Blog - November 2010

Marketing & PR Update


  • We have finished writing the prompts.
  • Our efforts now are focussed on the Main Essay that we will be submitting as part of the application.
  • We are also working on the story board for the movie portion of the submission.
  • If anyone has a video camera they would like to lend or an video editing experience, please let me know.
  • If you still need hours, please organize something with six teammates
  • There will still be opportunities organized by the team, so please look for those.
  • You are able to do service hours over Christmas break that will count for your first semester, only if you turn them in to Mr. Janke the 1st day we get back from break. If you miss this deadline, your hours will count for second semester.
Publicity Team
  • We are starting to organize a Publicity team led by Kendall Searing.
  • If you are interested in photography or writing or anything of the sort, please contact Kendall
Hall of Fame
  • We are making a new hall of fame display for this season.
  • Our current ideas for this display is having two or three 48″ pull down banners to hang in the Pit, and one 48″ pull down banner that will change yearly. If you are interested in helping with these banners, contact Ryan Barekat.
  • We are also working on a press binder to display our T-Shirt Cannon’s publicity

First CAD Friday

Today was Team 254’s first of three CAD Fridays. After a fun team lunch, we had over twenty team members come together at the NASA lab to learn CAD skills.

We started out with an introduction to SolidWorks and went into some of the skills used in basic extruded features and sketches. We discussed sketch relations and dimensioning and made several simple parts.

Later, Travis gave a presentation on the Fundamentals of Graphic Communication, which can be found here. The presentation was long, but went very well and was extremely informative. All who attended were able to learn about expressing three dimensional objects in two dimensions through engineering drawings as well as other valuable graphic communcation skills. Travis even showed the team one of his parts from his work and showed how many drawing views needed to be used to effectively communicate the part’s design.

After the presentation and dinner, we worked to develop our CAD skills by analyzing a pre-made engineering drawings and creating 3D CAD models of the parts based on the drawings. It was a good excercise for using the graphic communication skills we learned and applying them to actual design.

After the CAD was wrapped up, several team members stayed late at the lab and built shelves upstairs that can be used by our team and by team 1868 for storing and displaying our trophies and awards.

At the next CAD Friday (12/3), we will split into two teams and work on a design project, using SolidWorks to model our different solutions to the design challenge which will be announced. It should be a great way to continue to learn CAD skills through practice and problem solving.

Zero Robotics Comes to an End

After a strong few months of programming, the Zero Robotics team draws the season to an end. At the last competition, which took place at MIT on Friday the 12th, BCP Zero Robotics placed 3rd out of 8 teams in our bracket, but placed 11th out of the entire 24 teams. The cut off for the semi-final round was 10th place, knocking us out of the competition. Let’s win it next year!

Movement, Textures, and Music

Johnathan Chang worked on the opening scene of the Saftey Animation.

Ryan Barekat finished the textures used on the main character’s model.

Erik Anderson is composing the score for the animation.

Archiving Update

For the week of November 8 to November 14 the submissions for archiving were submitted to me.

About half the team has responded with their info, and the other half has not contacted me.

I will talk to everyone on the team this week and I will shuffle assignments if necessary.

Zero Robotics

This September, we got a team of programmers together and applied to participate in an MIT and NASA sponsored competition called Zero Robotics. After a very difficult application process, we got accepted among 24 other teams out of over 100! Using an online simulator, our team met multiple times a week to develop strategies and code that would help us fulfill our mission efficiently, which is to search for a lost solar panel, and retrieve it back to our space station, all while avoiding other satellites. In a recent online “simulator” competition, our team took 12th out of 24 teams. There is an upcoming competition for which we recently submitted our code.

Catapults, T-Shirt Cannon Underglow, CAD Seminar & More


Today, at the NASA Lab, we had a large group of students meeting for FRC Friday.  This week, to apply some of the tools usage and mechanical skills that were learned in previous workshops, we split into two mini-teams and had a catapult-building competition, which was to be judged on distance launched and awesomeness (measured on a scale from one to awesome).

The two teams took radically different approaches to the challenge.  One team decided to build their catapult entirely out of metal and constructed it mostly out Kitbot parts from previous FRC Kits of Parts.  The other team decided to use Wood and PVC.  After a bit of tweaking, the metal catapult was functional and was flinging Orbit Balls across the lab.  The wooden catapult, on the other hand, did not have a stable base, and broke after being stressed heavily by the surgical tubing which powered it.  After the team made modifications and strengthened their design, they had several successful launches.


On another note, we installed Blue LED strips to the bottom of the T-Shirt cannon to give it an underglow effect.  The strips were chosen over neon tubes for budgetary reasons.  After installed and wired, the lights looked great!

CAD Seminar

As a reminder, next week will be the beginning of our three week long CAD seminar.  We will be meeting for three FRC Fridays (no FRC friday during Thanksgiving week) to learn CAD and work on a project (you’ll find out the project if you participate).  Remember to sign up on the team website.

PR & Marketing Update

Chairman’s Award

  • We are writing prompts at a rate of one per week. We will be done with all the written portion by the end of December if we continue at this rate.
  • We are starting an outline for the video and a story board will be completed in the next few weeks.
  • Efforts have already started to make a list of our past teams rosters
  • We have started to contact past members and this effort will continue.
Publicity Team
  • We are organizing a publicity team that is going to be led by Kendal Searing.
  • The people in this team are going to post pictures on the website, keep the news page on the website update, post articles to the Bellarmine website and also on and such.
  • The last mentoring session is at St. Chris is this Friday, November 12.
  • There are more opportunities available please sign up on the sign up page on the website.
  • More opportunities are to come.

VEX Update

In light of their upcoming All-Stars tournament in Orlando, 254A has remodeled their robot, moving away from trying to hang, towards becoming a good scoring and descoring robot.

254B, C, D, E, H, and S are all getting ready for their upcoming tournaments at Fairfield and San Ramon:

254B has been trying to perfect an intake that surrounds rings, for easy scoring and descoring;

254C has recently moved on from perfecting their multi-directional drive base to an intake that involves grabbing the rings from the center;

254D has improved their four-bar linkage to accommodate their intake that manipulates the middle of the rings;

254E has been making subtle changes to their tournament-winning robot so they may descore even more easily than at the Tracy regional;

254H, after completing their drive base, has been working on a shifting mechanism to power their arm from their drive motors in an attempt to hang;

and 254S has taken the speedy approach with one of the fastest drive bases Vex has seen and an intake that has stirred debate through the team, which spurs new intake ideology.

Archiving Update

For the week of November 1 to November 7, archiving had its first meeting.

The meeting Thursday after school had 7 students who showed interest in helping in archiving.

I recieved the 2009 and 2010 rosters from Mr. Janke, so on Friday in the lab after the first workshop, the archiving team began working on the graduates from 2009 and 2010.

This Week in FRC: More Workshops

On Friday, numerous Cheesy Poofs met for our second week of the 2010 FRC workshops.  We had a huge turnout of people from 254 and 1868.  All three workshops went great.

Next Friday will mark the start of our 3-week long CAD Seminar, where we will be working in groups to learn CAD skills while working on a super awesome project (to be announced) =D.

Also, we’re starting to organize machine tools training.  Be sure to fill out the form on the event signups page if you’re interested.  More details will come ASAP.


Animation Storyboard

Last week we worked on coordinating the script and storyboard.

We have started working on the first scenes of the animation and most of the models are finished.