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First Tech Challenge

Vex Pictures FTC Pictures FTC WORKSHOP




The Lightning Boltz & Thunder Botz 

 FIRST Tech Challenge, formally FIRST VEX Challenge

We use it as a step before the High School Robotics Team. As we have new students arrive they learn about the FIRST program through the use of the Lego Tetrix robot kits that allow a nut and bolt assembly of robots. The full size robots can be intimidating to younger students, but with the ease of assembly of the FTC Kit, they can build a robot in a few hours and test it. It has many of the same sensors as the big robot and also uses the same type of programming.

Our first season in tech 2012 was a banner year for the team. They competed at Hartland and won first place with the robot and was undefeated. For the judging they were in the top three for all other awards but was more than please to win the won the prestigious Inspire Award as this is the top award in FTC. Our members were great at all there jobs and we thank them for there hard work.

Our second season we had so much interest in FTC we started a second team and named them The Thunder Botz. After the two teams view the new game released at the Kettering FTC Kick Off Workshop put on by The GRAYT  Leviathons they start design ideas right away.


We first have every body give a presentation of there thoughts and design ideas about the game and proposed robot. We than go through a design review using a puew-matrix with the students to break down all the ideas and rate them. We start with multiple ideas and list them. We than rate each one by category. After many reviews and rating sessions we end up with a few designs that we can test for possible use. Some design we modify from previous years but most all are new with unique ideas for this years game.



 With guidance from the mentors the students build most all of the robot minus items that need machining or special tooling that the students are not capable of doing. In those cases the students watch the machining and tooling to learn what is done for there robot and understand why.


 Early in the season we teach the students basic about design like how to draw free hand different views of objects and even three D views. We give them basics about electrical and during build we lay out FTC wiring and have them actually wire the robot. We teach them how to do it correct and if it is not correct they will do it over until it is correct. Using diagrams and number labels they have no trouble wiring the robot.


The students come up with the style for the sides of the robot and they lay it out, the mentor cut the plastic sheets and the students draw  and cut the film so it can be painted team colors. The programming is mostly done by a mentor but he work side by side with the students hoping they can learn enough to do simple modifications until they learn how to program completely.


When the 2013 team competed at the Hartland FTC event on November 23rd they won first place with there robot and they also won the coveted Inspire award which allows them to go to the stat championship.




In 2007, Team 1322 (Our FIRST Robotics Team) helped sponsor a VEX competition at Southwestern High School in Flint, Michigan. This was also the first year of our Vex team and they called themselves, The Vextreme. They finished second at this competition and won the Best Design Award. In this game they have a 15 second autonomous mode in which their robot was able to place two balls in a goal that was 12-inches tall. They were able to do this in almost every match. During the match play they were able to pick up three balls at a time and place them in their goals. There was also a 36-inch ball that they had to push on to their side. They were able to do this very well, their robot used four large tractor type wheels with four drive motors to do their pushing. Along with our very talented drivers we came "vextremely" close to winning first place. Although this was not a FIRST sponsored event, the winner qualified to go to Atlanta, GA for the finals. Since we won the award and finished in second we were asked to go to Atlanta also. Unfortunately, we did not have the funds for the trip. It was a great experience for the team nonetheless.

















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Copyright 2007
Last updated: 06/26/15.