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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Match Schedule!

Below this you can check out our match schedule for all of Friday and then Saturday morning! It should be a really fun event.

If you visit thebluealliance.com and click on "10,000 lakes" there should be a live stream. Be sure to tune in when you can! 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Discovery Student Showcase

Last Thursday, FRC team 3313 Mechatronics and FTC team 7799 Autobotics made an appearance at Discovery Middle School's 5th annual Student Showcase. At this event, students are able to show off their various forms of artistic skill to their fellow students.

Student Showcase logo - reversed

From the paintings to amaze to the musical performances to melt your heart their will always be something to interest your artsy side, including super awesome robots!

With our robot, we were able to show our community what we could do.  we were able to attract quite the crowd because, come on, who doesn't love robots?

We had a lot of fun talking to the various people who came by our booth. We were even able to talk to some of the younger ones to increase enthusiasm towards first robotics and perhaps even inspired others to become future members of our team.

All and all, it was a very fun day that everybody has enjoyed and we are looking forward to the 6th annual Student Showcase next year!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Awesome Aerial Assist Action

If you haven't been watching this weekend, elimination rounds are starting at FIRST competitions across the country.

Go to thebluealliance.com

We have been watching Wisconsin and Waterloo all day.

Wisconsin features many of our #bffteams from MN and WI. Waterloo has some of the best FRC robots in the entire world competing. Lots of other great competitions going on though!

Seriously, go to the website, go to "webcasts", and slide one of the webcasts over to a blank spot.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Deep Breathes and Spare Parts

Team 3313 took some deep breathes this week. The Lake Superior Regional really took it out of the drive team and many of the team members. Every single match went down to the wire and 10 matches in about 3 hours was a little crazy. You can read more at the recap. You can also catch 3 different match videos (will be adding more today) on our YouTube channel.

Rewatching many of the matches this week really helped our team. We feel much more prepared and have a lot of different strategies available for 10,000 Lakes. Shout out to Laeey and Heidi for doing such a good job recording matches for us!

Moving on, we have another Regional competition in under 2 weeks! Yikes! We started making a new hammer, just in case something happens. Also, it'll be a little different looking which should be fun if we need to use it.

Our grippers are made out of PVC. We only had to use 1 replacement at Lake Superior but we decided to make 2 more (bringing our total extra amount to 3). You never know what's going to happen especially with such a defensive game as this one.

We remade all the scouting binders including pit and match scouting so we are totally ready for 10,000 Lakes. We posted some of outreach pit scouting results. Our favorite answer was a "cat video festival" for something fun to do. Awesome suggestion!

Lastly, we've reworked the Chairman's Speech just a tiny bit in response to critiques from Lake Superior. Being able to submit it at every Regional is so awesome!! What a vast improvement on the old system. There were over 20 teams that submitted at Lake Superior!! HOLY SMOKES! You can see potential judges questions at this link. 

More to do this week. We have the Discovery Student Showcase on Thursday. Finalizing vehicles and other stuff for 10K Lakes too!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What Do Chairman's Judges Ask?

This seems appropriate given how many Regionals are happening this time of year. 

Below are a few examples of sample questions asked by the judges after the Chairman’s Award Presentation:
  • What does FIRST mean to you?
  • What does FIRST Stand for?
  • What are your plans after high school?
  • What are your plans after College?
  • Where do you see your team going in the future?
  • How did you overcome challenges and what were those challenges?
  • What did you do on the team this year?
  • How did the FIRST program impact you directly?
  • How is your team sustainable?
  • Clarifying questions about events your team held/questions about the impact of events/impact on the outreach
  • What do your mentors do on the team?
  • Who are your sponsors and how do they help you?

Actual Questions from our Duluth Chairman’s Speech in 2014
  • How do we sustain our team?
  • What are the challenges we face as a rural team?
  • How do we work with sponsors?
  • Asked about the Pack Expo.
  • How did the Pack Expo affect the team members?
  • How do we work with the West Central teams?
  • How is our team expanding?

Creative and Effective Events from Lake Superior

We walked around on Thursday (Practice Day) and asked teams what their most creative or effective event was for their team. These are some of the most interesting results!

Raffled off a 3D Printer
Car Couch - Made a couch of of the back end of a car
Demo to school and mayor
Class of BEST Robotics
Movie Theater demo before a movie
County Fair and State Fair
Engineering Fair
Homecoming Carnival
Cleaning in local park - cleaning invasive species
Cat video festival
Read to kids in elementary schools and FLL teams
Dinner at Veterans Center
Sell smoothies at school during lunch
FLL and middle Vex
“Feed My Starving Children”
Present at MN SPLASH
Creating jewelry for the web store
Pack Expo

Sunday, March 9, 2014


Finalists at the Lake Superior Regional this past weekend! WOW! We also were awarded the beFIRST award from Team 2052 and the Excellence in Engineering Award.

We finished off Saturday morning by winning our final two matches. That put us at 9-1 and 1st place! FIRST PLACE!! We decided on an alliance of our team, CyberHawks 706 (from Wisconsin), and DataBits 3883 (from Cottage Grove). We decided to focus our strategy on our team inbounding and trussing to a human player, CyberHawks grabbing that inbounds and scoring in the 10 pt., while DataBits played tough defense.

Novels could be written about the elimination matches and how insane they were. Every single matchup went to a "winner take all" except one semifinal round. Our alliance was in a losing position before eeking out a win in the quarterfinals and semifinals. Actually, we lost the 3rd match in the quarterfinals before a field fault was called (pedestal not lighting) and we got to replay. In the rematch, we won. We lost in the finals. The eventual winners had a great strategy of getting 3 assists. Congrats to our #BFFteams of 2052 and 3018.

Overall, we played 24 matches this weekend including 10 Elimination matches. The stress and exhaustion of that was incredible. But our robot, our team, and our alliance pulled through. What an incredible ride.

The ride wasn't over though. We were awarded the "Excellence in Engineering" Award. This award celebrates an elegant and advantageous machine feature. We have never won a "robot" award before so this was amazing. Thor did an INCREDIBLE job this weekend handling tough defense and hammering the ball all over the place. 

Bryce, Brooklyn, Tyler, and Bydlon did a great job as drive team. Heidi took wonderful pictures and Lacey recorded lots of matches. Kacy was wonderful as our pit sitter. Karl, Thomas, Jade, Allen, Andrew, Carson, and Dalton were the best scouters at the competition (yes, we have scouters). Dan helped so much in between Elim matches.

We had one of the smallest teams at the competition but made the most of it, like always.

On to 10,000 Lakes Regional in about 2 weeks!!

Friday, March 7, 2014


Today started off well! We were in the second match of the day and actually ended up posting the best score, 215. Granted... 100 of those were foul points but whatevs, still awesome. 

Drive team of Bryce, Brooklyn, Tyler, and Bydlon did a great job. We are ranked 1st right now with a 7-1 record. We are hoping to continue our high assist matches. Many matches were really fun with almost catches and fun teammates and stuff. 

We've gotten so many compliments on so many things we've done. It's really fun. People like our sponsor banners, our regular banners, our robot, the hammer, our music instruments, our outfits, just so much stuff. It makes all those long hours and work and thoughts and just everything worth it (obviously, it would be worth it without the compliments, but those are nice too...).

Chairman's went GREAT! Kacy, Jade, and Lacey did such a great job. The judge's said "your speech was very different from anyone else's". That's super cool. We like to do things a little different and be weird and stuff. The speech being rock star themed definitely reflects that. It's nice that we have another shot to make it better for 10,000 Lakes. 

Basically, today was super fun and the other teams are super great and just yeah. Great day. Tomorrow is going to be crazy!!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Practice Makes Better

Today was practice and inspection day!! Yayyyy!

We worked our tails off this build season following rules and making our robot as consistent as possible. It's super fun to have that work pay off at the Regional.

Inspection went swimmingly. Putting on the bumpers was a little iffy but the screen printed numbers looked sweeeeeeet on the field. We got lots of questions on them. One funny moment was when we weighed the robot and it alternated between 120.0 and 120.1 lbs. The inspectors said that was as close as they've ever seen it. So we drilled a few more holes in the acrylic panels.

The practice matches were really fun. We subbed in for a few matches so our record was 4-1. There was a match where we did the whole 60 point run (3 assists, a truss, and a catch). Another match was awesome because we scored over 125 points! We had a couple issues with autonomous (battery levels). We know what to do here in Duluth to help fix it but during 10,000 Lakes we might try to implement an ultrasonic sensor.

Robotics competitions are fun because so many people are willing to help. We borrowed an ethernet cable from TNT. We helped a couple teams get their robots working, especially the team from Perham. It was great seeing so many people and teams that we have worked with in the past couple years like KnightKrawler, King Tec, DataBits, Robettes, Fighting Calcs, Kaotic, Blaze, and many more.

We had our YouTube videos playing in our pit again. It's incredible how many people stop by and watch videos and ask questions. Talking to people about FIRST, our sponsors, and our team is fun.


Duluth Match Schedule

Match 2 - 9:06am
Match 18 - 10:42am
Match 27 - 11:36am
Match 34 - 1:18pm
Match 46 - 2:30pm
Match 51 - 3:00pm
Match 59 - 3:48pm
Match 70 - 4:54pm
Match 86 - 10:30am
Match 93 - 11:12am


We arrived in Duluth last night! The drive was long but went pretty fast.

HUGE THANKS to Myhr Fabrication for letting us use their truck and Randy Fischer Real Estate for the trailer.

Unloading the robot was an experience. It was incredibly cold and took quite a long time waiting in line and stuff. But it's done and we are ready for today! 

Last night was fun. Some team members played cards games and others played Rock Band. It was super fun. We love our team. 

Practice matches and inspection start today!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

We leave TOMORROW!!!

For reals though. We leave tomorrow.

As in the day after today.

As in the day before two days from now.

As in Wednesday. (What is up with that spelling?)

As in 24 hours from now.


We wrapped up our final items today (other than packing the trailer and van, we will do that tomorrow).

The Chairman's display board is done as well as all the Judge's Awards packets and swag items.

Robot stuff is all packed up and ready to go. Bill of Materials is done. Sponsor banners are printed.

We also spent a lot of time today meeting with people about an offseason event. Looks like it's going to happen! Now we just need a name.....

We even had some time today to tour a company in Alexandria, Douglas Scientific. Longer post on that tomorrow maybe.

Monday, March 3, 2014

More Lake Superior Prep

Make lots of swag (teaser to the right)
Clean up robot room
Pack toolboxes for Double DECCer
Print pit scouting sheets
Make word searches for bored scouters on Thursday
Practice Chairman's Speech
Organize match scouting sheets
Print off awards for Judge's
Print off Judge's Robot Handout
Make Judge's outreach handout
Watch matches to discuss strategies and fouls
Print Judge's swag items
Save Chairman's video to jump drive

Need to do:
Finish bill of materials
Finish Chairman's display board
More Chairman's speech practice
Print sponsor banner (see below)
Make video playlist for TV in pit

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Lake Superior Prep

^ That sounds like a private school doesn't? Anyways...

Team 3313 has been busy busy busy the past week gearing up for the Lake Superior Competition in Duluth, MN. We have never done two Regionals before and never competed at one this early before. There are some adjustments to make.

We have a van and hotel reserved. Only 10 team members can make it to Duluth so we're squishing into 3 hotel rooms (saves money). 5 girls in one room, 5 guys in one room, and 3 mentors in another. Good thing we like each other! We're also only taking two vehicles. A Sprinter van that holds 10 people and a truck with a trailer provided by one our sponsors, Randy Fischer Real Estate. Again, good thing we like each other, it's a 4 hour drive to Duluth!

We have been finalizing some plans for the Lake Superior Regional such as:

  • Making spare parts. We use a pincher style pick up. So we made 2 extra copies of the grippers in case something goes wrong. We will also bring some sheet metal, lexan, and window motors in case something goes wrong.
  • Swag. We have some really cool plans for swag at the Regionals. They're tied in with our Chairman's theme which is cool. Plus, they look awesome. However, they are EXTREMELY labor intensive so we hope we get enough done by Duluth. We also have some additional stuff for the judges which is going to be sweet.
  • Banners. We have the new team banner but we're also making a sponsor banner and a team photo banner which will be on the sides of the pit. The sponsor banner looks awwwwwesome!
  • Chairman's Video. Our first draft is complete. We will submit this version at Duluth. Then, if we want to make changes or add things, we will be able to do that before 10K Lakes in 3 weeks. Probably won't upload it until after 10K Lakes.
  • Chairman's Speech. Still adding, still tweaking, still memorizing. We will run through it multiple, multiple times on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. 
  • Judge's Handouts. We made a robot-centric one that actually looks pretty sweet! The outreach one is being worked on. 
We've been watching a ton of matches. We hope teams will be realistic about what they can do during alliance driver meeting planning. If a team says they can do autonomous and can't, that wastes a lot of time spent chasing down balls that don't get bonuses. Same goes for picking up the ball and passing, if you can't do it, just say so and then play defense (correctly). Being realistic about your robot is very important.

There's definitely going to be a "feeling out" period for the first few matches. Seeing what people's strategies are and seeing what works best for our robot. Also, seeing how close the refs call fouls will be important for elims.

Basically, we are super excited. We leave in 4 days!!! AHHH!