Waterloo Practice Day

Alarms rang at 5:45 AM and our breakfast bagel party started at 6:00.  We’re all awake earlier than we’d normally be, and we’re excited for all the fun!  We learned today that operating two toasters and a few lights in a room will trip a breaker.  We did this last year too.  We should remember this for next year!breakfast bagelsWe got to the Waterloo University PAC around 7:15 and were the first team there by far.  We’re not used to this, and were a little surprised not to see our friends 1114 and 2056.  We think they were there just as early but at another door.first in lineWe made good use of our time to nap a bit, chat a bit, knit a bit, and get excited.  safetyWhen the stands opened up we realized quickly that things can very easily fall down through the open areas and get lost under the bleachers.  We aren’t supposed to go under the bleachers to retrieve things, so we decided to tie all our important tools to ourselves so they don’t fall down.  Here’s how we keep our scissors safe.the pitThe pit crew worked hard to set up our tools and get the robot pieces back together again.  Yesterday we created a long list of tasks, and decided on priorities.  Today we worked our way through them all!sponsorsWe put up all of our pit decor, proudly displaying our sponsor logos on the wall.  Our sponsors have been extremely supportive this season, and some have already redoubled their efforts to support our team now that we are going to the Championships.  Thank you very much sponsors!the pitsWe are one of 30 teams at this regional competition.  The venue is divided up into two areas.  The pits are 10 foot cubes of space for each team which acts as our home base for robot repairs and battery charging.  Judges come by the pit to talk about our robot and our team.  Teams come by our pit to scout as well.the fieldThe other half of the venue is the playing field.  We’re glad that we got here early to get some pretty great seats.  We were sitting right behind our friends team 771.  One of our mentors was a 771 student a few years ago! SWATOur mentorship team is really special.  We have many Queen’s University students who are alumni of FIRST teams (1114,610,771,772,1620, and our own 2809).  Each of these mentors brings with them different skills, talents and experiences from these teams.  We also have many mentors who have experience outside of FIRST which provides us with a wealth of ideas and approaches to solving problems, mechanical and otherwise.campus tourOne of our K-Botics alumni, John, came to visit us today.  He is studying mechatronics engineering at Waterloo.  John gave us a great campus tour and explained about how being a part of a FIRST team has helped give him hands on skills, and how important it is to work hard in high school classes to learn the basics so well that you can do them quickly.  solar carWe saw a really cool solar car on the wall….dinosaurs…and dinosaurs….lecture hall….and we even snuck into a lecture hall to see what being in a university class would be like.  Thanks John so much for your great tour full of fun facts!pit crewWhile some of us were on a tour, the pit crew was hard at work getting our robot to pass inspection.  We connected the shooter again, positioned the new electrical box, made a new battery mount, and put a second camera on.  It was a very very busy day, and we accomplished a lot.practice scoutingOnce there were lots of robots on the field playing practice matches, our veteran scouts started to train our new scouts.  We record data about each robot’s performance in each match which gets compiled in a database.  After 4 years we have an scouting system that works pretty well for us.  knittingWhen not scouting, we made time for other fun activities like knitting lessons….victor….or walks in the sunshine to see the wildlife of Waterloo.on the fieldOur robot passed inspection, and was even under weight…by a good 6 pounds.  We were able to take to the field to test out the systems in a real game scenario.  There were a few bugs, but we’ve got a plan to work things out tomorrow.minor adjustmentsWhen we realized how underweight we were, we were able to put on an upward facing bridge tipper that’s nice and robust.  Vacuums are very handy to have when drilling through metal on your robot.  Metal shavings can cause a lot of damage and some very exciting sparks when they get into the electronics.  We worked hard to avoid that scenario.safetyBy the end of the day, we were feeling a whole lot better about our robot!  thumbs upPart of our debugging plan included bringing a target back to the hotel to test the camera code.  We looked pretty funny as we rushed through Waterloo University campus with our backboard!targetWe had dinner at the Mongolian Grill, which was a really fun experience, and the food was great too!dinnerWe returned to the hotel, absolutely exhausted, and were in bed by 9:30PM.  The competition begins tomorrow.  Here’s our match schedule.our match scheduleHere’s a link to the webcast, and the standings will be available also.  We appreciate all of our dedicated fans cheering us on from home/school/work, from Kingston, India, and Afghanistan!  We hope to make you all proud.

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2 Responses to Waterloo Practice Day

  1. The Bird family says:

    Best of luck K-botics, we’ll be watching and cheering you on!

  2. Cornelio says:

    Excellent Job K-Botics 2809 Team. Very good luck today!!!

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