2019 Central Valley Regional

From March 7th-9th, Team 3303 competed at the Central Valley Regional, which was held at the Fresno Convention Center. The first day proved to be a challenge since our team had to finish our linear elevator, mount our cargo intake and hatch panel mechanism, and wire everything. Because of the large amount of work we had to do, we were unable to participate in any practice matches.

However, our drive team rose to the challenge presented to them. Under their operation, our robot performed smoothly and finished in 11th with a record of 7 wins and 3 losses.

Because of our robot’s ability to score cargo quickly, the 3rd ranked team, Team 2813, selected us as their 1st pick. Alongside Team 2813 and their second pick, Team 3970, we defeated the 6th ranked alliance to proceed to the semifinals. However, our alliance was then bested by the 2nd ranked alliance.

Regardless, our team was thrilled with our robot’s performance and hope we perform even better at our second competition at the end of March. Furthermore, Team 3303 would like to thank each sponsor and mentor who made our success possible. Roll thunder!

2019 Bag & Tag Day

For the last 6 weeks, Team 3303 has been hard at work building a robot to compete in Destination: Deep Space. Our team has successfully built a linear elevator and mechanisms to handle the cargo and hatch panel game pieces.

We completed these things just in time for Bag & Tag Day, which was Tuesday, February 19th. On Bag & Tag Day, our team had to cease working on our robot and seal it inside a large plastic bag. This is done to prevent further modifications until competition.

Although our team had built mechanisms for cargo and hatch panels, we chose to keep those out of the bag to further improve them. This is only possible because our team is allowed to bring 30 pounds of fabricated parts to each competition.

Team 3303 looks forward to revealing our completed robot at our first competition, the Central Valley Regional, on March 7-9th.

2019 FIRST Kickoff

On January 5th, Team 3303 assembled at our workspace to watch the game reveal that FIRST broadcasted to teams all around the globe. This season, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s moon landing, the game is space-themed (click here for game animation).

Immediately after watching the game reveal, the entire team began reading the game manual. Once every member had finished reading, the team prioritized which tasks we wanted our robot to do. Then we broke into 3 groups of 4-5 students, where we brainstormed how to accomplish our objectives.

Our plan is to continue brainstorming and prototyping until next Friday, where each design group will present its ideas. After every group has presented, the entire team will vote on which mechanism ideas we want to design and build.

2018 Hidalgo Elementary Outreach

On December 7, Team 3303 volunteered at a Santa’s Workshop event at Hidalgo Elementary. During this event, students from the school have the opportunity to build creations such as wooden catapults, marshmallow shooters, and miniature robots.

Since we are a robotics team, our members were assigned to assist the students building the robots. These robots, which consisted of CDs, plastic cup covers, and tiny motors, spun around in unique patterns. Although they were relatively simple, the robots gave the students a hands-on understanding of important robotics skills, such as wiring a motor to a battery.

Team 3303 absolutely enjoyed volunteering at this event because it was exciting to see the kids thrilled about building robots. Accordingly, our team hopes to volunteer again next year.

2018 MadTown Throwdown

On November 10th and 11th, Team 3303 attended the MadTown Throwdown, an offseason competition in Madera. Since it is an offseason and not official competition, MadTown Throwdown is a great way to give new team members the FRC experience and for veteran members to have fun.

During qualification matches, our robot performed better than at its prior competitions. It consistently scored 5-6 power cubes per match and even scored one during the autonomous period of the match. While our record (3-6) was not impressive, the 2nd seed team took notice of our performance and picked us for their alliance during playoff rounds. Allied with Team 973 and Team 971, we sailed through the Quarterfinals. In the Semifinals, our alliance won the first match against the 3rd seed alliance but then lost the second two. As a result, our team was eliminated from the playoffs.


2018 Central Valley Regional

From April 5th to the 8th, Team 3303 competed at the Central Valley Regional. During the week leading up to this competition, the team had worked diligently to design an intake ramp that would not catch on the bump in the middle of the field (see previous blog post). We ended up designing a spring-loaded ramp which deflects backward when it hits the bump. Thankfully, we immediately witnessed a vast improvement in the functionality and reliability of our intake system during qualification matches. Our robot was able to acquire and score power cubes like it never had before. Accordingly, our team finished the qualification round with a respectable record of 6 wins and 6 losses. Moreover, our team was selected by teams 3495 and 1388 to play with them in the playoff rounds. Although our season ended when our alliance was eliminated in the Quarterfinals, our team was both relieved and happy that our robot had performed flawlessly.

Team 3303 would like to thank every sponsor who donated this season. You are an inextricable part of our team’s existence!

2018 Sacramento Regional

From March 21st to 24th, Team 3303 competed at its first competition, the Sacramento Regional. Following 6 weeks of build season, this competition was the first real test of our robot’s performance. Immediately, our team realized that our robot had a serious design flaw- the ramp by which the robot acquired power cubes kept catching on a bump in the middle of the playing field, bending our intake system apart. Consequently, our robot struggled to intake and score power cubes. This in turn resulted in our robot finishing low in the rankings and not qualifying for the playoffs. However, our team has been motivated by our shortcomings to redesign our robot’s intake system before our next competition. We look forward to presenting the end result!

2017 Biola Enrichment Program

In the summer of 2017, our team took the wonderful opportunity to help Inspire One’s Biola Enrichment Program. Inspire One is an organization that educates children in creative arts and strives to build cross-cultural and socioeconomic bridges. This enrichment program takes place in the town of Biola, a community outside of Fresno with a population of a little over one thousand. It reaches almost one hundred children.

The opening session for this program consists of singing, dancing, and story time. On the days our team went out there,  the kids had the opportunity to ask several of our team members questions about the robot and FIRST competitions. Then our drive team demonstrated our robot- driving it around, picking up gears, and climbing a rope.

Following this, we divided the kids into groups of five to eight and assigned team members to each group. On the first day, we had one team member in each group pretend to be a robot and had the kids give him commands in order to complete objectives such as picking up a chair. In this way, we demonstrated to the kids that you have to communicate with the robot for it to do what you want it to do. This activity led to a discussion about programming. On our second day there, with the assistance of the team members, the kids constructed a car with clothespins, pipe cleaners, and buttons.

Because of this program, the kids get free breakfast and lunch at the local elementary school. This is also a great opportunity for the kids to bond with teen volunteers. Aside from what we taught them about robotics, the kids got to go on a few field trips including a fishing trip and an ice skating rink. They also got to learn more about cooking and photography. Typically, they finished the week off with a fun water day.

The children who live in Biola often spend their summer days home alone since their parents have to work in the fields. We feel that this program has had a tremendously positive impact on such children. We were honored to be able to introduce them to STEM.

2017 Girls World Expo

In March 2017, Team 3303 members Morgan McRee, Kayley Griffin, and Abigail Callis attended the Girls’ World Expo in downtown Fresno. They were able to speak with almost 1000 young women about the exciting and challenging things we learn through FIRST robotics and the possibilities for women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). The young women talked to had unique sets of interests, and were from all walks of life and age groups. Each one discovered something about FIRST Robotics that intrigued them, whether it be the building and programming of the robot or the business and public relations side.

The three 3303 students also took the practice robot to demonstrate for the girls at the Expo, which sparked wonder and amazement in the eyes of those who watched it. One of the 3303 girls specifically remembers thinking “this is why we are here” upon seeing one young lady intently studying the robot and its electronics and wiring. Our student knew that girl was inspired that day and hopes she goes on to discover great things in STEM!

Team 3303’s members were joined by two other local FIRST Robotics Competition teams, Buchanan Bird Brains Team 1671 from Buchanan High School and Uni-rex Team 5817 from Sanger High. 3303 was also joined be a FIRST LEGO League team, Team P.O.P. Team P.O.P. is an all-girls team with ages ranging from 9 to 14. It was a pleasure to meet them and to hear their enthusiasm as they explained their F.L.L. challenge for the year to us and how they had qualified for World Championships (we actually had the opportunity to wish them luck at World Championships when we qualified at the Los Angeles Regional).

It was fun and more importantly, an honor, to represent FIRST and Central Valley Robotics at this event alongside Uni-rex, The Bird Brains, and Team P.O.P. It is also extremely satisfying to know that we had the opportunity to help change the culture of STEM Education for girls.

2018 Week 2 Update

Week 2 of the build season has been a busy week. Our team is nearing completion of the robot design and has already built the drive chassis of our practice robot. Our plan is to build the robot mechanisms and test them on the practice robot before finalizing them and putting them on the competition robot. During this time the CAD team has been coordinating with the build team, drawing the designs in CAD as progress is made.

Meanwhile, the programming/electrical team has successfully wired the practice robot and will have it driving as soon as a battery mount is attached. Also, they are beginning to write the code for the robot mechanisms. One of the team’s goals this year is to have clean, neat wiring. Having this will allow us to diagnose electrical problems quickly and easily should they occur. By contrast, if our robot has messy wiring, we will not know which wire connects to where.

The public relations team has been working hard on creating the drive team’s costumes for competition to increase our chances of winning the Imagery Award. Additionally, the public relations team has been coordinating with the rest of the team to work on sponsorship. Our goal is to raise $60,000, which would be impossible if not for the generous businesses and individuals who donate.