Our Vacuum Sucks…

It’s so exciting to be in competition season now!  Good luck to all teams participating.  We’re watching webcasts and getting more and more excited for next week in Oshawa!webcastProgramming is happening so we can test our shooter tomorrow in the warehouse.programmingKnitting is happening so everyone has a team hat for competition.  We’ve got only a few more to go!knittingToday’s major project involved a lot of vacuuming!  We have spent the last few meetings working on creating a vacuum former to create our chain guards.  Today we put the finishing touches on, and gave it a try.finishingWe needed to make a mold for our chain guard, which included some creative measurements through the bag.  We’re really glad the bags are clear!  After our measuring we used styrofoam, cardboard and duct tape to create a 3-D shape that melted plastic would form to.measuringSince thin Lexan is about $80 a sheet, we had the brilliant idea of using crazy carpets instead.  They are on sale now–we’ve not had much snow this winter!  We were lucky to find some in our team colours at Canadian Tire.crazy carpetThe crazy carpet was cut out to fit on our frame.staplingWe used a staple gun to attach it.  It’s important to put the staples close together.  We used a hammer to make sure the staples were secure.vacuumNext came the vacuum contest….which vacuum sucked the most!  Our vacuum from our workroom had holes in the tube and a clogged filter.  The custodian’s vacuum was not much better.  Thankfully one mentor lives really close to the school–her vacuum sucked the best!broilingWe put the plastic into the oven which had been set to broil.  We watched as the plastic went wavy, then flat.  When it is flat, it is ready to go.heatingThe vacuum was turned on, the mold was placed on the vacuum box, and the plastic sheet overturned on top of it all.  Using oven mitts and a heat gun we massaged the plastic in place around the mold.  There’s a bit of a learning curve with this process.  Sometimes there are holes.  After our 4th try we got a really good one!coolingWe chilled it in the fridge to cool it down a bit.doneThen we removed the plastic from the frame and took the mold out and cut around our shape to reveal the coolest chain guard ever!packingWe’re taking our vacuum forming supplies and our robot shooter to Transformix tomorrow to keep working.

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