Need help organizing your team in the preseason? Having trouble teaching team members the necessary skills for a successful build season?
Consider the training method adopted by The Girls of Steel this preseason.
The Girls of Steel rolled out a 3-3-3 training system.
3 hours of hands-on mentor training
3 hours of independent or group work
3 hours of homework
We split out team up into three technical teams: mechanical, programming, and electronics based on each girl’s interests.
Each team completes four levels of training in one preseason:
Level zero: learn safety techniques and basics of the discipline. All girls must attend level zero for each team.
Level one: introductory to team’s simple tasks.
Level two: expands on skills and increases in difficulty.
Level three: mastery in the team’s skills.
At the end of each level, a test is administered to guarantee competency and understanding.
Here is an overview of the levels The Girls of Steel administered this year:
• know shop safety rules, be able to name bandsaw, wet saw, drill press, sander, grinder, shear, brake, mill, and lathe.
• Name and use crescent wrench, adjustable wrench, socket wrench, allen wrench, nut driver, Phillips head screw driver, flat head screwdriver (and know where they get put away!)
• Name and use channel-locks, vice-grips, lineman’s pliers, needle nose pliers, clamps
• Name and use ball peen hammer, dead blow mallet, center punch, transfer punch
• Name and use socket cap screws, washer, nut, nylock nut, set screw, locktite, identify screw sizes (4-40, 6-32, 8-32, 10-32, ¼-20)
• Read a part drawing
• Chains: breaking, using master link, using half links.
• Name and use tape measure, ruler, square, protractor, caliper
• Use cordless drill, hacksaw, dremmel cut off tool, clamp
• Andymark gearbox assembly
• Tell difference between aluminum, steel, and hardened steel
• Use drill press, band saw, horizontal band saw, wet saw, replace fluid on wet saw
• Cleaning up cuts with deburring tool, file, sander
• Layout and fab flat part from drawing using drill press, band saw, and wet saw.
• Hole sizes for standard screw sizes (clearance and tap), tapping
• Riveting (hole size, material thickness, hand riveter, pneumatic riveter)
• Arbor press: press bearings and bushings, broaching
• Drilling on mill: install chuck, vice parallels, use edge finder, DRO, drill point/starter drill), counter sink, reamer
• Test: Drill precision hole pattern in flat part
• Basic Milling: install collets, facing, slots, grooves, speeds and feeds for aluminum
• Basic Lathe: cut plastic spacers, cut retaining ring grooves, with chuck, drilling, speeds for aluminum and steel
• Test: cut plastic spacers to length, cut slip-ring grooves given a drawing, drill a hole. Make a piece that has hole, step, slot, precision length, from bar stock, from provided drawings.
• Understand what a program is, compiling, and Java virtual machine
• Understand how to use existing FIRST system (install NetBeans, check out SVN repo, build code, download to robot, basic robot operation)
• Editor/command line programming tools
• basic program flow
• variables, if/then, loops, basic io (System.out.println, input using Scanner)
• Arrays, methods, file IO
• classes and inheritance
• Name and describe function of common electronic components (cRio, power distribution board, digital sidecar, Jaguar, Spike, battery, encoder, motors (CIM, AndyMark, window motor, etc.), limit switches, light
• Name and use wire cutters, needle nose pliers, magic screwdriver
• Battery charging, battery care, and battery beak usage
• Read and understand FIRST provided schematic
• Wire gauges, know rules for gauge and color usage
• Electronics board layout guidelines, wire harness layout
• Soldering basics (tin leads, limit switch terminals)
• Crimping big terminals, power cable construction, heat shrink tubing, heat shrink labels, strain relief
• Crimping small terminals, limit switch and PWM cable construction, encoder cable construction, pneumatic valve cable construction.
• Component layout in solidworks, board design, mechanical construction.
• Wire harness for moving parts.
• Installing encoders
• Name and describe function of pneumatics parts (compressor, pressure control valve, pressure control switch, tanks, valves, pressure gauges, fittings, pistons)
• Layout FIRST legal pneumatics system
What are the perks of a training system?
All of the members of your team are garunteed have a complete knowledge of their technical team and a basic knowledge of all other technical teams.
New members will have a well-rounded sense of requirements.
This is a quantifiable way to track the team’s progress
We made “progress posters” to encourage healthy competition.
Each time a girl passes a level, she gets a star on the progress poster.
~Laurel, The Girls of Steel, FIRST Team #3504
The price of a bitcoin topped $900 last week, an enormous surge in value that arrived amidst Congressional hearings where top U.S. financial regulators took a surprisingly rosy view of digital currency. Just 10 months ago, a bitcoin sold for a measly $13.
The spike was big news across the globe, from Washington to Tokyo to China, and it left many asking themselves: “What the hell is a bitcoin?” It’s a good question — not only for those with little understanding of the modern financial system and how it intersects with modern technology, but also for those steeped in the new internet-driven economy that has so quickly remade our world over the last 20 years.
Bitcoin is a digital currency, meaning it’s money controlled and stored entirely by computers spread across the internet, and this money is finding its way to more and more people and businesses around the world. But it’s much more than that, and many people — including the sharpest of internet pioneers as well as seasoned economists — are still struggling to come to terms with its many identities.
With that in mind, we give you this: an idiot’s guide to bitcoin. And there’s no shame in reading. Nowadays, as bitcoin is just beginning to show what it’s capable of, we’re all neophytes.
Although we were missing in action for a bit, RookieFIRSTs is back for the new season! Here is an important topic that is talked about often in FIRST.
What is Gracious Professionalism Anyway?
According to USfirst.org, the FIRST(TM) core value of gracious professionalism is a way of working together and competing against each other in a way in which we celebrate everyone’s contribution. Many people talk about gracious professionalism as if it is the same as sportmanship (you know–congratulate the winner, don’t pout over losing, don’t gloat over winning), but allow me to illustrate to you in a story (a sports story actually)how it is so much more.
It is documented here: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mrloganrhoades/player-ties-his-opponents-shoe-sportsmanship
It’s a soccer story in which the keeper realized his shoelace had come undone. Wearing bulky gloves, he could not tie them. As he tried in vain to get the referee’s attention, the opposing team’s striker came up to him. And while it may have been easy at this point to take the ball and score a goal, he instead bent down and tied his opponents shoe. Because the keeper held the ball longer than 6 seconds, the referee called a penalty and awarded an indirect free kick. Being perhaps the greatest soccer team of all time, the opponents booted the ball out of play instead of effectively taking a free goal. The crowd went crazy with admiration. The game ended in a tie.
The striker showed gracious professionalism by tying the goalie’s shoe. The opposing team showed gracious professionalism by not taking advantage of the resulting free kick penalty. It was a win-win. They all did the right thing, for no personal gain, and their opponents rewarded them by also doing the right thing. The crowd rewarded them by cheering wildly. If there was a FIRST(TM) team around, they were probably creating a home-grown gracious professionalism award for the soccer players.
What examples of gracious professionalism have you seen in your dealings with FIRST(TM) robotics teams? Last year we were encouraged to share parts and tools on competition day. We were impressed when some teams came around and gave us a “clean workpit award.” We were grateful for the Girls of Steel and how they still were so helpful to us as a pseudo-rookie team. How can we as a team embody this core value? What can we do internally to help the new members over the learning curve? How will gracious professionalism make us a stronger, smarter team? Lets look for examples, document them, and be the gracious professional ambassadors for the Pittsburgh Region.
Mary Beth Renze
Mentor for FIRST Team #4150, FRobotics
Last week’s test-launch of SpaceX’s Grasshopper saw the vertical-takeoff-vertical-landing (VTVL) vehicle soar to a record-setting altitude of 744 meters. Equally impressive: the vehicle was filmed mid-air by a hexacopter â which, hot damn, talk about getting up-close and personal.
Researchers at MIT have created cube-shaped modular robots that can flip, jump, and assemble themselves into any number of configurations. And remarkably, they have no external parts.