Hard to believe the new season kicks off in just a couple of weeks! The summer just flew by; it seemed we were doing something every month since our return from Atlanta in April.
Wait! We WERE doing something every month since our return for the World Championship in April! There was:
- IEEE-Robotics and Automation Society presentation, April 20
- Trinity Homeschool Center Open House, Tampa – May 10
- THINK Homeschool co-op demo, Tampa – May 24
- coolTECH 2010, Tampa, June 4
- PTC/ USER World Event, Orlando, June 6-9, 2010
- TRAK Microwave Demo, Tampa, June 15
- TDT LEGO Engineering Summer Camp, June 28- July 2
- YMCA LEGO Engineering Camp – Carrollwood YMCA, August 9-14
- and then our great visit with Robrady Design just last Friday.
Now it’s time to get down to business of competitive robotics, organizing tools and materials, coordinating schedules and, best of all, meeting new team members!
TDT has four potential new team members joining us on Saturday, and we’re really looking forward to spending some time together. All new members are invited to at least three meetings, to make sure we’re all a good fit for each other – so far, we always have been! As we enter our third season, we’re proud of the fact that we’ve been able to introduce seven students – from four different public schools, two private schools and homeschools – to FIRST robotics for the very first time, and to take four of them to the World Championship in their very first season with us – or rather, they helped take us there! All our new applicants this season are also new to FIRST.
We’re heading into the new season with all of last season’s non-graduating members, now TDT veterans. All of our graduated members are now in college, at least two in engineering programs. We feel we’ve made a positive impact on our students, and in our community, and look forward to strengthening connections and friendships with mentors and sponsors, with whom we’ve kept in touch through the summer, all throughout the coming year.
We hope other teams and website visitors will enjoy the wealth of resources we offer up here, as well, in our Robotics Resources page and the Team Duct Tape Library, which will be updated as new season materials become available.
And look for Team Duct Tape at more events in coming months:
- LIFE Fest 2010 Education conference, Orlando, September 18, 2010
- Tempest ‘n’ Tampa 2010 -USF Sun Dome, October 22
- Rockwell Automation Fair 2010 -Orange County Convention Center, November 3 & 4
Rumor has it new game hints will soon begin appearing at Ken Johnson’s FTC Blog . Can’t wait!
Team Duct Tape members enjoyed a remarkable afternoon at Robrady Design on Friday. Lead Graphic Designer Dave Prager kicked off our tour with a look at the many aspects of Robrady product development, from inception to modeling and prototyping. Senior Industrial Designer Erik Holmen gave us a look at graphic and industrial design tools and then Senior Mechanical Engineer Glenn Akhavein went over the nuts and bolts of – nuts and bolts, and gears and more, including a look at Pro/ENGINEER models of Robrady’s Rescue Wizard portable winch, a gas-powered, man-portable winch capable of pulling loads as heavy as 12,000 lbs.
We also got a good look at the development process for the Vectrix Electric Super Bike and learned about their work with the HyGreen hand hygiene intelligent technology system . We also learned how all the engineers work together efficiently and effectively to manage dozens of ongoing projects – with terrific teamwork.
After having lunch with Robrady staff, TDT demoed their robot for everyone, and answered questions about FIRST , and the FTC competition. Mr. Akhavein spent a lot of time with team members, sharing some solid mechanical engineering guidance with students.
And then, to add icing to the cake of an already great outing, Mr. Prager arranged for us to meet with Battlebots veteran, Jim Smentowski , the roboticist behind Team Nightmare . At his Robot Marketplace, inside the Hobby Marketplace in Bradenton, we got to see his big bots, Nightmare and Breaker Box , as well as his tiny lightweight, Micro-Nightmare .
The whole day was just great fun all the way around, and team members came away with new insights and ideas from all the terrific people we met. We’ve promised Robrady we’ll be back with our new robot when then new season gets underway, and we look forward to a long friendship with this team of great engineers. And maybe another visit to the Robot Marketplace, too!
Team Duct Tape members are heading south to Sarasota on Friday, to visit Robrady, a product design and development studio that “combines progressive industrial design, mechanical design, graphics / packaging design, rapid prototyping, and production program management to deliver profitable product solutions for our multinational client base.”
Robrady, some of whose reps we met at coolTECH at MOSI in June, creates a variety of products for consumers in the electronics, transportation, marine, medical and graphic fields. Products include Segways, marine tools, the very cool Vectrix Electric Super Bike and more.
Our tour will include a look at each step in their production design process:
Rapid Prototype and CNC facilities
We’re also taking our robot to do short demo for their engineers. We’re really looking forward to our visit, which we think will be an inspirational start to the new season!