This was the week to roll out the red carpet - for our playing field! As exciting as it is to design, manufacture, and build a robot, teams also need a space to test their prototypes. Thanks to generous support from our sponsors, CSP 4188 was able to spend week 2 of our build season doing just that on our full-size field.
It has been a long journey for us to reach this destination. CSP 4188 began as a rookie team in 2009. We had no dedicated space to meet, rotating from various classrooms across our school district. We started over in 2012 as a community team, still without a permanent home. In 2019, the Muscogee County School District (MCSD) graciously provided us with the Butler Steam Center, a space large enough to accommodate our machines, 3-D printers, tools, and manufacturing equipment. This space also houses one of four full-size fields in the state, which is part of Georgia FIRST’s “DE” initiative.
DE fields include complete sets of field elements as well as space to compete and practice. As a DE field, CSP 4188 invites FRC and FTC teams across the Peachtree District to join us for practice scrimmages, utilize our equipment, and receive technical training from our coaches, mentors, and members. The goal of the DE initiative is to help more teams gain the skills and practice needed to be invited to the FIRST competition (and, hopefully, compete on the championship field).
Maintaining our field would not be possible without our sponsors. We are incredibly thankful for the MCSD and Superintendent Dr. David Lewis for allowing us this space to work, play, practice, and compete. We are also thankful for the support of Columbus’ Char Broil company. Since 2018, volunteers from this company have built our entire practice field and helped us assemble it. Stay tuned to our blog to see more photos of our field being #ChargedUp!
Kickoff. Every FRC team’s deciding moment, the moment that announces the new game and determines what the team must do to win. With our team composed of half rookies, kickoff also happened to be one of the most exciting and important team bonding experiences that we’d ever experienced.
The week before kickoff, our team had conducted a practice kickoff, basing it off of 2018’s game, FIRST PowerUP! We split everyone into randomized groups with veterans and rookies alike, all of whom had different areas of expertise. Each group convened, shy at first, unwilling to talk until a veteran team member started insightful conversations about robot strategy, robot design, or even better, cats. Through the practice kickoff experience, we bonded as a team, providing a much-needed foundation for the upcoming season.
On the day of kickoff, we split into the same randomized groups, each group now more sure of how to properly strategize an FRC robot. With proper team bonding, more creative questions were asked, ensuring that we created the perfect strategy for the upcoming season.
“What do we use the sustainability bonus for?”
“Is it legal for us to have an arm that extends out of both sides of the robot?”
“Is it legal to have a circular chassis?”
As soon as we’d decided on a strategy, we picked the subsystems we wanted to work on, splitting up into IPTs (integrated processing teams), such as drive train, arm, or claw. We immediately began prototyping, each IPT thoroughly focused on ensuring that the robot gets built in a timely and safe manner. Following kickoff everyone was at practices, dedicating every second of their time to building this robot; CADing and programming at school, home, and robotics; and stalking other team’s prototypes and robots to ensure that what we planned to do had the potential to be effective. Kickoff week was more fun than we could’ve imagined, giving us the opportunity to become more well-rounded as individuals, and as a team.