Vail BoxerBots
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    5 May, 2021

    I hope you all enjoyed your Star Wars day yesterday. I know I did. I have updated the information related to the season on the Skills Challenges page. All the results are in and we, unfortunately, did not progress on. We had some serious competition out there. We did, however, accomplish quite a bit in the time we had. Now we move on and look forward to next season. We have identified gaps in our knowledge and will work to close those as we move forward.

    On the upside, it looks like we will be having a "normal" season next year, with in-person events, travel, a tougher build-season, etc. I look forward with great anticipation to what next season will bring us.

    24 April, 2021

    Got the results for the INFINITE RECHARGE At Home challenge. As it stands, we did not make it into semi-finals for the judged awards or the skills challenges. It's unfortunate, but congrats to the teeams that did! This was not an easy challenge, and we are absolutely proud of the efforts our students put into this.

    If you want to see some of what was done, we have uploaded our submission videos to our YouTube channel.

    21 April, 2021

    I have added the information about this season's Challenges. The link can be opened from the "Upcoming Events" section on the right. I believe I have included all of the information, along with high-level summaries. I will continue to keep that page updated while judging continues through next week.

    14 April, 2021

    Okay, yeah, way behind on the updates, but here it goes. I will be adding a page that gives some high-level details about how the game was played this season. Needless to say, we were able to submit in almost all categories. The team decided to take on all four areas available: The Innovation Challenge, the Game Design Challenge, and INFINITE RECHARGE At Home Judged Awards and Skills Challenges. Of the Skills Challenges there were five. We were able to submit to four of the five challenges.

    I am very excited about this. This week the results for the Innovation Challenge should be finalized. At the end of next week the INFINITE RECHARGE At Home results should be published. The week after that should be the Game Design Challenge results. It was a trying time, and there was some of it we weren't sure we were going to finish out, but here we are.

    Right now programming is working again on some of the autonomous, trying to perfect the things they weren't able to prior to the end of the submission period. Some of my build crew are learning to program. The remainder are continuing work on the Innovation Challenge, partially in prep for the next level of competition, and partially because they are actually vested in the outcome.

    Pretty neat season, in my personal opinion.

    9 February, 2021

    We are still moving forward with several projects. We have the Game Design moving along fairly well. We went over the basics last night for a team vote on the path forward today. The Innovation Challenge I believe has had more progress. The concept is laid out, the general design is set forth, and we are taking another look at where we believe we are.

    Our programming team has been able to get the robot to, at least once, chase down a "lemon". We are looking forward to C418 being able to align properly on the ball, go to it, and take it in. They were also able to, from a designated starting point, advance forward and circle a cone. The next step is to start, advance forward, circle the first cone, continue on the course, and circle the second cone. We are looking forward to seeing the rest in action.

    30 January, 2021

    Yes, I have been very much behind on posting. The great thing this season is that our team is extremely excited about the virtual competition. The skills challenges particularly interest our programming team, but the Game Design and Innovation Challenges have piqued the interest of the rest of the team.

    While the Game Design team earnestly started to go down the path of a water-game, we regrouped and aligned with more realistic ventures that FIRST would potentially publish. We have also looked at the robot's physical configuration to make sure that there isn't something that we may need to change for the challenges, and so far we fortunately have not found anything that needs to be changed.

    This has helped us to identify other areas, though, where we would like to improve overall, as a team. Things like how we approach climbing, vision tracking, etc. Programming is working tirelessly on vision and sensor integration. Build has primarily been tackling the Game Design and Innovation Challenges, coming up with some good and interesting ideas.

    Build has also been dealing with another challenge that has been thrown at them, building a frisbee-throwing robot. Since build has little-to-nothing to do with C418 this season, they have the time to do this, and it helps to enhance the problem-solving skills.

    2 December, 2020

    I have been remiss in updating this page, and I apologize. Many things are happening around here. I have challenged the students with designing and building a frisbee-throwing robot. The shooter is the first part being designed and built so that we can establish that part as functional. Once that is done we will establish a drive base for it out of materials on-hand. Once that is complete, then we will hand it over to programming to challenge our new programmers.

    In other news we are awaiting the details on how the virtual season is going to work from FIRST. The majority of the game is going to be the same as last season, but there is supposed to be something different this season. We also get to reuse last season's robot, called C418. Some of you geeks out there may recognize the name. Depending on the deltas, we may need to rework part of the bot. We will have to see. We will find out at Kick-off.

    As far as we know, Kick-off will still be held at the school as we have always done. The only difference right now is that we will not be sending a crew up to Phoenix to pick up the Kit of Parts (KoP). The KoP will be mailed to us this season, thanks to the generosity of FedEx, we do not need to pay for it. The other is that we like to invite family and friends of the team members, but this season we would like to limit it to immediate family of the team members, to keep our numbers down. We will also more than likely have all of the MPR doors open to help provide a safer environment for those present. More to come on that as we get closer.

    26 September, 2020

    2 days ago FIRST released an update explaining the 2021 Competition Season as they see it today. The entire article can be found here. To summarize, this will be a virtual season. Currently no in-person events are being planned. To reflect this, the team's FIRST registration fee has been drastically reduced to less than 50% of normal. The competition will occur via a "Skills Challenge". It sounds like this will be a video (live or recorded) that demonstrates how the robot , and drive team, perform with various components of the field, potentially.

    I'm sure more clarification will come as we continue through the season. This is not what we had hoped for, but we think this is still better than what was expected. We look forward to seeing what can be accomplished in these unprecedented times.

    12 September, 2020

    Well, we have been meeting for a few weeks now. While we have a pretty small team, we are hopeful. School is about to start back up and we are excited. Right now the entire team is comprised of returning members, so very little training is happening. We've really just picked up where we left off from last season. We are continuing the programming of the robots, working with the sensors, and maintaining previous robots.

    Today we got our prototype robot, Lippa-Loop, out and playing. It was in a state of complete disrepair at the end of the last season, so we re-assembled, rewired it, and double-checked the programming. Turns out we have a bad a motor on it. We're also seeing some odd controls with the programming. So that work will continue into the next meetings. We will get it right.

    We also watched the FTC team's kick-off to see what their challenge is going to be. They have a pretty cool game this year. Check that out here.

    23 August, 2020

    Well, here we are, starting the new school-year. We will be starting meetings on August 26th for this upcoming season. 4 to 6pm at our usual build room location. We will also start our Saturday meetings this coming Saturday from 8am to noon. COVID protocals are still in place, so we will be required to wear masks, we will not be allowed to gather in groups larger than 10 (per room), and everyone will be required to have their temperatures taken (contactless thermometer).

    We will start by going over some of the known new circumstances for this season, introductions for any new team members we may have, finances, etc. I hope to see you all there.

    2020 Season Updates

    3 May, 2020

    Hello all, again. Well, here we are, approximately six weeks into this 'stay-at-home' order. Like many, I am ready to get back to life and see all of you, and interact with all of you. For some, we have probably already had our last interactions. Seniors, fare winds and following seas. It has been a pleasure. We are coming to the point of needing to elect next years officers. We will be setting up a poll with the names of those running for the positions on Google. I will email the link to students. We need names first, for those interested in running, in order to create the poll.

    I sent out an email that summarized the extra duties of those positions. While each requires a bit of time, none require an exhorbitant amount of time. While we approach the end of this season and look at what is on the horizon, I hold hope that we will be able to compete this robot, but I don't hold my breath for it. While we don't have an official answer yet on the whole situation, I don't see there being enough time remaining before we have to prep for the next competition to accomplish a regional event.

    That being said, I am discussions about when we will be able to return to the build room in order to start learning and prepping for the next season. People need to come up to speed on the X-carve and make sure to train others. Programming still has some sensor and I2C hurdles to overcome. Vision tracking I believe was almost complete, and now we need to learn to use that for control. Presicion machining needs to be taught to new members. Design can continue on the path they were on via Discord. I believe Programming may, also, to an extent.

    With all of this information, I hope you are all well, and your extended families. Stay healthy, stay happy. Remember to log in to Discord at some point and check it out. Leave messages for those around you. I will be on Wendnesday and Saturday, this week. About 4pm on Wednesday, and 10am on Saturday.

    11 April, 2020

    Hello all. We've had our first intro to Discord. That's what the team will be using for the rest of the time of this pandemic. Once our restrictions are lifted, we will start meeting at the school again, but as you all know, Governor Ducey has declared the rest of this school year the schools will be closed. So I am not sure when the restrictions for the school will be lifted to allow us to use it again.

    I do hope that all are healthy and safe during this issue. I look forward to seeing the team again, and getting back to work. We will be conducting the officer elections electronically. I haven't decided just how to handle that yet, as I still feel it should be anonymous. We'll get there, though. In the meantime, enjoy what may be the last rain before monsoons. Have a great weekend, and stay healthy, everyone.

    14 March, 2020

    Well, we have heard official word that the rest of the season has been postponed. The official post is here. We are continuing to work on spares and programming so that we are ready, just in case the AZ West Regional still happens. Like many others, while this is heartbreaking, we support FIRST's decision, as well as the local boards for the regionals to help in reducing unnecessary travel in this time.

    We have unloaded the trailer and cleaned up the shop some this morning. We are working on getting a couple of renders and drawings together to load to the site today. Design is also continuing to try to solve the climb issue. This has been a weak spot for us for many years, and now we are determined to fix this.

    Programming is going well and we are taking this opportunity to continue enhancing our knowledge and capability. Currently we are working on getting all of the sensors to communicate so the roboRIO can control the shooting sequence to accurately place the balls in the proper hole. Ultimately this will be a PID function.

    11 March, 2020

    Along with all in FIRST we are sad right now, as the AZ North Regional has been cancelled. All about this Coronavirus issue. Everyone is taking precautions against large gatherings. According to FIRST there are no refunds for the Rookie or Veteran registration fee once the team has taken possession of the Kit of Parts. While this puts a little pinch in our purse, it impacts other teams drastically. DVHS is hit pretty hard by this.

    Don't take this wrong, it is standard policy, it just bites for certain situations like this. Should our AZ West regional be cancelled, we are entitled to a refund, according to FIRST rules. Right now we're just hoping that it isn't. There is talk of postponing some of these events, so there is hope it may still happen. We just don't know when.

    Meanwhile, we are continuing to prep for the next competition. We are fabricating more spares and continuing to work on programming. Our MPR is occupied (we weren't supposed to still be here), so driver training is on hold. We should be able to work on this on Saturday. We will not be meeting next week, but we will the week after, before our next competition.

    4 March, 2020

    We have been working hard, and now have a robot built and getting its final programming. We are getting all of our stuff together for travel. We are practicing driver training. Unfortunately selections will have to be made before they have had a good amount of practice, but it is where we are. Having been behind schedule now for a few weeks we will have to shoot from the hip on a few points.

    A few students from Desert View High School will be here Saturday to pick up some programming tips from our crew. Their students are fairly new to the C++ side of the house. It's been nice to be able to assist them this year, even though it has really been at the end. They will be joining us at AZ North, as well.

    The AZ North agenda (as it is) may be found here. Please feel free to take a look at it to see what we will be doing. Some is explained in there, and some isn't, really. I will try to expand on it over time to give good explanations of some of the aspects of our competitions. There is quite a bit.

    This Saturday we will also be loading the trailer in the afternoon, potentially with some rain, but everything dries off well. It's the final step before we leave on Wednesday. I'm excited for us, and looking forward to finally being at competition.

    29 January, 2020

    We are now in week 4 of the build. The design is solid. Fabrication is underway and moving fairly well. We are behind schedule, but moving forward. Because of the clarity of the design it seems that we will progress through the fabrication and build fairly quickly, so we may be able to catch up to our proposed schedule. The programming team has done well in their endeavors to bring the sensor suite into our autonomous.

    Right now they are working with LIDAR, vision tracking, gyro, photogate, 2M Laser Rangefinder, hall effect, encoders, etc... Working in the new 2020 format is interesting for them, but they're getting it done. We will be testing several subsystems shortly and then bringing them together. I am excited about the capabilities of this season's robot, which remains nameless, but we'll get there, too.

    13 January, 2020

    We have an online store open for a limited time. Please feel free to visit here and purchase some of our branded merchandise. Thank you for your support.

    7 January, 2020

    Here we are in day two of the build season. Our intial design is almost done. Our drive train is coming together and we are waiting on pieces to start building the mock field pieces. We have determined we are only going to build the power port and the trench with control panel. We had most of the wood necessary, but not quite all of it.

    Before the actual meeting starts some of our students are continuing on a small side-project that is providing a hands-on learning experience for them. They have designed and are finishing a robot that can pick up soda cans and set them on a solid surface approximately 10 inches off the floor.

    We're also trying to figure out where to add the links on our site for watching the events live. When we figure this out in the next week or so we will make it known. Our first event isn't until March 11th so we have some time.

    4 January, 2020

    Kick-off has come and gone. What a great day! We got the rules mostly figured out and a conceptual design for the robot. We actually finished ahead of schedule. Usually we are still wracking our brains at 1:30pm, but this year we managed to have the concept by about 1pm. We threw a little bit of a curveball at them and told them they had to accomplish all of the game's tasks this season.

    We want to thank all of the mentors that helped to make this happen!

    We would also like to thank the attendees for being there to support the team members, as well as the team members! We had 100% attendance this year, and I'm not sure that's EVER happened in the past.

    14 December, 2019

    This has been a crazy week. We found out that our luck has changed for this coming season. We were asked if we were interested in competing at the AZ West Regional. We accepted, and received confirmation Thursday that we are in. Now starts several other things, then. We have to reserve hotel rooms, check our budget, reserve vehicles, and receive approval to travel. The event takes place from April 1st through 4th, so there will be some school missed on this trip. We will be looking to leave around 1pm on April 1st. Under our current plan we should return about 10pm on April 4th.

    We will be holding Kick-Off at VAHS in the MPR on January 4th. We will be having several extra attending, and hopefully this year more parents and family members will participate. This is a major event for the team where we find out what this year's game specs, robot specs, game play, etc are revealed. We spend the day going over this information and trying to develop our game strategy which gives us a conceptual design for our robot.

    13 November, 2019

    Hello all, ComicCon was an absolute blast! Hope you got to go. We also recently attended the Vail Academy and High School STEAM night. There were robots, rockets, astronomy, and marshmallow roasting. It made for a very nice evening. Coming up we have a Computer Science night at the Vail Innovation Center. There is also the Parent Info meeting coming up on Dec 7 th. This is for all parents.

    28 October, 2019

    The BoxerBots had a great presence at VailFest this year! Thank you so much to those who assisted, and a great Thank You to the Vail School Foundation for the invite to the event. We made some great connections with some folks out there and we look forward to those becoming long-lasting relationships!

    The BoxerBots will be at Tucson Comic Con Friday, November 1st through Sunday, November 3rd! Come out and check out this great event in Tucson. We will be in the FamilyZone for this event, as I understand it, which is on the main floor. This will be our second year at Tucson Comic Con!!

    24 October, 2019

    Thank you all who came out to support the BoxerBots at Chili's Give Back night! We greatly appreciate the support we get from our community! It means a great deal to us to see how many in the community believe in what we are doing!

    17 October, 2019

    We will have two fundraiser events coming up. One of which is the Chili's Give-back night on Wednesday, October 23rd. The other is the FunPasta event we have done in the past. This gives us about a 50% return on sales. It's a great opportunity for us.

    8 October, 2019

    Updates for October:
    As we roll in to October there are a few updates to make known. First is, we are registered for the AZ North Regional to be held in Flagstaff, AZ at the Walkup Skydome in March. We will be making selections for our second regional soon. As there is only one regional this year in the state of Arizona, our second regional will be out of state. We will be heading to California or possibly back to the Utah Regional in West Valley City. Though it is a really long drive, it was a fantastic venue with amazing people and teams there.

    Another update is that the game teaser came out last month. It is here, so please watch it and think about the possible meanings behind many things. For those that aren't massive geeks like the Team Mentor Mr. Pyeatt, the Star Wars™ language is called Aurabesh. The three statements in the video are (in order) "FIRST city", "Threat detected", and "Authorized Personnel Only". This is all we get until kick-off on January 4th.

    We have picked up another event in October. On the 26th we will be attending the 10th Annual VailFest at Pima County Fairgrounds. It will be a long day. Those that volunteer for this will meet at VHAS at 7am. We will roll shortly after that as we need to be set up by 8am. The event is supposed to go until 7pm, but I'm not sure we will be staying for the entire event.

    Lastly, I currently only have three students who are registered with FIRST. Any student that intends to travel will need to make sure they are not only registered, but that the parents have digitally acknowledged the "Consent and Release" form. For more information please see this link. You will find links and instructions here.

    4 September, 2019

    It has been a couple of weeks, and I'm finally uploading the Parent Info presentation. I will be mailing it out by the end of today's meeting, as well. We have some upcoming demos that students should be looking at for outreach hours. An email went out with information and a request to respond. Several have already, and I thank you that have. For those that haven't, you should be looking at those dates.

    Speaking of dates, today we will be looking at available Regionals for selection for our ravels. We won't be deciding today, just going over possibl options. AZ West hasn't been listed, yet, and I hear the AZ South is having a logistical issue, so may not happen this year.

    23 August, 2019

    Tomorrow is the first Parent Info meeting, which shall start at 8am at VAHS in the MPR. There is also a normal meeting for the team running from 8am to noon. I have updated the "Documents" page with this year's forms and handbook. The "Parent Info" page will be updated with this year's presentation after the meeting tomorrow. I will also email it to those parents I have on our email distribution list.

    8 June, 2019

    The new season information is located here.

    Disney and Lucasfilm have partnered up with FIRST. Check out the promo here..

    All of Force For Change news is here .

    Our first official meeting for the 2020 season will be 7 August. This season, we are accepting 8th from all throughout the district. New members from 9 through 12th grades will need to be attending VAHS. Those members who have alreadybeen part of the team are grandfathered in.

    2019 Season Updates

    8 March, 2019

    We have finished build season! We are set for Flagstaff for the Arizona North Regional. Notifications have gone out to those who have qualified for travel. Next week we will be notifying the schools of those who are qualified for the Utah Regional in West Valley City.

    We are currently at the SARSEF Future Innovators Night at Tucson Convention Center. We had a visit from R2-D2, who even danced with Kurgen a little.

    27 February, 2019

    We have at last reached the end! We successfully finished out the robot and Bagged & Tagged! Software provides enough functionality to accomplish the mission, but our developers are still working to provide more automation, as well as a full autonomous.

    Everyone else is prepping for either regionals or our upcoming SARSEF Fair attendance. We will be there on Friday, 8 March for the whole evening, allowing youngsters and adults alike the opportunity to drive our previous robots.

    We want to extend a huge 'Thank You!' to the parents of our team members for providing some wonderful meals during our build season. It is such a huge thing for us, even though some of them may seem so simple to you parents. I also want to extend a huge 'Thank You!' to Tracy Pyeatt for keeping it all organized and running. Another 'Thank You!' goes out to Vail Academy and High School for providing our dedicated space to work in. A final 'Thank You!' to our sponsors, Caterpillar Inc, South32 Mining, Plum Plumbing, Elegant Iron, Vail School District, and all of you wonderful community members who donate to our Tax Credits.

    11 February, 2019

    Hello BoxerBots!

    I can't believe we are almost done with build season. This past week build has been busy adding the gantry and shooter mechanisms to the robot. Unfortunately we had to take them off again on Saturday to cut out lightning holes but they are back on. We are stilling waiting to mount our ground pickup until it is welded completely. We have been able to test the gantry seem to work as designed.

    Programming has been working on a simulation for the field and the robot for driver practice. They have also been working on vision tracking and have started to debug. Electronics has been working on wiring motors and sensors. Business has submitted both the Woodie Flowers and the Chairman's award. Design has made any on the fly fixes and is working on other projects like a battery cart and modeling our past robots.

    We are in the home stretch. While we are behind where we need to be, I am hopeful we'll finish on time and that our drivers will get at least some practice with the robot. Thank you to all the families who have been so supportive and helpful this build season.

    Kara Burkholder

    4 February, 2019

    Hello BoxerBots!

    I can't believe that we are already in week 5, it seems to have gone by so quickly. Design continued working on scouting, drawings, and answering questions for build. Build has been working incredibly hard on finishing parts and getting assemblies mounted to the robot. So far we have the shooter mounted and will have the gantry mounted by the end of today. We sent some pieces out to be welded and once those get back we will mount those to the robot also.

    Electronics worked on the final electronics board and started wiring motors as build has been putting them on the robot. Programming made incredible progress this week and has theoretically finished all the autonomous and operator code. They are going to start testing and debug this week. Business has been submitting the Chairman's award and is working on the Woodie Flowers award.

    I have been so impressed with the progress we have made this build season and I'm so excited for our robot to be finished. All of our students have been so helpful in working to get the robot done and I'm so thankful for all the work they have put in! I would also like to thank all the parents for making it possible for students to be here and for bringing in lunches and dinners.

    Kara Burkholder

    26 January, 2019

    Hello BoxerBots!

    I can't believe we are halfway through build season already! Design made some fixes to the robot and has finished the robot render. Build has started assembly on several different mechanisms, including the gantry, hatch cover pick up, and shooter. Electronics has been wiring up motors and sensors as build starts to put them on the robot. Programming is almost finished with driver code and is starting on autonomous.

    They have also made a lot of progress with vision capabilities and the raspberry pi. Business finished and submitted the business plan and has begun working on the Chairman's and Woodie Flowers award. Unfortunately we have gotten off schedule as we are waiting on parts and trying to learn new electronics. However, I think we will have a completed robot before the end of build season and our driver team will have time to practice with the robot.

    Thank you all so much for the continued dedication and support, especially to the parents who have brought in meals! You are greatly appreciated by everyone on the team!!!

    Kara Burkholder

    21 January, 2019

    Week 2 Update:
    Hello BoxerBots!

    As we go into our third week I just wanted to recap everything we have been working on so far. Design has finished the robot CAD and is just working on some fixes and creating drawings of parts to give to build. Build has been working extremely hard on fabricating parts and is almost finished with the gantry assembly. This upcoming week they should be starting to assemble parts and put them on the robot!

    Electronics has started to wire up the drive train and as more sensors and motors get put on they will be working with those. Programming is working with encoders and has made some great breakthroughs with the Raspberry Pi and vision capabilities. Business submitted the Business Plan and has started to work on the Woodie Flowers award and Chairman's. So far almost everyone is on track and we're happy with the progress that all the subteams have made!

    Thank you!
    Kara Burkholder

    14 January, 2019

    Week 1 Update:
    Hello BoxerBots!

    Since kickoff we have all been very busy! Design has been working very hard on coming up with a robot to compete this year. Currently most of the mechanisms are done in CAD and they have started to complete drawings. Build has been working on making the game pieces that our robot will use once it is finished. The drive train is complete and we will start building on it on Monday. Electronics has been creating a mock electronics board and is working on how the real electronics board will look. Programming has finished the drive code and is practicing with previous years robots. Business has been working on the business plan and the Chairman's award.

    A HUGE thank you to those families who have brought in meals so far. We are extremely appreciative! And thank you to all of our students and mentors for their time, hard work, and dedication!

    Kara Burkholder

    10 January, 2019

    It is near the end of the first week and we are coming along pretty well. We are about to mount the proto elex board on the drive train. Programming will pick that up tomorrow and get it functional for testing driving and handling on this layout.

    Most of the main designs are done, now just detailing what we have remains. We opted to only build a mock of the bottom 40 inches of the rocket for practice. We can mount it higher temporarily to mimic the upper targets of the rocket.

    8 January, 2019

    Build season is upon us! This looks like a great game! The team is already amped up and ready to be done with the bot. Design is still working out some issues. The drive train is almost complete. Programming has the new software installed and is working the drive code. Unfortunately, cannibalization of last year's robots is happening. We haven't determined if this is temporary, but most likely not.

    It's the sacrifice that must be made from time to time, especially as we battle some low tech challenges. Most of our battles now are administrative, which is great compared to where we usually are. Our team was of course at the Kit of Parts pickup, as well as hosting our own team event. We watched the game reveal and there was a great amount of excitement from the start.

    1 December, 2018

    Welcome to December, everyone! We have just finished another demo here at VAHS, and will be at the Vail Innovation Center on Monday, December 3rd for their Computer Science Night. Come out and see us. Hopefully we'll have Rocky fixed up by then. We've been running into some issues with him lately during demos, and this most recent one is no different. Although we may have to completely replace a sprocket on his drive train.

    We are quickly approaching Kick-Off! That time of year when we find out what our missions for this season is. We are all excited and anxious about it. Come join us on January 5th at the VAHS MPR and support the students. We open by 7:45am, and will have coffee and some snacks. Videos should start rolling by 8am. The game reveal video will be played most likely at 9am. I will update this as soon as I have confirmed.

    I want to thank all who participated in the Chili's Give Back event. While we are still waiting for our final results, we are thankful for every bit we get. We also want to thank those who participated in our FunPasta fundraising. We are expecting to get back about $400. Every little bit helps, and I think this was a little more fun than the typical chocolate or popcorn fundraisers. We expect to do this again.

    5 November, 2018

    Come join us at Chili's on Broadway on Wedensday, Nov 7th from 11 am to 10:30pm. You will need a copy of the flyer in either physical or digital form. You can find it HERE.

    We are officially registered for the Utah Regional as our second regional. This will be held in West Valley City (a suburb of Salt Lake City) at the Maverick Center. We have not booked hotel rooms for either event we are registered for as we have to work within district guidelines to obtain permission from the Board prior to being able to put a card on file with the hotel, thereby making the reservations official and binding.

    Right now we are on hold with the La Quinta in Flagstaff. We have not even made it that far with the Utah arrangements, yet.

    30 September, 2018

    We have officially registered for the AZ North Regional in Flagstaff, AZ. This will run from March 13 th through 16th at the Walkup Skydome on the Northern Arizona University Campus. We are, as always, excited about this event as it provides a cooler atmosphere that is more hospitable to our robotics way of doing things, including being able to cook our lunches on site.

    We are working towards hotel reservations and those on the email list will receive the information as sono as we have it.

    8 September, 2018

    We just finished our first Parent Info meeting. I always hope more parents will show up. I will be posting the slides shortly to this site, as well as emailing them out to parents, along with forms and links. We had t-shirts there, which will be back for next Saturday (9/15), for sale.

    We also had a display of the new shirts available, a polo and two glittery shirts. These are for sale, but you must order specifically. We have order forms available in the build room for those.

    We will hold another Parent Info meeting in November that will be geared towards this specific build and competition season. That info meeting will go over travel expectations, destinations, and schedules.

    25 August, 2018

    We are rolling into the pre-season. Students are already working on their certifications for their subteams. There is still room on some of the subteams like business/media, design, and build. We are gearing up for the first Parent Info Meeting on September 8th to be held here at VAHS in the MPR.

    23 June, 2018

    We are gearing up for our next season. Our first meeting will be held 8 August, 2018. We will meet at Vail Academy and High School. Currently we are to be in the MPR, from 4pm to 6pm. Kara Burkholder is the new Team Captain and Jacob Bessette is the new team Vice-Captain.

    The first meeting will consist primarily of introductions, sub-team orientations, and paperwork. We will get contact information and send home permission forms. Email is still our primary source of communication, so it is imperative that we have not only students' email addresses, but parents as well.

    I look forward to seeing you there.
    John Pyeatt
    Team Coach & District Sponsor

    2018 Season Updates

    18 May, 2018

    We have closed out our 2017-18 season. We have elected our new team officers for the 2018-19 season. We have held our annual End-of-Year banquet.

    27 April, 2018

    We made it back from World Championships in Houston, TX. We did pretty good, overall. Sure, we placed 50th out of 68, and our final record at the end was 3 wins and 7 losses, but overall our robot did pretty well. We spent the majority of the time functional, which is better than we honestly did at either regional.

    1 April, 2018

    The El Paso regional began much like the AZ North Regional. A full day of work on day one to get the robot up and running and inspected. We weighed in at 115.8 pounds originally, having replaced the four-bar system with the newer pincer set-up. We also had to remove several stiffeners from the drive chassis to accommodate the larger wheel diameter.

    In our first matches, our driver was getting used to the newer robot and the superior performance of the new drive. It wasn't long before he had the hang of the new robot and the improved gameplay. Suddenly we were competitive, scoring cubes in both the switch and the exchange. Unfortunately, also wasn't long before we revealed some more issues. The first was the ability to lose a whole wheel since the stiffeners had been removed from the drive chassis.

    When our robot worked, we had amazing matches. When it didn't, it was disheartening. Again, the team never gave up hope and kept going, intent on finding solutions to our issues. Though we ended up finishing 37th out of 37 teams, our students never let themselves get down. I personally am more proud of their overall attitude than any accomplishment on the field.

    As is normal for a team at this point, after alliance selections we went on to pack up our pit and load out. Once that was done we joined the rest of the team in the stands to enjoy the rest of semi-finals and finals, then the awards ceremony. We sat and cheered everyone and every team that got their well-earned awards. All the way through the regional finalists and regional winners. Then the coveted Chairman's Award. The MC described the Chairman's award, then went on to their cryptic description of the winning team. As they mentioned '...their box of tricks..' a gasp escaped a team member. This had a shockwave effect on our team. I pointed out there was a team named 'Tricks are 4 kids' there, and it could be them. They went on to read statements that should apply to any team going for the Chairman's award. The team kept getting more excited, and I kept shaking my head and softly saying 'No, don't get over-excited' as I've seen the devastation of the let-down.

    Then came the statement about '... Public Safety Announcements...', and I quit shaking my head and started thinking things like 'How do we get to Worlds?', 'Do we have enough money to take everyone?', 'What do I need to do to get us ready?'. At this point, I was now sure we had just won, then came the announcement "... Team 1828, The BoxerBots!!". Shock, pride, relief, anxiety, etc. It was an amazing experience. This team has strove for this for over a decade, and this year's team finally brought it home!

    11 March, 2018

    Attending the AZ North Regional in Flagstaff was a pleasure, as always. Even with 60 other teams there it is a great venue and well coordinated. The weather is always wonderful, as well as our hotel staff who take great care of us at the La Quinta.

    It was a rough regional for the robot as we found flaws in the design of the robot. We started day one (Thursday) with finishing work on the robot to get it ready to be inspected. This took several tries as we were overweight the first time by a pound and a half. Back at the pits we drilled out some lightening holes (holes intended to remove weight from the robot). On our final effort, we finally weighed in at 119.7 pounds (limit is 120). With inspection finally through, we focused on getting the mechanics and pneumatics of the robot to work in code.

    Our first match we found out our clearance was a little too low-profile as we had difficulty even moving, high-centering on the carpet from time to time. We also had difficulty getting the four-bar mechanism to move, and the gantry to rise.

    This all resulted in on-the-fly engineering and never once did the resolve of the students falter. We raised the robot by increasing the diameter of the wheels by wrapping them with various materials. This was a constant maintenance item as each match wore out the wrapping. We added a tensioner for the chain that our elevator uses to raise and lower the gantry. The four-bar system was a constant issue as each match bent the brackets for the control system a little more.

    The whole time we were discussing what would need to happen to make it better for the El Paso Regional coming up. The students had some good ideas. One we went with was the changing of the four-bar system to a fixed arm system similar to a popular design amongst our competitors at AZ North, using two pair of powered wheels on 'pincers' to suck the power cubes in and going to six-inch wheels for the robot as opposed to our four-inch wheels.

    So cheerful were the students that we took the Spirit Award home from AZ North. I was pulled aside here several times and received compliments about the team members and their resolve and well-mannered behavior by other mentors and judges.

    27 January, 2018

    Good Afternoon All!
    Today marks the end of Week 3, and we are still holding very strong!

    Yesterday marked the end of the second week of our Build Season, and everyone is still working hard to finish our robot/awards for competition. The preceding email will just be information/highlights of what happened this week. Feel free to email us back with any questions.

    The design of the robot was completed during week 2, and I am very excited about how it turned out! Attached to this email, is the rendering of the 3D model that the Design and MDE sub-teams have put enormous effort and countless hours into, and I am very thankful for all their dedication and focus.

    Drawings (our "blueprints") have been created and printed, so Build Team was able to begin cutting pieces for the robot. This week (week 3), we hope to continue (and finish) the process of fabricating our pieces as well as begin assembling each of our components together. Build Team also finished the Switch (the shorter scale that is in front of the driver stations on the field), so we can begin practicing when our robots are up and running!

    Electronics Team has finalized a conceptual layout for the electronics board as well as worked on testing our pneumatics system. Programming finished drive code and have worked with mapping the different functions of our robot onto a controller.

    Finally, Business has finished writing several awards, and moved towards the revision process. They have also been teaching our members to dance, so we don't miss a beat at competition! Media is doing a great job with documenting our progress (and our silliness)!

    I cannot express enough how excited I am for this season! We have been doing really well, and I'm so thankful for everyone's hard work! Also, a HUGE thanks to the families who provided food these past two weeks; it was delicious!

    If you are interested in watching the BoxerBots in our "natural habitat," please feel free to stop by our build room at any time to check out our amazing members at work! Also take a look at our social media and the pictures attached to this email (courtesy of our wonderful Media Team) for our actions throughout this build season!

    30 more days left until Bag and Tag, but we only have 11 more working days left until our twin robots need to be finished and ready for driver try-outs!

    Thank you
    Trinity Peters
    Exultant Captain

    22 January, 2018

    Good Afternoon All,
    Yesterday marked the end of the second week of our Build Season, and everyone is still working hard to finish our robot/awards for competition. The preceding email will just be information/highlights of what happened this week. Feel free to email us back with any questions. The design of the robot was completed during week 2, and I am very excited about how it turned out! Attached to this email, is the rendering of the 3D model that the Design and MDE sub-teams have put enormous effort and countless hours into, and I am very thankful for all their dedication and focus.

    Drawings (our "blueprints") have been created and printed, so Build Team was able to begin cutting pieces for the robot. This week (week 3), we hope to continue (and finish) the process of fabricating our pieces as well as begin assembling each of our components together. Build Team also finished the Switch (the shorter scale that is in front of the driver stations on the field), so we can begin practicing when our robots are up and running!

    Electronics Team has finalized a conceptual layout for the electronics board as well as worked on testing our pneumatics system. Programming finished drive code and have worked with mapping the different functions of our robot onto a controller. Finally, Business has finished writing several awards, and moved towards the revision process. They have also been teaching our members to dance, so we don't miss a beat at competition! Media is doing a great job with documenting our progress (and our silliness)!

    I cannot express enough how excited I am for this season! We have been doing really well, and I'm so thankful for everyone's hard work! Also, a HUGE thanks to the families who provided food these past two weeks; it was delicious!

    If you are interested in watching the BoxerBots in our "natural habitat," please feel free to stop by our build room at any time to check out our amazing members at work! Also take a look at our social media (courtesy of our wonderful Media Team) for our actions throughout this build season!

    30 more days left until Bag and Tag, but we only have 11 more working days left until our twin robots need to be finished and ready for driver try-outs!

    Thank you,
    Trinity Peters
    Exultant Captain

    13 January, 2018

    Good Afternoon All,
    Week 1 of Build Season is complete, and I am excited about our progress. A HUGE thanks to ALL members for their constant hard work and dedication thus far. Keep up the great work! The following email will just be information/highlights of what happened this week. Feel free to email us back with any questions!

    Day one, we discussed all of the brainstorming from KickOff and the Leads/Officers decided on a conceptual decision. For the remainder of the week, we have completed many different tasks!

    Design and MDE have been working VERY efficiently at "CAD-ing" our conceptual design and making drawing files for build to begin working with. They finished the drive train design and sent those files to our amazing sponsor, Elegant Iron, for fabrication.They are EXTREMELY close to finishing the entire design.

    Build has been hard at work creating mock field pieces, so we can practice when our robot is finished; they have also finished machining parts for the drive train! Electronics has started to look at board configuration as well as testing pneumatic systems. Programming is writing drive code to be applied once the drive train is finished, early next week.

    Business/Media are also making huge progress at finishing the Chairman's short essays, maneuvering through revisions for Business Plan, and updating our social media.

    Again, I'm so thankful about how much progress that has been made. We are doing really well this season, and I'm excited for what our Build Season brings us at competition. While we may have 37 more days left until Bag and Tag, we only have 17 more working days left until our twin robots need to be finished!

    Thank you
    Trinity Peters
    Proud Captain

    12 January, 2018

    We are at the end of the first week and we are excited about this year's game! For those that missed Kick-Off, this is where you will find the Game Reveal video. Here you will find all of the game information and resources for this year's challenge.

    Our Mechanical Engineers and our Multi-Disciplined Engineers are working together to make the team's concept a potential reality. They have already completed the drive train design and we have sent those files to our wonderful sponsor, Elegant Iron, for fabrication. Our Fabrication Technicians are hard at work building the mock game pieces in preparation for the robot to be completed and ready for testing.

    Our Software Engineers are working hard to be ready to deploy functional code to the robot, while our Electrical Engineers are working up a prototype board for the SEs to deploy to for validation. Our Business team is hard at work preparing this year's Business Plan and Chairman's Essay, as well as finalizing the other awards. Working with them is Media, getting images, videos, and custom formatting together.

    As you can see, everyone is busy now. As we go into Week 2, we will be completing the design of the robot, while anxiously awaiting the fabricated drive train parts. Once we have the parts our Fab Techs will begin assembling the drive trains. As always, parts on order, and more parts will be ordered as the pieces are finalized and approved by the team leadership.

    16 December, 2017

    There are several things happening today. We are at our last official meeting of the calendar year. Today we are wrapping gifts for families in the "Adopt-a-Family" program. The team has adoped two familiies and come together to make sure that these families will get to have a nice Christmas. We will have a small meeting next Wednesday at 4pm to present the gifts to the coordinators involved. An email has been sent out notifying the team and families of the team inviting them to participate.

    We have reservations for the hotels we will be staying in for both of our regionals, AZ North and the inaugural El Paso Regional. Those are included in an email to the team members' families, also.

    10 December, 2017

    Here we are in December already. Wow how this year has flown! We are already to our second Parent Info Night coming up Thursday, December 14th at VAHS in the MPR starting at 6pm. Kick-off is coming quickly, Jan 6th!! If you intend to attend, give us a shout!

    We will be attending the AZ North Regional this year with 58 other teams (wow, what a crowd!) and the El Paso Regional Inaugural event with 34 other teams. We are very excited for both!

    1 October, 2017

    We have a couple of announcements to make. The first is that our first attempt to hold a yardsale seems to be a bust. As of today we have had no responses to reserve spaces for the yardsale, so we will be canceling this event. We will try again inthe future, but for now we are letting it go.

    The second is that we have been confirmed for our first regional. We will be attending the AZ North Regional in Flagstaff, AZ. Information for this regional can be found on Blue Alliance and on FIRST's site.

    The team has voted to apply for the El Paso Regional for our second regional. As of this entry, only seven teams have signed up for this regional, so we will be researching what happens in the case of a canceled regional prior to applying. This is the first year of the El Paso Regional.

    25 September, 2017

    Our 2018 Handbook is finally complete and now released. The Student and the Parent Handbook contract forms are there, and we will have printed ones available for our Wednesday meeting this week.

    23 September, 2017

    We are announcing our first annual Boxerbot Yard Sale. It will be held Oct 7th in the Old vail Middle School parking lot, from 6am to 11am. Spots will be $10 each for the day. You may also donate items to be sold by the team for team funding. The entire $10 goes to the team for funding, along with any proceeds from items sold by the team. Individuals who rent their own sapace keep their own proceeds. At the end of the event, we will have a box truck that will take any unwanted leftover items to be donated to Good Will.

    13 September, 2017

    We made it through our first Parent Info Night. It was a little painful due to technical difficulties, but we got there. There wasn't a very healthy showing of parents, but I imagine that was related to the lack of communication from the team on that topic. The slides are now posted on the 'Parent Info' page here. We will hold another one, and we will communicate better about it. I do apologize for that. We also were able to update several email addresses for parents who weren't on our list. We should be sending out emails at least twice a week, so if you aren't getting them, please contact us so we can look into it. Thank you.

    For team participation fees, they may be paid by check, money order, cash, or tax credit donation. Please make checks payable to Vail Academy and High School.

    6 September, 2017

    We are in the preseason and there is a great deal of hands-on learning happening. Software is picking up a lot of new information with our switch to C++. Materials are flying as team members are learning to use the various machines and power tools in the build room. Mechanicals are working designs. Business is hard at work figuring out where to apply for grants and starting our business plan again for the upcoming year.

    The first of out two Parent Info Nights is coming up on September 12th. It will be held at VAHS on

    29 July, 2017

    We are moving into the next season. We made an appearance at open houses for Cienega High School and Vail Academy and High School. We will be there for the open houses at Empire High School and Andrada Polytechnic High School.
    Our first official meeting for the 2017-2018 season will be on Wednesday August 9th, 2017 from 4 to 6pm. Our second meeting will be held on Saturday August 12th from 8am to noon. For now our meetings will be held in VAHS's Multi-Purpose Room.

    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

    2017 Season Updates

    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.

    2016 Season Updates

    16 April, 2016

    To all, my sincerest apologies for letting this site get so far away from me. As you can see, a good portion of the 2016 season has not been posted. Lots of things have happened in this time and I will try to bring it up to date. First, let me bring you all up to date. We finished our robot on time, barely. But it was functional when we headed up to Flagstaff, AZ for the very first and very cool (literally and figuratively) AZ North Regional.

    We discovered several opportunities for improvement in the robot, and walked away with the Spirit Award. For the first time, we excercised the rule of keeping up to 30 lbs of the robot out of the bag. In the short two weeks between competitions, several members worked hard to modify the shooter, as well as strengthen the robot structurally.

    Next we headed to Lubbock, TX, for the Hub City Regional. We made it to 22nd in the qualifiers. We were among the final three for the Safety Award, a first for this team (Thank you, Ben Crabtree). We got to experience snow on our first day there. That was an interesting welcome. Once again, we found several learning opportunities for the upcoming year, and though we got kicked around a little, we hold our heads high and know, we are proud of what we have accomplished.

    26 January, 2016

    We finally got our parts for the robot base!! Thank you to Elegant Iron, and to Lane Hammond working with UofA and Chris Williams working with Tucson High! We are starting to build tomorrow afternoon. We should have a driving base by COB Friday. The shooter is almost complete in design. This season is a struggle for many.

    Our hearts go out to Palo Verde, who have endured yet another theft. Our thoughts are with Coolidge, as well who are learning it all again. This has been an off year it seems for many. On to happier thoughts, we appear to be on schedule for Friday. Hopefully the last of our parts have been ordered and should arrive by this Friday.

    A huge thank you to all the parents who have signed up to supply our meals. We really appreciate ALL of the support you provide the team. It really helps with the season, as morale is still good even with the trials we are experiencing.

    11 January, 2016

    We have done kick-off. Thank you to all who participated in the new forum for kick-off. What an exciting game we have this year. For those unable to attend the kick-off event, find the video for the game HERE We participated with Palo Verde and Desert View High Schools for kick-off. Right now it looks like all three teams have general designs for their robots.

    20 December, 2015

    We are preparing to attend kick-off on January 9th! This year we will be attending kick-off at Palo Verde Magnet High School, home of Optimal Robotics. We are looking forward to seeing everyone there. Information has been sent out via email. The updated slides from December's Parent Info Night have been updated, converted to pdf, and uploaded to the site on the Parent Info page.

    Updated the handout as well. I believe all links to it have been updated. Easy way to tell is we only have the two regionals listed on it instead of the four possibles we were considering.

    23 November, 2015

    So we have been busy, though I haven't posted anything here. My apologies. The Tucson Tussle was great! We had twelve teams from around Arizona come participate. The next parent info night is coming up, to be held December 9th from 6 to 7:30pm. For those parents new to this, we highly encourage you to be there. It's your chance to ask questions. For those parents that missed the last one, it's a chance to catch up. For those parents who were at the last one, it's a chance to get some more information or ask questions you weren't able to previously, or questions that have come up in the interim.
    In case you missed it, there will be a meeting this Wednesday, but not Saturday. The next meeting will be December 2nd after that.

    I will be updating the handbook this wekend, as well as several issues discovered on the site. If you have any input, please feel free to contact us and point it out or let us know. The AZ Tax Credit site is back up and running. The link has been updated. I will also update the 2016 season meal sign-up this weekend. Thank you for those who have already expressed an interest in signing up.

    31 August, 2015

    It is coming up on the first Parent Info Night, to be held at VAHS in the MPR, September 2nd from 6 to 7:30pm. Parents, please come and find out what this program is all about. It is a great opportunity for the students to get hands-on in multiple industry-related areas. Take this chance to ask your questions face-to-face and meet the mentors who will be guiding this program. We look forward to seeing you there.

    15 August, 2015

    We have been through the first meeting, attended a couple of open houses, and have had several students sign up. If you have missed it, don't fret. There is still time to join the team. Wednesday meetings have been moved to 4 to 6pm. Saturday meetings will start in September, which will run 8am to noon'ish. As a general rule, we do not meet on half days, and we do not meet during break. Some of the dates that we have put out on the handout are still tentative, and some have already changed.

    5 August, 2015

    Today is the first meeting of the season. Not to worry if you are not able to make it. There are plenty of pre-season meetings to attend and sign up. Today we will be donig some basic intros, going over the team constitution, etc. It will be an easing back into things as we go forward. We will throw some ideas around about how the meetings should be conducted on Wednesdays, and provide some basic information that will be available here shortly.

    2015 Season Updates

    February 2, 2015

    In week four, the design team finalized the driver's board design and the design of the electronic boards protection case. Programming worked on the robot's decoders, the driver's board and the robot's arms. The advanced build team has the grabboids on the arms, the linear actuator mounted, and has tested the arms. The electronics team hooked the encoder to the wheels, and they are wired to the 'brain' of the robot. They have also wired the potentiometer on the linear actuator. Additionally, the business team has continued working on the Chairman's Award and publications.

    January 24, 2015

    The design team redesigned the electronics board in CAD and delivered the grabbing mechanism's blueprints to the build team. The programmers have finished the autonomous code and are ready to test it. The electronics team has mounted and wired encoders to the robot, and have begun other wiring as well. The build team has mounted the drawer slides and their support mechanism, the electronics board, and the motors for the lead screw.

    January 17, 2015

    In week two, the build team welded the uprights and support beams for the robot, as well as milling and mounting the new 5-inch wheels. The design team worked on a specific design for the grabboids. The electronics team made an electronic mock-up board on plexi-glass. The programming team is working on the autonomous portion of the program. Meanwhile, the business team began working on the Chairmans Award, created a banner and established relationships for donations.

    January 10, 2015

    After learning about the challenge, Recycle Rush!, the design team completed a 3D CAD model of our robot. The build team has finished constructing the practice field, tested two prototypes for the lifting mechanism and cut the nanotubes for the robot to begin putting on the wheels. The electronics team made a mock-up electronics board while the programming team has prepped for future programming endeavours.

    January 3, 2015

    Kick-off's now over, and Recycle Rush is the challenge. This is a new method and an exciting opportunity! For the first time, the alliances will not be in the same area of the arena, but separated by a divider, and drive teams will be on the same side as their robots. With an initial design concept set, the designers will be working furiously to get the CAD. Meanwhile the build team will be putting the framework together for the drive chassis. Business team should be wrapping up with the submissions in the very near future. We had participation from the up and coming team from Desert View, as well as visitors from the Pitt Pirates (Team 2642).

    Game Video

    December 13, 2014

    Hey Guys and Gals! Kickoff's almost here! That means we need all of you. I mean ALL who would like to contribute ideas. We get our challenge for this year's competition and so that means we need any and all contributions. It starts at 8:00 am in the Vail Academy and High School MPR, and you go home when your brain yells at you. Breakfast not included. IF you stay, you get a pizza lunch. We appreciate any side dishes you bring. PLEASE JOIN US!!!!

    August 9, 2014

    Two events happened today. First we had the build room organization meeting. We began purging some items, and organizing a lot of the smaller items that were moved in last weekend. This was about a five-hour evolution, and we had good support from team members. We greatly appreciate all of your help. The second event today was the Hot Rods Demo and Banquet. We had a great turn-out in support of the team. The student leadership conducted themselves brilliantly. Go BOXERBOTS!

    August 6, 2014

    Our first meeting. We had a good turnout for this. A lot of new faces, interested in a variety of positions on the team. We have students from all five of the high schools in the district. Same basic information went out. The handout is ported to the right, as well as our brochure. Feel free to peruse it and contact us with any questions you may have.

    August 2, 2014

    We had a great turnout in support of our build-room move. We got everything moved out of the old build room and into the new. We now no longer occupy any space at the Tech Park. While it was a great place and supported us many years, we feel that the new arrangement will be more conducive to the success of the team. We bid a fond farewell to our past home, and welcome our new with open arms. Students worked hard to get everything moved over, and that is greatly appreciated. They will recover much quicker than the mentors.

    July 20, 2014

    Here we are again. Rolling in the new school year already for the district. Friends and classmates you haven't seen in a while, rekindling friendships or acquaintances. Fall will be here soon. With all these events we also welcome the next season for robotics. Our first meeting will be held on August 6th. We will be meeting at the school in the new build room. We will get announcements out in several schools and post time and Rm # for those not familiar with it all. We look forward to seeing you there.

    2014 Season Updates

    May 14, 2014

    Our wonderful sponsor, Caterpillar, Inc., took us on a field trip to their proving grounds, where we were able to learn new things in controls, and where the future is headed for several industries. As you can see by our new pictures, we were also able to witness the sheer awesome size of some of the machines in use in the mining industry. Thank you, Caterpillar, for this inspiring event.

    April 23, 2014

    This week will be closing out with the BoxerBot Banquet and the Boxer Expo held at Vail Academy and High School. The Boxer Expo will be held on Friday, April 25th. The BoxerBots will be demonstrating several robots during this event. Feel free to stop by and see what happens at the school, and to visit the BoxerBots and see them in action.

    Arizona Regionals

    March 22, 2014

    We have completed the season. We hit it hard at the Arizona Regional in Chandler, AZ. We installed our new 5" wheels on the bot to avoid any further clearance issues. We installed LED lighting in the arms of "Not Bad" to highlight the cutouts. We replaced the Thera-Band that powers the catapult. The robot was put back together. Inspection went smooth.

    We were there with several of our fellow Tucson teams. Raytheon Missile Systems' Director of Community Outreach visited while we there, as well. As we made it through the qualifiers, excitement grew as we did very well, again. We ended up being in 9th place going into team selections. As it all boiled down we were the 7th seed Alliance Captain. We had teams 2375 (The Dragons from Phoenix) and 2449 (Out of Orbit from Tempe) on our alliance, and we worked very well together and we enjoyed the run. Thank you, guys.

    Our resolve and high spirits all the way through won us the Spirit Award this time! Thank you, Remy, for leading that effort! All-in-all it was a very successful trip and we are already looking forward to next season. Don't forget the End-of-Season Banquet next month. Stay up to date with our Facebook page. GO BOXERBOTS!!

    Inland Empire Regional

    March 9, 2014

    Our first regional event is done. The Inland Empire Regional is a great experience for any that can make the event. This year it was a little more than wet, considering we ran into a good storm front. It did not, however, dampen our spirits any, or most of the other teams that were there. We had some serious obstacles to overcome. The first of which was our very low clearance on our robot. We were sporting a little less than 1/4" of free space under our bot, and that proved to be not so good with the not quite even carpet of the arena.

    We worked until 8pm the first night getting the bottom of the robot covered with anti-friction tape and the wheels covered in traction material which gave us the equivalent to 5" wheels (as opposed to our original 4" wheels). The next morning we burnt out the short motor (it stunk up the pit), so we were a non-shooting robot for a couple of matches while the pit crew slaved to get the planetary gear-box mounted on the new motor. Once we got that installed, we were rocking.

    Autonomous only ever missed one shot while the shooter was working, and our programmers are responsible for winning us the "Innovation in Controls" award presented by Rockwell Automation. Strategy changed constantly to accommodate the variety of robots and driving styles on the field. Many kudos to our driving team and their coach.

    We made it to 8th seed, where we ended up being selected by the 3rd-seed team. We made it through quarter-finals and into semi-finals, where we lost the first, won the second, and lost the third match. It was a very exciting time and we are all looking forward to using our experience during the Arizona Regionals March 20th-22nd.

    2014 Kick-off Event

    January 4, 2014

    The 2014 Challenge has been released and it is Aerial Assist. As always, the task is challenging. This year the game makers have put an extreme emphasis on teamwork within the alliances. All teams will be, I am sure, looking to be able to throw the 24" diameter ball, as well as retrieve it from the floor, and catch it, as well. Good luck to all teams, and looking forward to competing with you.

    Game Video

    Some Recent News

    November 3, 2013

    As many of you know the Tucson Tussle, which we competed in, took place on November 2nd at Sonoran Science Academy. In the competition we were the third seeded team, and chose Teams 1726 the N.E.R.D.S., and 3944, the All Knight's to be our alliance members. Our alliance placed second in the The Tucson Tussle out of 12 competing teams from all over Arizona.

    Many people from our team attended the Tucson Tussle and overall they thought it was a lot of fun. Jake Hoppe recalled that, "This year, the Tussle was more of a competition than in previous years." The Tucson Tussle was a good practice environment for future competitions, especially for those who have yet to go to a competition.

    "Next year, if there is another Tucson Tussle, I will definitely try to participate again," Kenny Schackart said. The other members enjoyed the Tucson Tussle as well, and look forward to going again next year.