the competition area, we were briefed on the rules for driving and competing.

When the matches started we were surprisingly calm. When we started our first match, our autonomous worked perfectly and we scored, winning us the autonomous. When we started the driver controlled section of the match we knew we were going to have some difficulties with the robot. We had some issues with collecting the balls properly because they were getting stuck underneath our basket and wheels. So we decided to go for the atlas ball. When we came back to the pit, we had to figure out a way to keep the balls out of the empty space. We added to stand-offs, which we thought would work.

When we went up to compete again, we ran into another problem. we were told that we were not allowed to have the balls touching the ground when we loaded them into the basket for autonomous, which we didn't know was illegal. So we had to place the ball on the protruding part of our basket and the bar that our basket rests on. It was a minor set back but it worked enough for us to score in autonomous. When we started out in the driver controlled section, we thought that everything was going fine, we had loaded balls and were ready to score. Our operator had pressed the button that activated our autonomous scoring, but we were not in place. The driver drove and couldn't stop it and we ended up tipping so we were out of that match, our alliance partners, tried to tip us back over but could not, and we were very thankful that they tried. When we went back to the pit, another team that was near us, kindly lent us some material to put in the bottom of our basket so we were legal, then there was an idea pitched to move the arm down, because it was said that it wasn't designed to work in the position that it was in. So the arm was moved down. When we tested it however, we blew out a motor. So we swapped the motor and then we were told we were competing.

We went over to the field and placed our robot for autonomous, which didn't work because we realized that our shaft had come out. So after autonomous was over, we went for low scoring. That's when we discovered that without our basket being lifted we could not drive. So we had problems with that. When we got back to the pit after our match, the arm was moved back up so we could use it and the shaft was elongated to be held in place with a lock collar. When we went up to compete again our autonomous didn't work, which meant that our scoring was eliminated, so we decided to go for the atlas ball. We were making our way around and the button that starts our autonomous/scoring was accidentally pressed, causing our robot to tip, taking us out of the match. By the end of the qualifying matches we were a little down because we knew we would not be continuing in the finals, but we were very happy for the other teams who performed very well and made it.

We stayed for the final matches in which we rooted very happily for our fellow teams. By the end of the day we had learned a lot about our robot and the work that still needs to be done, and our performance abilities. Over-all we had a lot of fun and are looking forward to competing next year with an even better robot.

Article by Vicki Pennick
Posted on 2007-01-27