About 2 months ago we wrote about our mechanical training and safety. Our students were building small robots using parts we had around the shop. These would give them a chance to complete safety passports for various tools, gain familiarity with techniques, and make a little RC robot.
In the last week before the holidays, we finally saw these to completion, with all our groups completing a bot and getting a chance to drive it on the field. The bots were speedy – and a little hard to control, but made for a fun time.
After a few last minute fixes, we had them playing a little one on one soccer with a 2016 ‘boulder’. Much like in a real competition, we drive teams, robots in need of pit stops, and batteries that needed to be changed.
While the end result definitely didn’t have the same wow factor as a 120 lb robot, the students got a chance to take ownership of their projects and pick up some key skills that will serve our team well in the upcoming season. While this project will likely evolve over the upcoming years, doing a build project is something we have found to be a valuable pre-season training activity and will likely remain in some form.