Build Week 1 Update

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By Carmen Wise
Class of 2015

Saturday was the big official FIRST Kick-Off for 2013! Two freshmen, a sophomore, and three seniors were taken along up to Manchester, New Hampshire. It was amazing seeing all the teams together, in big clusters of their team colors. There was even a team from Holland! Dean Kamen and Woodie Flowers gave speeches as did the new Governor of New Hampshire. The room was packed and there were faces taut with concentration as the game animation rolled. Everyone filed into the field and some teams began taking measurements. By the end of the day we had thrown out some ideas within our small group. Although, feeling dismal at the idea of saucer physics, our ideas included ‘Flood the arena: Make it a water game’.

Sunday was Kick-Off for our team and we discussed scoring strategies, possibilities, probabilities, and all around components of the game. Mechanisms were off limits from being discussed. We have, through our experience, come to realize that having a good idea of what we want to do allows us to better use our design time.

Tuesday night was our first design focused meeting of build season and we were allowed to talk about mechanisms. We began discussing our various options for movement, maneuverability, and scoring. Many ideas were proposed and the mobile white-board was greatly utilized. During the meeting the mentors discussed the viabiality of the different mechanisms and how they would work together while we students discussed ideas for pins and shirts. By the end of the night we finally had our ideas mostly fleshed out and ready to be designed.

On Thursday, we really broke into groups. Some were working on climbing, others outreach, and some were even working on our “Secret Super Fun Competition Project To Be Announced Later”… keep an eye for that on our Twitter feed, facebook page, and YouTube Channels! It’s going to be a lot of fun. My group was working on awards. Solidworks was brought up, laptops brought out, and programming began as well.

Saturday, the morning started out at 9:30, with the acquiring of PVC pipe in order to build the pyramid to take measurements before we build the steel version. Groups are working well, coming up with ideas for the shooting system and beginning to build the base in Solidworks.

With week 1 complete, there’s only more to come from here! Stay tuned….


Discussing ideas


Kim and Ava leading a discussion


Guille demonstrating climbing


Ava approves


Paul, Marcus and Kevin work on some drawings


Busy Saturday!



In the Home Stretch

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We’re getting closer to the build deadline and our first competition and if that doesn’t inspire harder, more effective work, I don’t know what does. We’re in the home stretch with one full work week left before the February 21 ship date and the BAE Regional in Manchester, New Hampshire is shortly thereafter the first weekend in March.

The big news this week is that our new web site is up and running, with a few minor things yet to be finished.  Check it out here! The spirit team has constructed a mascot head – our very own robot Aztec and a design for our pit has also been completed. The goal is to tie everything together from the t-shirts to the buttons, to the web site and the pit to brand ourselves and show our spirit.

Mechanically, the final assembly of the drive is just about complete. We’re finishing the assessment of the chains and finishing integrating with the other systems. We have begun to think about where the electronic components will be placed. The parts for our pickup system have been machined, and we’re in the process of assembling. Our arena is completely built and we’ve marked up floor and backboards. Their goal at this time is to support other teams in their final building efforts.

All in all, in these final weeks, our robot and team is really coming together. We’re approaching the final design and will begin to test in the near future. Remember to wish the Aztechs FIRST Team 157 luck at the upcoming BAE Regional, on March 2 and 3 with the Boston Regional following on March 22 and 23. Come cheer us on!


Halfway Gone….

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Time is flying!

Team 157 is making good progress wrapping up the third week of build. With the February 21 deadline looming, the team has really buckled down and is getting a lot done at every meeting. Fundraising is well underway for our annual calendar sale/raffle, with the goal to meet or exceed $13,000– if we do, our Project Leader will wear a dress at the Boston competition! We’ve done it before and we’d love for it to happen again. Many local companies have been extremely generous with their donations for the calendar as well as financially, and we thank them for it! Our other non-mechanical teams have been busy as well, from making spirit braids for all team members to wear at competition to working on the design for our pit to finalizing the web site and much more while our safety team is making sure everyone is staying safe around the machines and in the arena.

Mechanically, the teams are making good progress as well! Parts that need to be made have been drafted and pretty much everyone is finished prototyping. The frame itself has been put together and the drive system is in the assembly stage.  As parts arrive and more pieces of the puzzle (and robot) come together the kids are getting more excited about seeing their work come to fruition while the mentors are enjoying watching the students realize what they’re capable of. Our mechanical teams are working well with each other making sure each has enough space to do what they want and need for their part of the robot to function while still working collaboratively together.

PS- One word… weight.

Build Update!

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On Sunday January 8th 2012 the Aztechs Team 157 met for their kickoff to introduce and discuss this year’s game ‘Rebound Rumble.’ The meeting followed the refined and time-tested formula of presentation, question and answer, and then small group discussion.  The room was silent as the game animation was presented the first time and the usual murmurs rose from the group during the second showing as people discussed with their neighbors their initial ideas and impressions.  Everyone had questions on their mind and they were discussed amongst the group.  Rules were discussed and solutions tossed around to solve this year’s challenges.  The team then segued into the group discussion of the strategies we would like to use to play the game (shhhhh, it’s a secret).

Then the crux of the idea period was reached and the students broke up into smaller groups to begin thinking about possible mechanisms that would solve the challenges in the way that the team had decided to play them.  The groups came together at the end of the meeting and presented their ideas for everyone to consider before the next meeting.

Based upon their interests, the students divided up into the teams that they will participate with throughout the build and excitedly started brainstorming with the adult mentors, trying to decide how they wanted to proceed.  More mechanically inclined students gravitated towards the robot and game-specific challenge teams, while more creatively inclined students elected to work with other aspects of the Aztech vision, including the spirit and web design teams. Ideas were collectively shared in the design groups and with the team as a whole, as the excitement that is the FIRST season got underway.  This year’s team involves students from all shops and grades. Many are returning from previous years, as are many of the mentors. Of the returning mentors there are 10 that are Team 157 alumni.

We continue to push towards our February 21 deadline, which seems like plenty of time, but in reality, it’s about 4 weeks away!