Since 1998, Alpine Robotics has been building robots, competing in locally held competitions, and partaking in general robotic mayhem. Throughout the years, the team has built several robots, three of which are still around today. Tac is the tallest of the robots, able to extend several feet upward in order to stack milk crates. Mo is the most consistent and fastest robot, and is able to shoot dodgeballs across an entire gym. Finally, Archimedes. Archie, for short, has a massive two stage arm able to pick up inflatable cubes and cones. The overall quality of these robots has definitely increased over the years, with the most recent investment being made to the drivetrain of the robot. For the 2023-2024 season, Team 159 has been working hard to prepare for the upcoming build season. From August to December, the team trains new members, develops new ideas, and gets ready for a rigorous build season. This looks different across the three main sub teams. For CAD (Computer Aided Design), senior members teach new teammates how to use Solidworks, an online design software. The Programming Team works on gathering code and teaching new members how previous robot code works. 159 also has members responsible for the business aspects, as building robots isn't exactly cheap. They work with potential and current sponsors in order to ensure the team has the proper funds for the upcoming season. Finally, the Shop team shows newbies how to use a Bridgeport End Mill, the main machine responsible for fabricating robot parts, as well as basic electronics and robot assembly. Once Winter Break arrives, the real challenge begins.
Each year, the team receives a prompt during the beginning of January. This prompt, in the form of a game animation, provides details about specific tasks the robot must complete. For 2024, the animation was released on January 6th. If you'd like to watch it in full, here's the entire video. In short, robots must obtain foam rings from a drop station and make their way across the field to deposit the rings into one of three containers. At the end of the match, the robots must also climb onto chains supported by a central structure.
After this video premiered, the team quickly got to work on brainstorming. Ideas for how to both pick up and shoot the rings were thrown out by the different teams. Several different intakes were pitched, using rollers, brushes, claws, and even vacuums. Similar was the shooter, with wheels and rollers being the two most popular ideas. Before prototyping of ideas began, we made sure to keep in mind the overall strategy of the game. Shooting rings into the speaker is worth more than placing rings into the Amp, while climbing onto the chain adds even more points to the total. While we are still in the design process, the Shop team has been busy building field elements and prototyping. Thus far, two rollers of compliant (flexible) wheels seem to be the best design for a shooter, which will help CAD in the design process.
If anything I have mentioned sounds remotely interesting, consider joining the team! We would love to have any additional members for each of the sub teams, especially business! For more information, contact either Jenna Monroe at firstname.lastname@example.org, Kara Richardson at email@example.com, or Alan Charters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Midway through build season, I will post another article to update the progress Team 159 has made. Until then, Go Alpine!
Order from top left to bottom right:
Owen Dustin works on CAD for the new robot. Jenna Monroe during Promo Night. Austin Eide, Paul Olson, and Marlow Walker driving robots during Promo Night. Driving Mo while transporting a box of pizza. Team Captain Jenna Monroe brainstorming with Shop Captain Austin Eide during Kickoff. Shop and Programming members Eli Golly, Hayden Jungen, Zander Gilson, Owen Johnson, and Joseph Leisz working on Swerve Drive.
Austin Eide is currently a junior at Poudre High School. This will be his first year writing for the Poudre Press. He enjoys playing trumpet in the Pep Band and is also Captain of the Build Team for 159 Alpine Robotics. Austin also loves building with LEGO and making stop-motion movies on YouTube. His blog is dedicated to music, hockey, band, and more!