Minutes of April 3, 2009 meeting...

  • Random Thoughts:
    • Spend more time designing the machine after the requirements are determined.
    • Write a ConOps to help define machine function.
    • Designers need to explore more options for a specific function. More brainstorming.
    • Designers need to explore materials, sensors, actuators required for a specific function.
    • ALL motors need current sensors.
    • Datalogging required to predict failures (current draw on roller motor, for example).
    • Wandering the pits on Thursday is important to scouting; unique machines should be identified and documented with photos; useful for following year's designs.
    • Pits must be kept free of 'extra' personnel. Too many people leads to confusion.
    • Generate a checklist for pit equipment, AND USE IT! Use the one in the handbook...
  • Travel:
    • Too many days on the road. Too many 'dramas.'
    • Bus ride, while a good idea initially, didn't pan out as well as intended/desired. The other teams from N.E. kept to themselves.
    • Try not to go to regional where there are several other N.E. teams. This one in particular felt like a re-run of GSR. It's important for T166 to meet other teams.
    • Gracious Professionalism must be applied to personal interactions as well.
    • Apply the Rotary 4-Way Test to every decision.
      1. Is it the truth?
      2. Is it fair to all concerned?
      3. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
      4. Will it build good will and better friendships?
  • General:
    • Be prepared to replace leadership if not performing. Individuals holding key positions must be willing to do the job or risk being replaced.

Minutes of March 26th meeting (Compiled by JakeG.)


What went well

  • having a lot of training classes
    • getting members to show up because they have experience
  • each new member became very active
  • different focuses each week
  • vex training was great
    • good team building exercise
  • mentors training newcomers
  • pen and pencil drawing was good
  • organized lesson plan is good
  • electrical training was well done
  • parade bot construction was good
  • gunstock demo was good for training new folks
  • trainings during friday meetings
    • having a night off of training schedule was nice
  • river rage is good for training rookies for competition
  • bill samuels is a good person to have for training

What we would want to change

  • start earlier with more goals (specific for robots) for each subteam
  • sensor training! we need to know about them
  • leadership training - more specific - there should be a sort of follow-up, what you can't do
  • team organization training that explains the chain of command of the team
  • configuration training specifically route card and dealing with parts/naming of files
  • team heirarchy
  • pro-e, mech, and design somewhat trained in everything mech and pro-e stuff
  • make physics training more specific training to the robot or drop it
  • scouting training after kickoff and before regionals
  • subteam cross-training
    • maybe scouting of riverrage
  • continuous safety captain
  • rules search training and stuff
  • job descriptions/things to know
  • communication training, more involved safety training

Build Season


What went well

  • the design came out well, stuck to the decision
  • design team represented what the team wanted
  • reusing past designs was great

What didn't go so well

  • list of rules for EVERYONE designing the robot
  • list of reguired meetings for EVERYONE designing the robot
  • ONE person must be responsible for the OI
  • mechanical design and pro-e should be the same
  • looking at the availability of parts
  • design team needs to talk to the rest of the team more
  • forget splitting the core design team like last year
  • think more about what we want to do in competition
  • brainstorming EARLY more prototyping
  • decisions the design team make need to be more public
  • more face-to-face reviews
  • design the robot to be light from the start
  • FDR (Final Design Review) is between the design team and the guest engineers
  • After FDR we hold an internal FDR
  • design something to be easy on drivers
    • Modular design, design with repair in mind
  • universal hardware
  • design with more sensors
  • we must have a gas shock! ;-)


  • stay on top of expenditures!
    • person to track purchases and monitor spending
    • potential involvement with business classes??
    • Grow CM team to include finances / material acquisition??
  • crate packing list needs to be prepared and in Mrs. Reich's hands
  • the team was awesome
  • all welding done by BAE
  • training at segway was great
  • scouting database (choogle) was good
  • we should still scout on Thursday
  • scouting needs to be better
  • scouting meeting(s) after kickoff but before regionals
  • we need to explore the pits more
  • take pictures of every robot
    • someone needs to be assigned to take pictures
  • while pit scouting, find out if teams need help
  • need a scouting lead - Greenleaf
  • pit crew needs to be back to the pits before the robot is
  • version control of code for competitions
  • develop a minimum number of people that need to be present for a vote to take place
    • if you know you can't be at the meeting during a vote, share that vote with the advisors or the captains.

C. B. Petrovic - March 25, 2008

  • Training -- add Route Card and Configuration Management training.

C. B. Petrovic (on behalf of Lisa Greenleaf) - March 24, 2008

  • On Scouting - it doesn't seem to be given tremendous priority until it's too late, or out of control and the team is reacting to a lack of focus on scouting. At GSR, we saw the team diligently scouting for the first half of the first day and then it all seemed to fall apart. I would almost recommend that there is a scouting lead, with a backup and those two can't go to lunch at the same time. The scouting lead should coordinate the team scouting plans, have all the papers, clipboards and supplies ready to go. The backup should be willing to get with other teams to get any data missed.
  • On Choogle... you guys really need to market it. It should be hyped on Delphi in advance of GSR, it should be actively published and talked about AT GSR and beyond. There was someone who made a post on the board about making a business plan/case for it. Jake needs someone who can help him in that aspect of managing Choogle. He's great on the coding side, and could definitely learn a tremendous amount about how to put together a plan on getting the input of users, and marketing it. It has enormous potential, and we saw from WI how critical good scouting data turned out to be! It doesn't seem like the Team is committed to Choogle; there are a small handful of folks in an inner circle who understand it. There's a lot to benefit from Choogle; either the team needs to get behind it all, or scrap the idea entirely and pull the resources that are currently focused on it elsewhere.
  • On Drive Team... I would suggest that from Dan's illness in Wisconsin, we learned we should have a backup driver who is up to speed on all controls and has had practice driving. Perhaps all members of the drive team should learn each other's roles and that might allow them all to be interchangeable, with backups selected also.

Lisa Reich - Nov 6th, 2007

  • After listening to the physics training and speaking with a couple of team members I felt that the majority of the training was not needed. The kids have basic physics their 1st semester of 9th grade and again 1st sem. of 11th grade. I believe that the training could be more advanced and/or geared more toward an actual robot. It could also be just given to the mech and electrical teams instead of everyone.

C. B. Petrovic - October 1, 2007

  • Training schedules need to be established earlier in the year. We are now struggling with when/where/who and with time marching on, we don't have the luxury of what-if-ing when classes will be delivered. Agreed that some may well be closely tied to availability of resources (school exercize room), but that may work itself out.

Chris Palie & Chris Petrovic - July 2, 2007

  • We should try and do orientation before school ends. This will allow the new students to get more prepared. (Example is sports, incoming freshman know about sports for summer practice so we should do the same for FIRST) We could do it at the Y or at the School.
  • This would allow summer training for freshman and new members to get them going earlier. Then the preseason training would be more advanced since everyone is closer to being on the same page. This would allow members to get to know each other as well, which is a plus before kickoff.
  • Use the FIRST robotics class book for training freshman.
  • Try to schedule more trainings on common nights to help lower the nights at the school during preseason, yet get more training in.
  • Try to get a good, motivated FIRST speaker for orientations. John B from BAE. (I have it in the slides for my meeting)
  • We could always do a second orientation and for any members who join offer make up training or offer the FIRST training again in parallel with other trainings.
  • We need to get across that training is important so you can help out the team and not be long.

Training: Certain training classes should be mandatory. The point of placing a label on a class or set of classes is to impress on students that the specific subject material is important. Students who legitimately cannot make the established date will be given an opportunity to make it up. This should prevent cases where instructors who are making a special effort to help the team are not “stood up” thereby wasting their time. To drive home the point of training classes, material and the schedule of classes should be devised in such a way as to demonstrate a direct connection to the robot and anything else the team produces.

KoP Inspection and use: the KoP should be inspected by veteran members with at least a year of experience on the team. This obviously must be done in an efficient manner to expedite replacement parts, obtain missing parts, etc.

Design phase: More mentor involvement with the design phase. Once the robot's gameplay features are established, the design team should explore implementation details with the help of the mentors. Explore the possibility of extending the design phase. Since the manipulator is key to the successful execution of the team’s agreed upon gameplay strategy, emphasis should be on its design and implementation. Base chassis and drive mechanism are, at this point, well executed, IMHO. Consider spending more time designing the manipulator or have a parallel effort during design. Consider having junior members concentrate on chassis/drive with mentor guidance.

Execution/build phase: Make more efficient use of time. Use the shop facility as often as possible to reduce time spent between rooms.

Pro/E: Model fasteners! Model electrical components, use this opportunity to train new team members. Build a library of reusable parts.

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Page last modified on April 03, 2009, at 05:33 PM