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May 1st, 2008
EngiNERDs in the Grand Blanc News! An artical written by Theresa Roach
March 19, 2008
EngiNERDs in the Flint Journal
It's getting down to the wire and all of the groups have been working hard every night. I, personally, have been working with our Operator Interface Control and the Boot/Ball Handler groups. These guys are most definitely working hard to get it together for some testing before we ship. Since I don't know much about building, I have been lurking around the back room, soaking up all the knowledge I can get.
Well, it's not as simple as screwing things in and nailing other stuff down, that's for sure. Building takes a lot of creativity and compromise, as well as a good knowledge of all the tools and lots of tricks. The mentors are helping immensely with their tips and tricks, while also passing them on. Everyone is most definitely getting a chance to do something in all the groups, because I know I have, and I didn't know anything about building robots, or anything for that matter.
I have aided all of the groups in some way or another in the past few weeks. With Programming I helped solder I.R. Sensors, which was a great learning experience, thanks to Gage. The Electrical Group has been working on the Operator Interface, and that's what I have been doing most recently. We are making a Control board for the competitions that contains the joysticks, emergency buttons, buttons for the arm, and there will be more added as we go. And finally, the Mechanical group needed my help with the gaskets.
The Premier Tooling Systems building has been kindly donated to be used for the Grand Blanc Robotics team. It is co-owned by Thom Self, who authorized its use. Premier Tooling Systems designs and manufactures tooling that is used to machine valve bodies, brake calipers, and other various automotive parts. The tools provided are welders, drill presses, saws, among other tools that we can use to create the best robot possible. It's open spaces are also ideal for maneuvering and testing our robots.
Our electrical team and public relations uses its conference room to do their tasks. The mechanical team uses the lunch room to do their planning and also uses the tools to construct the robot. The programming team uses one of the many rooms to meet and write codes and program on their computer to make the robot move and complete tasks. Mechanics also uses the machines to create counter boards so the other team members can construct the base. We are very fortunate to have the use of this building, which is in the perfect location.
FANUC Robotics America invited the EngiNERDS to tour their Rochester Hills, MI headquarters this month. FANUC is the leading supplier of robotic automation in the Americas and has robots installed wordwide. FANUC designs robots for various applications including assembly, material handling, painting, and welding.
Paul Copioli, FANUC Senior Staff Engineer, hosted the EngiNERDS visit showing the team robots for various paint applications that were in final testing.
FANUC Robotics is a long-time sponsor of FIRST High School Robotics teams. FANUC selected Grand Blanc’s High School’s robotics team to add to their FIRST sponsorship this year. The EngiNERDs demonstrated to FANUC their commitment to the FIRST program through strong student interest as well as the strong leadership and commitment from mentors and the high school.
Paul Copioli, FANUC Robotics, (second from left) explains to the EngiNERDS about the final robot testing and customer signoff stage.
On right, Team members watch testing of robots for vehicle assembly paint applications.
The Mid-Michigan Robotics Alliance (MMRA), a non-profit organization comprising of Mid-Michigan FIRST Robotics teams, were asked to volunteer at the FIRST Tech Challenge competition at Southwestern Academy in Flint on Saturday, December 1.
FIRST Tech Challenge is a mid-level robotics competition for high school students. It differs from the FIRST Robotics competition with smaller teams using a VEX Robotics Design System to design and build their robots.
The Grand Blanc Robotics Team, a member of MMRA, provided volunteers which gave the team a chance to become familiar with the different levels of FIRST competitions as well as an opportunity to earn community service hours. Team members served at the competition pit in safety and pit management as well as queueing the teams for competition.
FIRST is truly a volunteer driven organization. Volunteers serve as partners, team mentors, team coaches, event organizers and event volunteers.
Thanks to those who have volunteered as team mentors for the EngiNERDs:
Mechanical– Mike Masica and John Boehnke
Electrical– Tom Kiihr and Joe Nickola
Safety– Tom Kiihr
Programming– Brian Young