Friday, April 27, 2012

Champing at the Bot: 2012 FIRST Championship

You scream, I scream, we all scream ... robot! If you've ever attended a FIRST event before, you know exactly what that means — you're walking through the pit and behind you is a team on the move, on its way to the playing field with their robot, and one student leading the pack yells "robot" to clear the way.

The aisles are hustling with people who are on tight schedules but when anyone hears that five letter word, it's a parting of the sea. These students make for a strong community and there's a lot of respect for each other in this highly anticipated game.

Mentors meet with one of our applications engineers to discuss linear and curvilinear motion technologies
Honored to be a part of the 2012 FIRST championship, part of the Bishop-Wisecarver team is onsite this week in St. Louis, Missouri to share in the experience and cover the event. As official Diamond Supplier program sponsors and supporters of three SF Bay Area high schools, we're featured in the lobby with other companies who all share the same passion for supporting STEM initiatives.

We've seen the excitement and know it's a program worth more than just our dollars, but our time and attention. Throughout the day, students stopped by the table to pose with Mo the Linear Guide Wheel and chat with one of our applications engineers.

Students pose with Mo, the Linear Guide Wheel — the Bishop-Wisecarver mascot

When we weren't chatting with students at our supplier showcase table yesterday afternoon, we cruised the bustling arena. Among our many stops, we visited [ team #2949 ]'s pit booth to meet with students who chose DualVee guide wheels to put a turret in motion on their robot.

Team "Pwnage" is unique in that the bunch is made up of students who come from different high schools located all over a suburb near Chicago. Together, they represent the windy city with a cool and go-with-the-flow attitude.

Team #2949 pose for a picture (right) while their robot hits the practice field in high gear (left)
As the team tended to robot maintenance after a successful practice round, high school senior Nick (right) stepped aside to answer a few questions for our blog. Here's what had to say:

Tell us about how you are using DualVee linear guide wheels.
We're using the vee bearing wheels on our turret. There's four of them overall, and there's a metal plate on the inside that holds the disk in there. Then we have a belt and pulley that moves the turret around. The bearings keep in smooth and in place — it's really helpful.

Tell us about your experience with FIRST? FIRST is really awesome — it teaches you so many different things about science, technology, engineering and math. I've gotten a lot out of it. Now I'm a senior, and I am going into mechanical engineering at the University of Missouri. It's really cool to learn about all the different things — we learn how to make parts and use computer aided design. To work on a team is really awesome.

Any advice for the other FIRST teams and future participants? Look at as many teams as you can. Look at different things and how people do them differently because knowing how other teams do things will give you different ideas and improve what you're already doing. Definitely plan things out. Don't just jump into something, really think about the game and the design.

Team #2949 used DualVee linear guide wheels to get their turret in motion
If you're at the big event, stop by and visit us in the hall. We're handing out WD40 applicator pens, t-shirts, chocolates and heaps of knowledge on linear and curvilinear motion technologies. For those of you following the championship from home, follow our updates on (@BWCnews).