First Tech Challenge 2019 Robot Ruckus

27th March 2019

On Thursday 14th March, after two terms building and coding our robot, team UK-014 went off to take part in the First Tech Challenge 2019 at the Concorde Conference Centre in Manchester. We stayed overnight in a nearby hotel and enjoyed an ‘all you can eat’ breakfast early Friday. It’s surprising just how much some of the team were able to get through…

On arrival, we were shown to our team area and then had to undergo a full robot inspection, pit inspection and then a team interview with the FTC panel. Jack Mewett headed this and the team gave a very good account of themselves.

We chose Matthew Vallance and Harry Catherall to be the coach and second driver and they worked together with Tom Rushton to compete in the rounds. Jack Mewett co-ordinated the team and made sure they were in the right places at the right time. James Bamsey was our chief tinkerer and fixer on the day working hard in the pit to maintain the robot. The other team members took care of admin duties, making sure questionnaires were handed in and that the pit was kept in order.

We struggled a little with the mascot as it wouldn’t drop off the holder when the servo turned it upside.  Despite using a nail file (supplied by Mrs Machin) to smooth the edges it still didn’t work so we fashioned a new one out of one of the boxes for the motors and some printed Stover logos.

The qualification matches were very exciting and we were one of the few robots with a functioning autonomous period so were able to amass points. We won 4 out of 5 and were in 5th place overall at this point. We then moved up to 4th and were in the semi-finals which was fantastic. Tom was the alliance captain and he chose the teams who would be with us. Unfortunately, we went out at this stage but were extremely proud of our achievements.

Tom was also chosen by FTC to present the ‘Aerospace’ award on the day which was quite a privilege.
The team came third for the ‘Think’ award which was given for “Removing engineering obstacles through creative thinking”

After a very long and tiring day, we started our journey home. Were we defeated and downhearted? No, the conversation on the bus on the way home was all based on how we tackle this competition next year and what changes we would make to our approach.

I have enjoyed this project, working with the team, learning new skills, the competition itself and look forward to seeing the challenge for next year!  Come on, Stover! 2020 is our year…
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Mrs Machin

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