Team Organization

About Us

 

The ThunderChickens

Engineering

Competition

Marketing

Design

Manufacturing

Controls

Strategy

Public Relations

Communication

Advertising

 

 

Design

The design team is a combination of engineers and students trained in SolidWorks design studio.

After the entire team has decided the general functions of the robot, the design team steps in. The design team splits off into groups, each with an engineer and some students, to design specific mechanisms. Each team brainstorms and decides which ideas to use and what hardware they need. The groups report to the rest of the design team and, if no material conflicts come up, each group draws its parts in SolidWorks. After all the parts are designed and detailed, construction can begin.

Manufacturing

The manufacturing team takes the machined parts (from the design team) and assembles them.

The manufacturing team starts off where the design team leaves off. As the designs for the assemblies come back finished, the team cuts out the necessary pieces and puts them together. The frame and drive systems are built first. After that, the other various assemblies are constructed and put in place. The manufacturing team takes careful consideration when assembling the pieces. They try to ensure that every part can easily be remade and replaced as quickly as possible, as well as being "robust." Fasteners are used as uniformly as possible. As soon as all the mechanical parts are positioned, the electrical and programing divisions are able to hook up and debug their programs and control panels.

Controls

The controls team wires and programs the motors and pneumatics of the robot to make it functional.

The controls team has basically three jobs: to wire the robot, program the robot, and make an operator station. Wiring the robot entails connecting the motors and the pneumatic devices to the main controller (made by InnovationFIRST). The basic electrial setup of the robot is: the battery, fuse blocks, radio, main robot controller, Victors (variable speed controllers), and Spikes (on/off speed controllers).

After the robot is wired, the controls team writes and loads a program into the main controller. This program will tell the robot how to process the input that comes from the operator station.

The operator station usually consists of its own controller and radio, along with either joysticks or a steering wheel to control movement of the robot. Switches and dials are used to control other functions. In competition, there will be two operators: a driver who uses the joystick/steering wheel and a switch operator who uses the switches and dials. Recent advances in technology have given us the ability to also use any controller with a USB interface, such as PS2 or Xbox-style controllers.

 

 

Strategy

The strategy team is a very important element of any robotics team. Without good strategy, the robot may not be able to successfully complete its task.

After receiving the parameters of the game, it is the objective of the strategy team to develop a range of possible situations and find corresponding reactions for those situations. They determine whether or not we try to score certain points based on the opponents and alliance partners.

Another undertaking of the strategy team is scouting. Scouting is the recording of opponent robots' abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. This information is essential in competition and when forming alliances. It is the job of the strategy team to develop a scouting plan and program a scouting database that may be shared with other teams. After this data is collected, the information is relayed to the coaches and drivers who use it to help make strong decisions at key points throughout the competitions.

Public Relations

The ThunderChickens PR department is responsible for the development and implementation of ideas that will get FIRST robotics out into the community. Some of these activities involve mentoring Lego League in our area schools, performing community service events where needed, and putting on demonstrations for various clubs or community events. Communications

Communications

The communications department manages communication between all areas of the team and sponsors. This is done through meetings, email groups, our web-site, newsletters, and updating the Van Dyke Ford plant bulletin board.

Advertising

The ThunderChickens advertising department is a whole team effort. The group is responsible for displaying "FIRST" professionalism at every function they attend. The team uses various forms of advertising such as marketing brochures, promotional videos, presentations and our highly noticeable T-shirts. In addition, the team tries to be innovative with our team "give-aways", which, in the past, have included: Peeps in eggs, chicken key rings and water bottles.