Tag Archives: Engineering Notebook

TDT joins Society of Manufacturing Engineers for Tri-Tronics Tour

sme-logoTeam Duct Tape members will be joining  Florida Suncoast Chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers members on a tour of Tri-Tronics, a maker of photoelectronic sensors, fiberoptic light guides, and controls that are used in packaging, machine automation, inkjet and offset printing, product inspection and more. TDT members are looking forward to learning more about industrial applications of sensors and guides, and as always, we’re grateful to SME for including us on their great tour meetings!

Middleton Last Shot Competition

Below, TDT members enjoy a proud moment with Winning Alliance partners, team 3837, Force Applied. Force Applied was a force to be reckoned with and a great and gracious alliance partner.
Winning Alliance of TDT and Force Applied

Winning Alliance of TDT and Force Applied

TDT members really pulled together at the Middleton Last Shot event,  employing  great teamwork at all levels,  and making somea-little-dance-break simple and elegant engineering and programming tweaks in the pit between matches, to go from two non-scoring first matches, to a super powered machine that was scoring autonomously, and in the low and high goals and in the off-field goals. 

The interview was smooth, with members touching on important points throughout and showcasing their robot and their team accomplishments articulately and comprehensively.  The Engineering notebook was a thing of beauty, with contributions from every member effectively documenting their journey this season, from outreach programs like the FLL mini-tourny we hosted  last July, to visits with mentors and the team’s sophisticated use of social networking tools like Skype and Google Aps to communicate between meetings, as well as their use of modeling tools like Pro/ENGINEER and Sketchy Physics simulations.
Darth Duct Tape

Darth Duct Tape

Pulling it together on the playing field was the icing on the cake, and initially doubtful, asassessing-performance we couldn’t even pass the software inspection Friday night because of Bluetooth problems.  A balky shooter
didn’t help either.   But stick-to-itiveness did, and team members fought all the way to the end – and had fun in the process, making time for some dance and song in the stands and on the floor. 
celebrating-with-brick-buddiesWe capped off the day with a celebratory dinner with FLL team Brick Buddies, which we’ve helped mentor and on which one of our member’s younger brother now plays.   It was  a dinner planned the day before,  to celebrate regardless of whether we won or lost, but made sweeter by well earned wins, both for Team Duct Tape and for Brick Buddies, who made some Smart Moves of their own at the FLL Regional Event at Hillsborough High School, going on at the same time as our event.  Brick Buddies earned the Research Award and a spot at the FLL State Championship in Melbourne on Feb. 28.  Way to go, Brick Buddies! a-winning-team
All in all, it was an incredible, and an incredibly fun, day! Thank you again to all our mentors and supporters, and to Middleton Minotaurs for hosting such a terrific event!

Celebrating and Planning Ahead

Post Competition Celebration

Post Competition Celebration

TDT members enjoyed reflecting about last weekend’s qualifying competition and our PTC Design Award win, over cake and refreshments at Saturday’s meeting.  We discussed what worked:

  • teamwork,
  • team committment,
  • a great interview,
  • a pretty good Engineering notebook,
  • a sturdy robot with a sizeable hopper;

And what didn’t:

  • an unreliable collection system,
  • a slow shooter.

We’ll be weighing in with mentors in coming weeks, with a visit to Tampa Technik in St. Petersburg, where Mr. Paul Markun has offered to provide some tutorial guidance on belt tracking systems, and an opportunity to see a cool machine he designed, and a visit with the USF Racing Team, which has also offered some mentoring support.   Qzar laser tag and rock climbing are on the calendar, too – gotta have some fun down time!

Old bot comes apart

Old bot comes apart

Team members also want to improve their engineering notebook design, and work on some other organizational improvements.  We also discussed the importance of respecting not only the people we work with and one another, but the things we use and how vital it is to care properly for equipment, tools and resources. To that end, team members cleaned up and organized their tool box and parts collection, taking inventory of needed repairs and replacements.

We also took the opportunity to finish dismantling last year’s robot, which we’d originally hoped to preserve for demonstration purposes. But this year’s build proved so complex, that we ended up scavanging so many parts from it, that it was no longer viable as a demo bot. So it was lovingly dismantled, and the only remaining part — the bucket — was put up on the shelf with last year’s trophies.

Onward!  Next stop, Middleton High School’s Feb. 6 Qualifying Competition, and lots of journeying on the way!