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Friday, December 23, 2011

Rage Cage

The Team 3313 MW3 Tournament happened yesterday. Because of our preperation on Wednesday, most of the day went off without a hitch. We only had one match going at a time but based on the number of teams that came, that was not a big deal. We ended up having 5 teams of 4 people competing in the competition. It was a double elimination tournament. Each team had to pay an entry fee. We had another room with Rock Band going. The robot was out and about as well for more publicity. Someone (Jenna? Claire?) had the brilliant idea to sell concessions during the tournament which is where we made most of our money. We had pop, candy, and chips available. We also had a swear policy where anyone that swore had to donate $1. This was another great idea and a place where we made some profit. The winner was "Rage Cage," a group of seniors. There were quite a few matches that were close and exciting. We have had discussions about having another one in April once things slow down. Something like this wouldn't have been possible without a lot of help so thanks to Mr. D (principal), Mathew (network admin), and Sheree (activities secretary).


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fund (and Fun) Raising

The team met two times this week, on Tuesday and Wednesday. Our main goal for this week was fundraising. We worked on accomplishing this goal in a number of ways.
  1. We bought a lot of team wristbands about a month ago and finally received them last week. They are electric blue with our team name and number ink injected in black. They glow in the dark and look really sweet. We decided to sell them this year to students during lunch. To advertise the wristbands and our team, we brought the robot out during both lunches and let students drive it around. It was exhilerating seeing all the students surrounding the robot and asking questions about it. Awesome.
  2. Our other big action for fundraising is a Modern Warfare 3 tournament that is occuring tomorrow. The tournament will happen at Jefferson High School from 10am to 2pm. The fundraising aspect is that teams of 4 pay $15 to register. The team that wins the tournament will then face off against each other in free for all. The winner of the tournament will receive a GameStop gift card. There will also be runners up prizes. It should be fun.
  3. The last thing we are working on is emailing more groups and area companies for sponsorship. We greatly appreciate the sponsors we have now but to accomplish our main goal of attending Duluth and U of M Regionals, we need to raise more funds.
Our meetings this week were a little hectic. Each day was hectic for a different reason. Tuesday was hectic for good reasons. There were a bunch of new students for the meeting because of our presentations at Discovery Middle School. The team is really excited about the influx of younger students. Wednesday was hectic because of the icy roads. School was happening, then delayed, then cancelled within about an hour. This threw a wrench in our plans of preparing for the MW3 tournament. Luckily, many of the team members are very dedicated and still showed up later in the day to prepare. Update on how the tournament went tomorrow.

Roll out.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mid-December Update

Hello again!

Just thought we should type a little summary of the things we have been working on the past few weeks since our mini-regional competition.
  • We had another meeitng with the PMMC on December 7. We presented the group with our proposed budget for the season. They generously decided to donate a large sum of money to the team. THANK YOU PMMC!!! We also updated them with all of our contact information (Twitter:@team3313, youtube: search team 3313, facebook: search team 3313, this blog page, and our gmail address team3313mechatronics@gmail.com). The last news we presented them with was a mentor profile for them to share with their companies.
  • The main business we have been working on recently is community outreach. The past two days have been CRAZY busy with presentations. Yesterday, we went to a meeting of the Sertoma Club in Alexandria. We presented our robot and a little bit about our club. Some of the members even got to drive the robot!
  • Our other big community outreach piece was going to Discovery Middle School and talking to the Engineering classes over there. We are welcoming in ninth graders this year so hopefully a few will join. It was a lot of fun showing off our base robot and just sharing what we and FIRST are all about.
  • Our next BIG EVENT is a Modern Warfare 3 competition at Jefferson on December 22 starting at 10am. Should be really fun and a lot of advertising for our team.
We learn the new game and rules on JANUARY 7th!!! We are all super pumped. We will be attending the Kick-Off at the U of M Twin Cities. Only 23 days!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2nd Annual Minne Mini-Regional

Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong will, will go wrong.

That's a good description of what happened during the trip down to Prior Lake for the 2nd Annual Minne Mini-Regional. The mini-regional was a competition of 24 teams from around Minnesota. There were two main purposes. It was a fundraising event to buy a field for the state of minnesota but, more importantly, it was chance for rookie team members to get an idea of what a FIRST competition is all about.

The day started bright and early at 4:45am. We got the robot in the truck and loaded up the van. Bydlon, Chandler, and Bryce were the only people to stay awake the whole drive. Bydlon and Chandler were driving so that's good. Bydlon decided to take a tour of Prior Lake (i.e. he got lost) but eventually made it to the high school and unloaded the robot.

Going back to the Murphy's Law theme, here's a list of things that did not work or did not go well during the competition day:
  • camera (first wouldn't connect, then didn't have one)
  • batteries (no charge)
  • wireless network was too busy
  • no ethernet cable (got yelled at)
  • no surical tubing (had to borrow)
  • minibot would not deploy correctly
  • no solder gun
  • too tired
  • one wheel had no power
  • scissor lift leaning like the Tower of Pisa
  • first major snowstorm
Let's just say a lot of lessons were learned and we made some good friends (thanks King Tec 2169!). The most stressful part was that part of 94 was closed so we had to stay in a hotel in the Cities. We found one by the Mall of America and stocked up on necessary supplies (or played video games in Bydlon's case). We drove home the next day with no surprises thankfully.

In all seriousness, it was a great bonding experience. The rookies learned a lot about competition. The team learned begging will get you free pizza. Most importantly, we learned that our next competition can't go any worse.

Roll Out!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


After a meeting with the PMMC,

A few updates are needed. First off, we are looking for a few people interested in being on a business committee to help set up a budget for the team. In order to help with this, we need you to be good with money management, as well as have a general idea of the different areas of expense we are dealing with. We will also be dealing with fundraising for the group as well.
Additionally, just some general information, we now have a Twitter! Look for us @team3313!

Thank you, and have a great week!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Team meeting review 10/26/11

So, after the team meeting today, here are the updates.
T-shirt and wristband designs have been chosen. (subject to approval, of course.)
Plans were made for the competition on the 19th. Transportation still seems to be a little bit of an issue. If anyone has any solutions, feel free to contact Mr. Bydlon, Jenna or Megan. If you are interested in going, sign up in Mr. Bydlon's room, no later Friday, November 11th.
We are still looking for fundraising ideas! Talk to any of the three mentioned above with any ideas of something fun, creative, and profitable!
Plans to work on the cart were made for Tuesday and Thursday of next week. If you are able to and are interested in helping, feel free to stop in the ag room afterschool.
Finally, there are a few more technological pieces of our team currently in development. More updates on those will be released when ever possible, so stay tuned!

Thank you to all, and check back often!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Organizing Cart

Hello! I am Mr. Bydlon and I am writing this post. I am the FIRST Robotics Team Lead Mentor. This is my second year in that position. I am a math teacher at Jefferson High School. I am incredibly excited about this coming competition year. I also can get long winded so I apologize for long blog posts.

My visions for this blog are:
  • A record of things we did and when we did them for future seasons
  • Keep sponsors and any interested parties involved
  • Something fun to remember
So there you have it, keep reading or check in whenever you want. I hope you enjoy.

One of the major talking points from people last year was starting the team earlier. Last year was a special case because I did not start being the advisor until late October. Anyway, to accomplish this goal for this year, we had a meeting a couple of weeks ago introducing the team and what the competition is about. We will do a post on this blog about that topic in the near future. At the end of that meeting, we got together and planned when our next meeting would be. We scheduled it for September 20 (this was yesterday which is most of what this post is about).

There were a lot of great things that happened yesterday. We divided up into two teams. Brandon, Derek, and Bryce tackled the insane robot cart and Jenna and Megan started organizing the robot room.

We built the robot cart last year after our build season was over. We did not plan very well. The cart was a behemoth. It was made of diamond plating and 2" thick pieces of 80/20 aluminum. It looked intimidating. The only problem was that it wouldn't fit through two doors at Williams Arena, where we always have our competition. This is a major problem. We had to take the robot off the cart and walk that through and then take the cart, turn it sideways, angle it through the doors, and put the robot back on. Frankly, it was an embarrassing spectacle for other teams to see. So the guys took the cart apart yesterday and went over to the Tech College and had them cut the pieces down so it would fit through the door. They plan to put it back together in the coming week. I was really impressed with their teamwork and the cool ideas they had.

Meanwhile, Jenna and Megan organized the robot room so it wasn't a big pile of stuff. After the competition last year, the motivation to clean and organize was very low. Thankfully, Jenna and Megan got rid of a bunch of boxes, organized the shelves, and just in general, made things look nice. We made a list of parts/tools to buy and had a bunch of good ideas for other projects to work on.

Our next official meeting will be October 3 which is also the first day that interested parties can start practicing for the driving contest.

Other dates on the horizon: October 26 is the driving contest and November 19 is the mini-competition in Prior Lake.

Contact Us!!

We are Team 3313 Mechatronics. We are based at Jefferson High School in Alexandria, MN. This will be our 3rd year of competition.
Here are some ways to stay in touch or keep in contact with us:

Youtube: www.youtube.com/team3313mechatronics
Facebook: We have a facebook group entitled "Team 3313 Mechatronics" which you are more than welcome to join. Just shoot me an email and I will add you.
Email: Team3313Mechatronics@gmail.com
Twitter: We now have a twitter account! To join, either follow @3313mechatronic or text follow team3313mechatronic to 40404! (Must be in US for this to work.) Also, Visit us at this http://twitter.com/#!/3313Mechatronic
Phone: 320-762-2142 Ask for Mr. Bydlon (pronounced bid-len)

If we think other ways (twitter, flickr, who knows what) I will update that here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Thank's for visiting the Team 3313 Blog!
Remember, check back soon for more information. If you need to contact someone in charge, take a look at our contact information.Thank you, and have a nice day!