After having an incredibly successful 2023 season, and with 47 team members this season, Team 4909 is ready to discover what this new year has in store for us as we “CRESCENDO” our way into the 2024 FIRST Robotics Competition!
2023 Training Program:
This past fall, our team has focused on training new students as a part of the 2023 pre-season. Here is a recap of what we have done so far this academic year:
Computer-aided Design (CAD) Training:
Over the preseason, our team spent significant time training new members in CAD. CAD is a tool used to design parts before the manufacturing process. Members interested in learning CAD were shown the basics of modeling. Veteran members interested in advancing their CAD skills were given projects to work on with a partner. In the level 1 course, students made parts given a set of constraints without guidance. They learned how to navigate 3D space on a 2D screen in the design process. The students who completed this program have become proficient in CAD and will be able to contribute significantly during the 2024 season. Each group in the level 2 course built a subsystem for past FRC games. The course's objective was to go through the design process from scratch rather than build the system.
Business Operations Training:
During the preseason, Business Operations, “Team Ops’” trained students, “on the job,” focusing heavily on fundraising and outreach projects for the 2024 season. Team Ops worked with the rest of the team to host the New England Robotics Derby in Tewksbury this past October and ran the “12 Days of Christmas Raffle” where students sold tickets to family, friends and members of the public on their own and at O’Connor Hardware in Billerica, MA. Team Ops also began working on the team’s business plan, award submissions, as well as updating our team’s website and social media pages.
The manufacturing team concentrated on developing the skills that will be most required for build season. Members first learned how to read and interpret part sheets on basic machines. Students moved on to other machines in the shop and learned to use hand tools. This group worked on rebuilding our t-shirt cannon first built during a previous season. These students were challenged to use their knowledge learned from training to build a functioning robot.
During the preseason, rookie members were introduced to coding in Java through Codecademy. After building a foundation of basic coding knowledge, students progressed to controlling the robot directly. To get familiar with this environment, members programmed the robot to perform simple functions. Then they set up a limelight camera to automatically target April Tags, which are QR code-like elements used in FRC for vision processing. This involved learning how to use firmware and Application Programming Interfaces (API) to determine the distance between a target with just a camera.
At the start of this month, we kicked off the 2024 season at Billerica Memorial High School by watching this year’s game reveal; CRESCENDO presented by Haas. This marked the beginning of the 6-week build season, a period where teams design and build their robots from start to finish. This season, students are challenged to create a robot that can score points by delivering “notes,” an orange, donut-shaped object to dedicated scoring areas around the field. In the final 20 seconds of the match, the endgame challenge offers additional points if a robot can successfully climb the “stage” located at the center of the field. After watching FIRST’s stream of the game reveal, the team read through the game manual together to fully grasp the extent of the game and develop an action plan from what we learned. Below is the game animation and additional information about the game.
Now, members will apply their knowledge learned over the preseason to design, manufacture and program a fully functioning robot to fulfill all the game requirements for this season.
Stay tuned for weekly updates!
Build Season Schedule:
Monday: 5:30pm - 9pm
Tuesday: 5:30pm - 9pm
Wednesday: No Meeting
Thursday: No Meeting
Friday: 2pm - 9pm
Saturday: 9am - 3pm
Sunday: No Meeting
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