Newsletter 2021 Week 6

FRC 6800

“Many will start fast, few will finish strong.” – Gary Ryan Blair

Sub-Team Updates

After the winter storm that hit Texas last week we are back on track, finishing week 6 of the build season! This past week has been heavily focused on getting all the hardware subsystems prepared and mounted to do testing with software. With many students working on tackling efficiency and reliability, we have made several adjustments and are very confident in the outcomes. Looking into next week, at the end of the 2021 build season every subteam will be working together to run the robot and film the reveal!


Our goal is to redesign and assemble a new intake iteration to the robot to more effectively collect balls into our throat and drum. We hope to be able to test and modify the second iteration by the end of the week as well. Due to a lack of parts from McMaster, we’ve been unable to change the assembly of our rollers effectively, meaning that the roller assembly does not fit together properly. We hope to remedy this next week through another parts order. Next week we plan to continue testing our intake while potentially redesigning for the third time. We hope to have a complete intake by the end of build season, which is just a week away.


We worked on creating the wire tracking slides for the turret. This was done in order to tension and store all the wires that would be rotated along with the turret. We ran into some issues with the tolerances of the wire track bearing stack, which was easily fixed by sanding down sharp edges of the track piece. Next week we will finalize the hood pneumatic and begin testing of the flywheel in unison with the turret. The goal is also to implement a small sheet metal plate that will allow us to run wires from the front of the flywheel system to the back.


This week on the Spindexer our goal was to finish the indexer and be able to mount it by the end. One issue we ran into was getting the indexer to fit inside the constraints of the robot. Next week we are going to test the spindexer with all of the other components. If any issues arise, we will make changes from there.


This week we were able to get the first single stage tests of the lift. The constant force springs work well in extending the uppermost stage. We were also able to get every part printed for both sides of the lift. There were a few issues with 3D printed parts not fitting perfectly so they required reprinting. Next week the goal is to get the whole lift telescoping part working so we can move onto the gearbox assembly. Once that is complete, we will be able to start stringing which will be a difficult process.


The goal for software this week was to implement a chooser so that before running autonomous we would be able to pick an auto to run. For electrical, we created custom wiring to start wiring the turret and shooter, and we organized wires on the rest of the robot. When programming the auto we decided to store all of the autos in an unordered map, so we spent some time researching maps so we were familiar with how to use them. Next week I plan on getting the auto code tested and ready to be merged into our main developing code in the dev branch. For electrical, we are going to finalize everything and test all the subsystems.


The main goal for the business team this week was to submit the Woody Flowers essay and the chairman’s essays. This was really important because these are some of the only ones we can compete for this year! With so many teams trying to submit at once the FIRST website gets a little bogged down, so we made sure to start early in the day and got everything in on time. During this upcoming week we will work on our chairman’s speech for the presentation. We will also begin planning for the robot reveal and the virtual open house!

Evan Cloran

Manufacturing and Design

I joined the team because I was doing nothing in highschool and my brother talked highly about the FRC program so I decided to join. I did FLL back in 4th and 5th grade and then stopped for a while, and I’m just now starting again this year with FRC. My favorite part about being on Valor is working as a team and getting to see all of our work come together as a single functioning robot. I normally work on CAM for the CNC router for all of the subteams. This week specifically I manufactured some 1×1 tubes for the throat and the past two days I have been assembling parts of the lift that are complete. I want to study Mechanical engineering in college. I have not really thought about a specific school but I think UT would be great to attend.

Ana McIntyre

Business/Chairman’s Team

I joined an FLL team when I was in 4th grade because I enjoyed playing with legos and wanted to do something new/creative with my friends. In middle school I did FTC for 2 years and then when I came to VHS I joined Valor. I am now the team captain as well as Business and Chairmans lead. I use my previous years of experience to help train the newer students. This week my main job was to submit the judging awards online. My favorite thing about being part of this team is seeing everyone work super hard and then it all pays off during the competition season. I am lucky enough to have gotten to compete my Freshman year and I have some great memories from that! Once I graduate I want to go to UT to study biology and health sciences to become a dentist.

Mrs. Ocanas

VHS Teacher Sponsor

I have been teaching science at Vandegrift High School since 2016; I currently teach Pre-AP Chemistry & IB Biology. I started out in robotics as the faculty coach for FTC 6299 QuadX from 2018-2020 and this is my first year working with Valor. I plan/coordinate the 8th period FRC class period & help Mr. Allen and Michael plan FRC practices. I also try to help out the marketing team to the best of my ability. I love spending time with students & adults who have a passion for STEM and I believe robotics to be a perfect environment for that. My favorite part about Valor is seeing the growth in students throughout the season. Being able to track their progress and see students achieve their goals is a big reason why I am an educator. I love being able to see students gain knowledge & confidence in their field of interest.