So build season has ended, and we’ve bagged our robot.. but our work is far from complete.

On Wednesday, we discussed our options and goals for competition, and basically decided to do everything again :P. First, we need to complete our second robot by installing swerve modules on it. We’d also like to experiment a little with the shooter to see if we can achieve more power by moving the arms closer together, so we’re planning on trying that as well.


Of course all of this means Brian is back at the CNC which he is thrilled about XD. But he compensated by taking Damian to Chick-fil-a without Sneha for the third time :P.

Also, since competitions are quickly approaching (WOOOO), we have a lot to accomplish on the management end. After a stressful few days, we have our hotels, so no tents for the Ninjineers, thankfully. Pre-competition scouting is also underway, and we’re hoping to design a really user-friendly scouting sheet this year.

Ok, so lots of info, and more long hours! 😀


Today was super productive, with a lot of progress in all areas :). We’re only waiting on the CNC plates to complete the swerve modules for the second robot, so those should be done by Monday! Programming had a breakthrough with vision sensing by making a really simple adjustment- moving the lens. We created a form for pre-competition scouting and went through all of the Orlando teams to see what information we could gather. All of the robots look fantastic, and all I really want to do is sit around and watch reveal videos all day :D.


Damian was MVP today :P. Don’t he and Jonathan make fabulous goals? 😀

Finally, we had a really nice brainstorming session talking about different strategies to employ and how to use our strengths to our advantage. I’m honestly so so pumped for this season and can’t wait for Orlando Regional… I feel so prepared in every arena and can’t wait for a fantastic season!


I hope you enjoyed our reveal! We’re really proud of our robot and can’t thank all of you enough for all of your support and guidance along the way!



This is it. Introducing our robot for the 2014 FIRST Robotics Competition: Circules.



(It rhymes with Hercules. Because we are circular and strong!)

Enjoy our reveal video here.


Thanks to everyone who made this robot possible. I can not wait to attend competitions and see what we can do! You can attend too, as all competitions are open to the public!

Our competition schedule is:

Orlando Regional

CFE Arena, Orlando
March 14th-15th, 2014
More Info

Virginia Regional

VCU Siegel Center, Richmond, VA
March 21st-22nd, 2014
More Info

South Florida Regional

Broward County Convention Center, Ft Lauderdale
April 4th-5th, 2014
More Info

World Championships (hopefully!)

Edward-Jones Dome/America’s Convention Center, St. Louis, MO
April 24th-26th, 2014
More Info

Look for the Ninjineers at all these competitions! If you cannot attend, look for a competition in your area here.


Wow. I don’t even know where to begin with this one.

Even though each individual day of build season feels long, the season as a whole has flown by. I can’t believe it’s over already! And I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved.

Last night, in classic last-minute ninjineer style, we put on our swerve drive, drove it, and successfully tested almost every robot function before we bagged and tagged and sealed it off until Orlando. Last night, we successfully sealed up the fruit of 6 weeks of hard labor (yeah, start emotionally preparing yourself for our soon-to-be-realeased GLORIOUS reveal video :D), and with it, sealed shut arguably the most successful, passionate, and groundbreaking year in Ninjineer history. This year, we didn’t just break boundaries- we laughed in their faces, and showed that a team with big goals and a lot of commitment really could make an overnight transformation into a role model FIRST entity.


(Here’s a little break from the mushy-gushy with a lovely pic of our devilishly handsome robot. Look at him blush ;D)

But honestly, I couldn’t be more proud to be a Ninjineer than I am at this moment. We submitted for every award except 3D printing (lolz), machined and programmed an ENTIRELY new drive train using photographs and CADs for reference, and had overwhelming participation compared to past years. In my opinion, this season is already a fantastic success, regardless of competition results (watch out XD).

Thank you so much every to every single person reading this right now!! This has been an incredible journey for me and the rest of the team, and I’ve had a fabulous time sharing it with you. Your responses honestly make our days, and we gather a lot of pride from our newfound presence in the robotics community. I can only hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

Finally finally (I’m sure this time :D), I know competition season is just beginning, but to all of my precious seniors: You are a part of my family, our Ninjineer family, and the FIRST family. It hurts to think about doing this again without you, but for now, I’d like to thank you profusely for the late night jokes, hard work, expertise, and brilliance that you bring to the team every single day. You lead and define us, and it’s because of your efforts that our team has been able to grow so much.


(When we start knocking on midnight still at school…. I present to you PiggyBrian. :D)

I love you all!! I’ll be in touch <3


Sorry for the lack of blog posts lately, this has been a crazy weekend.

We had a four day weekend, and were able to use every day of it.

On Friday morning, the senior engineering students had an internship at a bio-medical engineering firm. That was pretty great, but of course we were anxious to get back to the shop and work on the robot. We got some work done on swerve.



On Saturday, the work heated up for the Electrical division. In the morning, Andrey, Zach, and Lexi finished up wiring the robot with the electrical board. It looks great. After this, Ricky got to run some code for the first time! Things went well after a little debugging, however this was only with the mecanum drive. Anyway, one main event on Saturday was to attend a scrimmage in Riviera Beach hosted by team 179, Swamp Thing. It was really a great opportunity to meet with other teams and take advantage of a full field. We even got to do a triple assist with the robots from 1523. We had a lot connection issues for some reason. Over all, it was a good day to point out early problems.



Here are Gooby and Zach working hard. For some reason they reminded me of Daft Punk in Tron.




Sunday was also a busy day! Some people (including me) couldn’t make it, but there was still a lot accomplished. Gene finished up CNCing the last plate for swerve (finally!), so we’re all done. Bri walked in Sunday with the determination to finish all our swerve modules, and was met with chuckles from everyone else. But with her drive, we actually finished all four modules! Of course, this meant a late night and a complimentary Outback dinner.




Today was another day off of school for President’s Day, and of course we were back at work. Mechanically, almost everything was done, but there was still plenty to do. I worked on the robot Bill of Materials this morning, and Gene and Prajesh worked on the robot CAD. Later in the afternoon, we made the first set of bumpers for the robot.


Oh, and in that picture you can also see swerve. On the robot. Finally. Andrey and Bill did all the electrical work to get those modules running.

The robot is looking great, but I don’t want to reveal it all yet. We have 25 hours until the robot has to be sealed up until our first competition. Ricky and Andrey will be working incredibly hard tomorrow to get our code working, so we can swerve around.

And once we get that done, we can finally satisfy Damian’s desire to make a sick reveal video.


I guess Mayuri will write tomorrow, so this is my last post during the build season. Thanks to everyone who has followed along with us this season. We’ll continue to update you during the next few weeks, and especially during the competitions. I have really enjoyed writing these past six weeks, and I have enjoyed the experiences with my team. I hope that I can look back at these posts and remember the great memories.

But this is no time to get sappy. I’m ready to hit it hard at our competitions. Our motto is “go big or go home.” This year, we aren’t going home.






Yesterday I went to Chik-Fil-A with Damian and JD. And without Sneha.

We conveniently had to go to Home Depot for some PVC parts, so stopping by Chik-Fil-A to get shakes was only logical!


Also we set the fire alarm off. I wasn’t paying 100 percent attention to the CNC and it started smoking. Oh well, everything was alright, and luckily the varsity basketball game last night was not at home, because that would’ve been awkward.



Anyway, swerve is moving along. We’re almost done CNCing the plates and are now putting together the final modules.


Also, we submitted our first ever Chairman’s Award and Entrepreneurship Award!!! I’m so proud of Team Management for their great work in this!


And here’s a cake that Mrs. Hill brought with dinner tonight. It’s almost the end, and almost time to celebrate, but we have a busy weekend today ahead of bag day.





What an adventure!

I walked into robotics a little depressed today, but as always, it didn’t fail to perk me right back up. Since we decided to stay late tonight to get stuff done, we had to figure out something to eat, so we decided to collect some money and get some food from Publix. But somehow, after we gathered money from the nearly 40 people in the lab, we ended up with exactly 40 dollars…. so we had to feed 40 people for 40 dollars. Challenge accepted.

Ryan decided to go, and I got dragged along because I’m a vegetarian (typical :P). When we got there, Ryan almost spent $4 on a box of Girl Scout Cookies, and I had to drag him away from the table.

Ryan quickly convinced himself the only way to make a meal out of this was to buy ramen. POUNDS of dried ramen… (luckily, the neon colored, overly eye-catching BEEF FLAVORED!! label turned him away from that idea…)

So, 40 people in $40. When I told the Publix employee, he looked at me like I was crazy, but to be fair, the lady at the deli was incredibly helpful. Quickly deciding against chicken due to its exorbitant price, we ended up buying sliced chicken, provolone cheese, 4 loaves of bread, peanut butter, jelly, Ruffles, AND oreos. A meal of great minds :D.

The best part of this whole adventure was when we sat together, licking peanut butter off of our fingers and actually enjoying this simple meal… reminded me why this team makes me so happy. 😀


So, progress: we actually completed an entire swerve module today! Things are looking up, and we plan to attend the scrimmage in Riviera Beach on Saturday. Awards are done, so I just need to upload photos and click submit! AHHHH things are coming up so soon and I am SOOOO excited!

I love my team <3.


Wait, what is this?


Don’t worry, we’re not switching to mecanum! After all the time we have put into swerve, I don’t think we’d allow it… But Mr. Gregor has been working with some of the underclassmen to put together a reliable mecanum system as a backup. Swerve will be our primary drivetrain, but could be prone to problems so we need a backup.


Anyway, swerve itself is going great! The CNC is churning out parts, as we finished the top plates today and got started on the side plates. Those are looking great. Just look at those parts and tell me that you don’t enjoy my CNC stories (*cough* Mayuri *cough*).



Bri became the master of the swerve table and worked with Cody and Ryan to make the swerve modules. We have one that is completely done, except for a bushing that should come in tomorrow. It is all coming together so nicely, and I am really excited for the final product.





There was also a lot more work on other aspects of the robot. We mounted the defensive post onto the final robot. Mrs. Schobert and Prajesh used the heat gun to make the catch assisting device for the final robot.




Andrey, Ricky, Zach, and Lexi worked on our final electrical board as well. It is looking nice, and includes elevated sidecars. Fancy.

IMG_20140211_202359_279 IMG_20140211_202406_035


Team Management is also doing work! Amy, Sneha, and Mayuri worked on planning details for our trip to the Orlando Regional (which is one month from tomorrow). We also finished one Dean’s List essay, and will get the other done this week.


There is exactly one week left. Today was an awesome day for progress, and I am really confident in our time frame. I cannot wait to see what we finish in the coming days.

Go ninja go!


Guess what guess what guess what?!?!?

The awards due this week are (drumroll please) done! (well except the pictures :P). But seriously, this is a fantastic step forward for the team. Even if we don’t win a single award, the simple process of creating and submitting an entry lays invaluable foundations for future efforts- and basically puts us on the map. Thus far, we’ve been a very one-sided team, and this diversification has required monumental effort from the entire team- PR, team management, and otherwise- and I cannot thank the team enough for the work they’ve put in. Often, these essays seem insurmountable, but we’ve gritted our teeth and just done it, and it feels fabulous.


But enough of that! We’re getting really close to the end, so everyone seems a little bit frantic. However, our first swerve wheel is done! The wheel has been attached to the machined parts and everything works, so yay!! Things are beginning to click and the end seems in sight…


This also means we’re on full time duty all week, as in 8 PM every day- so you’ll be seeing a LOT of CNC stories from Brian… (sorry XD)


Also, we’ve more or less completed bus and room assignments for the Orlando Regional! It’s on March 13-15 (SO CLOSE!!) and we’ll be sending out more information soon. Upper classmen, I’m sure anticipation for the incredible season ahead goes without saying, but freshman- brace yourselves because you’re never going to want to leave :D.


This is a programmer in his natural environment:



This is a true mechanic:


The first picture shows Andrey working hard on swerve code, while watching the Olympics. We got to watch the live streams of a lot of different sports while we worked today, it was pretty great! Go USA! (Unless, you’re Andrey and you’re cheering for Russia…)

The next picture shows Cody pretty much making his own lathe. One of the custom shafts in the swerve called for a lock ring, so Cody popped the shaft into the chuck of the drill press and spun it at a low speed with a handsaw blade. Pretty awesome if you ask me. Here’s the finished product:



Swerve is moving along. I feel like that has been said in every post for the past two weeks. Oh well. We have everything CNCed for the prototype bot, and now I am working on some more finished products for the final robot. I’m not exactly sure what is holding up putting everything together. I believe that some belts are not in. We have about a week left to finish all of this, and I think it can happen. Some of modules stacked up:



We also have had a team working on mounting mecanum wheels, just in case the swerve doesn’t work out. This would be four mecanum wheels on nanotube gearboxes.


There was also progress on other parts of the robot, such as reinforcing the PVC tubing that helps us catch, and welding the uprights around the back end.



The robot is coming along nicely. It’ll look great in the end.


Amy, Sneha, and Mayuri made great progress on awards today! The executive summary is done. I’m really glad that we are making the effort to submit for awards this year.

Ricky and Andrey were also working hard on programming encoders.

And after all our hard work, Priyank and Robert accidentally emptied the vacuum before it reached the trash can.


Well, we have about a week left. There is a lot to be done, and I’m sure there will be many late nights, but we’ll make it. Good work everyone!






I haven’t mentioned Ricky much in the blog, but I am today at his request. He solved the communication issues between the robot and the code (I actually never caught what the specific problem was)! Because of this great work we were able to practice shooting.



Here’s evidence of the concentrated programming effort.



Our practicing was also enabled by Cody, Michael, and Bri finishing up redoing the shooter axles on the prototype bot. We are now using custom machined rods with a key shaft. Before we had a simple all thread (with no key shaft) and the constant rotation of the gear wore the rod down in a really weird way that we didn’t even notice until taking apart.


Swerve is also progressing. Today I CNCed some of the side plates for the modules. I was able to do this with help from Stepan and Gene! They were able to monitor and maintain the machine while it was running.

Damian worked more on the Media & Technology Innovation Award by making some updates to the website. For example, check out our “Sponsors” page for a few little updates. Nothing major, but just things that give the website more completeness. Hopefully we can start working on the actual submission soon.

The other awards are also going well. Today most of the officers were interviewed for the Chairman’s video.