Students continued working on making a Turner’s Cube today in class. They learned some milling basics in the classroom, and then got their hands dirty with our Trax manual milling machine. The chips were flying, and although we made a few mistakes, the principles and methodology for milling were learned. A few photos below of freshmen working the milling machine.
Today was the Medford Cardboard Canoe races. There were 12 teams entered, and some really nice looking boats. A professor from UMass Lowell had a sleek looking canoe, while a group of younger kids had a small maneuverable hot dog boat. Our two boats looked very good among the competitors, and our students were happy to talk to admirers about the work they had done. Our green boat, unfortunately, had some issues during its first race. These issues mainly arose due to an uneven paddling strategy from the team that led to them tipping over. Tough to recover from that, and the boat was damaged. Our senior boat looked solid and won 2 of its 3 races, although it was on its last legs in the final race. The senior team came in second place, and it was a fun event for everybody. I think we learned a few ways to improve the boats for next year, and hopefully we will again have multiple teams competing.
Today the Sumobots finally did some battle against each other. There were several entries from our student teams, which included names such as Bozo Bot, Mama Tipson, Connoli, Open-Faced Sandwich, Reverse Sandwich, and Kendo(Revived). Many of the bots were not as fully developed as the students wanted, but they are learning the difficulties of creating a fully autonomous robot from scratch. My favorite bot had to be Kendo(Revived) which is far and away the most advanced bot of the group. It features a plasma and waterjet steel scraper and jaw to remove combatants from its path, and is build on a solid foundation with triple traction wheels and custom circuit board. Additionally, the students were adding small magnets to get the bot to the heaviest allowable weight for combat. We had a lot of fun watching the robots today, and will probably have another day of bouts in the next few weeks, which will allow students to update their robots and make them better.
Cardboard boat construction continues here in the shop, although it looks as though my seniors will not finish their boat during this week, which is actually their last week of school. We have welcomed them to come back anytime to finish up their boats, which we hope they do. The Junior boat is coming together very well, with just one more exterior skin piece to place before they can begin working on the interior. There is still a lot of work to be done to seal the boat, but they still have about 3 weeks to go until the competition. A few progress photos of the boats.
I completely forgot to post about the Robotics Club, which Mr. Christy and myself are the moderators. To be fair, Mr. Christy spends much more time with the students, often staying until 8 or 9pm with them during the buildup to a recent contest. This year, the team participated in the MATE ROV competition, which is an underwater rover robot event. The event was at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy on the Cape, and we were there early in the morning. The contest was a little disorganized, and the start time was quite delayed. But that gave our team plenty of time to prepare and organize, since this was our first time at the event. We had two stints in the water with the robot, and the team learned a great deal from the day. Fortunately, we won! Out of the 4 scoring categories, we took 3 of them. We were completely surprised, but very happy for our students.
This means the team will now compete in the international event held in Long Beach, California. Mr. Christy has spent a lot of energy working on corporate sponsorship, and at this time we have raised nearly $20,000 to get the team to California, as well as created ongoing sponsorships for years to come. It’s been a great success, and no matter what happens in Long Beach, the team is going to get better and better each year. Unfortunately, neither myself or Mr. Christy will be able to attend the event in California, so a couple of parent chaperones will go with our team. I’ve posted a few photos below of the team and the rover. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get any good video of the rover underwater!