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The 2017 Game challenge, STEAMworks

The FIRST Robotics Challenge (FRC)

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Vail Academy & High School
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  • 2017 Season Is Here

    7 June, 2017

    We are moving along with the redesign and rebuild. The programming team is learning C++ currently. Being summer we are getting minimal attendance, but that's okay when it comes to focusing on teaching. Dates for AZ State have been announced (Oct 20-21, 2017). Location and invitees are still TBD. Anxieties are high, so being impatient as we are some of our members are caclulating as well as we can to see if we can figure out who's invited and once it's officially announced, to see how close we are.

    John Pyeatt
    Team 1828 Mentor
    6 May, 2017

    Here we are at the end of the entire season. While we are recovering from the previous season, we are also prepping for the upcoming season. One of the things that we have to take care of is the redesign and rebuild of this last season's robot. The robot was named 'Mercui', which is elvish for mercy. The robot and the second regional showed us very little of that.

    Our first regional was the AZ North in Flagstaff. We did fairly well there, placing 22nd out of 48. The story was not anywhere near that in the Las Vegas Regional. At the end of the first day we were 47th out of 47. The second day did little to better our standings. We did climb to 41st out of 47, but only because of the alliance teams. At the end of every match we were affecting repairs to the robot.

    The most enlightening part for me, and the proudest, is that the team never lost heart, and never gave up. It was a huge learning opportunity for the team, and they used it. Unfortunately, Mercui was left crippled and unusable. Therefore, we are redsigning and rebuilding the robot. You may ask yourselves 'Why?'. Well, because there is the possibility of Tucson Tussle happening in the fall, as well as a good chance of us being invited to State again this year. Even if we weren't, the answer would be 'because we can, and because we should.' This is a great team this year, with great student leadership. They have all learned a lot. I am very proud of the team.

    Now we are ready for our 'End of Year' banquet this coming Thursday. Wednesday will be the new elections for the upcoming season's officers. Leads will be appointed by the new officers. All students are able to vote. To be eligible to run for an officer position, however, students must meet the minimum requirements.

    John Pyeatt
    Team 1828 Mentor

    5 February, 2017

    It is scary to say that week 4 is already over and we are about to start week 5 really soon. The following email will recap the highlights of the now passed week. Please feel free to email us back with any questions. I would also like to apologize for the inability of some that could not view the pictures from last week's email, so included in this email are those pictures.

    Drawings and parts were continually given from the Design Team to the Build Team. The Build Team then took those drawings and began to make some parts with the material we have. While there was some difficulties with the drive train, we were able to overcome the problems and continue to finalize. The hopper (place where the balls are stored) and the shooter was also in the process of construction. As parts are being created, even filing the sharp edges are important tasks. Every tedious task has a huge purpose, so thank you to all! Design also got really creative with color schemes on the robot (a picture below)!

    Programming continued to work on our autonomous for the competition. We are planning on placing a gear and shooting the loaded fuel, but they have also written code for just placing a gear. These two options will allow us to switch depending on which teams we "play" with at competitions. Electronics Team has also been experimenting with sensors and the camera.

    Business Team has been contacting local companies and corporations, asking for sponsors and donations while the Media Team has been updating social media as well as creating videos. One of the videos completed during the fourth week is a PSA about texting and driving. The video will be on our YouTube sometime this week, but we will make sure to keep you posted!

    A lot of major teamwork and communication was conducted during the week, so thank you all! Also, thank you to everyone for your continual support! Wish us luck as we enter our second to last week!

    Thank you
    Trinity Peters

    29 January, 2017

    Good Evening All,

    I apologize for the late email. The following information will be a recap of the events that happened during our third week of build season. Excellent work and enthusiasm from all!

    Throughout the week, the design team has been providing the build team drawing files, so the build team can begin more components of the robot. The Design Team has been feverishly trying to modify the robot design. Pictures of the robot design in CAD as well as the students working (courteous of our wonderful Media Team) below! Build and Advanced Fabrication has also been working all week on the drive train. With our custom drive parts, our new welders have been doing an amazing job welding the new pieces to the frame!

    The Electronics Team have been playing with a mock electronics board along with fixing previous years' robots. Along with the Electronics Team, the Programming Team has been modifying code for previous years' robots, getting ready for future demonstrations. They have also completed the theoretical code for this year's robot, and have been experimenting with different drive set-ups and joysticks (some of the joysticks being a PS4 and X-Box Controller)! We are all excited!

    The Business Team, all week, created buttons, continued to revise the awards, and edited animations as their due dates approach. Our Media Team has also developed new flyers and brochure designs to pass out at our events. Be sure to look out for them! A huge thanks to Kara Burkholder's grandfather for printing the buttons and thank-you cards for our team!

    Another huge thank you to all the parents for the meals and all of your support!

    Be sure to check out the pictures! Not everyone will be in these pictures, but as build season continues, we will try to send pictures of everyone on the team! There are also more pictures on our social media!

    Week 4 starts tomorrow!

    Thank you

    Trinity Peters

    21 January, 2017

    Week 2 of build season has completed, and everyone is still working hard! The following will just be information/highlights of our actions this week. Please feel free to email us back with any questions!

    On Monday, the design team completed the "hopper" design in CAD and worked more on the other components such as the shooter and the gear handling mechanism. Build also began construction on the drive train as well as the different field elements for our practice field. Buttons, banners, and the business plan was also worked on (all this week) by our Business and Media Teams. This was a long day for the BoxerBots, but progress was made!

    Tuesday consisted of finishing up the boiler/rope mount for the field elements. The Electronics and Programing Teams tested some of the encoders that we plan on using for our shooter and drive motors. As the drive train was continued to be worked on, design was working diligently at trying to finish the robot in CAD before we can construct the remaining elements.

    Wednesday rolled around with more work on the previously mentioned projects. Business has also been writing to elementary and middle school robotics teams in the district, and they have also been writing grant submissions.

    Thursday (when we are normally off) consisted of the design team, making 3D models of more elements of the robot.

    On Friday, we also continued working on previously mentioned projects. The Electronics Team completed the construction and wiring on our new flag pole that lights-up! Competition will be a blast as we wave our flag in style!

    Saturday ended with parts of the drive train fabricated, a near completed 3D modeled robot, a "standard" "(banner) design voted on, fine-tuning previous years' robots with code and fixing wiring, and edits on our awards and submissions. As far as the construction of the robot, the Programming Team and Electronics Team has been pretty hands off, waiting patiently for a built robot to come their way, so in the meantime, they have been training and trying to work on robot code/wiring that can get completed while waiting.

    Another great week, so thank you to all! We will make sure to keep you updated as we head into week 3!

    15 more working days left until robot completion (around 22 more working days until Bag and Tag)! We can do it!

    Thank you,

    Trinity Peters

    15 January, 2017

    Week 1 of build season is complete, and might I add that it was VERY successful. Every one of the students has been working very hard, so I would like to thank them. The following email will just be information/highlights of what happened this week. Feel free to email us back with any questions!

    Day 1 was exciting as we took everyone's ideas, brainstormed at kick-off and weekend creativity, and narrowed down to which we wanted to see on the robot as well as which we would like to prototype. Great designs and ideas from everyone! Meanwhile, the design team has started to 3D model the drive train base in Solid Works.

    Day 2 was in full swing where the build team took one of the ideas we wanted to prototype (the shooter) and began creating a quick wooden replica to test the functionality. To test the shooter, electronics team provided a mock electronics board while the programming team wrote code. Design team started to design the intake system to retrieve balls (or "fuel") off the floor, the holding system for the balls, and the gear intake/placement.

    Day 3 also consisted of prototyping another shooter design, so we can test which we prefer. For design, the drive base 3D model was finished and more work on the intake, holder, and gear system was done. Build also worked on creating a mock field of the game out of wood, so once we have a robot completed, we can test with field elements.

    Day 4 closed with us continuing to work on projects and finishing up designs.

    Day 5 was also productive where the holder was finished in CAD and field elements were constructed/worked on.

    While this information is a recap of the robot, our wonderful business and media team has been working hard as well! Buttons were created, essays for awards were fine-tuned, social media has been updated, and more! Be sure to check out our social media for videos and pictures! Some of our students are also working on a recap video which we will be posting/sharing, so be sure to look out for that.

    Thank you to all of the students for a great first week! Everyone has been keeping busy and contributing to the success! Let's keep it up! Also, thank you to the friends and parents of the BoxerBots for all of your support!

    Get ready for week 2! We will make sure to keep you all updated.

    Trinity Peters

    8 January, 2017

    We now know what the STEAMWorks mission is all about. Check out the full game reveal here. We are excited about this game season and are already underway with designing the robot. We have several components identified and are working to come up with the overall concept. We will have this nailed down Monday and we should have the drivetrain design by Tuesday. In the meantime we will be wroking to identify the mock field pieces we will need to test the robot components as they are completed.

    I have added new links in the links page to the video tours of the game field components, as well as the game material. This includes the game manual, game logos, field drawings, etc.

    4 December, 2016

    With kick-off right around the corner we are gearing up for our December Parent Info Night, taking place 8 December at VAHS's MPR from 6 to 7:30pm. I hope all parents will be there. I have place the new Menu Sign-up Sheet online, accessable through our Calendar page on this website. Parents, please sign up for at least one evening for a meal. With 29 meals to provide, and almost 40 active team members there should be no reason for any parent to sign up twice. There are 3 Saturday lunches along with the 26 evening meals to provide. Please help support the team. Meals do not need to be fancy. Burgers and dogs, spaghetti, chili, etc, are all acceptable and fairly cheap meals to provide. We just want to avoid needing to grab pizza often, though it is acceptable also , from time to time.

    Once again we will be participating with Optimal Robotics from Palo Verde Magnet High School for Kick-off on 7 January, 2017. Like last year, our plan is to watch the video, break up into teams and review the rules, then devise our strategies. From there will come the robot design best suited to the desired accomplishments of the individual teams.

    20 October, 2016

    So, we have now registered for the AZ North Regional and the Las Vegas Regional. The AZ North Regional is in Flagstaff, AZ, at the Walk-up Skydome from March 8th through 11th. We will depart Tucson at approximately 12pm on the 8th. The hotel we stay in is in works and we will email that out when we have it. We will check out the morning of the 11th and attend the rest of qualifications and finals. We will depart for Tucson after the awards ceremony following finals.

    The Las Vegas Regional is April 5th through the 8th. We will depart Tucson at approximately 7am on the 8th. Again, the hotel is in the works. We will return to the hotel after the awards ceremony following finals on the 8th. We will depart Las Vegas at approximately 7am on Sunday, the 9th.

    Finished at State in 18th. Not the best, but not the worst we've done, either. All of the students had a really good time, and it was an excellent learning experience for them. They learned, for one, NOT to forget the wrenches when we go to a competition. We knocked the track off during a match and didn't have the tools to fix it. Fortunately we were able to borrow tools and barely got the track back on and tensioned before it was time to go back on the field.

    We were not selected to go into the finals this year. I see this as more of an opportunity to find ways to improve our team and the performance of the robot than a direct reflection on the team. Again, networking is of importance at these competitions, as well as individual robot performance. While we kick butt, we can do better, and we will.

    11 October, 2016

    All right everyone, coming out of Fall break. We are headed up to Phoenix on Friday for the Sanghi Foundation Arizona State FIRST Robotics Competition. We have made our modifications to The Kurgan and are raring to go. A small group of us will be there on Friday, with the rest joining us on Saturday. Feel free to join us and cheer the team along. It will be at Arcadia High School in Phoenix.

    11 September, 2016

    We had a small showing for Parent Info Night. The slides are now updated and posted on the Parent Info page. I have also updated more information on the page relevant to this season's competition. I will be emailing out the slides to all parents, along with a summary of the discussions/questions during the event.

    One of our sponsors will be given a presentation on October 6th. The Arizona Senior Academy in the Vail area will be hosting the event. Come see the students give a presentation to our sponsors. Also look for other presentations that may interest you being hosted by ASA.

    The Tax Credit information is also updated including the link to the form page. For our team, please make sure that you make the tax credits to Vail Academy and High School, and write "Robotics" in the "Other" field. For the online payment, select Vail Academy and High School in the school drop-down and then "Robotics" from the Vail Academy Activities drop-down.

    10 September, 2016

    We had a great mini-kickoff for our preseason builds. Half of our team will be working on a t-shirt cannon, and the other half will be working on a Frisbee shooter. It looks like designs are mostly done for both already. This is our first season that we are attempting this kind of effort, but it already looks like it's paying off in the excitement of the participants of the team. We look forward to their progress.

    21 August, 2016

    Okay all, we have received news that the Tucson Tussle is cancelled for this year. While this sounds like bad news, there is more than a silver lining. Instead of renting the field from the San Diego team that had it, Palo Verde's team (Optimal Robotics) has made arrangements to purchase a field. This is the basic field as listed at AndyMark. The seasonal game components are extra each year. From my understanding, last season's game components ran for $8K. So they have opted not to invest the extra for only one event (Tucson Tussle). Understandable, in my humble opinion.

    All of the necessary forms have been loaded to the site. They will be emailed out, and some printed copies will be available at the next meeting, as well. Upcoming events, Parent Info Night will be at VAHS in the MPR on Sep 1 st from 6pm to 7:30pm. Please come by.

    11 August, 2016

    Wow! What a first meeting! We had well over 40 students present for the first meeting. Thank you to all who attended and we expect to see you again next Wednesday. Next Wednesday will be a 1:30 to 3:30 meeting because of the half-day that will be going on in all of the high schools. Though we will not be meeting this Friday (8/12) or Saturday (8/13), we will be meeting next Wednesday (8/17) and scheduled for next Saturday (8/20).

    Everything is off to a great start. We also have Arizona Public Media doing a special on the team for this season. They will be in and out throughout the year. We are very excited to see the final product on that one, as well.

    I will be updating the website some more tomorrow with updated forms for this year, so keep an eye out. Make sure to get the media release and the transportation forms in immediately.

    30 July, 2016

    We made it to all of the Open Houses for the high schools, thank you to all of the administrations for allowing us this wonderful opportunity. We made it to a couple of the Freshman Orientations, as well. Thank you to all who attended, and to those who signed up.

    Our meeting schedule for now is Wednesdays from 4pm to 6pm for the whole team, Fridays from 4pm to 7pm for Advanced Fab only, and Saturdays from 8am to about noon for the whole team again. We are still located at VAHS in Rm 218. Advanced Fab has an alternate schedule for safety reasons. This schedule is a new thing for us and may be revised as the season progresses so we may provide a better learning environment.

    We chose 4pm to give the students coming from other schools the chance to get to VAHS. There is an adult at the room from the time the school lets out until the meeting time to provide a place for students to do homework or to get a jump on their tasks for the day.

    The first Parent Info Night is scheduled for September 1st or 8th. As soon as I find my calendar again I will confirm on here and on our team's calendar. My apologies for that.

    9 July, 2016

    The Robotics Workday has been very productive. Thank you to those members who did show up. We have established a schedule for this coming season, as well as several ideas for upcoming community outreach events, fundraisers, etc. We reorganized the build room a little, bringing the design team down here into the extra space we acquired, thank you Mr. Barger. Watch your emails as we approach the new school year. Our first meeting will be August 10th . We will try to make an appearance at the Open Houses for the high schools, as well as Freshman Orientations.

    13 June, 2016

    Even though we are "off" for the summer, we have still been fairly busy. We have been assisting with summer camps, doing multiple demonstrations here and there, etc. We have been to the Rita Ranch Family Fun Day for the first time, and will absolutely go again. We have been helping with some of the summer camps put on by the district, including the Young Coders Camp at Esmond Station and the SET Summer Camp at Desert Sky Middle School.

    We will be going to the UofA this Thursday to host a session at the R.A.I.N. event taking place there, where we will demonstrate and discuss our robots and their various components, and all that goes into building one for competition. Then we will let the students participate in a little competition by operating the robots through an obstacle/task course.

    We are trying to arrange being present at the various Open Houses and Freshmen Orientations for the district. If you are interested in being a part of the team, feel free to catch us at any of these upcoming events within the district or make sure to email us with questions.

    News Archive

  • VAHS and FIRST

    The BoxerBots are a team comprised of students from all of the high schools in the Vail School District, hosted by the Vail Academy and High School and sponsored by CATERPILLAR, Inc. We take students from grades 8 through 12, in accordance with the FIRST guidelines.

    Our Team brochure

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    Scholarship and Awards

    Learn about the awards and scholarships you can get in the FRC robotics competition and team.

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