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Evan G's Blogtime Array

4 Posts tagged with the ptc tag

We did it! Here's my announcement (although much overdue)...Doc VIII: The Fish is moving and shooting with excellence. Keep an eye on our Youtube channel for clips of the robot in action.


These last six weeks has been a long, roller coaster ride. Never could I have imagined such a crazy build season. We attempted a lot and we achieved a lot. Our CAD team wanted to design a simple robot that could shoot the 3-pointer. Our software team wanted to tackle the challenge of using a camera system to track vision targets. Our electronics team wanted to utilize the precision and ease of CAN (Controller Area Network) communication. Our fabrication team wanted to reorganize the work area and use as much equipment as possible. The animation team has worked to create the animation with no mentor support whatsoever. The public relations division rallied to earn more sponsorship funds, a better cleaner website (click here!:, more publicity, and more team spirit. None of these were easy tasks, but with the full force of the largest sized group in team history, we took them head on and came out better on the other side.


Our success, however, did not come without difficulty and some losses. A few burnt out Jaguars and cameras, an entire rework of our C++ robot code, lost audio files for the animation, inconsistent functionality with Windchill 10 servers, and a difference of opinions were just some of the challenges we faced during the build season. Still, we pushed through the frustration, consulted one another, and solved the problems. Most importantly, we learned from these experiences, better improving the breadth and depth of our team. Along the way, we took the time to help other FIRST Robotics Competition teams and offered suggestions to better improve their organizations.


Last Tuesday, our CAD and Design Director Eunice Kokor and I had the honor of being interviewed by technology blogger Kenneth Wong of Desktop Engineering. During the interview, which was arranged by Megan Virtanen of PTC, we discussed many things such as the team name, the robot, our success, and our stuggles of the 2012 build season. Not too sure when the interview and associated article will the published, but until then, read up on other articles by Kenneth:


For now, our team is recovering from the build season and preparing for our first regional two weeks from now in Davis, CA. We looking forward to proud displaying and demonstrating our awesome robot and plan to make a splash. As Kenneth mentioned in our interbiew last week, all the the FIRST Robotics Competition teams are now it what may be called the eye of the storm; the intial shock of build season has past, but the deceptive peace right now will soon be interrupted by the choas of competition. All that can be said now is...IT'S GAMETIME.


Sacramento: t-minus 13 Days, Central Valley: t-minus 34 Days, Championship: t-minus 55 Days


End of Week 2: Gone Shootin'

Posted by egiarta1671 Jan 21, 2012

So that explains my absence! Sorry for not posting updates for over a week...finals, homework, and FIRST® Robotics were driving me to the limits of my productivity. Luckily now, with the former two out of the way, I can relay updates from from our 1671 Buchanan Bird Brains team during the past week. Note that the following updates are listed in no particular order:


1. Finished Hoop Station with the help of our mentor and fellow CUSD teacher Richard Kinney. Tons of fun shooting the balls into the rims.


2. Began total tranformation of shooter prototype, went to a four wheel, two top, two bottom firing system. Seems successful for many teams thus far.


3. CAD base in PTC's Creo has under gone SEVERAL changes in the past few days. We will set a final design very shortly.


4. Prgramming team has made progress on the camera tracking abilities. Hopefully this will give us a crucial advantage on the court.


5. With the help of engineer Michael Stokes, the electronics team has begun using CAN (controller area network) to control this year's Jaguar's. Again, this is to give us that advantage on the court.


6. Our public relations has done excellent work posting and editing material on the website. Please check out what they have done at


7. Shooter prototype successfully lauches ball 50+ feet, with fair amount of variability due to human error. Also destoys the balls: at or


8. Bumper assembly in CAD completed and rudimentary starting and ending protocol developed.


9. Developed plan of action to raise enough funds for trip to Championship in St. Louis, MO.


10. Technical Sergeant Luna of the US Air Force visited our team's operation and was very impressed. More news to come.


11. Held two successful parent meetings on the topics of booster club and cross country travels.


12. Awesome pasta dinner provided by the Carbajal family. Thanks!


13. Welcomed back CART/CW team the 3296 Neon Knights from four day finals study break.


14 Visited folks from Duncan Polytechnical High School 3970 Duncan Dynamics. They are one rookie team off to a fabulous start.


15. Burned three Jaguars due to faulty wiring (rest in peace fine pieces of technology).


16. Used closed control loop to test shooter prototype. We seem to have found a way to hit the three pointers. Videos here soon.


17. CAD scheduled to be completed in next two or three days. Plan for next two weeks: contruct the robot Doc 8: [Insert Name Here]


18. Great end to first third of the 2012 FRC season.


That's all for now. I sincerely hope the other teams are doing just as great!


Build Season Counter: DAY 15


Fun != Easy

Posted by egiarta1671 Jan 13, 2012

"Fun does not equal easy" is what the above title translates to. And although this is an absolute statement, and absolutes are never true (yes, I see the irony ), I feel that this observation makes for a fair generalization. It is the difficulty of a challenge that makes it exciting and intemidating; it is the triumph of accomplishment that raises the human spirit into joy. It's what makes it fun. And if anyone does have an example of something is the fun && easy, I am sure there's a better antithetical example that he or she is overlooking.


So what's point? Well put simply, for the 1671 Buchanan Bird Brains the past week of the FIRST® Robotics Competition has been fun, but also very exhausting. So far, I know of two sick girls, a man with a broken ankle, four asleep-in-class classmates, and a messy shop room. (Actually, its cleanliness can be modelled with a periodic sine or cosine wave with variable amplitude with positive values meaning "super clean!" and negative values symbolizing "...was there an earthquake or something?!". Right now its approximately zero.) But all of this hasn't kept us away from come back for more. FRC is just too good pass up for daily luxuries, such as sleep and food.


The past three days have brought many successes and setbacks, none which were easy to come by, and we are progressing and a faster rate than I have ever seen before. Crude prototypes have help us select an intake and shooter mechanism. A brand new gearbox design has been confirmed operational. Thanks to the help of epic Pelco by Schneider Electric mentor Joshua Houser (his blog here: Joshua Houser's FRC Blog), finished CAD drawings modeled in PTC's Creo Parametric have been set to Harris Manufacturing. Example code in Windriver and the WPI Library have given us a head start on more advanced control features. A fast moving public relations team have submitted grants, written articles, and improved our website ( And our world champion animation team has gotten a running start on the next Autodesk animation submission.


Nevertheless, we are maybe a day and half behind. Things that should have been completed two days ago have just been finished today. Some team members have been absent because of other priorities (which we encourage them to continue pursuing): drama, tennis, choir, volleyball, college, etc. Unwelcomed technical diffculties today forced the CAD team into performing a mass installation of Creo 1.0 Parametric which I led with haphazard execution. After days of searching and rebooting and installing, we finally have a Github server and the 2012 Drivers Station. Following what seemed to be a scheduling delay with the release of Autodesk's animation challenge, the animation is finally brainstorming up some ideas.


During this initial kickoff week in 2012, we have talked to only a few other local teams. 3970 Duncan Dynamics came by to evaluate problems with the electronics components. 3296 The Neon Knights have been making arrangements for their soon arrival into our ship area. 1323 Madtown Robotics is off to great start and has been discussing some ideas regarding their stategy and drive system. We hope to hear news about other local teams by this week or sooner.


In personal matters, I have an economics test in six and a half hours, and I am not sure if all my homework is done...actually it's not. Still trying to complete remaining scholarships and college applications, but the arrival of build season has rendered that more difficult than ever. Semester finals are coming up, and not a moment too soon. Hopefully the entrance of my final high school semester will spell out freedom and success for the rest of the FRC season.


Build Season Counter: DAY 7


And So It Begins!

Posted by egiarta1671 Jan 10, 2012

From what I can tell, Rebound Rumble ( will deliver some of the coolest robots yet. It's impressive for people to shoot baskets accurately--my proof, the NBA. In my opinion, a robot with that ability is at least three times more impressive. And it seems the FIRST Team 1671 Buchanan Bird Brains will be one of those that will be sure turn heads and make points. So far, our CAD team has worked for three straight days, and it seems to be taking off from here.


Our base is 85% finished. Really all that is left to do is draw the parts, check the measurements, and send them off to Harris Manufacturing or Pelco by Schneider Electric. And with a team like ours, it won't take too long. Soon, we will be heading into the design of the shooter mechanism. We already have some prototypes, but unfortunately, they are not operating at what we we call optimal level. Nevertheless, I am confident we will find what we are looking for.


Moreover, FIRST Choice by AndyMark turned out to be better than ever. AndyMark gave 100 credits to each team to "spend" in the FIRST Choice catalog. By our calculations, we got over $250 of parts for just under $40 (shipping and handling)!! A great deal indeed. Much props to AndyMark and all the companies that graciously donated materials. Most of what we ordered were electonic components, and I have to say, Ned Ta, our electronics leader, has done an excellence job in organizing and taking inventory of what we have. Another cheer to CrossTheRoadElectronics for their more than awesome Battery Beak ( Already it has come it handy on multiple occasions.


On the other side of things, our public relations division is also doing fantastic work. The website ( looks better and better everyday! Potential sponsors are often contacting us with ways to contribute to our cause. And we appreciate each one! Our team is also taking advantage of FIRST's lightbulb fundraiser. These energy efficient lightblubs are sure to save money and power for those who choose to buy in bulk. All in all, these bulbs provided many positive features, outlined more on our page: . Our website is loaded with tons of other material that might caught your fancy, so please take a look!


Finally, we were also pleased to see PTC's mention of our team and coach in their recent press release! )As a user of PTC software, I can truthfully say that progams like Creo, Mathcad, and Windchill have opened my eyes to power and potential of engineering and technology. On behalf of the 1671 Bird Brains, I thank PTC for generously donating their software for FIRST teams everywhere to use.


But the day is still young, and there is much to be done and discovered, so I must take some rest before moving fact, my right eye is twitching right now. Hopefully that's not a seriousl problem. Before you leave though, pleace share your thoughts about the challenge this year. Take a look at the top most link and comment on what you think! In any case, I'll post again later!


Build Season Counter: DAY 4