Design Process – Day Five

Day 5

small cardboard


A lot can me known by putting together some rough ideas in the form of a model, even if it is not fully scaled. It lets the creator work out their ideas and helps to convey them to the rest of the team.

That said, all this thinking can be hard work, so we schedule in some much needed breaks, with snacks! The replenishment of the snack can was cause for much excitement. A current favorite is microwavable Mac and Cheese.


Kickoff & Design Process – Day One

Team at OSU

An early start to a long day

It was with bleary eyes we made our way to OSU where the 2018 FIRST FRC competition would be announced to the entire planet! SWARM, along with a number of other Oregon teams, soon woke up.

students on stage

Next time leave this to actual robots

Our MC had a number of us simulating a robot – with CPU, data transmission, sensors, drive train, and manipulators.

people waiting in a line, of sorts

Lack of pens caused this bottle-neck



After the big game reveal, some of us waited to pick up the kick-off-kit, while others made their way back to the hive.

Printed manuals

Manual work

Do not rush the understanding of the game; it is critical for team success, and something you will appreciate in those long hours in the coming weeks.

We used electronic and paper copies, broke into small groups and individuals and began going through the text. The idea being all would have a good over-all understanding of the game.


students in a group

Coming up with some real stumpers

To insure this is the case, some of our seasoned veterans got together to come up with a short quiz, given to the rest of the team (mentors included.)


We spent the afternoon coming up with a strategy using a team based approach and scoring decision matrix.



Mentor Joe is story boarding our design process this season:

Story Board Day 1

Day 1

Competition Whirlwind

Making it to Semifinals in Wilsonville, eliminations in Oregon City, our work being recognized with a Quality Award, nominating Steve for a Woody Flowers award, a rotating drive team, a bored pit crew, scouting efforts that mattered, and getting an invite to the Pacific Northwest District Championships in Cheney, WA! Wow!

It’s been an amazing season, and with our away team taking the ‘bot to Districts, it is not done yet.

When the dust settles we will update this website, in the mean time catch up with Team 957, SWARM on Facebook.

Want to design our next t-shirt and banner? Here’s how!

4 years of shirts

Modeling the shirts of SWARM:  2015 (Abby D), 2014/2013 (Jace L), 2016 (Nathan B)

You can design the team shirt/banner.

Every year, student team members have done our custom team shirt. The front features our name and artwork, the back our sponsors and mentors.

Mr Hales

SWARM Shirt beyond the arctic circle. Burke H

Last year we had several designs that the team voted on. Let’s plan on having the decision in mid-Jan, with the design finalized for the printer by Feb 1st (That’s the deadline for 2017 sponsors.)

You will need ‘camera ready’ artwork by mid-January. Here’s how-

Design your artwork using vector images. They are easy to scale up (do not become blurry, pixelated and the color holds true.)

I recommend Inkscape. It is free and available for many operating systems, including a portable version you can keep on a flash drive.

Check out the quick Inkscape tutorials by  Ryan Lerch. (You can ignore the Fedora specific info.)

Try downloading and changing our generic swag shirt .svg file. Istarbeegenericshirtt’s got a black template (thx that includes front and back.

You will want to design your work so it fits in a rectangle about 16″ x 12″.

We typically like to keep our shirts two colors (back and yellow) as it is a couple of dollars cheaper for each shirt. Leave room for additional sponsors/mentors on the back. Do not take images we do not have permission to use.  Work in this year’s theme.  And have fun!

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