Newsletter 2021 Week 4

FRC 6800

“What we can control is our performance and our execution, and that’s what we’re going to focus on.” – Bill Belichick

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

We are now past the halfway point of our build season at the end of Week 4. Our hardware subteams have begun mounting subsystems and the electrical team has begun wiring. We got far enough on Saturday to run a few tests loading and shooting the balls. This was a very exciting step in our process! However from the testing we discovered that our indexer needs improvement. The hardware/design students are in the process of altering the design to more effectively/efficiently fit all 5 balls in the robot. Next week we are looking forward to further progress with the software subteam and code integration with each subsystem.


Our goal this week was to completely fabricate all components of the intake subsystem, assemble all components into a final assembly, and mount onto the robot chassis. From there, we could begin any preliminary tests in order to determine whether our initial design worked.
During our preliminary tests, we noticed that our pneumatic pistons did not have enough strength to push out the intake into collection configuration. Next week we will be redesigning our intake entirely from the ground up to more effectively extend and retract, while improving our collection rate when picking up power cells. We plan to have our initial design CAD done by the end of the week.


Today we worked on editing the final design of some of the motion components in the shooter system. Some of these parts included a new flywheel axle, new 3D printed pulleys to fit properly on our belts. We had issues with the previous flywheel axle, as it was misaligned, making flywheel rotation tighter and more difficult to use. Next week we are going to complete the assembly for the shooter, mounting the new pulleys to the improved flywheel axle. We will also begin testing wire tracking solutions, as we have currently not found a proper way to connect the electronics on the shooter in a method that will allow for 270 degrees of motion.


Throughout this week we attached the Spindexer to the robot for the first time. Then we began testing how well it is able to feed balls to the throat and ultimately the shooter. There were a lot of clearance issues with the pneumatic system as well as the side bars of the superstructure. Next week hopefully we will be able to run the robot with the full ball handling assembly on.


The goal for this week was to finish up the main attachment brackets, 4 of these were completed on the CNC mill. We then tested them with a scrap piece of bar and the outer lift tube. It works extremely well and holds the lift very rigidly. This week there were very few issues. Ideally next week we should be able to start shifting 100% of our focus onto the lift and start knocking out the main parts and get assembly underway.


This week we implemented Auto code from last year into this year’s code and we began testing our turret and intake subsystems. We also implemented horseshoe control on the shooter. We had issues with debugging the limelight to test our tracking functionality with the shooter subsystem. Next week, we are going to finalize electrical on the robot and test subsystems together on the robot., and on the software side we are going to finalize the shooter code and implement the intake into our auto code.


This week our main priority was 10k essay content and edits. We plan on submitting that in two weeks for the Chairman’s award. We also worked on our newsletters, posting Week 3’s and then creating Week 4. Additionally we are working on developing the Chairman’s video and social media content. This week we didn’t really have any hiccups. This upcoming week we will continue our current projects with publishing the Week 4 newsletter, continue on Chairman’s content, and social media.

Andrew Escott


I got started in robotics when I was 7 years old, in second grade. At a young age I wanted to find an outlet for my creativity, so when we found out that my elementary school had a robotics program I decided to try it out. Since then I have never looked back. I am part of the hardware subteam during build season and then during competitions I will be a scout. This week I worked heavily on the pneumatics system of the robot, as well as assembling the intake and spindexer of the robot. My favorite aspects of being part of Valor are the team and mentors. The students I work with are all nerds just like me and I love it. Each person has their own quirks, skills, and personalities that allow our team to work together flawlessly. The mentors are some of the most skilled and talented individuals I have ever met and I have already learned so much from them. Whenever I graduate and go to college I would like to study both aerospace engineering at MIT and astrophysics at Stanford.

Jamey Alden


I started robotics in 2nd grade in Jr. FLL because I wanted a team environment where I could cultivate and learn new skills in a competitive environment. Then in my freshman year I applied to join FRC. My favorite part of being on the team is the competitions and the competitive fast-paced environment. My role on Valor is Lead Programmer. This week I worked on implementing the auto pathing from last year into this year’s code. In college I want to do Architectural Engineering.

Jan Helgeson

Controls/Electronics Mentor

I am a solutions architect working on Microsoft products and Robotic Process Automation (UiPath). I’m here to have fun working on robots, develop innovative control solutions and work with students to teach them real world software development and troubleshooting skills. On Valor I head up the controls and electronics subteam, and we are responsible for getting the robot wired and programmed. I enjoy being able to work in a high tech shop on cool robots, and enabling students to build and develop solutions to problems.