by Su Ji C (Soph)
Competition season has begun! We have had tremendous wins at the recent Gainesville game, and are currently hoping for more success in future competitions. However, only time and dedication will tell, which could be seen in the past 6 weeks of build season by our wonderful build team. While the build team was furiously working on this year’s robot (Aerostat), another team was responsible for behind the scenes or additional work. This team is the Project Team (which I am a part of).
The project team was newly implemented by 4188 this year, due to our growing number of members. The team has a mix of veterans who cannot meet the busy schedule of build season and rookies. Although we do not specialize in the making of the robot, we are responsible for other side projects, such as the pit or field. We meet every Saturday to help out 4188, although we all have limits. I enjoy being part of this smaller team, as it has a sense of togetherness and fun, even if we do require a lot of “supervision”. As we help, we are able to learn a lot more about the team and the machinery that goes with it, and advance in our own, different way. We gain intellectual and social skills, all from working in one building from 10am to 7pm in a part of town some folks want to avoid (although it may not seem like it). One could easily say that project team is a practical way to start being active in the FIRST community, without having to experience the tremendous amount of stress the build team experiences. (Oh, and just a small appreciation note: Thank you so much for your hard work this season! Working from afterschool until sometimes midnight, 6 or 7 days a week; it’s amazing how much dedication you guys have towards the Columbus Space Program. We hope to see it all pay off during the months to come! ^^)
I hope that in the future, we would have a larger impact on the team and the robot, and that time would allow us to be more involved in FIRST. But until then, we will stick to the things we know best, whether its electronics, build, or simply organization, and help the build team in the best way we can.
Authored by Youbin P (Fr)
As a rookie, I had no clue what was going to happen after the kick off--frankly, I thought we would just start building after tossing some ideas here and there.
Needless to say, the process was not that simple. After the kickoff, the game manual was everyone’s best friend. Everyone in the team read the rules until they could answer questions about the game without referring back to the book or hesitating. These people were very serious to say the least.
As a group, we wrote down the list of subsystems that was needed: gear intake, ball intake, climber, shooter, and drivetrain. Then we split into smaller groups to discuss and come up with ideas for the subsystems. Each group was required to come up with at least one, and we wrote them down on individual post-its.
Once we were done, it was placed upon the board under the corresponding subsystem. We had clear categories and fresh ideas underneath, all waiting to be sorted out. After that, we went through all the ideas and discussed the possibilities of implementing each one.
When the discussion was over, the members signed up for the IPT they wanted to work on. Everyone was assigned to an IPT, and we began our trade study to narrow down the few prototypes to build and test. Before the trade study, we came up with categories to fill out and research for, such as: speed, mass, complexity, etc. After all the categories were up on the whiteboard, we proceeded with the research. For instance, I was in the climber IPT; at the time, we settled with compression and “wrap” climber after completing the study.
We also had to present these findings to the team and explain the reasoning for the chosen prototype. Once that was done, it was time to actually build a prototype. For prototyping, we used the best ranked one from the study. Using the sticky notes from the very meeting, we expanded on the idea itself and created a solid design. When everything was set, the building began--we gathered materials and tools. Conferred what each member of the IPT was doing and got to work. This happened with all the subsystems, and everyday, we had a closing and opening meeting to update each other. We set deadlines and benchmark for our work, and it still gets updated daily by the leader of each IPT.
Beside the individual IPT leaders, there are four additional leaders who are in charge of larger projects and several areas rather than a particular subsystem.
With all that implemented, the team was able to sufficiently prototype and test out the different options available. We are now close to finishing up our prototypes and finalizing our robot.
Author: Su-Ji C (Soph)
This school year, 4188 has implemented many different changes to its program for the benefit of its students. One such change can be seen from the training program we have gone through in the beginning of the school year.
Although many people on the team have different thoughts and views on the training program we used this year, I personally enjoyed it. I started training during the summer, because I was part of the team from 2015 to 2016, but it didn’t significantly change or help my abilities until the start of the school year.
As I entered Marshall Middle School this fall, I remember hoping that training would be a little different than last year, where if I missed one session, there was no time for me to make it up except through experience and trial and error (causing me to be of little help to the team, except for the field build, which I enjoyed). I soon found out that it was structured a lot differently, with much more organization and flexibility needed to please the trainees. As I went through the first Build 1 training, I got caught up on all of the things I had no knowledge of how to do during build season last year, such as how to use a dremel and a manual saw (which is kind of sad if you think about it). I learned how to design and create a to-scale drawing in order to make a project, and how to use simple tools to take apart materials – all skills I needed to have a big part of team 4188 which I had missed the year before, I learned in 2016.
Because of training, I was able to learn new skills as well, one being electronics. From the guidance of the amazing Hallie, a junior which was and currently is the electronics lead for the past two years. I could figure out how to learn the basics of soldering (which I had been wanting to learn for a long, long time) and power poles, wire management and the many different electronic parts in the robot. I was able to take part of the media team, which is now one of my favorite aspects about robotics, because of its family-like aspect. With the mini-checkpoints made by the leads, also a first, I could easily trace where I needed help and where I had the needed experience to be successful. Within me, something that originally felt wrong clicked into place. Suddenly, I felt like I could actually be useful to the team in some way just because of some simple training.
4188 has changed in many aspects, but I believe that many of these changes are for the better – to make the rookies and inexperienced feel like they are part of one big robotics family. Our new training program is exceptional in getting new and old members caught up in what robotics is all about. I’ve seen throughout the months how small, clueless freshmen changed to innovative, knowledge-filled engineers, all because they were able to receive the basic training needed to succeed in the future. Add to that a certification program that revolutionized work assignment, and we have the strongest team to start a season we’ve ever had.
Author: Youbin P (Fr)
I can still remember the first day of school at Columbus High as a freshman—a new school, new faces, new atmosphere—the only familiarity I could grasp on to was the faces of few students from my middle school. Taking couple steps into the building, I was filled with an even mixture of excitement and terror. And just like that, the beginning of my high school life began, and although I didn’t know at the time, so did my adventure with Columbus Space Program—team 4188.
I always believed that joining clubs and extracurricular was the best way to make friends and to get involved with the school. I had a few activities in mind, but to be honest, robotics was one of the last ones on my checklist. My original plan was just to check out the informational meeting and sign up if it seems like minimal work. At the time, I just felt as if robotics didn’t fit me.
To me, and to most out there, robotics can seem like it’s only for those who are obsessed with technology, very smart, aloof, and most of all, meddling with metal for hours sounded quite dull. Robots and metals were not in my area of interest nor did I know very much about it. So, even going to the meeting made me anxious.
When I got to the meeting, our dearest veterans, Hallie and Ashita led the meeting on what robotics was all about, and I was pleasantly surprised. First, they were not recruiting some tech geniuses—they were recruiting normal students, even with zero experience, like myself. And secondly, it wasn’t just about building a robot. There was so much more than that; there was different types of fields I could be trained in such as design, media, pneumatics, electrical, and much more. The part I was most amazed was the fact that there is always a spot for someone to fit in the team—for example, the media team manages awards, deals with representation of the team, and communication; design deals with sketching out the robot rather than actually building. So many different things came together to create and to support the team.
Not to mention Hallie and Ashita talking about all the astonishing things that 4188 has accomplished, including the showcasing of robot from last season. What can I say? I immediately gravitated toward robotics; something inside of me clicked—I wanted to be a part of the team.
Many weeks later, after many trainings and hours spent on robotics, here I am, writing a blog for our team. I am now a proud rookie, who spends hours at robotics without noticing the time passing by. I cherish the times building, designing, and the simple moments spent together as a team. I spend about 40 hours per week either working on something for robotics or at Marshall, which is basically my second home at this point. It does take my time and commitment, but what I gain from the few hours I lose is beyond valuable—I’d say being recruited into the team was one of the best things that has happened to me.
Author: Collin M (Sr)
Who is 4188?
In the short amount of time and space that I have with you, I would like to tell you who we are. We are not a club; we are not some school group who meets on the weekends; then who are we you might ask? 4188 for me and every member of our team has been a family, a family that gives us the many opportunities to show just what the next generation is capable of. A family that grows every year; a family begging for more members. We have spent the last few years growing from seven people to seventy people, so believe me when I say we make a change. And this year we hope to show the FIRST community what we are capable of, this season is going to be our hardest, strongest, and most intense one yet, and we would like you to stay tuned to our milestones and accomplishments. Our team plans to release a weekly blog to keep our family updated on the amazing work we will accomplish. With kick off starting tomorrow, this will mark the beginning off a very busy six-week period.
Upcoming blogs will help explain 4188’s recruiting, training, brainstorming, and design. We hope to deliver a very intimate and well maintained blog that will allow our readers to understand not only how our team works so well, but also why we work so hard. Our blog will also consist of lessons that we have learned from past year, and advice for new teams. We strongly believe in the FIRST value of Coopertition. Dean Kamen once said “Everyone has to be able to participate in a future that they want to live for. That’s what technology can do”. we plan to help keep Dean Kamen’s word, and try to expand the first community. Thank you for tuning in for our first blog, our next update will be on the 10th, everyone have a fun and safe kick off.