The Vexmen of Brandywine Robotics

Blog Post

Let’s Get Ready To Robot!

It’s time for a new year and the Vexmen are looking for some new roboteers. We will be looking for new members at the 6th grade open house nights and then on the following Tuesday and Wednesday evenings to start the build year. We will form teams for everyone and go over this year’s game – Skyrise.

This year is going to be a challenge as it has really high posts to score from and a more challenging pick and place challenge in the Skyrise tower. Posts along the outside of the field are worth two points and the highest cube placed on a post gets a bonus point. Cubes on the colored squares are one point each. The good news is there are no field obstacles like last year’s bump so we can build to the full 18″ box.

The majority of points will come from placing the Skyrise as you make a taller tower. There are four points per post and four more points for placing a cube on a Skyrise post. However, these posts are a bit tricky to build from a placement and height perspective.

There are some changes in the local event area as well. State Championships will have fewer teams and Middle School now has its own division with its own pathway to World Championships. That takes several spots from High School division, but 6th graders are not competing against high school seniors at States. The season is condensed a bit too with January and February having many events in a row.

So with the game being a real challenge, we will try and concentrate on building lifts and grippers first this year. Without those, the rest of the robot is secondary. There are several ways to get 60″ off the ground when stuck in an 18″ box at the start. The hard part is getting up there without tipping over, and in a quick manner. Three design choices seem like the obvious choices and we can help you build them. Scissor lift, double reverse 4-bar linkage, and elevator slide lifts can reach really high. Each of these is rather difficult to build so we will be concentrating on this.

We’re building in a new space this year and that will force some changes. We will be building in the new Downingtown 6th Grade Center. This means more clean up responsibilities each week so we will be formalizing clean up jobs for each kid. There’s no more “dump and run” because your robot parts you leave behind will probably be swept up and thrown out and we don’t want that. So each team will have a rotating clean up responsibility each week..