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  • High School Robotics

    Some how, I've been manipulated into being the assistant coach for the new robotics team our local school is trying to start up.They said they needed another coach and since I was a toolmaker in my mis-spent youth, I would be a good fit for the job. We still could use someone to teach Java programming though. I do G-Code, and that's about it.......

    This isn't the basic Lego's Robotics that the Elementary kids can do, this is just a step down from "robot wars". The teams are given a task for the robot to accomplish, the league supplies some bits like a motor, wheels, basic controls, and some basic parameters like size and weights, but the kids are pretty much free to be as creative with whatever materials they can get.

    And while we are a very tiny school, 280 students aged from pre-school through Sr high, we will be competing against schools of all sizes in the state of Minnesota. A neighboring school that is the same size as we are is off competing at the Nationals in Texas this week.

    We do have access to the school shop where I have uncovered a dusty old lathe and mill in a dark and dirty room. I was told the machines haven't been used in years. We also have stick welders and a gas torch, an Ironworker, metal saw, and small pan brake. And most importantly, a cadre of students that come from generations of farmers and loggers and they have spent their lives around machines - operating them and fixing them. So there should be talent.

    I will be teaching design principles, 3D CAD, 3D printing, how to operate the lathe, mill, Ironworker, brake, and other tools they will need to use. Plus general guidance on the teamwork and collaboration of ideas.

    I might have bitten off more than is good for me.
    If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.

  • #2
    Congratulations, you are setting a great example sharing your skills.

    Comment


    • #3
      Is it robotics or radio control vehicles?

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      • #4
        Radio controlled machines. They are required to operate autonomously for the first 15 sec of the (2+ minute) game.

        I was on a team in CT for 15+ year. Crazy fun (or just crazy at times). Great way to get kids thinking about engineering/building, and not just playing video games someone else created. One of our bigger success stories- kid joined the team with plans to be hairdresser when she graduated HS. Got hooked on engineering. Graduated college and is designing prosthetic limbs today

        Chris K

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ChrisK View Post
          Radio controlled machines. They are required to operate autonomously for the first 15 sec of the (2+ minute) game.

          I was on a team in CT for 15+ year. Crazy fun (or just crazy at times). Great way to get kids thinking about engineering/building, and not just playing video games someone else created. One of our bigger success stories- kid joined the team with plans to be hairdresser when she graduated HS. Got hooked on engineering. Graduated college and is designing prosthetic limbs today

          Chris K
          This is the thing we are hoping to have happen. If we can get maybe 1 or 2 out of a hundred students to go on to be better than they thought they could be. We are a pretty insular community here. And kids don't get to see or often experience other possibilities in life. Grandpa is a farmer, Dad logs, an Uncle drives a truck over the road, Mom works sewing curtains or as a Hairdresser. And the kids here often don't see anything beyond that.

          While being a truckdriver or being a hairdresser are valuable and important jobs, this world also needs people who can shape and build this world too. And those kids will be the future.
          If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.

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          • #6
            Welcome to the madness, I’ve been mentoring a FRC team for 19 years.
            When I get Time... I'll...

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            • #7
              Good for you for stepping up. All the old farts with the "kids these days...." lines haven't done so and haven't seen there are still lots of keen, hard working, technically minded kids out there.

              I have been sponsoring one for years, and 3/4 of my engineering staff now are keen young minds that came here through the program. Unlike a lot of begineer engineers, these kids have actually made stuff, and spend their leisure time doing so - they're the hires I want!

              I originally was introduced to it by a good friend, who switched from a tool maker to shop teacher and mentor to the robotics team. He had (since retired) very few management skills, probably was a bit of a dictator and ultimately (imo) lost his marriage over it (during robotics season, a good part of the year, that is all he did, year after year).

              The current mentors (basically my team), having been through such an autocratic regime, are doing it differently and view it as a people and project management exercise (and it doesn't hurt me to see them building those skills as well).

              Good luck with it and keep us posted
              Last edited by Mcgyver; 04-14-2022, 09:35 AM.
              in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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              • #8
                I mentor FRC Team 100 at Woodside High in Silicon Valley. Team 100 was the first FRC West Coast team, and was founded in 1995. My focus is on the shop and mechanical design. The school has a Haas TM-1, a Grizzly G4016 lathe, a LMS benchtop mill, and a Wabeco-based bench lathe with Mach 3 CNC control. I put DROpros DROs on the Grizz lathe and LMS mill and otherwise have things tooled-up fairly well and have a number of students trained on the machines. Lately, the shop and machines have been used exclusively by the robotics team and not as part of academics. One reason is that it has been difficult to retain qualified and interested teachers due to lack of competitive pay, especially for the SF Bay Area.

                The success of these programs depends on what the local public is willing to fund in terms of staff time. There are schools in poorer districts that have multiple paid teaching staff with steady tenure running robotics programs, and schools in relatively wealthy districts in which the staff support ebbs and flows year to year. It is interesting to me that the Woodside program mostly attracts students who are headed to four-year STEM degrees at top universities, even though there is a population of students who likely will end up as tradespersons, and could benefit from the hands-on training.

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                • #9
                  Why would you want to be a coach?
                  It used to be everyone wanted to be
                  a designer or engineer or architect
                  when it came to technical subjects.
                  A coach is for sports. I get it, robotics
                  is a competition thing. But coaches
                  don't do design and engineering.
                  If I were begged to do it, I would
                  demand a less diminutive, sorry
                  more glorious, title.

                  -D
                  DZER

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Even the HS chess team team has a coach.
                    For non-sports teams: advisor; mentor; tutor; technical lead, might be a better title.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Doozer View Post
                      Why would you want to be a coach?
                      It used to be everyone wanted to be
                      a designer or engineer or architect
                      when it came to technical subjects.
                      A coach is for sports. I get it, robotics
                      is a competition thing. But coaches
                      don't do design and engineering.
                      If I were begged to do it, I would
                      demand a less diminutive, sorry
                      more glorious, title.

                      -D
                      I'm sure that, if they met you, they would quickly come up with some really glorious titles for you.

                      Regards, Marv

                      Home Shop Freeware - Tools for People Who Build Things
                      http://www.myvirtualnetwork.com/mklotz

                      Location: LA, CA, USA

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mklotz View Post

                        I'm sure that, if they met you, they would quickly come up with some really glorious titles for you.
                        Laughing out loud ! ! Thanks for that ! Ha ! ! !
                        I totally represent that...

                        --Doozer
                        DZER

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                        • #13
                          I am a machining mentor for a FRC in Michigan, our motto is "robotics the one sport where everyone can go pro". It is refreshing to show a student how to run a machine, and then give them a drawing of a part, and get a part back, and then have it fit on the robot. This year has been tough, but the students have risen above the adversity, and produced a fine robot. I have coached or mentor in elementary, middle, and high school, the FIRST program is great and it is a joy to see the students grow up going through all the levels.
                          Mike
                          Brandon MI
                          2003 MINI Cooper S JCW#249
                          1971 Opel GT
                          1985 Ford 3910LP

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                          • #14
                            Why would it matter to anyone what the title is? Is that what is stopping you from contributing?
                            Last edited by Mcgyver; 04-14-2022, 06:53 PM.
                            in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mcgyver View Post
                              Why would it matter to anyone what the title is? Is that what is stopping you from contributing?
                              Dude I am joking.

                              -D
                              DZER

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