Build Sub Teams

 

Controls: 

The controls sub team is responsible for programming and all of the electrical work on the robot. Subsequently, this sub team is unofficially divided into these two categories with about 3-4 members each.

Students on this sub team gain experience either with programming physical objects to complete challenges or by working with the robot's electrical components. The programmers will extensively learn how to use a custom FIRST Java API to control the robot, giving them experience working with the popular language. Students working on electrical learn how to calculate the power draw of components, the robot's battery life, and how to best organize wires for optimally efficiency and readability.

There is no greater satisfaction than spending the day on a program, uploading it to the robot, and then watching it work. Of course, it never does it perfectly the first time around, but part of the fun is working with the robot and getting all of the bugs out so only a perfect code remains.

Design:

The design sub team is one of our most important sub teams. They are responsible for coming up with the base design for the robot and for designing and 3D printing any parts that cannot otherwise be manufactured.

Students that wish to pursue a career with 3D modelling, 3D printing, and converting their ideas from paper to physical object are best suited for this team. They gain invaluable experience working with CAD programs, like Autodesk Inventor, and learning how to communicate effectively as they coordinate with the fabrication sub team.

Design showed me how fun creating my ideas was. I had no idea how challenging it was to model my thoughts, but once it is finished and perfected, there is no greater satisfaction. Especially when you can 3D print or have fabrication create it that same day.

Fabrication: 

This is the team in charge of building the robot and all of the field pieces that we use to practice with. On average, there are 10 members on this team assisted and guided by several mentors that promote utmost safety and ensure the schedule is kept. 

The students on the fabrication team gain some of the most practical experience on the Power Hawks. Students are taught how to operate machinery like drill presses, bandsaws, miter saws, and various hand tools safely and efficiently as they build the robot to specifications created by the design team. It can be the most stressful sub team as they are the most impacted by deadlines. However, this means that the students will also gain experience and a lesson with appropriate time management.

I worked in my family’s machine shop for years, and gained a lot of experience there, but robotics was another animal entirely. The timelines force you to work smart and fast, the atmosphere is energetic and everyone is moving around and talking. It’s one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had.