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!