Lifestyles

Story published: 02-25-2014 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Boone, Crockett students team up to manufacture the perfect robot

By Meghan McCoy
Staff Writer

With their robot stored safely away, students of David Crockett and Daniel Boone High Schools are focusing on final preparations for the First Robotics Competition.

Guy McAmis, drafting instructor at David Crockett High School, said the group kicked off this year’s First Robotics Competition at the University of Tennessee on Jan. 4.

A collaboration of 12 students from Daniel Boone High School and 12 students from David Crockett High School make up the team that began forming last year.

“It was open to all students that wanted to come into the First Robotics Team,” McAmis said. “We have two rival schools that have come together to build a robot.”

Sophomore student Ethan Riddle of David Crockett High School got involved by joining the programming team when it first formed with three other students. He said he has enjoyed his experience of working on the robot, as well as learning about programming.

Last fall, McAmis traveled to Cherokee High School with the team to help that school’s First Robotics Team get a better understanding of the competition.

“On the bus trip back, our students came up with the (name) Musket Alliance,” he said. “They did it as a team effort.”

After the team was formed, a corporation was created with a CEO and board, on which McAmis sits, as does David Shell from Daniel Boone High School.

When the rookie team traveled to the University of Tennessee last month, they were required to execute a robot quick build from a kit that was provided to them. The kit was equipped with such basics as the frame, a set of wheels and all the electronics.

“It comes with enough to make a running robot out of the box,” McAmis said. “All the extras we had to buy separately.”

Fundraising efforts started last year when McAmis told his students he would shave his mustache if they raised $2,000 by the end of the football season. The students were successful.

Several companies also made donations to the team, so they could purchase additional parts. Those include S.E.A.M.S. LLC; Grainger, Fastenal; Valley Equipment of Jonesborough; United Grinding; Eastman Chemical Co. and Energy Systems Group, LLC.

When the students began putting together their robot last month, they decided it would defend the field to make it difficult for another team to score. Riddle said the robot defends the goal with its lift that can be raised and arm that extends outwards.

This year, the robots have to shoot a 24-inch exercise ball through a hoop to score points. Riddle said their idea is to get the exercise ball in either the high goal that is around 7 feet in the air or into two low goals.

“Our robot is also defending against other teams,” he said.

The students clocked between 60 to 75 hours after school working on their robot from Jan. 4 to Feb. 18 before it was ready to “bag and tag” for the competition.

“It was a lot of fun working with the kids,” McAmis said. “They did the design and drawing. We sat back and watched them.”

He said the students know how to put the robot together and take it apart on their own.

“I’m tickled to death,” McAmis said. “They jumped in there.”

Six students worked on building the robot. The work was done at David Crockett High School due to the availability of the machine shop to build parts. A playing field was set up at Daniel Boone High School for practice.

Mitchell Roop, a teacher at David Crockett High School helped the students with programming, which included a trip to Eastman Chemical Co.

Riddle said the classes they attended at Eastman Chemical Co. were really helpful in programming the robot.

“Learning how to do (the programing) is a rewarding thing,” Riddle said.

Although the build team, electric team and programming team are no longer allowed to work on the robot, there is still plenty to do to get ready for the competition.

McAmis said the rules and safety team have a lot to do to prepare.

“I think we did well,” McAmis said about the students building the robot. “It’s been a great experience.”

Ten of the Washington County 5022 Musket Alliance team members will head to the Knoxville Convention Center March 26-29 to compete in the FRC regionals.

“I would love for people of Washington County to come and watch,” McAmis said.

On Friday, March, 28, the Musket Alliance will be paired with other teams as they try and score points. Five students are allowed in the pit area during the competition. The remaining students will scout the other teams to see whom they want to be aligned with for Saturday’s competition, March 29.

Riddle said his programming team will be located in the driver’s station at the competition.

The station has two joysticks and a computer. He will operate the computer and make adjustments to the robot if necessary.

Riddle said he is excited about going to the competition.

“It’s been enjoyable, but it has been a lot of work for myself and David Shell over at Boone,” McAmis said.

With that said, he thinks they will probably try and keep the FRC team going next year.