Greetings from FIRST Team 1720. Tonight was our first, and hopefully only, all-night event of the season. Although the team has been extremely diligent in the last month, meeting six times a week, we’ve really struggled to come up with a good design for the basketball shooting mechanism. We prototyped much longer than we planned, building and testing at least four concepts before finding something that would make a free throw reliably. The results are good: we think we can get to 80% (maybe better!) accuracy on the hardest shots. Now with only a week to go we’ve got a lot of time to put in before the scrimmage. We made it this far without working on Friday nights (even robot fanatics need a night off!) but now that it’s crunch time we decided an all-night build event was a good way to take the pressure off in the next week.

Speaking of the scrimmage match: for those who don’t know, Team 1720 organizes and hosts an open-to-the-public practice match at Ball State University every year. Next week up to about 15 teams will participate in a friendly scrimmage; it’s a great way for us to meet new teams, entertain the public, and work out a few last minute bugs. Plus it gives our drivers valuable practice; each robot handles differently, and until we get real “court time” we can’t truly perfect our game skills.

Spirits are high despite some frustrating software issues (not our program, but the equipment we’re trying to use) even as we enter the wee hours of the morning and our soda supply has run dangerously low. With any luck at all we’ll have a functioning robot in a few short hours and will be able to focus on bug fixes and optimization throughout the next week. Fingers crossed!

Hope to see you at the scrimmage on Saturday! Wish us luck!

Brian Zabel
Mentor, President

Week 6: Day 30

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