Spartronics Build Season- Week 6! This is it! (And Name Reveal!)

Spartronics students working

Subteam Updates:

Mechanics and Electronics have completed 2018’s first robot! This year, it was decided that Spartronics will build two robots. The second robot will allow drive team to practice with a robot even after the one we’ll use for competitions is sealed on Bag Day. For those not in the know, Bag Day is when every FRC team in the world is required to stop building their robot and pack it away in a sealed plastic bag, in preparation for the competition season.

With the first robot handed off to programming, Mechanics and Electronics have both begun work on the second. The robots this year incorporate pneumatics in every module, more than other robots we’ve constructed in the past. This has allowed members of the electronics subteam to learn a lot about pneumatics, both from mentors and independently. In addition to building the second robot, mechanics and electronics are creating spare parts for the robots.

Programming has been making full use of their time with the robot. Every subsystem has been completely programmed, and the scissor lift is completely tested. They’ve also set up all the robot’s driver controls.

The Marketing subteam is continuing preparations for our 5th annual all-Island Robotics Open House, due to be held on March 14th. They’ve has also begun to pack the trailer the team will use at competitions. The new banners for the Pit have been ordered as have our 2018 Sponsor banners. Finally, marketing has received this year’s teams shirts, hats, and hoodies and will start distributing them soon!

There also will be a BIG celebration at BHS on Bag Day night that Marketing will help host!


Robot Name Reveal:

Spartronics Team 4915 is excited to announce the name for this year’s robot: THEMIS!

The acronym is THE Mechanical Intake Scissor-Lift. The name also continues the Spartronics tradition of naming robots after Greek mythological figures.

Themis was the Greek God of Divine Order, Fairness, and Law. These aspects of the goddess align very well with FIRST’s own values of coopertition and gracious professionalism. The Scales of Justice, Themis’ symbol, also relate to this year’s game and its scale game element. We eagerly await seeing how THEMIS will do in competition season.

Boeing logo

Sponsor Spotlight: Boeing

Since being founded in Seattle in 1916, Boeing has gone on to become the world’s preeminent aerospace engineering company. As a corporation whose success is based on technological and scientific excellence, Boeing understands the value of FIRST and its message. They demonstrate this understanding every year with their support of Spartronics.

Our biggest sponsor, Boeing has donated tens of thousands of dollars to the team over the years! This history of support stretches all the way back to 2013 with one of our founding mentors, Jon Sachs, being a Boeing employee. Jon and our other Boeing mentors, Jim Carr and Randy Groves, have collectively spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours with Spartronics.

We want to extend our thanks to everyone working at Boeing, with special emphasis on our incredible Boeing mentors!

This is Jon’s Story:

Below is the latest in a series of “Student Story” videos we’ve created to show how donations from sponsors like Boeing make a huge difference for every student.

Spartronics Build Season: Week 5

Spartronics students and mentors work on the robot

Subteam Updates:

The pressure is on in Mechanics, as soon they’ll be handing the robot off to the programmers. They’ve finished the first grabber, and work is being done on the second. Lastly, they’re preparing to mount the first climber.

The Electronics subteam has managed to complete most of the robot’s electronics. In fact, they’ve even been able to turn the robot on! However, they still have some ways to go as electronics for some mechanisms have not been done and pneumatics are still being worked on.

Programming has already written and tested much of the robot’s code. Additionally, most of the autonomous paths have been set up. The programming team now eagerly awaits their turn with the robot.

After submitting the Chairman’s essay, Marketing has begun work on the video for the prestigious award. This year, the video will show how Spartronics is helping to grow both FIRST and STEM.

Marketing has also completed this year’s entry for the Woodie Flowers award, which aims to recognize excellent mentors.This year Spartronics nomination has gone to fabulous mentor John Sachs. The subteam has also ordered sponsor banners and ensured that new team shirts are in production. Finally, preparations have continued for our 5th annual all-Island Robotics Open House, due to be held on March 14th.

Town and Country Logo

Sponsor Spotlight: Town & Country

One sponsor that’s been supporting Spartonics from the beginning has been Town & Country Markets, a Bainbridge Island institution.

For over 60 years Town & Country has served our Island. Throughout the last 5 of those years they’ve supported Spartronics with both financial backing and by helping to provide healthy snacks at a discount to our students during our six-week build season.

When Spartonics went to the World Championships for the first time, the sign outside T&C has told the entire Island of our incredible first-year accomplishment, and congratulated our team.

We want to thank the entire Nakata family and everyone who works at T&C, and especially Rick Petersen who’s always been a great help!

Sketch of Town and Country

Spartronics Build Season: Week 4

Spartronics mentor and student meet to talk about the robot

Subteam Updates:

The robot is finally starting to come together as we close out the fourth week of build season. Mechanics have started the process of mounting the scissor lift to its frame. They’re also continuing to work on the robots grabber and harvester.

The Electronics subteam have begun to figure out configurations for the robots encoders and sensors.  They’re also trying to find what length of pneumatic cylinder to use in some of the robots mechanisms.

Programming has been very productive this last week. Some of their efforts have been directed towards developing advanced pathfinding for autonomous, which should lead to better performance during this phase of the game.

For those not aware, autonomous is the 15 second period at the beginning of every FRC match where robots must complete tasks without any driver input. This means robots must follow pre-programmed commands. The extra mobility granted to the robot by advanced pathfinding should give us an edge during this part of the game.

Programming has also been working on giving the robot capability for vision. In this context, vision means that the robot should be able to recognize Power Up Cubes, one of this year’s main game elements, under certain lighting conditions. This should help the robot’s driver with picking up and manipulating cubes.

Marketing is currently involved with preparing everything for the teams Chairman’s submission. Team shirts have been ordered, plus for those who pre-paid, new sweatshirts and baseball caps. We also finalized our sponsor banner: we have over 20 Sponsors this year!

Marketing is also continuing to plan for our 5th annual all-Island Robotics Open House, due to be held on March 14th. Most interestingly, the subteam has begun coming with a list of names for this year’s robot so stay tuned!

Bainbridge Schools Foundation Logo

Sponsor Spotlight: Bainbridge Schools Foundation

The Bainbridge Schools Foundation is an organization with a highly-focused mission: support Bainbridge’s public school system. With events such as their upcoming auction, the nonprofit has raised over $6,000,000 dollars for our schools since 2006. Its innovative grants have helped students learn by giving them opportunities that wouldn’t exist without BSF’s aid.

While the whole Bainbridge Island community has reasons to thank BSF, Spartronics is especially grateful. Six years ago, under the leadership of Vicky Marsing, BSF became our first official sponsor, providing the first funding to help start Spartronics at BHS.

This generosity has continued through to the present day, currently under the leadership of BSF Executive Director Mairead Shutt. All the donations the team has ever received in the last 5 years has gone through BSF, and BSF has never charged Spartronics a fee. We have supported each other in promoting STEAM on Bainbridge, and each year we march together in the annual 4th of July parade with our robots.

We simply cannot thank the Bainbridge Schools Foundation enough, except to tell our families, friends and supporters that when you donate to Spartronics, it would be GREAT to also donate to support BSF!

You can donate to BSF and Spartronics anytime here – 24/7/365!

This is Marie’s Story:

Below is another one of the videos we’ve created this year to show how contributions from sponsors like BSF change students lives.

Spartronics Build Season: Week 3

Spartronics Students Working Hard!

Subteam Updates:

Finals are done with!

With this, the Mechanics subteam has gone back to work with gusto. While prototyping for the climber is still in progress, the design for the robot’s grabber is nearing completion and production has begun on some of its parts.

Pneumatic, pneumatics, pneumatics. That’s the word you’ll hear over and over again if you walk into our electronics subteam. After three years, we’re dusting off the cobwebs of this knowledge from GAEA (Grabber Actuated Elevator Automaton) and starting to learn again about this type of engineering.

Pneumatics is moving things using air pressure, and some of our mentors have been teaching us about this. We’ll use this in all of our systems this year, so it’s incredibly important.

In order for the robot to function, code and mechanics have to come together to form one cohesive whole. Programmings efforts this week have been directed towards making sure this happens. After communicating with the mechanics subteam, programming has been able to start making a list of what needs to be done with the robots code to make sure it functions as perfectly as possible. They’ve also continued the ongoing process of familiarizing new subteam members with programming the robot.

The marketing team has begun planning for the Open House. This event will be held at 5 PMMarch 14th at BHS. Everyone is welcome.

Work on this year’s submission for the Chairman’s Award has begun. It is FRC’s most prestigious award and is community-outreach focused. Finally, the marketing subteam is working on a secret video project to be unveiled at a later date.

Spartronics Robot
Drive Team:

The wait is over! Drive team has been selected!

The primary team consists of Coach Jon Coonan, Driver Will Hobbs, Mechanism Operator James Sovick, and Human Player Rose Bandrowski. Kenneth Wiersema is the drive team’s primary Technician. The Technician, a new role this year, functions as an on-site repairman for the robot. The backup drive team, whose members can be swapped into the primary one if it’s members are indisposed, consists of Coach Kenneth Wiersema, Drivers Lucas Nalley and Lucas Rininger, Mechanism Operators Chris Mentzer and Jack Chapman, Human Player Ronan Bennett and Technician Cruz Strom
Westside Pizza Logo
Sponsor Spotlight: Westside Pizza
Since originally opening on the island in 2001, Westside Pizza has been a pillar of the community. Since Tom and Maureen Daniels have become owners they’ve supported local organizations including Bainbridge Little League, the Bainbridge Historical Society,  BHS’s swim team, and Spartronics.

As one of our legacy sponsors, they’ve done a great deal to support the team over the years. Besides purely monetary contributions, they’ve helped feed us by providing significant discounts on their pizzas. The team, including students and mentors, have consumed some 6,000 slices of pizza since the team began! Stretched end to end that’s enough pizza to run from Safeco’s home plate to the center field wall 10 times!

This tradition of helping sate students appetites goes back to our very first Kickoff event where they graciously donated pizzas for our first dinner. Westside has also aided our past fundraising efforts by allowing us to stage a takeover of their restaurant last year.

Westside’s owners, Tom and Maureen, are huge Spartronics sponsors and we greatly appreciate them taking the time to attend our Open Houses and encouraging our students.

Thank You Westside Pizza!

This is Chris’s Story:
Below is one of the videos we’ve created this year to show how the donations from sponsors like Westside Pizza enrich student’s lives.