Author Archives: larkhawk

ShoreWood Competition

The final regular season match of this year’s FIRST competition is on this weekend. We are at ShoreWood High School in Shoreline. Match times and results can be found on the FIRST website here.

We are team 4682. We are scheduled for the following times (times are approximate and the competition frequently falls behind schedule):

Match # Time Alliance

Saturday, March 21st
3, 11:06, Red
7, 11:38, Blue
16, 12:50, Blue
18, 1:36, Blue
22, 2:08, Red
32, 3:28, Red
37, 4:08, Blue
42, 4:48, Blue
46, 5:20, Red
52, 6:08, Red

Sunday, March 22nd
59, 9:40, Blue
62, 10:04, Red

The entire competition is streaming live at

Glacier Peak Competition

Our first FRC competition starts today, March 7th. We are at Glacier Peak High School in Everett. You can find match times on the results page .
We are team 4682. We are scheduled for the following times (times are approximate and the competition frequently falls behind schedule):
Match number, time, alliance
3 11:01 red
10 11:57 blue
14 12:29 blue
17 12:53 blue
23 2:11 blue
30 4:07 red
35 4:47 red
43 6:19 red
47 6:43 blue
51 7:15 blue


57 9:08 red
62 9:48 red

After 10:30 on Sunday, there are playoff matches. We won’t know if we qualify for the playoffs until later in the competition.

Matches are live-streamed on the internet. The Glacier Peak competition has two streams, one for each alliance, red or blue. Here are the links to the streams:


Drive plan decided

Mobility is a high priority in the game. The robot will have to move around stacks of totes in narrow aisles with other alliance robots moving in the same space. To make sure our robot is very mobile, we’ve decided to go with mecanum wheels. These funky-looking wheels allow the robot to move in any direction. They can be difficult to program for. They are also not good for the kind of full-contact robotics that we’ve seen in the past two competitions, where robots rammed each other and pushed each other around. But in this year’s game, robots will not be interacting much with the opposing alliance’s robots, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Here is a video of the mecanum wheels in action: Mecanum Wheels .

2014 Season kickoff!

The Kickoff for the 2014 FIRST season is coming up. If you are going, you need to be at Blanchett by 6:00am on Saturday, January 3rd. We are going up together – either by carpool or bus – to Mountlake Terrace High School for the regional event. The doors at Mountlake open at 6:00am, but the presentation starts at 7:15 am.

This is a big deal, with high schools from all around the Puget Sound area attending. There is a live presentation from the founders of FIRST, and details of this year’s game will be revealed. There will be break-out brainstorming sessions after the live presentations, where kids from all the different schools will share ideas for the upcoming season. Then, we will receive our kit-of-parts, the base package of parts for building this year’s robot. We’ll bring the kit-of-parts home to Blanchet when the event completes.

Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday.

Shorewood Competition

The Shorewood meet is Friday and Saturday, March 21st and 22nd. Our robot is checked in and we passed inspection Thursday night. The team had some time to practice with the robot before the pits closed.

Matches start today at 11:00. Opening ceremonies and all competition can be watched live online at

Team BraveBots is in the following matches for Friday. Times are tentative, and if past experience is any indication, the event will fall behind schedule and later matches will probably start later than the scheduled times:

Match 2 11:37
Match 11 1:37
Match 14 1:58
Match 22 2:54
Match 24 3:08
Match 33 4:11
Match 38 5:16
Match 40 5:30
Match 45 6:05

Glacier Peak day 2

Our first FIRST competition of the season is complete. We finished 25th in the qualifying standings and didn’t make it to the playoff rounds. We won the “Gracious Professionalism” award, apparently in large part to Woodie Flowers, president of Mechanical Engineering school at MIT and FIRST co-founder, who witnessed our driver calming down another team when things went wrong. And, we had a weekend with the robot out of the bag, where, between matches, we continued to work on our launcher, which is now almost fully armed and operational. Plus, we all had an incredible time, watching robots battle, talking with other teams in the pits, and soaking in the nerd heaven atmosphere that is a FIRST competition.

Without a launcher, our robot was limited to a defensive role for the competition. Our driver, Dan, proved an excellent strategist and was very good at blocking passes and keeping opposing robots boxed up in the first section, away from the goals. We did score some passes and even some low goals by bulldozing the ball around. One match was tied when the 30-second warning klaxon sounded, but the opposing alliance managed to pull ahead in those last 30 seconds. We ended up losing all three of our matches on Saturday.

At one point on Friday, the arena was having technical difficulties. Each alliance can only have a single ball on the field at a time (except during the autonomous period). There is a pedestal behind the drivers’ stations that lights up. Volunteers put balls on the pedestal when the light goes out, then the teams can take the balls and put them in play. At one point, the light wouldn’t go out, even though our alliance didn’t have any balls on the field. We couldn’t put any balls on the field. We were all upset, but the driver for another team on our alliance was very angry and was yelling at the volunteer manning the pedestal. Dan told him to cool it, and we think this is what impressed Woodie Flowers so much. The pedestal light issue happened in at least one other match. The refs did a lot of conferring about what to do, but in the end, they let the scores stand.

Check out the photo section for pictures of the competition.

Glacier Peak Day 1

Day 1 of the Glacier Peak District Meet was very exciting. We played in 9 matches and finished the day with a record of 4 – 5. Currently we are in 21st place. Full standings can be found here. They are updated after every match, so they are always current. You can watch video of the competition live on the internet at FIRSTWA Blue.

We used the time with our robot out of the sealed bag to finally dig in and do some more work on it. We are getting very close to having a working launcher, and it’s possible we’ll be shooting at the high goal in tomorrow’s matches.

We won our first match of the day. We had some problems that kept our robot off the field for two matches, but our alliance came through and won one of those despite being down a ‘bot. The battling takes a toll on the robot. At one point, our battery was cracked and leaked acid over the bottom of our robot. It was pretty minor and we cleaned it up after the match before it could damage any other components.

The last match of the day really showed how robots were wearing down. Two robots broke down during the competition. We accidentally ran over the PVC arms of a robot of our own alliance, crushing them and breaking them off. By the rules, the robot was disabled, so there were only 3 of 6 robots working at the end of the match. We scored a point in the low goal, shepherding the ball into it.

Most of the day, we focused on defense. Our driver, Dan, became very good at blocking other robots, keeping them from moving the ball up the field. A couple times, other teams became so frustrated by the smothering D that they reacted violently, smashing into our robot so hard and for so long that they racked up 100 penalty points for our team.

We finished the day in the pits, working up until they kicked us out, trying to get the launcher operational. We’ll be back tomorrow morning at 8:00 to resume work. We have 3 more matches tomorrow before lunch. Afternoon matches are for teams that qualify for the playoffs. We are on the bubble right now, but our stellar defense might get us picked for an alliance if we can’t move up in the standings.

Glacier Peak Robot Battle

Our first competition is this Friday and Saturday, March 7th and 8th. Thursday night, we got the robot up to GPHS and set up our pit. Some photos of that are up in the photos section. The team worked feverishly on our launcher and also to get the robot to pass inspection. There were a number of minor issues, but we worked through them. It should be an exciting time the next couple of days, while we see what the ‘bot can do. You can watch live-streaming of the competition all day at FIRSTWA Blue.