Blog - December 2010

Scouting/Spirit 12/6 and 12/13

Hey team,

First, I apologize that last weeks update didn’t get put up. I wrote it, but for some reason it didn’t post…

So, last weekend (12/4 specifically), teams 254A, B, and D competed in the Pan Pacific tournament, and 254C, E, H, and S competed in Fairfield. 254A and B took home their championship, and thanks to some great scouting 254E and H dominated at Fairfield. CheesyScout was used at Fairfield, and appeared to mostly work.

On the spirit side from last week, James Garbanati has agreed to lead a refurbishing of the mascot costume. Major grievances to be fixed are the amount of air flow in the costume, and the washability of the costume. The plan is to put more ventilation in the head, and to make it possible to wash the sweat out of it, instead of just febreezing the hell out of it after each tournament. If you are interested in helping James, email him at [email protected]

For today’s meeting, the results of this Saturday’s San Ramon tournament were announced. 254D and H competed. Although both were experiencing field-related difficulties, H ended up ranking, and both D and H were picked in the first round. Unfortunately, they were picked by different alliances, and so were pitted against each other in the quarterfinals, where H prevailed and went on to win the whole tournament. However, D went straight to the driver’s challenge field after their defeat, and scored a 72, winning the challenge by 17 points and qualifying them for the championship as well. This brings our total VEX teams that have qualified to 5, being A, B, D, E, and H.

For spirit, it has been decided that we will be creating a new flag, replacing the one that was lost last season at the championships, which was replacing the one that was lost two seasons before that at the championships, which was probably replacing a flag lost way before any of those, most likely at a championship. It was immediately agreed upon that we would not lose this one, at a championship or otherwise. It was debated whether or not to make 2 flags, one with the FRC swoosh and one with the Vex swoosh, and it was agreed to wait until it had been decided whether the Vex swoosh violated copyright or government logo standards on whether or not to make two flags. If you are interested in helping me create this flag, email me at [email protected]

That’s about it. Go Poofs,


San Ramon Tournament Results

On December 11th, 254D and 254H traveled to San Ramon to represent Bellarmine at its fifth tournament of the season.  After technical difficulties with the field and limited time, the teams played 3 qualification matches leaving 254D with a 1-2 record and 254H with a 2-1 record.  The 6th seeded alliance went on to pick 254D and lost in the quarterfinals to a dominant alliance carrying 254H.  The third seeded team, 3129A, picked 254H and 4804A and ended up winning the tournament.  However, the winning did not stop there.  254D, after being knocked out of eliminations, was determined to win Robot Skills and scored 72 points.  The tournament and robot skills wins bring home two more qualifications for World Championships leaving the Poofs with 5 spots to Worlds for 254A, 254B, 254E, 254H, and a newly added 254D.

On another note, all vex robots needed to be done by the end of this semester.  Although every robot is competition-ready, many teams are making a few repairs and fixes to their robots after being in competition in the past few weeks.  In the heat of this competition, the JVN Design Challenge entry never got finished.  Lack of concrete deadlines and motivation lead to the downfall of this project.

In light of increased competition for Vex, Derrick Dominic was able to contact NASA employee, Dr. Wendy Holforty in order to obtain Vex pneumatic kits for the team.  Due to liability concerns and respect for Dr. Holforty’s parts, a release form must be made before any teams can borrow these parts.  Some teams have already expressed interest in the kits and it will be exciting to see what they are used for.

The goal by the end of the week is to have all the Vex teams prepared for the winter break to make the changes and fixes they need to.  The parts locker will be open on Monday, and probably Tuesday.  The kits will be handed out near the end of the week after forms get filled out.  There might also be an overall team design / team meeting for the Vex participants over break for those interested in learning and discussing more about the team’s goals coming next semester.


Programming Update

We had a meeting on Thursday at Bellarmine, in which we covered a lot. By this week’s meeting, we will have finalized the programming team’s organization into the two groups, and everyone will have their assignments. We have split the team into two groups, one working primarily on the simulator that Dmitriy developed, and another on the actual robot. This Friday, most of the programming team met at the lab to work on the robot, which was a pretty successful meeting. We were able to play around and experiment with the various capabilities of the robot, and we were able to create and execute a simple autonomous program. We have 5 people who are interested in being full-time programmers, which is a good number for the programming team.

Archiving Update

For this week, no meeting was held. At the large team meeting I personally contacted everyone who has not turned in their assignment. In addition, I gave them the names again so that they can go back and check. Finally, someone on the archiving team agreed to take the large list that we have to search for any deficiencies so that he can update them himself. This week should be a time for consolidating the lists.

FRC Build Update

Friday the 10th marked our third and final CAD Friday and our final FRC Friday of the semester.  We had a great time and started to explore some of the more advanced assembly and sketch features of SolidWorks.  Although it would have been nice to have more time so that we could have gone into more depth and gone over more features of SolidWorks, we had a great opportunity to give many students a broad overview of the program.  Overall, I think that the FRC Friday program this semester was very successful and I hope we try something similar again in future years.

Today, we had our second Machine Tools Training of the semester with two more students getting trained on how to use the machine tools at the lab.  For reference, I’ve put up a list of the students who are trained here.  If you would like to sign up for machine tools training in the coming weeks, sign ups are here.

As the semester wraps to a close, we have very little time left to get everything ready for the FRC season.  We have scheduled Open Lab time for December 20-23.  Please sign up for this time here and come in if you are interested in working on Programming, CAD or just helping get the lab ready for build.  There are no space limitations but if nobody signs up, we will likely cancel the session and the lab won’t be open :(  There are still numerous items on the lab to-do list that need to get done and we need as much help as we can get.  Let me know if you have any questions for this.

Remember, students interested in CAD and programming: Coming to the workshops alone is not enough to become a CAD or Programming master.  To gain all the skills neccesary for the robot work, you will have to put in some extra time outside of the workshops.  Coming to the open lab days (mentioned above) is an excellent opportunity to get the much-needed experience with CAD or Programming.

26 Days Until The 2011 FRC Season Begins!
Happy Holidays and Go Poofs!
Nick Eyre

VEX animation started

The animation team began making a game for this year’s vex animation challenge.

The rules of the animation challenge are:

Here are the rules to our game:

There are small tops upside down on the field in 4 circles of 6 with a large top in the middle of each circle. There are 4 more large tops on posts on walls. There are two goals in the corners of the field on the floor. There are 4 cylindrical goals, 2 for each team, that small tops can be placed in for bonus points.

The tops can be scored in the corner goals for points by  rolling them in. There is a large covering over the corner goals to prevent scoring from above. To discourage descoring, there is a small ramp, 1″ high and 4″ long that will keep the tops inside the corner goal. However, descoring is completely legal.

The small tops can also be lifted and scored in cylindrical goals for additional points.

There is a bonus piece as well. A 5 lb weight is placed in the center of the field and can be lifted onto the corner goal for a point bouns within the last 30 seconds of the match.

Dimentions of pieces:


small tops:  4″

big tops:  6″

dumbell: We’ll make it 5 lbs.

cylindrical goal: 4″ wide 12″ tall



small top in a corner goal.  2pts

big top in a corner goal.  5pts

small top in a cylindrical goal. TBD

dumbell on a floor goal.  TBD

Pan Pacific and Fairfield

This past weekend, the Bellarmine Robotics Team 254 once again stretched itself to the limit, entering two separate tournaments 3,000 miles apart.  At Fairfield, CA, 4 Bellarmine VEX Robotics teams competed in the 2nd annual Vanden High VEX Regional, waking up early for a 2 hour drive on Saturday morning. That afternoon, after several qualification matches which pinned Bellarmine teams against those of other schools in the Bay Area, the Cheesy Poofs came out as first seed, picking a second Cheesy Poof team in the alliance that eventually won the tournament, undefeated. Across the Pacific Ocean, three more 254 teams competed at the second largest VEX Robotics tournament in the world in Hawaii, the Pan Pacific VEX Championship, second only to the World Championship.  After a tough set of qualifications and 36 hours of continuous repairs on their robots, one of the the Cheesy Poof teams managed to seed third in their division.  Just like at Fairfield, this team selected another Bellarmine team along with team 2438B from Hawaii and fought through two divisions and 112 teams from around the world to win the championship.  After this successful weekend, Bellarmine successfully defended its winning titles at both tournaments for the second year in a row.

Archiving Update

Last week a meeting was scheduled for Thursday, but not enough people showed up, so it didn’t happen.

I have personally contacted everyone on the team to remind them of their assignments and the meetings.