The Olympia Robotics Federation (ORF), team 4450, represented Olympia well at the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Auburn meet, ending up 5th overall (out of 40 teams) and bringing home the Spirit Award. ORF’s robot (called USS Kelvin), an Einstein class starship, was designed to cross several defenses, pick up “boulders”, shoot boulders into castle windows and scale the castle walls. This year’s robot has more complicated functions than previous ORF robots, including a pneumatic gear shift which could also shift power to the climbing motors from the drive base. So, naturally more things can also go wrong.
ORR’s first trials came when the robot inspector pointed out that the robot had several issues. It was 1/2 pound overweight, 1″ to tall and had a pneumatic valve with an illegal part number. The ORF pit crew had to remove a set of arms that were created to manipulate defenses (portcullis and cheval de frise) and then take the robot apart to extract the valve. This brought the robot into compliance, but left no time for testing and calibration of the robot before the matches.
In the first qualifying matches, the team had an excellent start with accurate shooting making a strong impact. ORF’s robot, the USS Kelvin, was the first robot to scale castle wall, (after our alliance defeated the castle with 8 boulders). This made team 4450 jump to 3rd place. Then the trials and tribulations started:
- The robot was knocked over by another robot accidentally, finishing the match on its side.
- After scaling the castle wall, the judges declared our kickstand that placed the robot in climbing position was not legal as it raised the rear bumper off the ground too far.
- A wire came loose at the beginning of the game and our robot sat out that match.
- The router fell off the robot and did not work for the rest of the match.
- The autonomous program (first 15 seconds) was not functioning.
- And to top it off… a screw came off our gear shift and the robot could only move in a circle.
The pit crew along with the drive team repaired each of these problems except the kickstand between matches, so ORF lost 3 out of 9 games in the process and ended the first day in 18th place.
On the second day of the FRC Auburn competition, ORF had three more qualifying matches and they won all three, including one where their alliance defeated four defenses and the castle so that they gained the maximum of four ranking points for that match and three in our other two matches. These three wins catapulted ORF into 5th place at the end of qualifying matches in which ORF became an alliance captain, so they could select partner teams for the finals. During alliance selection, team 4450 was then selected by the 3rd seeded and became part of the third seed alliance. The alliance won the first quarterfinal match, but lost the next two matches by only a few points and a penalty and just missed the semifinals.
The day was capped by ORF winning the Spirit Award for team cheering, the Star Trek fun theme and the presentation to the judges. The team members of ORF also nominated Peter Cook (Head ORF mentor) for the Outstanding Mentor also known as the “Woodie Flowers Award”.
Next, ORF heads to Ellensburg to compete at their next FRC competition on March 18 and 19. We expect them to again finish in the top of the division!
To check out the FRC game, Strong Hold, follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqOKzoHJDjA