OFD 2016 Gold Level Sponsor

2016 ofdAlways a pleasure showing off our robot to the good folks at OFD.

They use a lot of similar technology in their processing systems as we do on our robot, plus their’s tastes great. (FRC robots, not so much.)

OFD is a great supporter of STEM education in our community . From high school FRC, community college Mechatronics, to university MECOP, they are involved in with local programs.

OFD has been a sponsor of our team for many years, and it’s been a privileged to bring the team out to their location. They’ve been able to see students over their time in school with many having done several demos at the front of the building.

While we haven’t pushed anyone into the fountains yet, despite OFD engineers and VP’s driving the bot, that possibility keeps things exciting.




Veterans Day Parade 2016

Many thanks to the veterans for their service.


Today we participated in the largest veterans day parade west of the Mississippi. It is a super opportunity to show our support as well as participate in our community. We always get a great response from the crowd and this year was no different. From chatting to veterans about our team, to showing our robots to elementary school students, we are proud to be Albany high schools’ FIRST robotics team.

2016VDP1A big thank to Jim and the rest of the crew for putting together the float, truck, and trailer. It was great to have three robots to show.







Shop Cleaning


As you can tell, it’s been a while since the place had a good cleaning. Thanks to all the effort, we are now much more efficient; standardizing on common hardware, simplifying tool-sets, focusing on what we need, and building a team.

Plus, w2016electricdeske have a sweet, new electronics bench, with tools, outlets, hardware and storage bins right at hand. New electronics’ bench A big thanks to Eric for the plans, Lasso for the build, both of them and Joe for the materials….and all the students who helped.

Also a big thanks to all those who brought food for the effort. We had a well fed team!2016shopcleaninglunch


Somewhere North of Cheney, WA

HenryH’s dad is currently a member of the research cruise Sikuliaq 2016: The Dynamic Arctic. 



As far as I know, this is the furthest north a SWARM shirt has been, at least further than Portland. Kudos to BurkeH for SWARMing the far north, in shirt sleeves no less!

Be sure to check out their site: Sikuliaq 2016: The Dynamic Arctic. The pictures of the ship and life aboard make it look like the are living inside a robot.

Pleasing the crowd at the Oregon State Fair!


l-r RobinH, CalebS, JaceL, EricS, MelissaS, RiverH

Our 2016 robot taught us some great lessons, some that were hard earned during competition and others that had to wait until the time was right. This summer we had the time.

Hotwire Robotics put together a full 2016 Stronghold field at the Oregon State Fair and a bunch of the local team brought


l-r EricS, RiverH, JaceL, EmmaC, MelissaS, MarcellaN

our bots for public demos, drives, and a bit of scrimmaging.

While we spent many summer meetings getting ready, there’s always last minute things to do in the pits, and continuous maintenance once things got underway.

We decided to not attempt to climb, after our calculations showed we didn’t



have the power, so we put gloves on the hooks – which either makes the bot looks like it wants to give you a hug, of maybe something not so friendly.

That said, we gave all who wanted a chance to be in the driver’s seat.


l-r JaceL, BradyA, CalebS, MitchellG

The big surprise for us was not just  that we finally got the bot to pick up boulders and shoot under laboratory conditions, but during the fair we started using the camera to manually aim the bot and could consistently make the high goal. We got so good that we could even coach members of the general public to make the goal. We were even able to make the goal from beyond the defenses (not legal in the game, but a great demonstration of our strength.


Kudos to all who worked on the robot last year and this summer. It really is a winner.

l-r (Fair Crew) EricS, JohnN, MarcellaN, JaceL, MelissaS, EmmaC, RiverH, EricS, RobinS, CalebS.

l-r (Fair Crew) EricS, JohnN, MarcellaN, JaceL, MelissaS, EmmaC, RiverH, EricS, RobinS, CalebS.




SWARM’ing Frosh High School Reg.

Thanks to the team for getting the word out. We were at both South and West Albany high schools for Frosh registration.

Check out how to join.

West HenryH, CalebS, MelissaS

West: HenryH, CalebS, MelissaS

South: RiverH

South: RiverH

Yes, you can launch a boulder with the 2016 bot in F hall at West and not hit the ceiling. Yes, it will go from the cafeteria and maybe as far as the slope at the end of the hall. Yes, you can use the camera to drive the robot unseen. (With some help.)


HenryH and CalebS drive the bot down hallways with just the camera. MelissaS assisting.

Bounce Search & Rescue

team in front of deflating bounce house

JoshR, MelissaS, MarcellaN, EricS, CaseyS, HenryH, RiverH (and CalebS!)

SWARMing the IBEW 280 Picnic


HenryH, MarcellaN

Thanks to our members who kept things running smooth at the IBEW Local 280 picnic today.  We braved the heat to help give some kids a great time in the obstacle course and water balloon area.

Extra kudos to team members for stepping up when challenged by our guests to race them through the course. That’s not in the usual robotics skill set, but you all did the best you could 😉



While not the hottest day of the year, it was close. Something to remember on those cold January days at the shop.

This the second year we’ve been invited to help out at the picnic and it was a great opportunity to help the IBEW. The ones I spoke to are also at the Central Electrical Training Center so they’ve seen us around and it was great to talk about what we do there.  (Shhh…it’s SWARM’s HQ)


CalebS, RiverH, JoshR, MelissaS



The game doesn’t end

Josh & Steve

Josh & Steve

Yup, we go all summer.  This year we are working towards running our bot at the State Fair on August 27th. But this is also an excellent time to hone our skills and take on new members.


MelissaS, HenryH

There’s plenty to do if you are looking to work and to learn. The 2016 bot provides a great platform to work on old problems and come upon new ones. We will be simplifying our bot a bit, but hope to get a lot of good use out of it until it’s time to take it down and build a new one.

Eventually, our bots get recycled into new ones, made into special projects, end up in a tote on the shelf, or sent off to scrap.  Our members, however, continue to learn and grow. Every year is a new game, a new team, and opportunity to try new things. Last year it was belts and a new drive train, this year maybe Java code and something else?

RiverH, CalebS

RiverH, CalebS