Robotics Team Prepares for Competition


Zac Close

Tensions are high for team 5178 the First Robotics Team. As they race to finish the fuel retrieving robot enabling their airship to take to the sky.

The competition of the year is to make a robot that can retrieve fuel units (wiffle balls) and put ẗhem into a furnace, collect gears and climb a rope.

Senior Joey Broadway participated in robotics all during high school and explained the decision to focus on certain aspects of the competition.

“There’s more points in the gears (50) and rope climbing (60). Our main goal is to be in the alliance in the final, not to be the main team in the alliance. We are focusing on the one thing we know we can do best.”

The entire competition incorporates the tasks by collecting resources (the fuel units) and placing them inside a furnace. The gear collection occurs simultaneously, and these items are sent to the airship, a tower. At the end of the match, the robot must climb a rope. Collecting right amount of gears to complete a circuit makes the propellers spin on the airship. This gives the team points.

Alongside the group of students are teachers, Melissa Carter and Cody Besett  as well as team mentor Jim Riffle and Charles Olson who works with First Robotics. They encourage the team with out of the box thinking as well as the occasional support they need when they hit a snag.

Besett said he had “never seen a group of student engage and communicate for one common goal” like the 2017 robotics team has.

Team 5178 has not always have the best of luck at competition. In  2014, the team made a robot that almost got disqualified for lack of safety with the ball shooting arm. The next year, snow halted the competition.

In 2016, they did not have the proper paperwork for the robot, but their entry competed because a time-stamped picture showed the day the entry was submitted making it eligible for the contest. As this robot completed its tasks, the fiberglass shattered in the middle of competition due to the amount of torque being put through it.

So, for the 2017 competition, the group is taking no risks and is making lists to ensure that they don’t forget a single thing.

Broadway said, “We are doing way better than years before. We won’t be a finalist, but we could be picked to be part of the team in the finals.”

With four seniors who have been a part of the team since the beginning graduating this year, new recruits will be important for the group’s continued involvement in future competitions.

“We could always use new blood, especially since the people that know what they are doing are leaving this year,” Broadway said.

Joey Broadway tinkers with the robot’s wheel mechanism.
Team members Annaleise Gates, Theresa Markwardt and Elissa Flynn work on calibrating the motor controllers on the electronics board.
Shane Vaughn fits a churro to the wheel stabilizer.