Tin Man XI
This season was our ten year anniversary and we loved it.
At kick off, we were asked to build a map locating all the regional events, and show how many teams were in each state and country. We accomplished that mission with 3-D printed states varying in height, and color to show the number of teams. Filled with confidence from the positive words of Dean Kamen, Woodie Flowers, and NH Gov. Maggie Hassen; we wasted no time and got to work. We had another new change this year, with a more student led team consisting of four student captains, two from Hopkinton, two from Stark. With this, we broke into groups to come up with a design; once a design was picked we began prototyping and tweaking. With only three days left in build season, we were able to get our parts, and assemble our first colored robot of emerald green provided by ProtoTek. At Granite State we realized some issues that we were able to fix for Pine Tree. At Pine tree we released the ¨Racken¨ (our rack for stackin') and performed way better. Throughout our downfalls, we kept our spirit high, and won the Spirit award for the first time and another Imagery award to add to our collection.
During this season, we started off on very rough yellow brick road. We gained two new head coaches that had a different twist on what we have done in previous seasons. We looked at this game in a similar fashion but had our ups and downs in agreeing on a final design. Once we finally agreed on a shooter design, it turned out to be a failure. So we quickly scrambled to design and build a new working prototype. At the first district we made to the quarter finals. The second event was no better but like every year we won the imagery award at NorthEastern. This season was extremely different and more stressful than past ones.
The Tin Man VIII is the smallest robot we have ever made. It has been called "Lil' Tin Man", and "Tin Man Jr". We've built a small and agile robot with a straight shooter and a ten point climber. We had attempted to make a 30 point climber in the beginning, but that did not succeed at the Granite State Regional. We made it to the quarter-finals at Granite State but unfortunately lost both rounds. At Maine's Pine Tree Regional, we placed fourth overall, capping off a great season.
During the season we had some ups and downs. There are always going to be some challenges, and this season was filled with them. The team took the tasks as they came and was able to succeed. We competed in the BAE Systems Granite State Regional and the Northeast Utilities FIRST Connecticut Regional in Hartford, where we won the Imagery Award. Our robot was a pretty consistent shooter during the autonomous period and all of the drivers did well in getting to shoot the balls for more points during the tele-operated part of the game. We were also very successful at balancing on the bridge. We were able to balance during most of the matches and even double balanced a few times with some of the other teams. It has also been a great robot for demonstrations. Even with all of the challenges, our team was able to move forward and was still able to end the year on a good note.
As with the previous season, we looked at the game very carefully before deciding what kind of robot to build. We decided to build a robot capable of grabbing and hanging tubes as well as deploying a minibot. We participated in both the Granite State Regional and Boston Regional competitions as well as some off-season events.
We began this season by looking at what we should have done in the last season. We knew that our big mistake was that we decided on what we wanted the robot to do, rather than figure out the best way to play the game, and then build from that. We spent the entire first week deciding how to play the game. We decided that what would be best was to be able to go under the tunnel and to push and kick the soccer balls. We also thought that a great amount of maneuverability would be good. The final design unanimously decided was a small, maneuverable robot that could kick and push the ball as well as go under the tunnel and over the bumps, if required. We jumped right in and had a prototype and a very good robot in about two weeks.This robot Tin Man V was very successful. It came in second place at BAE Granite State Regional and won the Boston Regional. It made it to the semi finals of the Newton Division during the championship in Atlanta. Not only was our robot an excellent Breakaway competitor, it was durable enough to still work well during our off-season events.
We began this season by attending the launch in Manchester and jumped right in that night, discussing what we wanted our robot to do. We wanted it to shoot balls, one at a time, and to be able to collect balls and to use its camera to focus on opposing teams' trailers. We received a grant from NASA which made many things possible, including attending a second regional competition in Florida. We quickly learned at our first competition that while our ideas worked, they were not the best ideas for playing or winning the game. However, we didn't let that get to us, and we had great times at the Manchester and Florida regionals. We even got to see the NASA launch of the last piece of the International Space Station. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we all but forgot our mostly unsuccessful season.
We worked hard this year, but came away with no awards. We attended the Granite State Regional in Manchester.
Filled with confidence from our rookie year we decided to build the "all around robot". Weight became a factor and we had to scale back on our ideas. Gone was the ramp which now hangs on our wall of fame with other concepts that did not make it on to the Tin Man. Drivers went into the BAE System's Granite State Regional with little practice. As the competition progressed, so did their driving skills. It was not until our second regional in Boston that the team and the Tin Man reached full potential. In an exciting semi-final round the teams went the distance but we were eliminated after three very competitive matches.
Our rookie year might have to be described as 'Ignorance is Bliss'. In two days we had assembled our chassis and thought, "man we are almost done". The next five weeks and five days would be our FIRST journey up the Yellow Brick Road. Although our robot was called the Tin Man we nicknamed it the "Wheels of Death" because the ball we were projecting was shot like a pitching machine. It shook, rattled and nearly took out the judges and their table in autonomous mode. Despite the lack of construction precision, the Tin Man performed well and our team was awarded the Rookie All Star award at the BAE Granite State Regional. Atlanta or bust, with no money or clue we made it to the championships. It was an awesome experience.