Saturday, February 5. 2011
Former team leader Kim here!!
Eric & I drove up from Boston for one of our favorite weekends of the year!! On the first Saturday in February, the team celebrates Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, and completely reverses to the day and has Breakfast for Dinner!
Yesterday we called as we got onto 490 from the Thruway and found there was still a flurry of activity at the school, so we headed to PHS. We entered the shop to see students and mentors working on the drivetrain and other parts on the mills and drills! We headed into the computer room and were greeted with excited waves and hugs. I was immediately dragged to the closet in the shop to see the brand new sheet metal arm pieces that just came back from Harris. They also informed me that Arachnophobia (the 2007 robot) was back up and running, as they wanted to use it for training & programming. We wandered around, checking in with all of the teams, the electrical team was building a signal light, the controls team was putting together a paper version of the control box, programming students were spread out across various robots testing new code, and the field team was finishing up some painting and assembly. Mechanical mentor Tom K showed me a bunch of photos from his “real job”, the crane he designed that helps build the freedom tower – we have such amazing mentors! Time flew, and we finally packed up and headed out at midnight!
This morning we arrived to Ice Cream for Breakfast! There was ice cream, sherbet, and several toppings including my favorite – spray whipped cream! Programming students were already spread out all over the hallway we call “the Precipice of Despair” with laptops and cables and control boxes and the drivetrain! Not long after our arrival Eric & Andy were working on Drivetrain code, moving the gyro with the drivetrain up on blocks. They were figuring out their left, right, front and back drives!
It was almost time for lunch when we realized a mixup meant there was no family signed up. Fortunately we had some Guida’s coupons and ordered up some pizza and wings for the team! Big thanks to Mrs. Mlodzienski for going to pick it up! At lunch I met a new electrical mentor Gaffei who is helping out the controls team.
After lunch, I headed over to sit with the chairman’s team who were revising and writing a few new sections of the essay. A the same time the subteam leaders met for the integration meeting, projecting the design on the smart board and discussed the placement of the newly built signal light. I was distracted for a while from both of those as mentor Karen stopped by with her new baby Eamon! We got to pass him around, giving mommy a break!
Then mentor Cynette and I headed out for a shopping run to get hole saws, drill bits, organizer bins and corrugated plastic board. We were unfortunately only 50% successful, and the weather started to turn bad on our drive back, making for roads that reminded us of driving in Lunacy!
My favorite dinner of the build season, Breakfast for dinner was up next! As I walked downstairs mentors Justin & Josh from CT team 2168 called after checking in on our webcast. We brought the camera down so they could see our feast! We had waffles, pancakes, sausage, bacon, eggs, and homemade scones!! The cafeteria smelled amazing thanks to our many volunteer chefs! Big thanks to Leann for heading up the shopping and to all the families who sent waffle irons & griddles! Rochester mentor Rob broke our tradition, and didn’t make it in time to cook the bacon this year!! He did show up in time to eat with us, and redeemed himself as he walked in with an official FRC BACON Inspector Hat!! (See photo!) Mentor Alex from 3181 and Dan from RIT also joined us for dinner, and Alex came shopping at Thundermart! Once the team cleaned up, we had a half can of blueberry topping left that mentor Gaffei shoveled food-competition style for our video camera!
After dinner, I wandered around to find out what everyone was doing and meet some new kids. Justin showed me the amazing mySQL Scouting database he had built up, Alex C told me about his controls code for the autonomous selection, Calvin and Mike were working on arm code using an old robot for its encoder. Ben and mentor Mike W. were assembling the upper structure of the arm, and Jake told me how he had helped mill flats in the Andymark hubs. Jake had also just taken the tool test and as we spoke, parentor Sharon told him he got a 100%! Alex W was thoughtfully sitting in front of inventor working on the “dustpan” alignment system for the minibot deployment. He showed me how it protects the minibot and then folds down to align the tower. Its pretty slick! Mentor Tony told me he spent the entire day on the mill helping students make parts for the minibot and drivetrain.
I also got to meet a whole bunch of the new kids tonight! Matt B was working on high level autonomous code with Eric. Ciana was running around all day doing tons of mechanical work, assembly, and drawing up the electronics tray in Inventor. Manuel was working with mentor Tom C to drill tons and tons of wholes in the shaft of the arm. Shayna spent most of the day working with the chairman’s team, and Briana helped mill some parts.
At the end of the night Matthieu and Alex R walked in looking spiffy in their tuxedos! They had just gotten to perform in a concert with a world famous Ukulele player! They gushed stories about how great this guy was, apparently he could play Bohemian Rhapsody on the Ukulele!
Overall it was definitely a very productive day, with some fun mixed in! I loved meeting all the new team members and seeing how well things were going. Time is definitely getting short, but they are doing well. Eric & I will be back for the weekend of Rally! Stay tuned to the Wiki, Forums & Webcast to see the robot come together!