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Iron Reign

Welcome to Iron Reign at Dallas ISD's Science and Engineering Magnet

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Strategies for Relic Recovery

Strategies for Relic Recovery By Evan, Austin, and Abhi

Getting Started

We began our thinking process by isolating the various mechanisims which we believed would provide equally beneficial amounts of control, speed between intake of glyphs, and low weight to keep our robot agile. Preliminary discussions devolved into partially heated arguments about various designs implications and fesability. While "faction" may be to strong of a word for the groups that formed to prototype the various designs, there was an easily noticable...

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MXP at UTA By Kenna, Abhi, Austin, Charlotte, Ethan, and Janavi


Today, we brought the Dallas City of Learning MXP (Mobile Learning Lab) to 4H’s Youth Technology Explosion in coordination with the Black Society of Engineers. Our role in this event was to offer a hands on experience for those interested in a career in engineering. We usually have three different activities: MinecraftEDU, Sumo Robotics, and CAD Keychains. MinecraftEDU runs on three computers for...

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Building Competition 2017

Building Competition 2017 By Evan and Austin

Task: Find the best robot design

The games have begun and it’s time to build. So that’s what Austin and I did. A war had been declared. Legions of the indentured collided on the battlefield. Millions were slaughtered during this new age armageddon. Austin had his army. I had mine. Two different ideas to do the same task: lift glyphs into their correct positions. A simple job but one that caused a rift in...

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MXP Event at LV Stockard Middle School

MXP Event at LV Stockard Middle School By Charlotte, Kenna, Tycho, and Austin

STEM education for children and their parents at a DISD event

Earlier this morning, we drove the MXP to LV Stockard Middle School and participated in a DISD event. We served around ### kids ranging from The morning started off slow, but as the day went on, the MXP became more and more crowded and chaotic. Our spot was near the food and snack area,...

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MXP at Conrad HS

MXP at Conrad HS By Ethan, Evan, Karina, Tycho, Austin, Charlotte, and Kenna

Sharing STEM opportinities with kids and their families at Conrad HS

Today, we brought the Dallas City of Learning MXP to Conrad High School to support DallasISD's parent outreach fair call PrepU Super Saturday. The focus for this Super Saturday was making parents aware of extracurricular activities available to their students in DISD. So this was a perfect event to let parents know about...

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FTC Kickoff and First Meet

FTC Kickoff and First Meet By Ethan, Abhi, Kenna, Austin, Karina, Tycho, and Evan

Task: View FTC Kickoff and plan for the year

Welcome to FTC Relic Recovery! For those who don't know, this year's challenge is archeology themed, and it certainly will be a challenge. The goal of this challenge is to stack 6X6 in blocks (glyphs) in certain patterns to gain as many points as possible. The are also side challenges such as balancing the...

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REV Robot Reveal

REV Robot Reveal By Tycho, Austin, Charlotte, Omar, Evan, and Janavi

Argos V2 - a REV Robot Reveal

This video was pulled from Argos visits to: The NSTA STEM Expo in Kissimmee FL, in the path of eclipse totality in Tennessee, and in North Texas at The Dallas Makerspace, The Southwest Center Mall, Southside on Lamar and the Frontiers of Flight Museum. We hope you find it interesting:

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Dear Iron Reign

Dear Iron Reign By Jayesh

Dear Iron Reign,

8 years ago, when I walked into Mr. Schulte’s room after school, I didn’t realize my life was about to change dramatically. I’d heard there was a robotics club which was attempting to be started. I’d had sparse experience with the subject, through extraneous events like the annual Engineering Saturday at UTA, so I decided to give it a shot. When I walked through that door on the second floor, I didn’t realize I would find my second family and grow...

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So, You're Writing a Blog Post

So, You're Writing a Blog Post By Ethan


layout: Do not touch.
title: Title of your article (you can't use hyphens or colons.) tags: Enter as comma seperated list, case insensitive. Try to use one award and one normal tag

  • Tips - tips and tricks for other teams.
  • Journal - working on the journal, blog, and posts like this one.
  • Outreach - volunteering and special events. Ex. Moonday, NSTA
  • Mechanical - work on the robot, parts, building,...
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Moon Day at Frontier of Flight Museum

Today, Iron Reign was invited to the Frontier of Flight Museum by Dallas Love Field Airport for a day of STEM knowledge for its annual "Moon Day". It was time for us to bring in the LEGO robotics kit, 4 laptops for kids, ARGOS, and Juggernaut, our competition bot from this past season. Upon arrival at the museum, we noticed many other fascinating stations such as one explaining NASA's new rover and a model in the arena. We paired up with some other robotics members in the region to set up a station where we could help robotics beginners program...

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NSTA 2017

NSTA 2017 By Ethan, Evan, Caitlin, Jayesh, Omar, Tycho, and Charlotte

Task: Expose our MXP to teachers nationwide


For readers who don't know what the MXP is, here's a quick description. Our coach had been floating the idea of a mobile STEM lab for a while, and he was finally given the go-ahead and some money by his company, BigThought. Originally, he planned for buying a van and loading it with tech, but like all true...

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Omar's Farewell

Omar's Farewell By Omar

Task: Bye :'(

Hooray for graduation! Sort of. As we seniors write our farewell blog posts before we head to college, we have a lot of years to think about. In my case, I only have my 4 years of high school to pull from, but that's more than enough to express my gratitude for being on this team. I've learned so much in so many different areas, and not just scientific ones. I've learned...

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Darshan's Farewell

Darshan's Farewell By Darshan

Task: Adios mis amigos

Well... this is somewhat of a bittersweet moment for me. All of us seniors are leaving for college in hopes of spreading our horizons and making something of ourselves, but we're leaving this team that has become almost a second family. It's been a good few years since I first joined this team and I never thought that I would even make it to this point. I've learned so much in...

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Turn Up! 2017 at Frontiers of Flight

Turn Up! 2017 at Frontiers of Flight By Janavi, Jayesh, Caitlin, Tycho, Omar, Evan, Charlotte, Ethan, and Darshan


Each year the Frontiers of Flight Museum hosts the Turn Up!, an event that contains STEM exhibits and demonstration to teach kids about the wonders of Science and Math. We brought the Mobile XPerience (MXP) complete with laptops, 3D printers, and LEGO SumoBot to help teach. Outside the RV we had laptops set up where we taught...

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UIL Robotics 2017

UIL Robotics 2017 By Ethan, Evan, Tycho, Charlotte, Austin, Omar, and Janavi

Task: Compete in the UIL Robotics 2017 State Tournament

The UIL Robotics State Tournament is a Texas-only invitational based upon a team's performance in Texas qualifiers and regionals. Since we preformed so well in the North Texas Regionals, winning the first place Inspire Award, we qualified for UIL as well as Super Regionals.

While the tournament is planned with FIRST's help, it differs...

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Discover Summer Resource Fair

Discover Summer Resource Fair By Ethan, Evan, Max, Tycho, and Charlotte

Task: Present to kids at the Discover Summer Resource Fair

Today, we brought the MXP to the DISD Discover Summer Resource Fair. We talked to about 250 people, including the Mayor of Dallas. We helped about 50 people create and print keychains using Google Sketchup. In the front of the RV, we introduced about 200 people to Lego Robotics, and assisted them in creating sumo bots.

The goal of this event was to...

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YouthSpark with Microsoft

YouthSpark with Microsoft By Caitlin, Jayesh, Ethan, Evan, Charlotte, Omar, Max, Tycho, Austin, Darshan, and Janavi

Task: Mobile Tech XPerience's appearance at the Meyerson

The Meyerson Symphony Center hosted a Microsoft YouthSpark event this Saturday with activities from robotics to VR to 3D printing. We set up the sumo laptops up in the atrium and the 3D in the MXP outside, right next to the Perot tech van. The tech van had most of their setup outside with...

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South Superregional - Day Three

South Superregional - Day Three By Jayesh, Tycho, Omar, Max, Darshan, Austin, Charlotte, Caitlin, Evan, Ethan, and Janavi

Task: Reminisce on our last three Superregionals matches

Our final competition day began with the driver team rushing to the pits because of a warning given by the game officials for the first match's teams to reach the pits earlier than expected. We reached in time, in fact about an hour before the match actually began. This mild inconvenience did give us time to formulate a strategy against our opponents, the...

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South Superregionals Day Two

South Superregionals Day Two By Max, Tycho, Omar, Jayesh, Darshan, Austin, Charlotte, Caitlin, Evan, Ethan, and Janavi

Task: Reminisce on our first six Superregionals matches

After a decent night's rest, we began Day Two at around 7 AM. A lot of our tools and materials were still on our RV, so we first moved them over to our pit. Our match schedule said that we'd have nine matches beginning with Match #1 (just our luck). After the...interesting Pokemon-themed opening ceremonies, we began the day with our first match.

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Super Regionals - The First Day

Super Regionals - The First Day By Ethan, Evan, Tycho, Max, Jayesh, Janavi, Caitlin, Darshan, Omar, Charlotte, and Austin

Task: Go to super regionals, set up, and present

Way too early in the morning, on March 22nd, the Iron Reign team gathered in darkness. It was approximately 65 Farenheit and gusts around 12 mph were blowing in from the South. Under this cover of darkness, a bus pulled into our school. As the trees shivered in the wind and the stray...

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Packing lists

Packing lists By Caitlin, Janavi, Ethan, Omar, and Evan

Task: Get prepped for the trip

Every post I write about organization seems to start off talking about how Iron Reign hasn't had the best track record with this sort of thing in the past, but we try anyways. So, like always, we're trying to get everything put together that we can: journals, presentations, props, pit setups, etc. Tools are a little more organized than normal because I'm obsessively trying...

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OpenCV By Ethan and Tycho

Task: Implement OpenCV in autonomous

Last year, we had some experience with OpenCV to press the beacons, and this year we decided to do the same. We use OpenCV to find the color we are looking for on the beacon in conjunction with Vuforia. First, it detects the search pattern in the view with vuforia, then isolates that area and finds the side of the beacon with the correct color. Our code is...

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Vuforia By Janavi and Tycho

Task: Use Vuforia to enhance autonomous

We use Vuforia and Open CV vision to autonomously drive our robot to the beacon and then click the button corresponding to our team's colour. We started this by getting the robot the recognize the image below the beacon and keep it within its line of vision. Vuforia is used by the phone's camera to inspect it's surroundings, and to locate target images. When images are located, Vuforia...

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Editing the Reveal Video

Editing the Reveal Video By Evan and Omar

One man's harrowing journey through copyright free music lists

The Robot Reveal video is underway. With most of the filming done, the sky grows dark and the day ends. A night time of editing sets in for the poor miscreant who volunteered for the task. Huddled in the corner with a raw fish and his precious computer, the boy opens premiere pro to begin. All is right with the world. The five hour...

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Dinner Discussions

Dinner Discussions By Caitlin, Max, Tycho, Jayesh, Darshan, and Evan

Task: Set last practices' priorities

Many members were out of town this break but we still managed to make a good deal of progress. What we forgot to do was post about it. Github kept track of code edits and we have other records of the practices, so we have a list of 11 articles to be written by this Sunday at the latest. Tomorrow's practice (Saturday March...

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Promote Video 2017

Promote Video 2017 By Max

Task: Create a video outlining Iron Reign's outreach

We have had a lot of interest garnered towards the STEM outreach the team has committed to. When we found that FTC encouraged the creation of a video outlining the STEM outreach we had done, we saw it as an opportunity to show others a general overview of our activities. With Max's excellent voiceover, we made a video talking about how long the team's been at it, the various...

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Practice Laps

Practice Laps By Omar, Jayesh, Tycho, Darshan, and Evan

Task: Get some organized driving practice in before Supers

With Superregionals drawing near, we thought it prudent to better organize ourselves in terms of driving teams. We've never felt that we were 100% solid, with people not knowing what to do at certain times in the match. For example, our "Coach" position was almost entirely dedicated to yelling out the match time in 10 second intervals. Today, we talked about...

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Dallas Women in STEM

Dallas Women in STEM By Caitlin, Tycho, Max, Jayesh, Janavi, Omar, and Austin

Task: Teach LEGO EV3 and 3D modelling to girls

The Yale club of Dallas organized a STEM event for groups of girls in the city. We took the Mobile Tech XPerience out front for 3D modelling and set up 8 EV3s with laptops and a sumo field inside.


We led 6-8 girls at a time through...

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Spring Break Doodle Poll

Spring Break Doodle Poll By Charlotte, Ethan, Evan, Caitlin, Omar, Max, Tycho, Janavi, Jayesh, Darshan, and Austin

Task: Spring Break Meeting Planning

In order to organize a plan for our spring break meetings, we created a poll on We all had individual plans for the break, and with the Doodle Poll we were able to see an overview of everyone's availability. As we have a Super Regional competition coming up, we are on a surge during spring break...

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To Do List

To Do List By Janavi, Tycho, Max, Jayesh, Omar, Caitlin, Austin, and Darshan

Task: Update our To Do List


  • CDIM #2 on right side
  • color and distance sensors on right side -done
  • ultrasonic sensors
  • can we get rid of distance sensors?-done
  • omnidirectional travel sensor based on trackball- not high priority
  • omnidirectional travel sensor based on I2c mouse- not high priority


  • simplify beacon detection
  • second beacon
  • compute distance before slowing down
  • alt config to...
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Meet me in the pit- Tent and Shields

Meet me in the pit- Tent and Shields By Austin, Caitlin, Tycho, Omar, Darshan, Jayesh, and Max

Tent Building

Since we had the general idea of the shape and size of the actual pit tent, we set out to either build or find a tent that we felt best fit the theme we selected. We chose to start off by trying to build a structure via PVC pipe and a tarp like substance that we could drape over the pipe, we...

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Super Regionals Booth Design

Super Regionals Booth Design By Caitlin, Austin, and Omar

Task: Design a theme and layout for super regional pits

A year or two ago Imperial advanced to Super Regionals, bringing along a few Iron Reign members. While teams get excited and have a lot of fun at Regionals, it's nothing compared to the displays found at super regionals. We've grown into our cyber-Roman theme this season, and Omar is currently working on a logo to match our new color...

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Regional Postmortem

Regional Postmortem By Ethan, Caitlin, Austin, Jayesh, Omar, Darshan, Max, and Tycho

Task: Analyse what we did right and wrong at regionals



  • Detailed scouting sheets
  • Had good inter-team dynamic
  • Organized
  • Pre-scouted


  • Not scouting matches
  • Didn't record matches
  • Scouting sheet on one computer
  • Only one scouting team

Notes: While we did well with scouting, it could have gone off much better. We made some mistakes...

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Inspire Award

Inspire Award By Tycho, Jayesh, Caitlin, Omar, Max, Darshan, Evan, Ethan, Janavi, and Charlotte

1st Place at North Texas Regional Championship

Iron Reign members left to right are Ethan Helfman (Build, Communications), Janavi Chada (Programming, Communications), Tycho Virani (Programming Lead, Main Driver), Jayesh Sharma (Business Lead, Build, Communications), Darshan Patel (Build), Caitlin Rogers (Communications Lead, Logistics, Business) and Charlotte Leakey (Programming, Logistics), with Evan Daane (from BTW, Build, Photography) in repose. Not shown: Max Virani (Design Lead, Programming), Omar...

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2017 North Texas Regional

2017 North Texas Regional By Ethan, Evan, Jayesh, Charlotte, Tycho, Caitlin, Max, Darshan, and Janavi

Task: Win the North Texas regionals

Summary: We won

On Febuary 25, we drove our RV to W.E. Pete Ford Middle School, in Allen, TX. The tournament was split into two divisions, and for many of our members, this was our first time encountering that layout. We didn't have any of our team members going to Dean's List interviews this time. We still didn't have an...

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Backups and Shields

Backups and Shields By Caitlin, Omar, Max, and Tycho

Task: Build a backup flywheel track and remount side shields

Previously, our side shields were zip-tied through 4 bolt holes on tetrix pieces per side, and we had taken one off to reach our drive system. When putting it back on to fine tune autonomous we took the time to cut out space for a wrench and bolt it on. The holes were already the correct size, we just had to line...

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Pre-Scouting Regionals

Pre-Scouting Regionals By Ethan

Task: Find out information on teams at Regionals

One of the things we're weak on this year is scouting. Dylan did some amazing scouting work last year that got us to regionals, but he is no longer on the team. So, for regionals this year, we want to be prepared. We took the list of teams attending the regionals and searched for any teams that we've either gone against and logged, or have any active social media presence. Then, we logged what their robot did and...

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I Am Become Aquila, Destroyer of Worlds

I Am Become Aquila, Destroyer of Worlds By Max

Task: Resurrect the Ancient One

The Great One, Aqui'la, has slumbered for too long. Since the deity lost Its battle with the accursed Gravitae a year ago, Its physical form has crumbled to pieces, leaving It powerless to bend the world to our will. As the last High Priest and Grand Memer of Its reign, the duty falls to me to return It to Its full power so that It may reign once more. I must do more than rebuild its effigy,...

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The Imperator Will See You Now

The Imperator Will See You Now By Max

Task: Design a new banner

For the past year or two, we've brought along a big vertical banner to our competitions to help boost our presence and make it easier for judges, other teams, and even members of our own team to find us in the pits or on the field. But the banner we've been using has become outdated: Since last year, members have come and gone, we've decided on a different visual theme, and, of course, we've built an entirely new...

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Judging and Awards

Judging and Awards By Caitlin, Jayesh, Omar, Tycho, and Max

Task: Increase chances to advance in judging

In our competitions we really can't rely on our robot performing as well as it does in practice and our sparring matches with Imperial. If we're going to increase our chances of advancing from Regionals to Super-Regionals 90% of the time it's going to be from judging. We've always had rocky presentations in my opinion, but this year we're getting our energy...

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To Do List Update

To Do List Update By Tycho, Max, Jayesh, Omar, Janavi, and Evan

Task: Update our To Do List


  • CDIM #2 on right side
  • color and distance sensors on right side
  • ultrasonic sensors
  • can we get rid of distance sensors?
  • omnidirectional travel sensor based on trackball
  • omnidirectional travel sensor based on I2c mouse


  • simplify approach path to wall
  • simplify beacon detection
  • second beacon
  • compute distance before slowing down
  • alt config to bypass a non-working...
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DISD STEM Expo By Ethan, Evan, Janavi, Jayesh, Caitlin, and Max

Task: Present to kids at the DISD STEM Expo

Every year, DISD hosts a STEM expo for local companies and groups to present to kids, in hope of inspiring them to go into a STEM career. So, for our booth, we drove our RV into the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center to present. We had three...

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Building the Fly Wheel Launcher

Building the Fly Wheel Launcher By Jayesh, Omar, Darshan, Evan, Tycho, and Max

Task: Create a particle launcher with a higher scoring rate

The first particle launcher we saw by another FTC team was actually a crude flywheel and rail design back in October where the rail was a cut up PVC elbow. Back then we considered a number of different designs including impact launchers, catapults, flywheel + rail systems and dual flywheel shooters like our sister team built. We decided to go with a catapult design because Max...

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Forester Field House Robotics Competition

Forester Field House Robotics Competition By Janavi, Omar, Tycho, Max, Jayesh, Evan, Caitlin, and Darshan

Task: Compete in the Forester Field House Robotics Competition

We started off with our presentation pretty early, and everything was going pretty well until our robot had a static issue, and stopped working. We were able to cover it up pretty well without the judges noticing. One of the judges seemed to like our rap, and was interested in seeing the R.V. Our presentation ran a...

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Fly Wheel 2 - Fly Harder

Fly Wheel 2 - Fly Harder By Max

Task: Create a backer rail to guide the particle as it fires

Our work on the flywheel design has been an effective proof of concept, and now we need to work it in to the rest of the robot. However, just like with the catapult, there’s a couple issues to iron out before all the pieces can start moving in a way that doesn’t make the robot implode.

Most notably to the 3D modeler in me, I fear that our current...

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Helping Imperial Robotics

Helping Imperial Robotics By Ethan, Evan, and Tycho

Task: Help Imperial Robotics before their qualifier

As said in previous posts, we have a sister team, Imperial Robotics, and it would be really nice to see them advance to regionals alongside us. In their previous qualifier, they got really close. So, with help, we should be able to push them over the qualifying line.

Tycho, our lead programmer, helped Rohit and Abhi with their code. Imperial was...

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Return to Machine Vision

Return to Machine Vision By Tycho

Task: Prepare to reintegrate machine vision

A year and a half ago while the new Android-based platform was still in pre-launch, we were the first team to share a machine vision testbed on the FTC Forums. That color-blog tracker was implemented with OpenCV on Android, but with a different low-level control system and robotics framework. Then we integrated OpenCV into our implementation of ftc_app, which was in turn based on the great...

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Introducing the New Particle Accelerator

Introducing the New Particle Accelerator By Max

I was going to make a Windows 10 joke but then we stopped using the catapult at version 8.

Task: Design a flywheel for a new system replacing the catapult

So while our catapult was good, we needed something better. It frequently missed and had other issues due to it being dependent on elastic bands that can lose tension over time. It would occasionally miss balls from areas it would usually be able to shoot from. As well,...

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Wylie East Postmortem

Wylie East Postmortem By Ethan

Task: Analyze what we did wrong and right at Wylie

At Wylie, we did decently. We were mildly surprised that we actually qualified for regionals, but we did, so that's pretty nice.

Mechanical Problems

  • Static shocks
  • Catapult reliability
  • Program unpredictability
  • Autonomous issues


  • We need to be more motivated
  • We need to practice driving

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Wylie East Qualifier

Wylie East Qualifier By Ethan, Evan, Max, Tycho, Darshan, Jayesh, Omar, Janavi, and Caitlin

Task: To go to the Wylie East robotics tournament

On Jan. 14, we headed out to Wylie East HS for a North Texas qualifier. Our main goal was to test our new code and additions to the robot - we've added static shields and staticide to protect ourselves from the issues that we suffered from last tournament. We had high prospects this tournament,...

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Bake Sale

Bake Sale By Darshan, Caitlin, Evan, Jayesh, Omar, and Janavi

Task: Plan Bake Sale

During our winter break, we worked on our robot, but we also planned to gain funding for our continued progression. We had applied for multiple grants but we thought crowd souring would be also be beneficial. One way we thought we could accomplish this was through a bake sale at our school. We found out that we are not recognized as a nonprofit by the IRS...

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Motor Controller Mounts

Motor Controller Mounts By Ethan, Darshan, Max, and Tycho

Task: Prevent static shocks to our robot

Throughout the year, we've dealt with static issues with our robot, as shown here and here. And, now that we've pretty much gotten autonomous and the lift out of the way, the static was our only remaining issue.

To prevent the static shocks, we needed to isolate the motor controllers and other...

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Cap Ball Lift

Cap Ball Lift By Omar, Jayesh, Darshan, Evan, and Max

Task: Build a lift to try cap-ball scoring

Although we're confident in our robot's ability to shoot balls and press beacon buttons, we decided that in order to be competitive, we should try to score the cap ball. The lift would have to be strong enough to lift the surprisingly heavy ball, but also not take up too much space. Our robot, as like every year, is very close to the 18 inch size limit in all directions, so we...

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Centurion's Helm of +2 Swankiness

Centurion's Helm of +2 Swankiness By Max

Task: Make some Roman helmets for the team

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Tent Disassembly

Tent Disassembly By Ethan, Omar, and Darshan

Task: Disassemble the tent covering our field

Dallas has been experiencing some bad weather for the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately, our field was outside, with a tent that was supposed to have "protected" it from the elements. That did not happen. When a particularly bad windstorm came, it tore down our tent and ripped holes in the top, so our field tiles were damaged. As well, it snowed/rained later...

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Meeting Log

Meeting Log December 31, 2016 By Ethan, Evan, Tycho, and Caitlin

Meeting Log December 31, 2016

Today's Meet Objectives

Organization / Documentation / Competition Prep

  • Blog Fixes


  • Test autonomous changes

Build / Modelling

  • Add swinging arms to the robot

Today's Work Log

Team MembersTaskStart TimeDuration
AllPlanning Meeting2:10pm.25
TychoTest Autonomous2:004
CaitlinBlog fixes/Cabling2:004
EthanSwinging Arms/Blog Fixes2:004
EvanSwinging Arms/Robot Fixes2:004
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Mapping Out Autonomous

Mapping Out Autonomous By Janavi, Tycho, Omar, Evan, and Darshan

Task: Mapping Out Autonomous

To tell the robot how far to move forward we had to calculate our motors RPM. We did this by telling the robot move to 10 rotations forward and calculating how far it travelled. After he RPM we created a model field upon which we designed a set path for the robot during autonomous. One path for red and then one for blue....

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Fixing Faulty Encoder

Fixing Faulty Encoder By Tycho and Jayesh

Task: Fix a faulty encoder on our robot

This shows a test of our encoder issues. It might have been a month ago that we noticed a strange behavior in our autonomous code when the robot was moving forward at low speed. It would curve to the right when we were telling it to go straight. We probably would have noticed the problem...

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Beginning the build for the Cap Ball Trapper

Beginning the build for the Cap Ball Trapper By Jayesh and Omar

Task: Give Deadshot flexibility in end game scoring by designing Cap ball launcher

One of the issues we saw in Arkansas was in the lack of flexibility we had in terms of the end game. We efficiently scored balls and beacons, but when our teammate for a specific match could do the same, we lost possible points scored. This led us to conclude that a Cap Ball Trapper,...

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QD Academy Scrimmage

QD Academy Scrimmage By Ethan, Evan, Tycho, Max, Darshan, Caitlin, and Omar

Task: To test our robot in a tournament setting

On Dec. 18, we came to QD Academy to test our robot under tournament conditions. At Arkansas, we had frequent static issues on the mats provided, and we had trouble recreating the static in practice to prevent it, so we wanted to try to find a cure for it. As well, we've been improving our autonomous...

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Arkansas Analysis

Arkansas Analysis By Caitlin, Omar, Darshan, Jayesh, Evan, Max, Tycho, Janavi, and Ethan

Task: Analyze what went wrong and right at Arkansas

We spent a good hour and a half analyzing what we needed to do differently at upcoming competitions, and how to better prepare in the upcoming school break.



  • Anti static spray
  • Shorten wires and close wire ends
  • Stabilize USB connections to controllers
  • Cap Ball lift


  • Driver Practice!!
  • Organize sub...
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Time to Skip Version 9

Time to Skip Version 9 By Max

Task: Make some changes to the catapult bowl

The apocalypse is at hand.

Chaos reigns as the world is thrown into peril; whole nations are thrown into anarchy by the second; and the superpowers of the world, once bitter enemies, have no choice but to band together as a horrid product of our own hubris, a threat more devastating than any which mankind has ever before seen, appears to put a grisly end to humanity:

The catapult bowl is too...

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Arkansas State Competition 2016

Arkansas State Competition 2016 By Ethan, Evan, Caitlin, Janavi, Jayesh, Omar, Darshan, Max, and Tycho

Task: Compete in the 2016 Arkansas State Competition

This year, to give our team a better chance of going to super-regionals for the first time, we decided to enter the Arkansas regional. We were actually pretty far ahead compared to our last seasons. We had a finished robot, a working autonomous, and good drivers.

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Combining TeleOp and Autonomous

Combining TeleOp and Autonomous By Tycho

Task: Combine TeleOp and Autonomous code

Today, I combined the autonomous and teleop so that we can demo both more easily. As well, during testing, we now can switch between them seamlessly so that our testing is power. The most important part of this code is that we can configure the autonomous before we launch - telling the robot how many balls we have, how many to shoot, what side the robot is on, and...

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Designing Button Pusher

Designing Button Pusher By Darshan and Omar

Task: Design potential beacon scoring mechanism

Up to this point, we hadn't given much attention to a beacon scoring mechanism that we could use in both autonomous and tele-op. At the scrimmage we learned that scoring the beacons was almost vital to winning the match, and we couldn't do that. We rigged up a short u-channel on a plate and attached it to our robot, hoping we could just ram...

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Robot Frame and Rewiring

Robot Frame and Rewiring By Jayesh, Omar, and Evan

Task: Build a frame to increase available surface area on robot to rewire current configuration

The wiring, which had been on the robot, had been a constant issue. The wiring tangled, interfered with the scoring mechanism, and led to some inefficiencies in electrical output. In order to increase the available space to reconfigure the inner workings of the robot, we built a second testrix layer, which also conveniently serves as a handle.


The new level...

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Final Catapult

Final Catapult By Ethan, Evan, Omar, and Jayesh

Task: Finish up the catapult before Arkansas

Today marks six days until Doomsday (AKA Little Home, Arkansas), so we needed to finalize everything. For the catapult, Jayesh and Omar fixed my catapult "fixes". However, with the new fixes, the catapult was more powerful, and required recalibration. To adjust to the new fixes, we removed the old stop-mechanism, and replaced it with a wooden one that stops it on the 2nd level of...

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Meeting Log

Meeting Log November 26, 2016 By Ethan, Max, Tycho, Janavi, Darshan, Omar, and Evan

Meeting Log November 26, 2016

Today marks one week until our Arkansas Tournament. God help us all.

Today's Meet Objectives

Organization / Documentation / Competition Prep

  • Review Journal
  • Work on Presentation
  • Do Blog Posts


  • Autonomous
  • Testing Code

Build / Modelling

  • Finish 2nd Level
  • Improve Catapult


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Catapult Upgrades

Catapult Upgrades By Max

Get Nostradamus on the horn, there’s a new prophet in town.

Task: Imbue the catapult bowl with infinite power

As I predicted in the article about the first version of the catapult bowl, it’s gonna need a rework. There’s enough room for the catapult system and the conveyor system to fit together on the robot, but the lip of the bowl is too high for a ball to roll into the slot. This is a tough issue to solve: we’ll have to slice a chunk...

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Autonomous Setup Options

Autonomous Setup Options By Tycho

Task: Create a basic autonomous

Autonomous is one of the things that we tend to be weak on every year, and this year, we really want to get to super-regionals. So, to start off this year's autonomous, we first mapped out a potential path for the robot on the field. We then followed up with programming, using our previous methods like driveForward and driveCrab. So now, we have a basic autonomous program in which we can...

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Catapult Unfixes

Catapult Unfixes By Ethan

Task: To bring the catapult within size limits and improve it

What Actually Happened: Abject failures

So, the original catapult, when not stuck, performed pretty well at the scrimmage. However, since we opted not to measure our robot at the scrimmage, we didn't realize that our robot was not within the FTC size limits. When measured after the fact, it was 18x19x20 in x, y, and z axes respectively, due to the catapult's position on the robot. To rectify this, we decided to cut the catapult down,...

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Meeting Log

Meeting Log November 22, 2016 By Caitlin, Evan, Ethan, Darshan, Tycho, and Omar

Meeting Log November 22, 2016

Main focus for the day is fixing the problems encountered at the scrimmage and making autonomous progress.

Today's Meet Objectives

Organization / Documentation / Competition Prep

  • Review Journal
  • Pre-Match checklist
  • Continue Presentation
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Intake System Improvements

Intake System Improvements By Caitlin and Janavi

Task: Replace rubber bands with smaller versions and add wider intake area

New intake area is wider than before

At the Scrimmage we noticed that the rubber bands would get tangled as they rubbed against the underside of the catapult bowl, and so didn't reach as far down at the bottom. We untangled them before each match but decided to test out the smaller ones when we had the chance at...

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Nov. 21 Scrimmage

Nov. 21 Scrimmage Written, but not attended by Ethan By Omar, Darshan, Jayesh, Max, Tycho, Caitlin, Janavi, Austin, and Ethan

Task: To test our robot and gauge other team's progress

First, the team arrived at the Virani's house and boarded the MXP for a Arkansas dry run. We learned that it's pretty bumpy for passengers when you're driving on the highway, making the experience a bit uncomfortable. We'll need to fix that for the 8-hour drive to Arkansas.


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Mecanum Driving

Mecanum Driving By Tycho

Task: Code driving under mecanum wheels

Today, I wrote the whole code for controlling our mecanum wheels. It is entirely fron scratch, and works perfectly right off the bat. This code allows us to strafe, move backwards and forwards, and rotate, in one method.


We still have a lot of coding to do, as we're currently working on a particle-launching system. As well, we need to consider autonomous soon.

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A Thank-You to Tetrix

A Thank-You to Tetrix By Ethan and Evan

Task: To create a thank-you video to Pitsco

We entered a contest to win a pack of Tetrix parts on Twitter, and we won! You can also enter the contest by following these instructions

So, as a thank-you to them, we made this:

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Parasyte By Jayesh, Omar, Darshan, Caitlin, and Max

Task: Design a collector for the balls

We've spent the last few practies creating a ball collector. The idea was to have our track with the gripping rubber bands reach from the bottom of the robot to our 3D designed ramp. The path would guide the balls to a higher position on our robot to the launching mechanism. We needed to adjust the correct orientation of the support beams guiding the balls, needing...

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Meeting Log

Meeting Log November 06, 2016 By Max, Tycho, Jayesh, Darshan, Ethan, Evan, and Janavi

Meeting Log November 06, 2016

We've been blogging/journalling at the sub-team level, which allows us to share our work at a deeper level on specific subjects. This ends up creating a need to have many posts in a single practice. That's great for our journal, but we also end up failing to document some...

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New Worlds Cities In Space

New Worlds Cities In Space By Caitlin, Jayesh, Omar, and Darshan

Task: Obtain knowledge and share work done on Moon base project

A contigent from Iron Reign participated in a space competition at the NewWorlds Conference. The idea was to form a interstellar base to self-maintain and extend humankind's reach into the universe. After winning the previous year's competition with a Mars base, the team did a sort of prequel,...

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The Robot is a Nautilus Now

The Robot is a Nautilus Now By Max

Task: Make a conveyor shaft to guide particles to the catapult

We’ve thoroughly proven that the tread of rubber bands is an effective method of ball collection, but as of yet it can only move the balls along the ground. We’ll need a way to move them upwards to the catapult bowl’s level. While we could use another motor to push the particles up and over the belt, it could get caught and we’d rather not take up another motor port. We decided...

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Launching Mechanisms Pt. 2

Launching Mechanisms Pt. 2 By Ethan

Task: To improve upon launching mechanism designs


First and foremost, we now have one completely functional, terrifying, catapult. The motor mechanism is cannibalized from our sister team's attempt at a catapult, which broke apart on testing.

So, while we don't have a functional flywheel as of...
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Stabilizing Our Driving Base

Stabilizing Our Driving Base By Jayesh, Omar, Max, and Darshan

Task: Stablize Meccanum wheel base so the driving is more stable and consistent

Our Meccanum wheel base idea started off on a shaky note. While we had a good amount of success in the tass we wanted to complete, like driving right or let without turning the entire robot, including the basic driving functions. However, as we went on with testing, we found that over time, the force the meccanum wheels...

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Ready the Artillery

Ready the Artillery By Max

Task: Design a bowl for our upcoming catapult system

We've been experimenting with catapult systems for a little while now, but we're still sorely lacking one of the core ingredients of any catapult system: the ability to throw things. I mean, technically we're lacking the ability to hold what we're trying to throw, but it's the same effect.

In any case, it's an issue we have to deal with, and our solution is good ol' nylon. I went through a few designs for a...

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Launching Mechanisms

Launching Mechanisms By Ethan

Task: To build a launching mechanism for the particles

For the 2016-2017 season, particle scoring is really important. During autonomous, balls that are launched into the center vortex earn 15 points each, and balls that are launched into the center vortex earn 5 points. If done quickly enough, the particle scoring can negate most of the advantages another team has - just 8 particles scored during the driver-controlled period is equivalent to scoring all 4 beacons. With a good scoring mechanism, the only thing that your team...

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Applying for Grants

Applying for Grants By Charlotte and Evan

Task: Applying for Grants

As the season begins, we have started to apply for grants. Grants are important to us because 68% of students in our home school receive free-or-reduced lunch, and we are underfunded by the district. It is our responsibility to seek the money required for our team to thrive.
Here is an excerpt from a letter we sent to a local business:

"Unfortunately time is money and the...

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Need for ZTE Speed - The Movie - The Game

Need for ZTE Speed - The Movie - The Game By Max

Task: Make a case for the ZTE Speed controlling the robot

While we are still in the early stages of design and it's not wise to make a permanent decision about where the robot's controlling phone will be, we can't let it float freely around the robot like a brain in a jar for much longer or it'll start getting caught in the developing systems. Normally, we could solve this easily by drilling a few holes in an off-the-shelf...

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General Organization Progress

General Organization Progress By Caitlin and Janavi

Task: Reduce clutter from summer

We made real progress in sorting the good and dead batteries after UIL, and we've streamlined the charging process. The phones are harder to charge because their cords can disconnect without warning, and they slide around more. If we don't want to waste time in competition, it's important we make the system easy to use and reliable. Janavi and I worked on Powerpole-ing the last...

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Travis Open House

Travis Open House By Ethan, Max, Tycho, Caitlin, Darshan, Jayesh, and Evan

Task: To talk to prospective SEM students about robotics

Every year W.B. Travis, a 4-8 has an open house for magnet schools to attend and convince students that $school1 is better than $school2. And, since it is Iron Reign's former school, we attend and try to pull students SEM. We present to about 5 groups and field questions from parents.

Unsurprisingly, we ran...

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Programming our New Robot

Programming our New Robot By Tycho, Caitlin, Ethan, and Jayesh

Task: Program our new mecanum wheel driving platform

Now that our new robot has been built with a mecanum wheel platform, we can start write our drive code and figure out how to make our robot preform three basic motions: forwards and backwards, side-to-side and to rotate. We decided that, in order to get the best understanding of our robot,...

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2016-2017 Robot

2016-2017 Robot By Ethan, Omar, Jayesh, Evan, Tycho, and Max

Task: To build the robot for the 2016-2017 season

As much as we love our robot from last season, Geb, we need a robot that is better able to fit the season's challenges. Our needs for this year are:

  • Manuverable and fast
  • Able to play defensively
  • Can support attachments such as an intake system
For manuverability, we decided to use mecanum wheels.

The cool thing...
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Adding Blog Features

Adding Blog Features By Ethan

Task: Add Cool and New Blog Features

I remember, vaguely, that someone on our team wanted to add a post counter for all the posts people appear in. And, today, I did it out of sheer boredom. And, here it is.

{% assign eh = 1 %}
{% assign dc = 1 %}
{% assign ed = 1 %}
{% assign or = 1 %}
{% assign js = 1 %}
{% assign cr = 1 %}

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Building the Robot Base

Building the Robot Base By Jayesh, Omar, and Darshan

Task: Design and test implementation of a driving base

We have spent the last few practices formulating a new driving base for our robot this year. We went through various possibilities: tank-based drive using both tracks and the omni-regular system (both of which are systems that we have utilized in previous years). However, both systems showed inefficiencies with this year's competition. We decided to go to a system using mainly Mecanum...

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Budgeting With Team 3734

Budgeting With Team 3734 By Ethan, Evan, and Austin

Task: Create a Budget Sheet for the 2016-2017 Season

As always, Iron Reign needs more money. We are a title 1 school in a cash-strapped district with over 60% of students qualfying for free lunch. So, this year, we decided to *actually* make a spreadsheet to track what we need and how much it'll cost. Coincidentally, our sister team, Imperial Robotics made one too. Also, this year, we're going to share a practice field at our school, SEM. So, we've...

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First Official Practice of the Season

First Official Practice of the Season By Omar, Caitlin, Jayesh, Darshan, Ethan, Evan, Janavi, Max, and Tycho

Task: Pull ourselves together for the new season

At this practice, our goal was to get everybody familliar with this year's game, Velocity Vortex, and to brainstorm some ideas for this year's robot. Some organization also needed to be done in terms of parts (everything is everywhere and nowhere at the same time) and also in terms of this year's meeting structure. Last year...

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MXP Transportation

MXP Transportation By Darshan, Caitlin, Jayesh, Omar, Ethan, Evan, Janavi, Tycho, and Max

Oh the places you'll go!

We attend many events throughout the DFW area, taking our robot and whatever else we need along with us. This has often puts a strain in how much we can actually bring with us to FIRST events and STEM events in general. Over this past summer the team helped refurbish an old 90s RV to use as a Mobile Tech XPerience to drive...

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FTC Kickoff 2016

FTC Kickoff 2016 By Ethan, Evan, Max, Tycho, and Omar

Task: Go to the FTC 2016 Kickoff to preview the new Velocity Vortex challenge

This Saturday, we ventured down to UTD to watch the unveiling of the new FTC challenge, and collaborate with other teams. The main change we noticed is that this year, it seems like there is a greater emphasis on league play instead of just doing a qualifier. To go to regionals, there seem to be three...

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Planning Meeting

Planning Meeting By Janavi, Max, Tycho, Jayesh, Omar, Darshan, and Caitlin


This week we met to discuss the origination of the meetings for the upcoming year. We decided that for the first fifteen minutes of the meeting we would outline our plans for the meeting. Then during our lunch break we would get together once again to discuss the progress that we have made and what we will move onto by the end of the meeting . By structuring our meetings we will be able accomplish more in the...

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Outreach and Sponsors

Outreach and Sponsors By Caitlin, Darshan, Jayesh, Omar, Ethan, Evan, Janavi, Tycho, and Max

Task: Analyze how finances effect recognition

It's always a challenge to convince sponsors that we are a worthy team for their grants, visibility in FIRST and the public makes it easier. Teams whose schools have the finances and space to host a tournament are recognized by their peers and even get a boost to Regionals. However, our space is limited, and we wouldn't be able to pull...

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Meeting with The Texas Workforce Commission

Meeting with The Texas Workforce Commission By Jayesh, Omar, Max, Tycho, Darshan, Evan, Ethan, Janavi, Caitlin, Trace, and Dylan

Task: Connect with our sponsors in the Texas Workforce Commission

Following the conclusion of the state UIL competition, Iron Reign noticed the Texas Workforce Commission building. Given that the organization was one of the team's generous...
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Robotics UIL 2016

Robotics UIL 2016 By Ethan, Evan, Caitlin, Darshan, Jayesh, Janavi, Trace, Max, Tycho, and Omar

Task: Compete in UIL Robotics in Austin

A bit of background:
UIL is a Texas-specific organization that hosts competitions in both academic and athletic pursuits. This year, they ran a pilot program for Robotics, using the FTC rules and field from Res-Q. About 72 teams competed in the FTC-based competition, which then was split into two catagories. Unlike regular FIRST tournaments, the awards not earned by competition are given through nomination by other teams.

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Mobile Learning Lab in Action

Mobile Learning Lab in Action By Caitlin, Max, and Tycho

Task: Deploy the Mobile Learning Lab to camps and teach kids

The RV has been fully remodeled and set up with netbooks and 3D printers, so we have been making the rounds and teaching at camps and events. We try to limit the number of kids on board to under 15 or 12 for safety reasons. It'd be nearly impossible to fit...

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Turn Up! at Frontiers of Flight with DCOL

Turn Up! at Frontiers of Flight with DCOL By Janavi, Darshan, Jayesh, Caitlin, Max, Tycho, Omar, and Austin

Inspiring 1,000 People to Turn Up with STEM

Written by Janavi Chadha

The Dallas City of Learning Organization held a Turn Up event at the Frontiers of Flight Museum, where we staffed the Mobile XPerience (MXP) complete with laptops, 3D printers, and LEGO SumoBots. Outside the vehicle, Caitlin and I taught kids how to create 3D models...

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MXP - Mobile Learning Lab Recap

MXP - Mobile Learning Lab Recap By Jayesh and Caitlin

DCOL Mobile Tech XPerience (MXP) Begins Service

Written by Jayesh Sharma
Edited by Caitlin Rogers

Iron Reign has been actively supporting Dallas City of Learning (DCoL) for a few years now. Big Thought (managing partner for DCoL) received a grant from Best Buy to support STEM learning over the summer by taking STEM opportunities into communities so that kids with reduced access...

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Geb Fixes and Adjustments

Geb Fixes and Adjustments By Jayesh, Omar, and Caitlin

Task: Prepare Geb for competition and get it into running condition

With all of the large projects and events that Iron Reign have been commiting to (with more still to come), we have unfortunately been neglecting Geb and as we came to find a few weeks ago, many of the running parts that give us the majority of points in competition were falling in disrepair. We found that the tape measure system...

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Mobile Learning Lab Part 4 - Update

Mobile Learning Lab Part 4 - Update By Ethan, Max, Tycho, Caitlin, Jayesh, Darshan, Austin, Matthew, Evan, Dylan, Omar, and Trace

Task: Covert a 1998 RV into the Dallas City of Learning Lab

The RV exterior

We have finished the majority of the renovation of the Dallas City of Learning Lab. We've finished rebuilding the roof, going throught the plumbing (including the suspiciously secretive water tank), and also replacing the entirety of the flooring.


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Mobile Learning Lab Part 3 - Flooring

Mobile Learning Lab Part 3 - Flooring By Evan, Max, Tycho, Dylan, Ethan, Caitlin, Darshan, and Austin

Carpet ripping is not fun. The carpet is tacked down with so many staples that is is not easy to remove. It tends to rip around the stables leaving nubs of fibers and then we have to attack the stables with pliers and staple pullers. Getting it out from under the edges of walls and the slide out is really hard. And we've...

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Mobile Learning Lab Part 2 - Roof

Mobile Learning Lab Part 2 - Roof By Tycho, Max, Matthew, and Austin

Task: Clean the roof of the RV

We'd noticed that the roof was very grimey looking from the small strip you could see at the top of the side walls, but we hadn't been up there to look at it. Finally climbing the ladder we confirmed it. The roof is a very dark brown. We believe it is simply dirt that has caked into...

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Dallas City of Learning

Dallas City of Learning By Ethan, Evan, Jayesh, Omar, Caitlin, Max, and Tycho

Task: Teaching children how to use robots

On 18 June, we went to the J. Erik Jonsson Library to inspire children to hopefully go into STEM-related careers. We were invited for their annual City of Learning event. We talked to about 200 people about robotics and most loved it - especially children. We showed...

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Mobile Learning Lab Part 1 - Demolition

Mobile Learning Lab Part 1 - Demolition By Evan, Max, Tycho, and Austin

Task: Redo the inside of the recreational vehicle

Mr.Virani recently aquired an RV so it could be used as a mobile learning center for the Dallas City of Learning this summer. To convert it from someplace you might live on a long road trip to somewhere you could teach science and technology to children means stripping out carpeting, removing walls, and laying down...

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New tread material test

New tread material test By Caitlin, Tycho, Max, and Evan

Task: Initial tests for new tread material

The standard Tetrix treads and tread inserts aren't nearly as sturdy as we would like. When they snap it's a real effort to put back together stretched over the idlers, and the inserts peel apart, bringing our traction down. The new material is a rubber conveyor belt material from Andymark, and the underside track chain is 3D printed in nylon to mesh with the...

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Making a Ports Map

Making a Ports Map By Omar and Jayesh

Task: Create a list of motors/servos and what ports they're connected to

Very often, when we disconnect a motor or servo (maybe on accident), we forget what port we got it from. This even happened to us today when we unplugged the servo that lifts the trough. Because of this hassle, we decided to write out a list of all the motors and servos on our robot and what...

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LEGO (Plastic Fastener) SUMO Workshop and Competition, Coming April 24th and May 14th

LEGO (Plastic Fastener) SUMO Workshop and Competition, Coming April 24th and May 14th By Tycho

LEGO Sumo returns with a free Sumo Workshop on Sunday April 24th followed by the Dallas Personal Robotics Group's Roborama Sumobot competition at the Dallas Makerspace on May 14th.

Here's what the competition looks like:

A basic sumobot is a simple build. Here is an example to get you started:

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Sumobot Tips and Tricks

Sumobot Tips and Tricks By Tycho

Let's assume you are building a LEGO Mindstorms or Vex IQ based Sumobot, but you want to skip some of the basic mistakes beginners will make. Here are some tips and tricks.

  • Know the rules. It's silly to get disqualified because you didn't pay attention to the rules. Know the size and weight limits. Know the allowed construction materials and techniques. Know the startup behaviors. For example, your robot must not move...
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Hoverboards and PID

Hoverboards and PID By Caitlin, Omar, Darshan, Tycho, and Max

Task: Continue with the Hoverboard and tweak PID

After the long weekend last week, today was a reasonably relaxed practice. We decided that we could work on anything, as long we stayed focused. The two main foci were the -Robot on a Hoverboard- and fine tuning our PID for autonomous.


We experimented with balancing the robot more evenly on the hoverboard to keep it on a straight path...

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Day 2 of iMake

Day 2 of iMake By Caitlin, Max, Tycho, and Omar

Task: Continue presenting at iMake

Day 1 was a huge success, and we carried that over into the Sunday presentations too. There were a lot of common questions we noticed from Saturday, including levels of robotics competitions and the LEGO EV3 system, and we were able to answer these with more clarity after hearing them so often. A few papers were set up on our table outlining the various FIRST competition...

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Robot On a Hoverboard - Try 1

Robot On a Hoverboard - Try 1 By Caitlin, Max, Tycho, Darshan, Omar, Evan, Ethan, and Jayesh

Task: Try to drive the hoverboard with the competition bot

In the middle of Saturday's event we decided it would be a GREAT idea to put the competiton robot on the hoverboard and try to drive it around. Theoretically if we got it centered correctly it could only drive forward and backwards. We could extend...

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Fort Worth Maker Fest

Fort Worth Maker Fest By Jayesh, Omar, Max, Tycho, Caitlin, Darshan, Evan, Ethan, and Austin

Task: Show both adults and children benefits of robotics and past work of the team

Iron Reign was invited to present at the annual Fort Worth Maker Fest at the city's Museum of Science. We spent the day showing off our competition bots and other robots that we have created over the years. People were especially interested in our innovation with climbing the mountain and using simple every day objects like tape measures...

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RIP FTC 2016

RIP FTC 2016 By Jayesh, Omar, Max, Tycho, Caitlin, Darshan, Alisa, Dylan, Evan, Ethan, and Trace

Task: Review the events that occurred at the FTC Regional Championship

Link to postmortem document

Iron Reign had a fairly successful run at our regional tourament, much more so compared to last year. Despite reaching the semi-finals, we were unable to advance past the competition to super-regionals. We had many strengths of ours shown through the day, but also committed...

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Presentation Runthrough

Presentation Runthrough By Caitlin, Max, Tycho, Darshan, Jayesh, Omar, Alisa, Ethan, and Evan

Task: Go through presentation with Mr. Gilkes

Our mentor Mr. Gilkes was kind enough to listen to us do a rough presentation run-through at practice. We hadn't looked at the presentation since the competition 2 weeks ago, and it was pretty obvious we were under-practiced. We swiped through the slides before starting to get our bearings.


We started by making sure everyone knew their cues,...

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Fixing Up Our Climber and Trough Attachments

Fixing Up Our Climber and Trough Attachments By Jayesh, Max, and Omar

Task: Replace servo on CliffHanger with a motor

At both competitions we've been to so far, we've noticed that the servo that controls the cliff hanger's elevation often stresses and heats up due to the strain being put on it, especially near the end of the match. It has already scorched quite a few of our fingers. To remedy this, we decided to replace it with a...

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Actual Postmortem

Actual Postmortem By Jayesh, Caitlin, Omar, Max, Tycho, Darshan, Trace, Alisa, Ethan Evan, and Dylan

Nolan Tournament


We have 1 weekend to get it right!

Iron Reign


While we had a great tournament, we had major fails on the robot itself and still have a lot of room for presentation improvements. We have 2 weekends to fix everything and it does not seem like enough time.  Since a majority of us were...

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Post Competition Goals

Post Competition Goals By Jayesh, Omar, Darshan, Max, Tycho, Caitlin, Ethan, Evan, Dylan, Alisa, and Trace

Task: Discuss future goals and fixes needed to succeed at regionals and beyond

In the week following the competition, a Google document was made to discuss sections of building the team can improve on before the regional tournament. There was an outline made where every team member applied to certain sections that they felt needed to be improved upon. The different sections included robot chassis, the presentation, and game strategy. Members voted on item...

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Nolan Qualifier

Nolan Qualifier By Ethan, Caitlin, Jayesh, Darshan, Max, Tycho, Evan, Alisa, Trace, and Dylan

Task: To review our last tournament


Due to the team taking a bus with Imperial Robotics, we arrived to the competition a little late. However, due to an organizer running late, the competition itself was delayed, so we weren't significantly affected. Like last time, we had trouble finding a power outlet that we could set up our battery box near, but it turned out there were a couple nearby. We were once again set up...

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Pushing my Buttons

Pushing my Buttons By Ethan and Max

Task: To build a button-pusher for the beacon

Today, we realized that the tape-measure attachment that's supposed to push the buttons on the beacon could have multiple functions instead So, we designed an attachment to the tape measure that can push any buttons, including people's. Max designed it in PTC and then printed it. We have yet to actually test it on the robot, but it works in-hand.


This is just our first design, and it has not...

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The Double-Wide Experiment

The Double-Wide Experiment By Jayesh, Max, Dylan, and Evan

Task: Strengthen our tape-measure climber against folding and sideways forces

Our tape measure is constantly under stress, which usually isn't a big problem if the driver is positioned with a straight 90 degree angle, but when twisted can result in cracks.

While our tape-measure design worked decently at our competition last week, with multiple mid zone scores and one high zone score, we are going to need more consistency to be a valuable ally in our matches. At...

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It's a Bloodbath

It's a Bloodbath By Ethan, Alisa, Max, Darshan, Jayesh, and Tycho

Task: To dye all our nylon parts red

Today, we took every single 3D-printed part off our robot to dye them. We used RIT clothes dye, which worked because our parts are nylon. The purpose of dying all our 3D-printed parts red was so that they would stand out from Tetrix parts while demonstrating the robot. It was a bloodbath. The color was the color of the Nile during the Plagues of Egypt. It seemed as if we...

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Conveyor belt

Conveyor belt By Jayesh, Max, and Darshan

Task: Create continuous method of scoring blocks

Since we have a semi-reliable form of going up the ramp (which we are working on to make closer to 100% efficiency), a priority for our team robot-wise is to establish an effective method of scoring blocks. We've designed a preliminary model with our old plastic trough that uses a conveyor belt made of fabric and foam sewn together that we tried to use before but decided not to. The foamy...

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Post Writing Guide for Team Members

Post Writing Guide for Team Members By Caitlin

So as I've made changes to the blog I've realized that not everyone understands the little rules or guidelines I've made, but never quite explained. Following is a mock post, the content is a guide on what to put in each section.


title: This should be a short descriptive heading for the post
tags: [comma, separated, list] choose tags from this tag page as they are the only ones searchable. The tags are case-INsensitive, so they...
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Tape Measure Attachment

Cliff Hanger - Tape measure based climber By Trace and Max

Task: Creating an attachment to climb the mountain

We have recently been working on a new approach to climbing the mountain. Our strategy so far was to have one system customized for climbing the mid and upper mountain (Churro Climber), and a separate system for climbing the cliff (Crossbow Grapple). The Churro climber system was beginning to work but it was floppy and we were thinking about stiffening the nylon extensions with...

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Competition Post-Mortem

Competition Post-Mortem By Caitlin, Jayesh, Darshan, Max, Tycho, Evan, Ethan, Alisa, Trace, and Dylan

Task: Analyze our successes and failures in the previous competition

After a rocky start and finish to our first qualifier yesterday we took today to have fun as a team and look at how we could improve for our next chance.


Most of our -Need To Do's- are related to becoming more confident with the various tasks that we'll be doing in the...

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A Presentation for the Ages

A Presentation for the Ages By Ethan, Jayesh, Max, Tycho, Caitlin, Omar, Evan, Alisa

Task: Work on our presentation to the judges

Our main weakness in previous years had been our presentation. This year, we plan to change that. When our team was solely FLL, we practiced our presentations beforehand, so, we're applying that to this year. We've done 2-3 presentations so far and it seems it really helps us. As well, we're making a powerpoint presentation to assist us, giving us information we might forget and providing a visual...

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I Still Won on the Inside… 2016 FTC Qualifier at Wylie

I Still Won on the Inside… 2016 FTC Qualifier at Wylie By Jayesh, Omar, Darshan, Max, Tycho, Evan, Ethan, Alisa, Caitlin, Trace, and Dylan

Starting out

Just as in previous years, Iron Reign set off about half an hour late. We REALLY need to get everything not directly on the robot printed, boxed up, and loaded the night before - at the latest. Now that we have 11 members, we needed another person to help carpool, and Jayesh’s dad was thankfully willing to help. (note from omar: we definitely did not...

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Functions of our controller

Functions of our controller By Alisa, Ethan, Trace

Task: Listing out the functions of our game controller

In order to find a button for our argos mode drive, we made a rough draft of our game controller listing the functions of each button. For example, the 'X' button is for the churo climb, the 'A' button is for our beater to stop, etc. We had about 5 unused buttons so in the end, we decided on using the top left button for argos mode drive. Now that...

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Starting Color Blob Detection

Starting Color Blob Detection By Omar, Max, Tycho

Task: Implement color blob detection on the robot for detecting beacons

Even though this was very long overdue, we now have a way to turn towards a certain color similar to what Argos does. What we're basically doing is calculating the angle that the robot is off-center of the blob it's tracking, and letting it correct for the error and straighten up with our PID code that's already in place. Right now, it doesn't actually move backwards and forwards, only turn on its axis,...

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Slide Trigger (Revisited)

Slide Trigger (Revisited) By Max

Task: Remodel the slide trigger mechanism to compensate for mechanical problems


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Prototyping and Making the Flipper

Prototyping and Making the Flipper By Jayesh, Omar, Darshan

Task: Design an apparatus to deposit the climbers in the beacon bucket.

One of the methods to score in this year's competition is depositing the two climbers in the bucket behind the beacon. This being relatively simple, we decided to concentrate this practice on creating something to get us these easy points. We discussed possible ways to deposit the climbers and came up with a design that used some of the scoring mechanism we already had on our robot. The idea was to...

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Rebuilding the Churro Climber System

Rebuilding the Churro Climber System By Omar, Darshan, Max

Task: Fix bending axle on churro climber permanently

After further testing of the churro climbers, we noticed that the axle the gear is rotating on had been bent severely due to the strain on it of the arms pulling. If we left the axle as it was, it might wreck something else later and become unusable, so we tried to figure out a way of creating something that served the same function as the axle but wouldn't bend as easily. We decided...

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Slide Lock

Slide Lock By Max

Task: Model a part to keep the slide from going too far forward

Since we mounted the beater bars on a slide, we have been keeping them from going too far and falling off their rails either by obstructing them with a couple of bolts or with a bent piece of steel wire, but neither method is fool proof. The wire can get bent out of shape as the slide moves forward and collides with it, and...

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Climber Restraint

Climber Restraint By Max

Task: Model a part to keep the churro climber cable ties on path

As we continued to work on the churro climber mechanism today, we decided that the cable ties bowing out would be a big issue that needed fixing. By making a small guide piece, we could ensure that the cable tie actually extends from the front of the robot instead of flopping around like overcooked spaghetti on the other side. So, I've made a rather...

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Improvements to Churro Catcher and Ramp

Improvements to Churro Catcher and Ramp By Jayesh, Caitlin, Omar

Task: Make improvements to Churro Catcher and Ramp and make blog more accessible

Iron Reign held our first of two meetings before the New Year season to concentrate on improving our main designs to ensure they worked as expected. Starting with our Churro Catcher, we found that as the motor moved the two arms down, the tension in the two churro climbers was two low to actually push out the latches forward from the robot. We built two small metal segments...

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Optimizing the Churro Catcher

Optimizing the Churro Catcher By Jayesh, Omar, Darshan

Task: Improve and fix our Churro Catcher + finalize design for trough

The team met up on Sunday and we focused our meeting on finalizing our trough design and making our churro catchers usable. Beginning with our trough prototype, we put in an angled metal piece to the main box compartment and shortened the height of the box. This height was specific to the height of the blocks, allowing us to shave off blocks that become stacked upon those that we've already collected and...

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General Blog Improvements

General Blog Improvements By Caitlin

Task: Make blog more accessible and simpler to write for

In a rough order, here are the things I've worked on in the blog over the past month or so:

  • Add a readable nav-bar and fix header text color
  • Add About page structure for new members to fill in
  • Resize a bunch of images to fit the 600 px width, and a couple that were too tall
  • Create tag-specific post pages
  • Make these tag pages Case-Insensitive so posters could tag "Design"...
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Churro Hook

Churro Hook By Max

Task: Model a part to help the robot climb the churros on the mountains

Most of the big-value items in terms of points have to do with the mountains, so climbing mechanisms are a must have. Since the tank treads have problems scaling the churros on the middle and upper mountains, we need another way to pull the robot higher. Our solution was to put hooks on the ends of long, heavy-duty cable ties that we could...

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Prototyping the Trough

Prototyping the Trough By Jayesh, Omar, Darshan

Task: Prototype the trough using materials such as cardboard to give us a baseline


The team had a meet before the busy Christmas period to focus on the main part of of our scoring mechanism: the trough. We discussed possible courses that would be easiest for us to score points and code at the same time. We went through multiple ideas of how the trough would work. One idea was to have our trough consist of rotatable base to account for...

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Improving the Catcher Design

Improving the Catcher Design By Dylan, Darshan, Omar, Jayesh, Evan, Alisa

Task: Add Improvements to the Catcher Design

Today our team worked on improving the methods of capturing and holding blocks and balls. Our first design involving zip ties had major difficulties including that it had little strength to pull objects in. For this reason, we redesigned the beater bar using a 3-D printer that had stronger materials to capture materials along with frictionless tape which did not cause the blocks to become stuck. Through our tests we can see that...

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General Improvements

General Improvements By Jayesh, Omar, Darshan, Max, Caitlin

Task: Perfect and improve multiple of our main characteristics of our robot

Iron Reign held its first Christmas break parade today and we decided to focus our time on making multiple small improvements, rather than adding one big part on our robot. Omar, Darshan, and I spent our time on rewiring and fixing our side motors. We found that one side was greatly lagging behind the other, so we tested to see which motor was failing, and rewiring the system fixed our driving system....

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Slide Trigger

Slide Trigger By Max

Task: Model a part that lets us hold back the slide with a trigger to release it

The beater bar mechanism was put on a slide so that we could restrain it until some point during the match, but we had yet to actually build a restraint and trigger to serve this purpose until now. Since the mechanism would likely include rubbing pieces and need customized parts, we chose to model and 3D print the part in...

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Scrimmage at Greenhill

Scrimmage at Greenhill By Darshan, Alisa, Omar, Caitlin, Max, Tycho, Evan

Task: Practice with other teams and see

This past Friday, the team tried to get the robot working in a small scrimmage with seven or so other teams. At the scrimmage, we managed to get our cow-catcher working, even though we nearly burned out our servo. During the process of finding the right positioning and testing it while driving we managed to tear up quite a few rubber inserts on our treads. Even though the scrim was scheduled to...

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Thinking about Effort

Thinking about Effort by Omar

Task: Think about our robot's design both for now and for the future

Today, I decided to list our different options when it comes to design and on how much effort they would take on a numerical scale from 0 to 7. 0 means no effort would be needed at all (none of our options are currently here), and 7 means that the option is almost not practical based on the work we'd need to put in, but would be a huge benefit on our...

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Design and prototype a churro latch mechanism

Design and prototype a churro latch mechanism By Caitlin, Darshan

Task: Design an alternative churro climber mechanism

Currently Max and Tycho are working on a beater bar 3D part that is stiff enough to pull in blocks, and will hopefully double as a churro catcher when spinning. However, since the parts take 4 hours per set to print, and are harder to rapid-fire test and change and tweak relative to some other options we're going for other options till they're tested. The churro catchers help us to secure holding up the ramp but...

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Business Planning

Business Planning By Alisa

Task: Making a Business Sponsorship Template

I worked on making a rough draft of a sponsorship template. This template will be used to email companies to ask for their sponsorship. I have a list of companies that have a high chance of sponsoring us. I found several more to add to the list Evan started last week. I also added sponsorship levels to increase interest for the companies: Diamond, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Copper, Steel, Iron. Different levels through our list imply greater rights and priveleges in...

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Helping the Travis Team

Helping the Travis Team By Tycho

Task: Help the William B. Travis FLL Team

Starting September 10th and lasting through today, I went to our old middle school, William B. Travis, to help their newer FLL team with robot design and programming. There were also some one on one sessions during practice to teach their main programmer, who used to be on the older FLL team until it disbanded, how to use the code library that we had previously written. I also went to a scrimmage with them...

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Why we should measure twice, and cut once

Why we should measure twice, and cut once By Ethan, Evan

Task: To redo our bumpers

"Measure nonce, cut twice," is Iron Reign's unofficial slogan, as hidden in our html.

the image's spelling is entirely on purpose

We especially learned the error of cutting hastily today, as we errored in the production of our bumpers.

Evan and I spent multiple practices on working on the front and back bumpers. We easily took ten hours cutting them into their perfect shape. However, after we...

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Prototyping the ramp for the intake system

Prototyping the ramp for the intake system By Jayesh, Omar, Ethan, Evan

Task: Make a physical prototype to plan out the next step in our ball/block intake system

We held a post-Thanksgiving meet to focus on the mechanical side of our robot, as we had been devoting a majority of our time to software and other such things. The problem we faced with our beater bar being installed on two sliding extrusions is that we had to have an incline adjusted to going up two levels and not...

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Hell On Reels

Hell On Reels By Max

Task: Make a prototype grappling hook of doom.

As the point values make clear, managing to get the robot to hang on the end of the "cliff" is likely worth the effort. As such, we've worked on making a strange grappling-hook type contraption to pull the robot up. This first version works rather like a crossbow. A telescoping fishing pole has its largest loop hooked up to a long "bolt" which extends beyond the pole to a bungee cord tied to a pair of arms on...

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Researching Awards

Researching Awards By Caitlin

Task: Research and understand the various awards

We rarely prepare enough for awards, usually hoping the practice before that we've done enough to be in the running. Last year we won the PTC Creo award at one competition, but that was a one time deal. This year we can prepare our journal in such a way to make it easier for judges to find what they're looking for when deciding.


Out of the 9 awards, 7 are given at every tournament....

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Autonomous Code

Autonomous Coding By Dylan and Tycho

Task: Updating and Working on Autonomous Code

Today we continued working on the code involved for the first ten seconds of motion in the tournament known as autonomous. In this period we hope to reach the other side of the field towards the Res-Q beacon to dump our figures from the beginning and then trying to go as high as we can up the mountain. We coded this using our IronDem and the Pose classes to calculate the range and angle of our current...

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Driving That Robot

Driving That Robot By Evan, Darshan

Task: To try out the robot in a competition setting

Last weekend Darshan and I tried to drive the robot in a small scrimmage with eight other teams. Even though we hit a few bumps along the competition we were able see how the robot drove and handled. We also saw what we could do easily and what was hard for us. Among the bumps was an incident involving a tread falling off the track because we hit...

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Bumper Shields

Bumper Shields By Ethan and Evan

Task: To create bumper shields for the robot.

We needed to create bumper shields because the debris on the field interfered with the tread. We had a prototype on the left,
Evan and I cut the bumper shields out of polycarbonate with two made for the front and two for the back. To do this, we were trained how to use a bandsaw. We cut them down so that they will be moveable.


Evan and I will attach the bumpers,...

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Beater Bar Launch Mechanism

Beater Bar Launch Mechanism by Omar, Darshan, Evan, Max

Task: Design deployment mechanism for beater bar

Similarly to last year, the beater bar on our robot needs to be deployed in order to stay within the size limit. Using motors would make the robot heavier, and potentially too heavy to go up the ramp anymore. Bungee cords are something that we've always resorted to in order to save weight, so we decided to use them once again. By tying them to the back of the beater bar sliders...

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Meeting other Teams at the Scrimmage

Meeting other Teams at the Scrimmage By Caitlin, Omar, Darshan, Jayesh, Tycho, Max, Evan

Task: Get a feel for where we are and the progress of other teams

Whether or not we were allowed to compete, we felt that it would be worthwhile to go to the scrimmage, if only to see how we compared to other teams. Climbing the mountain is the hardest mechanical design challenge so far, and we were able to see their solutions.


Many teams had treads like ours, with different arrangements of idlers, while...

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Starting up our Autonomous Code

Starting up our Autonomous Code by Jayesh, Tycho, Max

Task: Get started on autonomous coding

We spent some of the time at the scrimmage today starting up our autonomous code in android studio. The main basis of our coding was put around climbing the ramp, which is our main function of our robot without the rest of the hardware in place. The main point of the code was put around PID and Pose, as PID helped give us our position on the field and Pose helped in giving our heading.



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SEM Open House 2015

SEM Open House 2015 By Jayesh, Caitlin, Omar, Max, Tycho, Darshan

Task: Publicize our school and team + showcase the benefits of robotics

Iron Reign was once again invited to attend our school's open house and present our robotics group and speak about what we have and will do. We mainly focsused our topics on the transition between middle school level robotics and high school level. The topics covered included the overall engineering and computer programmming that we undergo as a part of FTC. The classes that these possible future...

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Writing Pose

Writing Pose By Max and Eliot

Task: Create a rough draft of the code for the Pose class

Starting just a few weeks into the competition year, we thought up ideas for a system of classes to allow the robot to navigate to a location on the field on its own, including the Pose class, which we would use to keep tabs on where the robot was on the field at any particular time. With this, it would be possible to...

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Addition of Beater Bar to Robot

Addition of Beater Bar to Robot By Omar, Ethan, Darshan, Caitlin

Task: Fix and alter robot to include sliding beater bar

Since the robot's last run, several fixes and adjustments had to be made in order to make the robot operational again. All we had to do was tighten a couple of bolts, so it wasn't that big of a deal. We'll probably have to do a quick check from now on to make sure nothing's falling off. Afterward, we set to using the same beater bar we used last year (the first...

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Helping the Travis Team

Helping the Travis Team By Tycho

Task: Teach Travis Team how to Use Previous Team's Code

After retiring from FLL at Travis, we decided to share our code library with the other team from the school. We set up a meet with Clay, one of the main programmers of the team, so we could teach him how to use our core functions; the next step is for him to teach the other members of his team how to use the code.


I spent a couple of hours to...

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Autonomous Code Part 1

Coding for Autonomous Pilot Program By Tycho and Dylan

Task: Program Pilot Code

Our task was to begin programming for our first version of the Pilot class of the robot using other classes for our angle, position, and controller that we created. The controller class known as PID controller used part of the controller set given to us from the repository but was recalibrated to be in terms of time and independent of all else. This we need to integrate in our pilot class which we will use to tie all programs...

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Rocker Boogie Tank

Rocker Boogie Tank By Trace

Task: Design and build a basic rocker boogie tank

A few weeks back, I designed a new chassis. It was a combination of the rocker bogey and a tank to make the rocker boogie tank! With the advantage of sturdiness from a tank and the ability to adjust to surfaces from the rocker boogie. This combination is unstoppable!!!


The task proved to be easy (just added tank treads to a rocker boogie) but worked. After I tested the prototype on a number of surfaces, it...

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Before Scrimmage basic tests

Before Scrimmage basic tests By Caitlin, Tycho, Omar, Max, Darshan

Task: make sure the robot can run

There's a scrimmage next Saturday that we may or may not be going to based on Dallasisd technicalities with our team. Our goals for today were to get a basic autonomous going to dump climbers and maybe some mountain climbing tests. However, the controller apps needed to be updated and we got a lot of errors when connecting.


If the controller gives an error mentioning "USB UART" apparently the only fix is to...

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Video Ideas

Video Ideas By Alisa, Dylan, Ethan

Task: Watching videos to get ideas for our robot

Dylan, Ethan, and I decided to watch videos to see what other teams were doing to build and improve their robots during the Circle Meeting outside. We wanted to see if any of the designs were successful so we could learn from them. The videos included Robot in Three Days, RiTD Explained, and Trojan Robotics .


Every video we watched was ahead of us; we have a...

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Gyro-IMU Case V2

IMU Case V2 By Tycho

Task: Improve our 3D Printable case for the Adafruit BNO055 IMU

Last week I designed a case for our IMU sensor in Creo and wrote up how it could be improved. I've fixed most of those issues and we are ready to share the results. There is one version with Tetrix hole spacing and another that works for Actobotics channels. Either can be used with aluminum extrusions though you might have to drill out the mounting holes depending on your bolt size.

You can...

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Create a List of Blog Tags

Create a List of Blog Tags By Caitlin

Task: Make a list of tags for blog entries

We've been tagging each blog post as we write them according to topics we think they fall into, but there's been no standard for what to choose from. For example, what I tag as "Mechanical" Omar tags as "Build." When we get some scripting done on the blog to separate according to topic we will need consistency between everybody.


So far these are the tags chosen to represent main topics and types...

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Gyro-IMU Case

IMU Case By Tycho

Task: Make a 3D Printable case for the Adafruit BNO055 IMU

We're used to having gyros to help maintain heading, but we've never been fans of the Hitechnic gyro sensor. Now we have more options and the BNO055 looks pretty good. But our testing has been off robot so far and we need a way to securely attach the sensor to our robot which bounces around like crazy when climbing the mountains. So in PTC Creo, I'm designing a 3D printable case for this sensor that we...

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Arrangement and Rearrangement of Motor Controllers

Arrangement and Rearrangement of Motor Controllers By Omar, Darshan

Task: Find better configuration of motor/servo controllers and power distribution module on the robot

Today, we tried to figure out the best possible way to stick all the motor controllers and the PDM together to minimize the amount of space they take up on the robot. Fitting the finished product into the gap on the back end of our robot would also be a bonus. We had previously thought of one way of doing it: When placed on the robot,...

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Driving up the mountain - test 2

Driving up the mountain - test 2 By Caitlin, Darshan, Jayesh, Omar, Max, Tycho, Evan

Task: Test how the condition of the mountain changes robot performance

After last week's fail we decided that we should change a couple of variables of the environment. The first and easiest to fix being the condition and cleanliness of the mountain ramp. Having dust on the ramp would severely lessen the friction holding the robot in place, so we wiped it down with glass cleaner and started up the robot.


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Circle Time

Circle Time By Jayesh, Ethan, Omar, Darshan, Evan

Task:Discuss multiple possible solutions to climb steep incline on field

We held a team meeting outside on the field discussing multiple possible solutions to the problem of the robot ascending to the top of the ramp. While we are already able to climb the ramp, the robot strafes significantly as it climbs above each rung on the ramp. This can be accounted for during the driver-controlled period, but the strafing can't be accounted for during autonomous, unless we have each side of the...

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Money Please

Money Please By Evan


At the strategy meet we had, I brought up how we need money to get sensors so we can detect our heading and position. At the current moment we spend about 3000 dollars a year on parts and sensors and we only get a 1000 dollar grant to pay for them. We have to compensate the rest with our own cash stash. So this year we are going to seek out donors for our cause. I made a list consisting of some potential people who might...

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Building the Field - Part III

Building the Field: Part III By Ethan, Trace, Alisa, and Evan

Task: Building the field for the third week in a row!

Today, for the third time, we worked on setting up the field. We finished the mountains and the climber setup. We made several mistakes along the way. Firstly, we screwed the mountain climber mounts in wrong, not one or two times, but three times. Then, we realized that the mountains couldn't even fit inside the tent and the wooden boundaries. So, we had to dissasemble it,...

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Daily Organization

Daily Organization By Caitlin, Darshan, Evan, Omar, Max, Tycho, Dylan, Alisa

Task: Get in the habit of organizing daily

We have never had a great track record of having an organized workspace, so each member was greeted with the new rule as we entered.
Hopefully this will save us a lot of time in the future because everyone will contribute a little to the effort.


Once we figured out what we were going to organize the effort...

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Building the 2015 Field

Building the 2015 Field By Evan, Dylan, Alisa, Trace, Ethan

Task: Cleaning and building the Field

Today we were charged with the task of building the FTC field. There was one problem. The tent we were setting it up in was in a state of decay. We cleaned out the area to make space while others put together the field. It was changed comletely from when it started. When cleaning we discovered many cool things like cassettes and floppy disks. The mat of the field was a little old but...

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Post Kickoff

Post Kickoff By Jayesh, Omar, Caitlin, Ethan, Alisa, Evan, Max, Tycho

Task: Build FTC field and begin tank tread mirror side

After the 2015 kickoff, Iron Reign conducted a meeting to construct our game field and also construct our mirror side for the tank treads. Taking turns on placing the grips on our treads, we managed to get a good portion of the grips placed as well. Construction of the field also commenced and the majority of the field is finished, providing an important recource for us in testing the robot for competition....

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I hate tread inserts

I Hate Tread Inserts By Omar

Task: Insert grips into alternating treads to boost traction of driving system

I am so done with these treads. For the past three hours I have worked to soak the treads and tread inserts in dish soap. *takes deep breath* The process is painstakingly slow and also literally painful. The process itself seems simple but after soaking both pieces the insert must be pushed in with a considerable amount of force. This is not user friendly and is not what the company...

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FTC Kickoff 2015

FTC Kickoff 2015 By Jayesh, Omar, Max, Tycho, Evan, Ethan

Task: Attend FTC kickoff and assist newer teams in understanding task ahead of him

We were invited by team Technical Dificulties invited Iron Reign to attend first FTC kickoff for our region ever. With the Technical Difficulties coach leading the discussion, everything relating to the game and coopertition in North Texas was discussed. Technical Difficulties, with some input from us and a few other veteranss, was able to assist the...

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Tank Drive Model

Tank Drive Model By Tycho

Task: Design a new build platform more suited to this year's challenge

Since the robot game for this year came out about a week ago, we were thinking about which kind of drive system would work best for the challenge, which mostly involves climbing. Some of the concept we came up with were rocker bogies, rubber-banded tires and a tank drive with treads. Since we already had the preliminary design started for a tank drive, I started modeling that.



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Meeting After Game Reveal

Meeting After Game Reveal By Dylan, Darshan, Alisa, Ethan, Evan, Caitlin, Tycho, Max, Trace

Task: Discuss robot design

Now that the game has been released, we as a group discussed the different amount of points per each possible game strategy that would give us the most ample amount of points during the given time limit. We also discussed the different ideas on the tracks and wheels that are possible for our design. The arm attachment was discussed for the grabbing of the highest mount of the mountain which would give us the...

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Labor Day Meeting

Labor Day Meeting By Caitlin, Jayesh, Darshan, Alisa, Omar, Max, Tycho

Task: Learn about OpModes

Today, we reviewed opmodes in the FTC API and how to register new opmodes. We also learned about the differences between regular, linear and synchronous (from SwerveRobotics) opmodes.

Task: Review Blogs/Journal

Our Blog == our Journal. What we also did today was quickly review how to create blog entries so we can do that more frequently this year. We also tried to catch up on our lengthy backlog of journal articles. We were very busy...

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Designing Drive Trains

Designing Drive Trains By Tycho

Task: Create preliminary designs for a new robot using a new build platform

After we got the new mechanum wheels, I had to start thinking about a new design that would be able to use them.


Not much progress was done on the design based on the mecanum wheels, but I remade part of the design based on our old robot from previous years. We will build one robot based on our proven omniwheel-drivewheel-omniwheel nacelle design, only...

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Season Startup Team Meet

Season Startup Team Meet By Max, Tycho, Omar, Caitlin, Trace, Evan, Darshan

Task: Discuss the upcoming FTC Season

This meet we discussed topics concerning the upcoming FTC season. Our sister team, Imperial Robotics, was also over getting their robot working with the new motor controllers. We went over basics that we should do to be a better team this season. We went around deciding tasks each member would be in charge of, whether it was logistics, organization, or our business plan. We also discussed how we should promote our team. Evan...

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Field Navigation Speculation

Field Navigation Speculation By Max

Task: Determine necessities of this year's field navigation code

Today was our very first meet of the year, and as such, not too much got done other than planning and experimentation. For the greater part of the meeting, I worked on concepts for an overhauled field navigation system (Mostly for autonomous, but possibly for tele-op as well). This would include the robot knowing where it is on the field when it starts, the field's and its own dimensions, the locations...

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Back To Creo

Back To Creo By Tycho

Task: Create preliminary designs for a new robot using a new build platform

Today I started making new designs for a competition robot based on extrusions and the new software platform.


I decided to make two different possible designs, one based on our robot that we had used for the past few years with 1 regular wheel on each side in between two omni wheels, and another based on our sister team's newer platform, which had one standard wheel on each corner. After...

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Overview of new hardware and software

Overview of new hardware and software By Max,Tycho,Caitlin,Alisa,Ethan,Trace

Task: Getting a first glimpse at the new motors and controllers with Imperial robotics

We continued our meeting at the Dallas Makerspace after the GitHub tutorial. We unpackaged the new motors and motor controllers for the first time and took out the phones to scan the hardware configuration. We added Anderson Power poles to some of the motors. Caitlin taught Alisa and Ethan how to crimp wires and attach the power poles.


Scanning the hardware configuration was very troublesome...

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Learn About GitHub

Learn About GitHub by Max, Tycho, Jayesh, Caitlin, Ethan, Trace, and Alisa

Task: Learning more about Git and GitHub.

We've been using GitHub to host this website and to version our robot code since last year. Max, Tycho, Jayesh, Caitlyn, Ethan, Trace, and Alisa attended. Steve Edwards, a member of DPRG, taught us about Git, which is a distributed version control utility that allows there to be a central version of a program while someone may be editing their own local version on their computer. Github is a website that...

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Mayor's Back to School Fair 2015 and Dallas City of Learning at Fair Park

Mayor's Back to School Fair 2015 and Dallas City of Learning at Fair Park By Jayesh, Max, Tycho, Omar, Darshan

Task: Share STEM opportunities with returning Dallas ISD Students

On August 7, 2015 we tried to inspire returning DISD students to think of themselves as budding engineers and scientists. At the Mayor's Back to School Fair and as guests...

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Intro to Gyros

Intro to Gyros By Caitlin, Tycho, Max, Omar, and Jayesh and Darshan

Task: Share what we've learned about motion sensing

On July 11th we gave a talk for a classroom full of adult members of the Dallas Personal Robotics Group (DPRG) where we shared what we've learned and are still learning about motion sensors, particularly gyros. The talk took place at the Dallas Makerspace. Our thanks to DPRG, Steve and Doug for hosting us and recording and editing the video. The...

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Moonday 2015 at Frontiers of Flight Museum

Moonday 2015 at Frontiers of Flight Museum By Max, Tycho, Caitlin, Omar, and Jayesh

Task: Represent SEM and STEM at Moonday 2015

The Frontiers of Flight Museum hosts an event every year called Moon Day that exhibits a lot of STEM topics to anyone who drops by. Iron Reign always has a booth with DPRG and exhibits most of the previous robots and topics that we've been involved in. This year we showed off Argos and Kibosh in particular, also having GyroBoy as an example...

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Argos the Chromovore

Argos the Chromovore By Max and Tycho

Task: Get some pre-season experience with Android controlled robots

We've been experimenting with Android controlled robots while we wait for our ModernRobotics modules. Argos is a chromovore - it seeks an identified color using OpenCV4Android machine vision processing. It tries to maintain a given distance from the colored object and follow it around. It's built using the IOIO-OTG for low level interface with the motor control electronics. The ZTE Speed phone is mounted on pan/tilt hardware from ServoCity...

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Discovery Faire at the Dallas Downtown Library

Discovery Faire at the Dallas Downtown Library By Caitlin, Jayesh, Omar, Darshan, Max, and Tycho

Task: Present at the Dallas City of Learning Discovery Faire

"Kids are invited to “Turn Up!” to make, create, craft, play and learn at the Dallas Public Library on Saturday June 20. The Dallas City of Learning free family event will be from 1 to 4 p.m. on various floors at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young St."
Quote from Dallas City News Article

Iron Reign was...

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Earth Day Texas 2015 at Fair Park

Earth Day Texas 2015 at Fair Park By Max, Tycho, Caitlin, Omar, Jayesh, and Darshan

Task: Represent SEM and STEM at Earth Day 2015

Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles came by our booth where we were representing our Science and Engineering Magnet High School and sharing our STEM message with the community. Ms. Huitt, our principal was also there. Unfortunately we forgot to take any video while inside. Above Tycho is visiting with the solar car team from Ben Barber Tech in Mansfield.


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Regional Tournament

Regional Tournament By Max, Caitlin, Darshan, Jayesh, and Omar

Task: Perform somewhat successfully at the regional tournament

Due to numerous issues having to do with the design flaws of our robot and with poor luck, we sucked. We were not able to win any matches that day. Also unfortunately, we were unable to fix any flaw because each match evoked a different problem. Eventually, we had to resort to not using the scissorlift because otherwise we would fall off the ramp due to balance issues. Our claw for some reason caught...

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Updated Intake System

Updated Intake System By Jayesh

Task: Make a new intake method for the balls

Our old beater bar intake for the game was deemed too big for our new scissor lift idea. Our new claw has a simple toggle set in the code:
if (!(joy2Btn(8) == 1)) { servoTarget[Claw] = 255; } else { servoTarget[Claw] = 100; }
This allows for a simple hold of right trigger to keep the claw up, This allows for rapid intake(which was discussed in an...
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Beater Bar V4

Beater Bar V4 By Jayesh

Task: Finalize Beater Bar

The previous versions of the beater bar were too bulky and big for the front of the robot, so initially we had just taken the mechanism entirely off. However, we needed something to push the balls towards the claw. The new beater bar has a simple, one layer turn that gives us just enough force to propel the balls into the claws. The fraction of the size it is compared to other beater bar versions is the main...

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Servo Mounting Wiring

Servo Mounting Wiring By Jayesh

Task: Wire servos to new mount

The two new servos, one for the backboard, and the other for the autonomous small ball, are placed in relatively high positions and needed to be wired. The problem was that the wires needed to be positioned at a place such that they wouldnt break off at deployment. The configuration we came up with was a two-tape-per-beam system where the wire has a starting and ending on each beam. The final design allows for the two servos to function....

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Backboard V2

Backboard V2 By Jayesh

Task: Create final design for backboard

Our old backboard was very nice in structure, however, as it was made out of paper and plastic Legos, it wouldn't have lasted for very long on the field. Our new design is 3D printed and is more solid all around the structure.


With the new design now in place, we have another toggle for the switch from home to scoring position:

static bool backBoardbol = false; //only...

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Backboard Prototyping

Backboard Prototyping By Caitlin

Task: Prototype a backboard for scoring in the 90 cm goal

Since our ski lift sort of launches the scoring balls when they reach the top, we had to create a backboard for the balls to bounce off of and aim at the tube


We made this first design out of lego beams around the idea that it would have to rotate out of the way before each match. We mock mounted it to the axle that the idler for the...
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Autonomous Gyro

Autonomous Gyro By Jayesh

Task:Create Autonomous deploying from ramp utilizing gyro

A simple idea for autonomous was to use dead reckoning, with command such as
However, the problems included an inability to correct movement if one side of the wheels had less power than the other. Gyro was giving us multiple errors, with methods such as GoYonderGyro(); having similar functions such as GyroTurn(); We figured out that the variables needed to be reinitialized at the beginning for values such as for the motors and...
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PID By Tycho

Task: What is PID?

PID is useful in many ways, such as setting an arm to a certain position, going straight based on a gyro or following a line. There are three parts to a PID control program : Proportional, Integral and Derivative.

Proportional: How much error is there? The proportional part of PID is useful because it tells you how far away you are from your target value, so you know how fast you should go to correct it.


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Control Scheme

Control Scheme By Darshan, Caitlin, Tycho, Max, Jayesh, and Omar

Task: Test Autonomous and debugging

Today we were refining our ramp autonomous by debugging the gyro code. We found that our "goYonder" and "goBackward" method were affecting each other which was making our robot work incorrectly and just going crazy.


Our approach to fixing our autonomous has yielded some promising results. When we started practice the autonomous code only worked every other time, failing when we compiled for the first time per connect and...
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Mansfield Competition - Off to Regionals

Mansfield Competition - Off to Regionals By Darshan

Task: Compete at Mansfield successfully

This past weekend the team was at the Mansfield competition hoping to make it past the qualifier. Although we were more prepared by packing early, as the competition was far away, we were still rushed the next morning. We were able to get our scissor lift to properly deploy along with the skilift. We ("we" being drivers Max and Caitlin) were not able to get much time at driver practice though, decreasing our ability to score. We...

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Control Scheme

Control Scheme By Jayesh

Task: Assign control scheme to actual competition controller

Referencing the earlier article explaining robot functions needing to be assigned buttons, we had a meeting to get the control scheme actually implemented into the controllers. The picture above displays the majority of the control scheme. Some values were changed such as the ski lift values.


With our control scheme now advancing to the testable stage, we now have the ability to alter values and fpcus on the controls of possible future attachments...
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Competition at UTD

Competition at UTD By Omar

Task: Have success in tournament despite incomplete robot

The team spent the weekend at UTD at a qualifier. We were not able to complete the scissor lift before competition and had a very simple game plan for each match. Our robot was (is) basically a brick, so we played defense. What we were able to do, however, is get s small servo on the back of the robot that operates a sort of clamp. This clamp's job is to clamp (duh) onto the base of the...

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Semi-Final Robot

Semi-Final Robot By Jayesh

Task:Finalize robot design for competition

With the scissor lift elevating with the screw-motor system, and the drive chain-claw system for scoring the balls all in place, our robot is now officially ready for competition next week. Our advantages lie in the stable,continuous driving chain of the robot and also our ability to maintain a constant stream of scoring balls in a mostly stationary position.


Driving practice is now our main object of concern. We also need to put the finishing touched on the...
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Improve Scissor Lift (V3) - Wiring Guide

Improve Scissor Lift (V3) - Wiring Guide By Jayesh

Task: Improve Scissor Lift beams

The primary circular based beams were deemed unfit for use because of the constant folding and unstable support it gave for the scissor lift. We have switched to an L-shaped design that gives us greater stability and access to greater design areas. The main point of switching however, was the extreme weight of this beams. We theoretically could have been able to stabilize the design, but without the aid of a motor, it would have...

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Mount scissor lifts

Mount scissor lifts By Caitlin

Task: Tear down temporary base frame and begin mounting scissor lift

We will be extending the scissor lift by using two drawer linear slides. We had to mount these on the side so that the two scissor lifts would be stable. Max cut notches into small U beams so we could put them in the middle of the robot, so we tested a mounting position for the slides and marked the excess to be cut off.
We also need to make a new...

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Scissor Lift Construction Begins

Scissor Lift Construction Begins By Caitlin

Task: Start building scissor lift

We know that we are using a scissor lift, but we needed the actual dimensions. We are using 4 sections/ X's (maybe five if the lift is unstable) and we have about enough space for a 16 inch bar. Apparently trigonometry IS useful in real life!


At first I had done the calculations for a more stable design with 5 sections and a smaller angle, but having longer bars would be easier to...
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Wiring guide

Wiring guide By Caitlin

Task: Follow the FTC Wiring Guide

Our robot has been experiencing issues that the guide mentioned, such as the Tamaya connections shutting off mid tests. We've seen how catastrophic the Samantha shutting off mid match can be, with robots charging into walls and field elements, so this was an important step.


We used electrical tape to secure all but one of the motors, something that seems obvious in retrospect as we've had issues in the past with our front drive...
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Scissor Lift

Scissor Lift By Jayesh

Task: Scissor Lift for New Scoring mechanism

Our method for elevating the platform for optimum height has been decided. A simple scissor-based design with support on either side seems the best option. Supporting each opposite side and also lifting the platform, the scissor lift is efficient, and with the added support of the center beam, should stay stable long enough for the robot to score each consequent ball. The "scissor" has been measured to have an optimal angle (For the greatest stability). During...
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New Design Features

New Design Features By Darshan

Task: Position basket, chair, and drive chain

With the new design, we will be using a drive chain with "chairs" placed periodically along it. There will be a basket at the end of the ramp which will be catching the balls. The drive chain will then be moving the chairs to pick up the balls. As they reach the peak of the chain, the balls will be dropped off into the rolling goals. We found that with our current placement, the chairs are sometimes snagging...
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Bill of Materials

Bill of Materials By Tycho

The parts we have used, not including Tetrix/Lego parts, were used for our main scoring mechanism, and also for subsequent parts like the beater bar.

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New Design!

New Design! By Jayesh

Task: Make emergency scoring mechanism for competition

With competition only a week away, the team has decided that the rolling tube will not be able to be completed by the competition. We are now switching to a elevator based design with a drive chain. This decision has opened up a multitiude of new builds and with a scissor- wedge design(elaborated in later posts), we believe the final version will help us in the qualifier(atleast more than an incomplete scoring tube).


This change has...
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3D Modeling Kibosh, pt 2

3D Modeling Kibosh, pt 2 By Tycho

Task: Continue Build of Kibosh in Creo

After finishing about 2/3 of the drive train, I came across the first custom part. We sliced a small chunk off of the inner beam so we could install our goal catcher. Getting the alignment on the model to be accurate for the real robot was a challenge, as the robot was in another room, and I'm pretty sure we just eyeballed the cut in the first place, which meant there were no real recorded measurements I...

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Solution to Tube Placement

Solution to Tube Placement By Jayesh

Task: Place Scoring Tube

A Solution we have produced for the placement of the tube was to place to long beams to opposite sides of the robot and connect with a third beam. This addition grants us more surface area to place our extra components such as the NXT brick and motor controllers. With these components gone, we now have adequate space for the tube mount. However, we encountered a problem as we found that the mount's base was a...

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Placing the lift tube for elevating the balls

Placing the lift tube for elevating the balls By Jayesh

Task:Place lift tube

Now that our rolling goal clamp system is working, we have the task of placing the lift tube to elevate the balls to the correct position. First we have to reconstruct the back end of the robot to accommodate for the extra size and girth of the tube. With our rearranging, we also now have to connect the rolling goals to the tube and complete our scoring mechanism. As soon as we complete this, we are...

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3D Modeling Kibosh 1

3D Modeling Kibosh 1 By Tycho

Task:Start Building Kibosh in Creo

Today I started building the model of the Robot in an assembly in Creo. As I only had some experience with parts, which is not the proper tool for this job, I decided to watch some videos on the basics of assemblies. After that I downloaded the models of the Tetrix parts off of the FTC website. So far, I have built one half of the right drive train.


Watching the how-to videos is important.

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Scissor lift V3 - Mount Scissor Lifts

Scissor lift V3 - Mount Scissor Lifts By Jayesh

Task: Improve Scissor Structure

Our first version of the scissor lift had an unstable structure that was too heavy and often collapsed upon itself. Relying on a lighter, more flexible design, the new version of the scissor lift fixes many of the flaws of the first one. The most important point is that with the new steel frame Mr.Carter made for us, our holes are now drilled with greater spacing and accuracy. Also, using tetrix bushings, the overall structure is firmer...

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Toggle for Capturing Rolling Goals

Toggle for Capturing Rolling Goals By Jayesh

Task: Code the servo for the toggle + finalize remote settings

While our scoring tube mechanism for the balls to be placed in the rolling goals is being finalized, our simple task of capturing the rolling goals has finally been coded and physically placed on the robot. Through the use of a simple if/else statement within a while loop, we toggle the open/closed positions of the servo controlling the capture mechanism and now we can easily maneuver the rolling goals into position...

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Scissor lift V2 - Mount Scissor Lifts

Scissor lift V2 - Mount Scissor Lifts By Jayesh

Task: Improve Scissor Structure

The first version of the Scissor lift was a basic prototype that wasn't meant to be the final design due to the flimsy, flexible design of the beams. The new version uses heavy steel beams and are much more resistant to bending than the prototype. However, the bulk and density of the beams makes it very difficult to lift. We are looking into a lighter design of similar sturdiness.


The next version...
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Initial robot driving

Initial robot driving By Jayesh

Task: Test the controller connection with Samantha

With the scoring mechanism gradually coming together, today was devoted to the testing of the sync between Samantha and our robot. The drive control system has given us a weird bug, where on startup, the robot starts moving only one side of the wheels without any input from our side. While the other programmed code still works, such as the drive control and simple toggle, the constant turning of the left wheels makes it difficult for the other methods...

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Ball capture

Ball capture By Jayesh

Task: Create mechanism to capture Rolling Goals

Our main mechanism for capturing the balls for scoring are now in place. A simple 3D printing of two triangle-shaped items are nailed opposite each other, allowing for a perfect diameter to contain both the balls and a snug fit for the rolling goals. We now also have the mechanical design for the servo toggle. A simple little push-based method allows for the tubes to pop up in a very small space of time. This allows...
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Spring based design(Scoring)

Spring based design(Scoring) By Jayesh

Task: Design a way to lift the ball tube

The ideas we have come up with for scoring the balls in the rolling goals have undergone many changes throughout the year. The basic plan was to somehow stack adjacent tubes on top of one another and raise the balls to maximum height and score in the highest tube. Today, we came up with the actual design:springs. Utilyzing springs, one will be attached to each tube and a simple servo with a toggle will push each attached...

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Toggle for servo (goal clamp)

Toggle for servo (goal clamp) By Jayesh

Task: Improve Toggle Servo Coding

Our goal today was to code for the servo, utilized by the goal clamp, to have a basic toggle to switch the open/closed mechanism. This was accomplished with a boolean value switch within an if/else group. Our boolean status is switched value and is initiated by the push of button 7 (right trigger for us). First the value of status is switched, initiating the gripperOpen or gripperClose methods. task control() { bool status = true; servoTarget[GoalClamp]=goalClosed; status=true; wait1Msec(1000);...
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Creo first experiences

Creo first experiences By Max

Outside example of Creo capabilities

Task: Utilize Creo to create better designs to print out for the robot

Our goal today is to use Creo; however, it is a new tool to us. We previously used SketchUp to do modelling of 3d-printed parts. SketchUp is easy to use, but limited in capabilities in comparison to Creo, and does not make smooth circles/arcs. We may continue to use Sketchup for simpler items, but most parts we will print...
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Joystick Control Scheme

Joystick Control Scheme By Caitlin

Task: Find a control scheme for the needed actions

We've mostly been focusing on mechanical aspects on the robot recently, including the 3D printed parts and positioning, so we discussed which actions should be used on what buttons of the controller. In past competitions we've always had problems with one or the other controller disconnecting halfway through, so we figured that the controllers shouldn't have specific actions paired to them. Both would be able to use all the functions needed to drive, meaning that if one...

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Trapping Rolling Goals

Trapping Rolling Goals By Caitlin

Task: Build a mechanism to hold a rolling goal so we can drive with it

Since we've already cut away part of the beams making up the robot's base to accommodate a rolling goal's shape, we now have to put down a hook to hold it as we drive.


We experimented with rotating down flat pieces, but found that when we applied any force the part was just pulled up and didn't do much in holding anything. The holes cut into the base...

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Tube Positioning - Where will they go?

Tube Positioning - Where will they go? By Omar

Task: Mount the Tubes on the Robot

For a long time now, one of our problems has been to figure out how to mount the tubes that will function as the lift system onto the robot, and where to mount them. Today, we tackled this question with the highest possible efficiency. We used a small piece of tube that was serving as an example to get an idea of how big the mechanism should be. After trying a few things, we decided...

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ThanksGiving meet

ThanksGiving meet By Jayesh

Task: Construct adhesive chain to elevate balls

The team had an extra meet during the ThanksGiving holidays and we used the extra time to start building the adhesive chain that will bring the balls up for scoring in the tubes. The mechanism has been given a structure with one long beam and a motor with four gears ate the end. Our spools are going to go in between each gear and help drive the long stretch of fabric. The reason...
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To-Do List

To-Do List By Caitlin


-update pulleys and spools
-experiment with base positions


-finish socket
-servo clamp


-autonomous review
-set up Samantha
-Driving practice
-Tweak program controls for normal remote

Related Articles:
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Sewing Adventures and Samantha

Sewing Adventures and Samantha By Jayesh

Task: Make our adhesive strap sturdier and more durable

Today the team had an experience that most of us haven't had before: the art of sewing. The reason is that our adhesive strap needs extra support so the durability is sustained throughout competition. The Awl we used (Speedy Stitcher ®) allowed for the use of multiple fabrics to be sewn together and for our adhesive strap to stay together. We also tuned up our Samantha module program. The field system is...
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3D Printing Troubles

3D Printing Troubles By Jayesh

Task: Print Spool/Pulleys for Lift Strap

Today we visited the Dallas Makerspace. They have moved their building though, and now have much more space. Their facility has great tools for us to use in future endeavours. Also, they are very capable people here who listen to our ideas and contribute as well. They have helped us so much, we are going to start considering them to be sponsors. One of our tasks today is to 3D print the spools...
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SEM Open House

SEM Open House By Jayesh

Task: Showcase robot to possible future engineers and scientists

On Tuesday we presented our Team's accomplishments, future goals, and basic robotics knowledge in a room full of kids and parents thinking of attending a school of Science and Engineering. We talked about engineering, the benefits of participating in FTC, and the overall affect robotics has had on our lives. The crowd was very responsive and seemed to get excited over how high school sophomores are accomplishing...
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Spool Joint

Spool Joint By Max

Fig1 : Actual Image TBD - let's fix this

Task: Leverage synergies as a team so as to look towards the horizon in the new tomorrow by implementing binomial+ access

Today we 3D-printed a new version of the tube joint made to hold a spool (which we also made and printed) to put on the very ends of the SVAU (Spheroid Vertical Acceleration Unit) that are not connected to other segments by the normal joint. The piece that attaches directly to...

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Scissor Lift Construction Begins

Scissor Lift Construction Begins By Caitlin

Task: Start building scissor lift

We know that we are using a scissor lift, but we needed the actual dimensions. We are using 4 sections/ X's (maybe five if the lift is unstable) and we have about enough space for a 16 inch bar. Apparently trigonometry IS useful in real life!


At first I had done the calculations for a more stable design with 5 sections and a smaller angle, but having longer bars would be easier to...
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To-Done List

To-Done List By Tycho


-begin experimenting with lift mechanisms
-connect tubes
-design & print 3D tube joints
-experiment with base positions


-fabricate ramp
-build better beater bar
-gear up beater bars




-practice at afterschool

Related Articles:
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To-Do List

To-Do List By Tycho


-test strap
-figure out pulleys
-design 3D printable pulleys
-experiment with base positions


-ramp sliders
-speed up beater #2
-gorfball deflector


-form socket
-servo clamp


-autonomous AECL

Related Articles:
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Creating a Socket

Creating a Socket By Omar

Task: Ease transportation of rolling goals

While looking around on the internet, we found that some teams were trying to grab the bottom of the Rolling Goal to pull it around. This, however, is not what we plan to do right now. What our idea is is to create a sort of socket to put the rolling goal into to facilitate travel even further, then, using this, we will grab the base of the rolling goal with a couple of sticks or something. The back of...

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Big Thought Sponsorship

Big Thought Sponsorship By Darshan

Task: Gain more sponsors to make the work of producing a robot easier

On Saturday, November 8, 2014 a new Microsoft store was opened at NorthPark Center where Big Thought was one of four beneficiary organizations at the opening ceremony. Big Thought, as they work to offer creative and cultural ideas for kids across North Texas, has supported our robotics endeavours over the years by loaning us NXT kits and laptops/netbooks that we use for programming. By participating in the ceremony, Iron Reign was...

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William B. Travis High School Night

William B. Travis High School Night By Omar

Most of our team went to a middle school named William B. Travis, so when we heard that we had the opportunity to visit our old school again, we jumped on the chance. The school placed us in our 4th grade math teacher's, Mrs. B's, classroom. Our current math teacher, Mr. Newton, was also with us to talk about SEM and why kids would want to go there. The first group of children and parents came in around 7 PM. Mr. Newton introduced himself...
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Intake Mechanism Completed!

Intake Mechanism Completed! By Jayesh

Task: Finalize ball collector

This week we finished updating the ball collector. This is a major accomplishment, since this is a very important part of the machine, and is the first step towards the ability to score. Our finishing the collector now allows us to concentrate on the tube joint and figure out how to finish the entire scoring mechanism to have it ready for the competition. We are thinking about making a whole new robot that is...

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Beater Bar V3 Improvements

Beater Bar V3 Improvements By Darshan

Task: Improve BeaterBar V3

Today we came up with a new attack angle for the beater bar. This new angle allows for greater accuracy for picking up the the large balls but missing the small ones. We also added a temporary mounting area for our NXT and wired up the beater bar motor so it would not get snared when the ramp deploys.


We have also finalized our plan to not pick up the smaller balls and have a large amount of...

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EKOCYCLE™ Printer Grant

EKOCYCLE™ Printer Grant Edited by Max

Task: Post final essay to obtain 3D printer from EKOCYCLE™

Coca Cola, 3D Systems, and FIRST got together to offer 1600 3D printers to FIRST teams!

Application Essay

The demand for robotics at our school is higher than we can fund as an inner-city Title 1 school. Even so, we were recently ranked as the #1 school in Texas for children at risk and #7 in the nation of “schools doing the most with the least.”...

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Almost Working Intake System

Almost Working Intake System By Jayesh

Task: Finalize ball intake system

The ball intake mechanism of the robot has finally been given a mostly working design. The plastic ramp and the dual-row system of twist ties has been pretty effective with moderate power driving both rows. Reoccurring tests were created to observe what would function best; higher power in the first +lower in the second, lower in first+ higher in the second, or equal power for both. So far it is hard to tell which combination...
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Fitting the Tube Joints

Fitting the Tube Joints By Tycho

Task: Mount the Tube Joints onto the Tube

Today we attempted to fit our tubes into our newly-printed Tube Joints. The tube joints, however, were at least 2 mm too small in the inside diameter, so we had to spend quite a bit of time sanding them down. We decided that this would be a good time to use the drum sanding attachment on our new Dremel. This helped speed up the process quite a bit.


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Beater Bar V3

Beater Bar V3 By Tycho

Task: Build Better Beater Bar

Today we set out to build an upgraded version of the beater bar. We used square dowels from home depot to prevent the twist-ties from changing their orientation on the bar. We down the twist-ties and made a design that intakes the balls with 100% efficiency


With the 100% efficiency we can now move onto the tube mechanism to finally finish our scoring system. Our robot is approaching completition and with...

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Making the Intake Ramp

Making the Intake Ramp By Max

Task: Make the intake ramp out of polycarbonate

Last night we went to the Dallas Makerspace to build our ramp for our capture and intake system. Caitlin had already done the mockup in cardboard and the rest of the team had tested it with the beater bar assembly, but that was too fragile to test on a moving robot. So I took the mockup to the Makerspace to reproduce it in Lexan.

I drew the shape from the...

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3D Printing the Tube Joint

3D Printing the Tube Joint By Max

Task: 3D Print Tube Joint

Last night we went to the Makerspace to 3D print our second version of the Tube Joint (link in the related articles section). We arrived with a Sketchup file on a flashdrive, but needed to export it as an STL file so that the slicing program (we used Kisslicer) could convert it to g-code, which the 3D printer uses. There were a few issues that we found and fixed in the...

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Tube Joint V2

Tube Joint V2 By Tycho and Max

Task: Improve Tube Joint

Today we published an updated version of our tube joint on Thingiverse. This version of the tube joint added a third tab for extra durability, and a gradual slope was added leading up from the base to the hinge tabs to allow it to print w/o structural support.


We asked for feedback from the 3D Fab(rication) Group at the Dallas Makerspace. They were the ones who told us that the...

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Blog Production

Blog Production By Jayesh

Task: Create blogs to showcase our ideas and help share our design updates as they go

Blog production will be our main asset to showcase a journal to the judges on competition day. Github is the blog provider we have so today was the day we really concentrated on organizing our website;

First we set up an introduction system so people could get to know us and then we created our first blogs, talking about the teardown of last year’s robot, primary scoring...

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Essay for Grant for 3-D Printer

Written by Jayesh

Task: Produce essay to convince EKOCYCLE® to gift us 3D printer

Iron Reign Robotics has been a successful student team that has obtained multiple awards across multiple competitions. FTC (First Tech Challenge), and Google Lunar X-prize are only a few of the competitions and events we have been a part of. The creation of the team, while bringing about positive effects, also brings negative effects such as the over use of natural resources. Derived from a school included in the list of “25 Doing the Most with the Least” this opportunity...
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Nature's Fury comes to FTC

Nature's Fury comes to FTC By Tycho

Fig1. Everything in the foreground was inside the tent last night

Yesterday, October 2nd, a storm blew across North Texas, wreaking havok on trees, backyards and many a robotics field. At least our robotics field. Our field was stored in a large green tent. While we were at school, the winds ravaged the city, and over 142,000 power outages occurred in Dallas alone. Although we did not suffer a power outage, our tent sustained severe damage, and parts...

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First 3D Printable Part Published

First 3D Printable Part Published By Max

Task: Create joint for tube

Today we published our first 3D printable part on Thingiverse. This part is meant to create a joint in our lift tube so that it can be folded into the 18" sizing cube. The lift tube is responsible for bringing the balls up to the deposit height. The part was designed so that if you took two and flipped one over, you could put them together and the hinge tabs would interlock....
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Visit to SEM

Visit to SEM By Omar

Fig1: Tycho showcasing Kibosh's ability to rise up slopes to Imperialrobotics

Task: Showcase our robot's driving chassis

Today, we went to our school, SEM, to meet with our sister FTC team, Imperial Robotics. We took one of the ramps, a large rolling goal and the center structure so that they could get an idea of the size of the elements. Both teams tested driving their chassis up the ramps, but theirs couldn't make it. They are experimenting...
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Second Meet

Second Meet By Omar

Task: Restart robot basic programs and prepare it for later changes

Today was a mechanical day for Iron Reign. Our goal was to make sure that our robot from last year was able to move with some basic demo code, and this was achieved easily. We have been using a base robot for the last two years, which we have named "Kaibosh." It is rather heavy, and has 6 wheels: 4 omniwheels, and 2 normal wheels. Previously, we even...
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First Meet

First Meet By Caitlin

Task: Produce ideas for scoring and helping our team-mates win each game

First meet of the season.
We brainstormed ideas for retrieving the golf ball and soft ball sized balls while watching the challenge video. We came up with three starter ideas: a spade/shovel idea that would be flush to the ground and just scoop up nearby balls, a 45 degree gripper that would pick up the balls without getting stuck, and a lift that would pick up the balls and...

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Let us Introduce Ourselves...

Season Kickoff

Caitlin Rogers

Hello, I am Caitlin Rogers, and I have been a part of Iron Reign since 7th grade, about 4 years. Robotics has provided me with a focus for my education at SEM, so I know that what I'm learning matters.

Jayesh Sharma

Hello my name is Jayesh Sharma, and I have been part of Iron Reign for about 5 years now. Robotics is an integral part of my outside life and, with my future aspirations in engineering fields, has taught me...

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Contact Us


FTC Robot Bill of Materials
Team Number: 6832
non-TETRIX® or non-MATRIX® parts
Team designed 3D printed parts
Bungie Cords