Newsletter 2021 Week 1

FRC 6800

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford

Game Summary

Renewable sources of energy are everywhere, all the time. Working together in the 2020 season of FIRST Robotics Competition, INFINITE RECHARGE, we can support boundless innovation and create a society that’s empowered, inspired, and hopeful. In INFINITE RECHARGE, two alliances race to collect and score Power Cells in order to energize their Shield Generator for maximum protection. To activate stages of the Shield Generator, robots manipulate their Control Panels after scoring a specific number of Power Cells. Near the end of the match, robots race to their Rendezvous Point and rise to the challenge.

Sub-Team Updates

The 2021 Build Season has begun! On Saturday the 9th FIRST robotics held a virtual kickoff live stream that we watched via zoom. The “INFINITE RECHARGE” game is back for this season since many teams, including Valor, didn’t have a chance to compete last year due to the Coronavirus. The return of the game gives us the opportunity to attack the challenge with even more knowledge than last year. In fact, we are building an entirely new robot with a new design for this 2021 season! This week was full of design reviews to meet CAD deadlines and order parts to get our build season underway.


For the Intake subteam our goal this week was to redesign our 2020 intake for the 2021 competition and integrate with our new design. We utilized a linkage system and pneumatics to package the intake more effectively into the robot and lower the weight of the mechanism. We had to adapt our workflow from in-person to virtual, and with the utilization of a new CAD suite. After a couple of days of settling in we were full speed ahead. Next week we will be fabricating and assembling the intake. We plan to print a variety of markforged parts and polycarbonate panels in order to make the design as light as possible.


This week the shooter subteam created an updated version of the turret gearbox that would utilize the ultra planetary set, resulting in a slower, more torqued turret rotation. We had to adjust the resting hood angle of the shooter to allow for batter shots to line up with the inner port. There were very little issues this week, other than some incorrect file uploads of complex models, such as the motor and its ultra planetary gearbox. The goal for next week is to finalize the hood adjustment angle and complete the CAD for the shooter subsystem. We plan to begin manufacturing the large framework of the shooter subsystem such as the main side plates, the turret gear, and the mounting plate.


The goal for the week was to create a system which could store all 5 balls using a rotating drum into another mechanism which would transport the balls individually to the shooter. We created the drum using a large plate with dividers, and the throat using polycarbonate plates with wheels in between. Integration with the lift was challenging because it had a bar under the spindex where there was already another bar, so we had to merge them together and change the height of the spindexer. In the upcoming week we will finish the part drawings, start manufacturing, and hopefully begin assembling some of the more important components. We will also continue to update the CAD.


This week was the final push to get all the little details ironed out in the CAD model, and a pneumatic locking mechanism was added for the spool as extra support for the lift attached to the shooter superstructure. Our challenge this week was subsystem integration as the lift gearbox and the spindexer under support were intersecting. We were able to modify our subsystems to support each other. This week was mostly issue free, the only big surprise came after putting the lift CAD on the same chassis as the spindexer which revealed a lot of clearancing issues to resolve. Next week, after Evan does the CAD, we will use our drawings to manufacture the parts and quickly move on to assembly.


This week, the goal of the software subteam was to create flowcharts for each subsystem that plan the general outline of our code, and to start coding our subsystems to prepare for testing. For electrical, we reviewed our design for our electrical components placement on the robot. We ran into issues with creating the logic for our shooter subsystem that would achieve the functions we wanted for the subsystem. We also ran into issues with finding ways to make our electrical system more modular with multi-pin connectors. Next week, we are going to begin testing and debugging code on our previous year’s robot.


This week on the Business subteam we focused on creating our first newsletter of the season, and first newsletter as a web page. We switched things up from last year so we not only had to work on the content but also design the layout for publishing on the website. Now that we have our new templates we anticipate the next few weeks will run smoothly. We also worked on our Mini Essays for the Chairman’s award that we will submit in February. Next week we will be focusing on creating the week 2 newsletter, finishing the Mini Essays, and working on the Business Plan.

Team Member Spotlight

Alex Diaz

Hardware- Shooter subteam

I started robotics because I was interested in building things and coming up with efficient ideas that involved problem-solving skills. I started robotics in 4th grade on an FLL team, and this will be my 8th season in FIRST. This is my second year on Valor and I am CAD lead for my subteam and part of the Chairman’s subteam. This week I have been focused on finalizing the turret design and getting it prepared for manufacturing next week. My favorite part of Valor is being able to create new things alongside friends. Once I graduate from Vandegrift I want to major in mechanical engineering.

Bridget O’Brien

Hardware – Intake subteam

I was first introduced to robotics in 2nd grade when a friend of mine approached me and asked if I wanted to join JrFLL; I agreed. After that I realized how much fun I had and I wanted to continue in Robotics. On Valor I hold two roles, I am on the Chairman’s team and the Manufacturing subteam. This week I worked on finishing CAD on the intake and started manufacturing the chassis bars. For me the best part about being on Valor is that I get to learn valuable skills that I can use after high school and in the workforce. In the future I am interested in pursuing Aerospace Engineering at Embry Riddle or the Air Force Academy.

Cooper Nelson

Electrical/Software subteam & Drive Team Operater

I started robotics because I had listened to many of my friends share their great experiences in FIRST Robotics and it sounded interesting and challenging to me. I then joined an FTC team in my eighth grade year. My role at Valor is the electrical lead, a member of the software team and the operator at competitions. This week I worked on planning our electrical design for our robot and on software subsystem flowcharts to plan our logic before we began coding. My favorite part of being on Valor is the aspect of building a community with my team. In college I want to major in computer science.

Michael Ray

Head Coach

I am a software engineer at a startup called Pelion – when a customer asks for Internet of Things products, I am the first line of support and create prototypes and solutions for the customer. I was on an FRC team from 2009 to 2013, and I started 6800 Valor in 2016. I come into Viperbots every day to provide students with the same opportunities that I was once given. My responsibility on the team is project management – I make sure every system integrates properly and effectively.