The Chickadees

The Chickadees

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

On November 23, 2015 the Chickadees started building a chassis! A few of the mentors and students worked to put together this base so that we can practice before kickoff. Throughout this time we got quite a bit done, but there is still a lot to do. Part of the way through building, the mentors were notified of a space that opened up for the Chickadees to use. Now we have a space to build our robot up in the high bay above the machine shop. Because a group of students had previously used the space and left their projects, time was spent cleaning that up. Team 5871 is so grateful and fortunate to be able to use this space. Thanks so much to Chris Davis and the people who made this happen. Overall, this was an educational and exciting time. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Team Structure and Programming

The Chickadees had their second weekly meeting last night. When reviewing the work we were supposed to do in preparation for the meeting, we came up with ideas for a team logo. A couple of the Chickadees are working to develop a sketch of what it may look like using the ideas of the other team members. We are excited to see what they come up with. A large portion of the meeting was spent discussing the team structure. Alexa Borden was appointed and accepted the role as team captain. When discussing team structure, there are two main categories to work on: technical and business. Because we are a smaller robotics team, each member will be participating in both. The technical side is split into an electrical subteam, a mechanical subteam, and a programming subteam. When asked preferences, the results of peoples’ choices were fairly well spread across the different subjects. Because Team 5871 has had workshops to help explain the technical side of FIRST Robotics, Jocelyn Cullers, our business mentor, helped figure out what the three business aspects of robotics are and why they are important. Though there will be student leaders eventually for each of the six categories, none have been chosen yet.

Later on in the meeting, we started a free coding program through that teaches the basis of Java, the language The Chickadees will be using to program the robot. This was a success and we will continue to work on our coding skills. Team 5871 also talked a little about computer science and what components and instructions a robot needs to carry out a specific task. This was lead by Jenn Kniss and Jeff Buttar, our programing mentor. As said before, please check out our amazing mentors at the website The second weekly meeting went well and The Chickadees look forward to our next meeting.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Chickadee's First Weekly Meeting

Last night, the November 10, 2015, The Chickadees had their first of many weekly meetings. We started off the meeting by dividing into two teams and with 20 spaghetti noodles, a yard of tape, string, and a marshmallow, we had to create the tallest, freestanding structure we could that would still hold the marshmallow at the top without breaking. This 18 minute project got us thinking about working as a team and many more important aspects that will be needed to be successful in building our robot. Afterward, The Chickadees discussed the engineering design process where we mainly focused on the first couple steps due to how soon we will need to implement these new strategies. Another great opportunity in today’s meeting was the chance to review some of the previous championships and see a little history of the FIRST Robotics competition. This was inspiring to see how far we could potentially go with robotics. Before our next meeting, The Chickadees are tasked with thinking up design ideas for a logo to represent our team, checking out the 2012 game rule manual for first robotics to get a basic understanding of the requirements, and looking at which is a website with everything FIRST, including ideas and views of fellow engineers. Don’t worry about reading the entire rule book in detail as it is a very long document, but get an understanding of some things that may be required. The meeting was a success and we are excited to get to continue learning the steps towards building a robot.


Rekluse and the Machining and Electronic Workshops

A lot has happened with The Chickadees since the last post. First off, we have gotten to learn many subjects regarding the building of a robot through several workshops that were available to us.  The Chickadees had the unique opportunity to tour the Rekluse manufacturing facilities where Sarah Haight works as an operations manager. She has helped greatly in our starting process and led our tour. At Rekluse, where they build clutches for motorcycles, Team 5871 got to control a robot and see many more at work. If you want to learn more about Rekluse go to Rekluse for hosting us and giving us the wonderful learning opportunity!

The next activity that The Chickadees got to experience was the machine shop. Prior to this workshop, the team read some detailed documents on appropriate use and safety of the equipment. This we reviewed when we got there as well as introducing a few other subjects such as how to appropriately read a calliper and blueprints of a simple piece. The Chickadees then used these blueprints to build a project in the shop. For many of the team there, it was our first time working with these machines. Roxanne Stone, our mechanical mentor, and Chris Davis, our machining mentor, were instrumental in teaching us about safety and the rules of a workshop. With sparks flying and the use of big tools, our small metal creation seemed an amazing feat. The Chickadees are excited to get back into the shop and learn more.

Recently, Team 5871 learned about the electrical aspect of a robot. Led by Jenny Kniss, who is a Developer and Project Manager at Boise startup, we were given small kits of supplies to build into a circuit. Before actually building, we looked at a schematic of our circuit and identified what each symbol represented and its effect. A couple mentors and other experienced people were there to help us create a system where if a solar cell detected darkness, the light would turn on. Following this, the team members that attended got to practice soldering and we were able to spell out our team name as you can see above. The Chickadees are learning a lot and are excited for future experiences.

If you want to learn more about our amazing mentors, here is the link: