Category Archives: FIRST

Competition Time!

IMG_2680by Jacob Canon

On December 20th, 2014 at 7 am, Team Duct Tape arrived at the competition to set up our pit area and talk to other teams and learn what changes they made since their last competition.

Opening ceremonies were at 9:30 and all teams where required to attend. Directly after the opening ceremonies the team competed in the first match where we experienced technical problems with our servo that allows us to grab onto the rolling goals and tow it behind us so we can score, where we can clearly see the balls. We competed three more times before lunch and lost two matches that morning.

Lunch was at about 11:30 and the team had a tail gate party instead of going out and ordering food. We had hamburgers, some homemade mac and cheese, snacks, and a lot more. Right after the meal we went back to competing for four more matches.

At the end of the day we took third place and won the Think award for having the best engineering note book.

We had a great day and we can’t wait till the next match.


Girl Power!

by Marissa Schiereck

Guess what we did this month?  On Tuesday December 16th Team Duct Tape (TDT) could be found at Sickles High School. There we met the “Girls Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Club”. TDT demonstrated this year’s robot for the club and spread the love of robotics.
Team Duct Tape had a blast demonstrating our robot completing tasks and field elements to the girls. Thanks to TDT’s own Daniele Mendez, a Sickles student and the vice president of the Girls STEM Club, this exhibition was able to happen. This was originally an outreach for the club, BUT many other students and teachers were interested in our robot. For one of the STEM club members, it was her first time driving a robot and she enjoyed driving it up and down the hall.
Team Duct Tape was even able to meet the president of the Girls STEM Club and learn that a few of the members plan to work in the robotics field. There was one member, Alyssa, who seem very interested in FTC. We invited her to our next competition, and hope to see her soon!

We want to thanks Sickles High School, and the Girls Stem Club for hosting us and letting us share the JOY of FTC robotics with other teens.

KickStarter Helps Duct Tape Keep Rolling!

We’re all doing the Happy Dance now, like Marissa and her little sister at left.  We’re so very grateful to all our great supporters for helping us reach our KickStarter target goal of $1000 so quickly!   For the first time in five years, we have a comfortable budget to work with at the start of the season. While our success has never hinged on our budget (we’re experts at making due with what we have!), being able to purchase the right parts and materials instead of making something “close” fit, will make a big difference in providing solid educational engineering and design instruction.

While there are different robotics education platforms with lower or comparable participation costs, we’ve always felt  the return on our FIRST investments are solid and enduring, with its more than two decades of character based, high energy, mentor driven success and $16 million in scholarships for FIRST students behind the experience.

Additionally, FTC build components are robust and adaptable to a variety of construction needs. The FIRST Tech Challenge program utilizes a combination of Mindstorms and TETRIX  educational building materials, which are offered to FIRST teams at a 30% discount.  While that helps, costs can still be significant.  Here’s a partial list of some of the TETRIX pieces we use and their discounted costs:

  • Motor Encoder pack: $56
  • High TechnicDC Motor Controller: $56
  • 4″ Omniwheel: $25 each
  • 4″ Standard wheels: $18 each
  • Gear pack: $70
  • Individual gears (40 tooth to 120 tooth) : $18 to $21
  • 12v NiMh 3000 mah Rechargeable Battery : $35
  • NXT Rechargeable Battery: $44
  • NXT DC Rechargeable Battery Pack : $55

We can reuse a lot of items year to year, but some things like encoders or gears and even rechargeable batteries, wear out or get damaged, and some things like registration fees and software license renewals have to be paid every year.  And this year, with the option of the Matrix build system, more new learning and building experiences will be available to us.

Other costs include:

  • Annual registration fee: $275
  • League fees: $250
  • Software license renewals: $100
  • Aluminum and plastics: $100+
If we make it to the State Championship, there are additional event and travel related fees.  And, new this year, the addition of the SuperRegional, a new level of competition between the State Championship and the FTC World Championship.

Your support gives us a healthy start to our season and the ability, for the first time in five years, for our students to be able to create a full season budget and add a new business aspect to their learning experience.

We’ve got more than three weeks left in our Kickstarter campaign, and hope you’ll continue spreading the word about our team to help us grow our 2013-14 budget even more and keep the Duct Tape rolling!

Thank you!