Drivetrain Subteam

Team 3637’s Mechanic Subteam at work.

The Drivetrain Subteam is responsible for the Robot’s drivetrain.  Their design must allow the Robot to move about the competition arena, including over varied terrain and while performing different functions.  The Drivetrain Subteam must coordinate with the Programming Subteam, which writes code that allows the Robot to be remotely controlled. … More

Part Selection

Kristin P. and Sean L. researching parts for the build.

Part selection is an important part of Team 3637’s work.  Competition rules include restrictions on the total cost of the robot as well as its weight.  Team 3637 must carefully select parts for its robot to meet design criteria while not exceeding competition restrictions.  

Adjustments are made along the way, as the Team only has 6 weeks to strategize, design, build, program, and test its Robot.  

Team 3637 is more than just the build.  It’s Business and Outreach Team tracks spending, among many other important administrative tasks.

With 60 people on the team and the clock ticking, Team 3637 relies upon subteam delegation and communication to bring all its “moving parts” together in time for competition.  … More

We’re Back!

Now that maintenance on the website is done, it is good to be back! The Daleks have had a busy preseason. We attended the off-season event, Brunswick Eruption. This is a great event to get our new members excited about FIRST and to teach them how to scout. After a long day of competition, we came in second place! The rest of preseason was dedicated to teaching the new members about the tools, building, safety, electrical work, and programming. We also continued our work with our two FLL teams. Our student mentors lead the teams, one of which went to the state competitions for the third year in a row. This year we also started two FLL Jr. teams and ran a FLL Jr. expo for teams across the state to present their creations to reviewers and other teams. We also participated in the Hunterdon County 4H Fair and Community Day where we displayed our robot and let the community interact with it. In addition to our other outreach events, we planned and held a STEM event for Girl Scouts. There were activities such as oobleck making, boat creation, VEX robot driving, and mini-robot building. On January 9th, the team … More

STEAMWORKS Kickoff 2017

Kickoff is like a robotics team’s Christmas. On January 7th, the Daleks gathered close in the early hours of the morning, some still in their pajamas, for the day we’d all been waiting for. The build room was our living room, the projection screen our Christmas tree, and as for the gifts, there was only one- but one was all we wanted. The task reveal for STEAMWORKS, the FRC challenge for 2017, was only moments away. While others sang along to the music parodies other teams had submitted, a small group of members lined up for a picture with our team’s photographer. These members were responsible for the Daleks’ 2017 Safety Animation, which had just been awarded runner-up recognition for the FIRST Safety Animation Award. As congratulations went around, the lights dimmed, and the voices of the FIRST directors filled the room. After a brief introduction, the task reveal was broadcasted to the viewers. The teams would build a robot to fuel an airship through high goals, low goals, gear placement, and rope climbing. Our eyes went wide as we discovered that the human player, for the first time ever, would be a live participant in earning points during the More

Week 1 of Build Season

Kickoff and more!


Stop Build Day

The highly anticipated day has finally arrived. Stop Build Day.

Starting right after school and ending at 9 p.m., the Daleks made the finishing touches on the robot. For the last time before bagging it, the drivers completed all of the defenses, confirming that our robot is competition ready. We also practiced shooting on the low and the high goal of the tower. The BOT team has finished our Chairman’s Award video for the competition and is continuing to make posters and other spirit related things to make our team shine!

Team 3637 is ready to begin our FIRST® STRONGHOLD™ Quest!


Outreach and Robot Updates

February is the busiest month for a Dalek. Robot building and community outreach is abundant.

This past Saturday, the Daleks had a LED light bulb sale to promote low energy consumption and to help the environment, every step counts. The team sold the light bulbs at a local farmer’s market and were very successful selling over half of our supply.

Recently, FRC Team 303 graciously invited us to use their practice field to test our robot. There we practiced our driving and tested our boulder shooter. We are very grateful that Test Team invited us to practice because it was a great learning experience and a chance to make new friends.

The Daleks have been working hard and prepping for the 23rd of February!


February 2016 Updates

This has been a busy and productive month for the Daleks!

The Electrical Team has been working nonstop and has finished all of the electrical work for the robot. The Mechanical Team has made big steps in completing the boulder shooter, which will be a key part in our success in the competitions. They have also completed the mechanism to get through all the Category A defenses. The Business Team has also been working constantly and has finished their submissions for the Chairman and Entrepreneurship  Awards! They are continuing to film and perfect the video for Chairman’s award.

The Daleks are putting in their utmost effort until the Stop-Build day arrives.


January 2016 Updates

The post-kickoff rush has settled down and the team is a smooth-running machine. The sub-teams are hard at work making sure to do all they can for the team. They are working even harder than usual due to us missing a few build days because of the snow.

The Mechanical Team has finished prototyping and completed their final design. They are starting to integrate the subsystems and build the final bot’s frame. The Business Team is adding the final touches to the business plan and continuing to write applications for awards. Our artist finished and published the teams first ever safety animation! This is an amazing milestone for the Daleks! She is also starting the design for this years’ t-shirt, which is heavily anticipated by all the the team members.

As stop-build day inches closer and closer, the team’s excitement is growing and growing. The Daleks can’t wait to see how this season unfolds.


Kickoff 2016

The day finally arrived. The most important day of the year. Kickoff.

The entire team huddled into the mechanical room and the atmosphere was filled with excitement and anticipation. Then, it was time. The video started and the room went silent. Everyone intently watched the game rules with “ooooo’s” and “ahhhh’s.” For those who don’t know, this years game is FIRST STRONGHOLD. On each side of the field there are towers which the opposite alliance must “knock down” by getting boulders (foam balls) through the top or bottom goal. In between are defenses to make it more difficult to get through each side. There are a total of nine different defenses in total, eight of which will be randomized every round.

The Daleks have gone into full gear! The Mechanical Team has begun to prototype designs for the robot after the multiple strategy sessions to decide what route we will follow in the game. The Business Team is finishing up applications for awards while our artist is making the finishing touches on our safety animation.

We are incredibly excited for the new season and can’t wait to see where our quest leads us!


December Updates

The pace is picking up as January 9th comes closer and closer. The Daleks are heavily anticipating the upcoming kick-off event and making sure the team is as prepared as we can be before the challenge is announced.

The Business Team has been planning future outreach events and drafting award applications. Our artist has also been sketching a new team logo in preparation for team merchandise and, with help from other team members, writing a script for the 2016 FIRST Safety Animation. She is working diligently to complete the animations to the utmost quality. The Mechanical Team has been sorting parts to make sure everything is organized and easy to access for build season. They have also been building cabinets to help in the organization process. While the Electrical Team has been busy wiring the circuit board, the Programming Team has been learning how to push code to the robot.

The Daleks are rapidly preparing for kick-off and are excited for the upcoming season!… More

Moving Along

The first meeting with all members, new and old, took place last week.  The night started with a safety presentation and then the new members split into separate groups based on their interests. Workshops for each of the sub-teams gave a briefing on what each team is required to do.  They were run by student mentors and previous years members.

The Business team went over finances, the business plan, graphic design and the ever-important task of button making. The Programming team discussed what previous knowledge the new members had in programming and started teaching C++. The Mechanical team started building a chassis and teaching more safety around power tools. Lastly, the Electric team took electrical pieces from last seasons secondary robot and are putting them onto a new board.

The Daleks are incredibly grateful for the fantastic turnout on the first meeting and are excited to see what comes this season.… More

Pre-Season Update

The Daleks had a relaxing summer but are excited to be back at the grind! The Daleks had their first meeting for returning members last week and are looking forward to the new member meeting on September 24th. We have around 30 new members joining us this season! We can’t wait to see what ideas they bring to share and what we can learn from one another.

The team is planning outreach programs for the season to stay active in the community. Over the break, we have started two FLL (First® LEGO® League) teams, one for fifth and sixth graders and another for seventh and eighth graders. Along with that, we are continuing to volunteer at the Barley Sheaf Elementary School LEGO Club. The team is excited for the upcoming season and all of the fun that comes with it.… More

News from our Scouting App Team

This year the Daleks have a new scouting app, to be used in the stands and in the pit. A few members of our programming team took on this new project. Everyone involved taught themselves new skills to pull it off. Last Saturday they trained a lot of team members on how to use the app.

We will have six scouts at a time using Netbooks to record specific information about the performance of the robots in a match. This includes details ranging from Autonomous Mode and Cooperitition abilities, to Tote, Container, and Litter handling, Robot speed and agility characteristics, and finally noteworthy features and failures as well as alliance score. We will also have two Android tablets used by pit scouters for taking robot pictures and recording technical observations about robot design and construction. Our electrical team also designed and built a power supply and network switch, that will keep the Netbooks powered and communicating in the stands.

When it’s time to plan for an upcoming match, the drive team and strategists will evaluate the technical robot information along with a scouting report that will provide averages of all the accumulated match performance for the robots in the match.… More

Last Build Weekend

The Daleks are hard at work to finish the robot. Despite a few snowy delays, the robot is coming together well, and several builds ago we were able to lift the totes and bin with the secondary robot. Today, it’s just about finished—the functions all work, it is operable wirelessly, it has been coded to be controlled by our driver console, and the camera has been attached and works nicely with its maneuverable mount.

Now that the secondary robot is working well, our next task is to recreate the parts to put on our primary robot. We already did all the measuring, cutting, electrical work, etc. on the secondary robot, so now we have the opportunity to adjust anything that needs to before we finalize it on the primary robot. In keeping with this year’s theme of recycling, we are reusing pieces of old metal rulers on the robots.

The electrical team is working to finish the setup on the primary robot, which is different this year—most of the electronics are attached to three vertical cards located above the gearbox and the battery. That way, they are easy to access, and a cable can be run under them to operate … More

Hard At Work

All of the teams are hard at work building the robot. While we have had some setbacks, we are managing to move ahead and actually have made great progress. Due to snow and ice, we have had two unexpected snow days. Even with this setback, the Daleks are working even harder to hit our deadlines. The primary robot is well underway and we are also working on a secondary robot for testing and practice.

The electrical team is working on putting the electronics onto the plexiglass boards. After this is completed, they will be mounting the several plexiglass boards on the robot after it is coded by the programming team. The group of students, along with some programming members, have decided to use more than one plexiglass board with different electrical components on them. For example, one board will have the motor controllers while another has the pneumatic control modules. This will allow for a more organized system and easier access to everything, just in case something needs to be adjusted. They are also working to attach metal pieces that can later be attached to the robot.

The mechanical team has been working on the primary robot to attach the … More

Building Underway

By Emily R. and Abby R.

The Hunterdon Central Robotics team is working full-force towards building the robot for this year’s competition. The drive train team is working on fixing the Mecanum wheels and is getting ready to mount them on the chassis. In order to set up the drive train, they are putting gears inside of the nanotube frame and connecting the motors to the gear system to run the wheels. The drive train is a really important part of the robot because everything needs to be built upon it.

Those working on a lifting mechanism are testing out different motors for the lift and ordering the right gears and motors for it. The prototype for the hook itself is becoming finalized. The programming team is starting to put together code for this year’s robot as well as creating an app for scouting in the pits.

The Business & Outreach Team is working on an event to teach kids at Hunterdon County Prevention about robotics. We are going to work with them to build a small robot from a kit and hopefully develop their interest in robotics. They have the option to build a grandpa-bot, cricket-bot, a beast-bot or … More

Kickoff 2015!

Build season has begun! Kickoff went off with a bang on January 3 and the official robotics season has started. This year’s challenge: Recycle Rush®. In this challenge the main goal is to work as a team to build a stack of totes with a garbage pail on top. For extra points, the garbage pail can be filled with the “litter,” otherwise known as a green pool noodle. Here is FIRST®‘s official game animation:

Team 3637 watched the Kickoff from the robotics room at Central. We got right down to business by breaking into 8 teams to brainstorm ideas for our robot. We strategized and came up with a lot of ideas, which were narrowed down and then saved for continued discussion. A large number of Dalek alumni came back to participate in the Kickoff festivities and to help mentor the team along with the parent mentors. We all went home full of ideas and enthusiastic to study the game manual. We are extremely excited for this season!

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Team Building and Other Updates

Last week Team 3637 participated in a balloon-filled team building activity. We were split into ten teams and competed to build the tallest balloon structure possible with only one hundred unblown balloons and two rolls of masking tape within 15 minutes. The tallest structure got to be 7 feet tall.

It was a challenging but fun activity and we really got to know other members of the team. Building a tower really proved to be difficult as the balloons never quite stood in place, and no one could quite reach the top of the balloon tower, and no one could keep their hair from sticking to the balloons! By the end, everyone was out of breath but smiling because we grew as a team and even the teams who didn’t win enjoyed knocking down the towers and popping every single balloon.

During the month of December, the Daleks have been holding a food drive throughout all of our nighttime workshops, collecting food for the Flemington Food Pantry during the holiday season.

The Daleks have also been expanding Team 3637’s outreach to local elementary schools. We have been working with some of the 1st and 2nd graders at the Barley Sheaf … More

Fall Updates

As we prep for the seasonal build, we are working on many community outreach and public relations programs.
In early September, we gave a presentation to the Flemington Rotary Club at the Copper Hill Country Club. We presented what our team does and gave a demonstration of last year’s robot.

Within our school community, the Daleks sold hot chocolate on the cold night of Homecoming Fest. It was a very fun experience as we interacted with our student body and promoted our team. Several members within our club participated in a series of relay races such as wheelbarrow and three-legged races.

The Daleks went to the Board of the Education meeting to thank the Board for their support to our team. There we displayed our robot for their viewing and even threw a ball at them! What a great way to thank someone for their support, throwing an exercise ball at them really gets the point across!

On Thursday the fourth and Friday the fifth of December, we will be holding a bake sale at Five Guys Burgers and Fries to raise funds for the team. Five Guys will also be generously donating a portion of the check to anyone … More

New Year, New Daleks

The new school year is well underway, and the Daleks have already begun planning for the 2014-15 season.

First, thanks to Central’s new Robotics classes, lots of new people are expressing interest in joining our team. We’re looking forward to seeing what great things our new members will contribute to Team 3637!

Several of us also represented the team at Homecoming Fest on Wednesday. We sold hot chocolate as the school celebrated Homecoming Week.

Our after-school meetings have also begun, and we’ve been giving the newcomers a brief overview of what life on Team 3637 is like. We’ve also set up our first fundraiser of the year: Innisbrook gift wrap! The holidays aren’t quite as far away as they seem, so please support our team and order today!

That’s about everything so far, but keep checking back for more updates as the season progresses. Go Daleks!… More

The Final Week of Build

Build season has concluded and the Daleks are in good shape.

This year, we actually had the robot in the bag before 11:00 on Feb. 18th, and it was ready. The winch and the shooter worked together nicely, successfully scoring from the back of the closest zone. The roller also did its job, scooping up the ball from a few different angles and feeding it right to the catapult. And of course, Mecanum wheels give the robot beautiful handling. (Many thanks to Ethicon and Team 56 for letting us use their field!)

Now, as our first competition approaches, Team 3637 is still busy. We’ve been making buttons, bumpers, banners, and a battery cart—and those are just the things that start with “b”! The drive team and pit crew have also been selected, and there have been discussions of strategy and scouting.

As fun as the six weeks of build have been, it’s a big relief to have a working robot sitting patiently in the bag. This week, we’ll be making minor adjustments and fitting the bumpers during the six hours we can have the robot out of the bag. Then, on Friday, we’ll be more than ready to take the … More

The Fifth Week of Build

by Matt P.

All of the Daleks are hard at work. Currently, the technical team is refining multiple portions of the robot and fitting them all onto the robot. A pneumatic system is being designed to help with some of the robot’s functions. The group working on that will be figuring out where the air tanks will go, how they will run the piping, and they will mount the compressors and the solenoids.

Another group is working on a trigger system the finalize the robot’s ability to fire. The roller mechanism is also being revamped, by adding attributes like a new leather coating to help the robot actually pick the ball up. On other portions of the robot, the all-important bumpers and mounts are being added.

The electrical team is also working tirelessly on its portion of the robot, getting power to different parts and getting new portions wired in and mounted. This team has begun to get power to the analog breakout board and is adding a reverse pin mount, and working on the logistics of the camera.

Programming is working on writing and refining robot code to make it work. Arguably one of the most important parts to … More

The Fourth Week of Build

By T.M.

As Team 3637 breaks through the first month of build season, Tech is breaking through plexiglass, steel, wire, and code to make improvements on all parts of the robot, while Non-Tech is working hard on tee-shirts, logos, and public relations.

Electrical is working with the plexiglass for a two-level wiring system, allowing for space and protection of the systems.  Holes are drilled into the sheet where the electrical components can be put through, and the main gears of the launching mechanism can be attached.

Mechanical has a drive train completed and is finishing up the final aspects of the robot to be mounted on the chassis. This includes the catapult arm, launching mechanism, and retrieval arm. A prototype of the retrieval arm is being tested along with other modifications.

One group that sometimes doesn’t get as much recognition is Programming. They have been working tirelessly updating software and programming the robot code, drive code, and configuring the robot components. Members have been inputting programs and code for the robot as well as testing different settings of the drive gear and wheels. Vision targets are also being set up for the programming of the camera.

The team is moving … More

Robots Hate Snow

This week we have been snowed out. Builds on Tuesday and Wednesday were both cancelled this week due to the wintery weather. Hopefully these missed builds don’t hold us back. The team plans to hold a make up build tonight (January 23) and Saturday (January 25) and builds on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (January 28-30) next week in hopes of catching up on missed progress. More updates to come as build season continues.… More

The Second Week of Build

By Anna T.

Sparks fly as the robotics team is hard at work on this year’s robot. After a grueling consensus, the team has come up with the final idea for the robot. With the first prototype injured, the team hopes “second is the best” while they simultaneously work on the chassis, base, frame, and throwing arm of the robot in different groups. The lower 1-point goal for Aerial Assist has been delivered and set up for practice and testing. Meanwhile, ideas for a logo for Team 3637 are a work in progress.

Special thanks to Mr. Nunez last week and Ms. Pierle this week for providing us with breakfast and lunch for the Saturday workshops.

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The First Week Of Build

Build season has gone off with a bang. As we usher in the new season, the members of Team 3637 are eager to build a robot for Aerial Assist® (see Kickoff post for more info on this year’s competition). If you’ve seen the video, then you know that this year’s competition is no walk in the park. The Daleks are working hard on developing ideas for our robot. We are currently building prototypes for mechanisms which can pick up, shoot, and catch the ball used in competition. As week one concludes, we are still imagining how our robot will come out.

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Kickoff ’14

As everyone in the robotics world knows, today was Kickoff, which officially marks the start of the build season. This year’s challenge: Aerial Assist®, in which teams have to score 2-foot-diameter balls into goals in the corners of the field or into wide slots at either end of the field. Here is FIRST®‘s official game animation:

Team 3637 watched the Kickoff broadcast at Central today, so we could save time in transit and get right to work brainstorming. We broke into groups, filled a few whiteboards, and went home eager to study the manual before our Monday night build. Several graduated Daleks were there today to add their input, retrieve the Kit of Parts, and help strategize with us and our mentors. We thought of many good ideas, and we’ll start narrowing them down after a good night’s sleep. We can’t wait to get started!

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Workshops, Preparation, and Anticipation

As the build season approaches, Team 3637 has been building, coding, wiring, writing, and fundraising in preparation. We have a lot of new members and we are also lucky to have several great new mentors this year. They have also been helping us during our evening workshops, which are going very well—we have been assembling two different practice frames from kits, one of which is now assembled and wired (and the other is almost done). Building these two very different designs should give our members valuable experience with the many different possible configurations a good robot can take.

We’re all eagerly awaiting Kickoff on January 4th, and we are hoping to have our practice bots done in time for a driving competition shortly after the big reveal. It will test the abilities of both our drivers and our programmers, and everyone will need to work hard in order to claim victory! And of course, the regular build season is in our minds as well, and we are confident that 2014 will find the Daleks at the top of…whatever it is this time.

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Gearing Up for 2014

The new school year is well underway and Team 3637 is already at work! Starting in early September we resumed meeting every week in room 902. Since then, the 60+ strong Daleks have fundraised, done team-building exercises, broken into technical and non-tech subteams, and held our first workshop of the new year. This one was about fundraising and marketing, with presentations by our new mentor Mr. Atkinson.

In addition, we have been working to establish a big presence in both our school and community. Within the school, we have attended Activity Fairs and Homecoming Fest, recruiting members and raising money. But our biggest (and most recent) fundraiser was definitely our event at Five Guys of Flemington. If you’ve been on our Facebook page recently, you know that from November 13-15, everyone who turned in a flyer helped our team as Five Guys donated 100% of the profit from those sales! In addition, we held a bake sale on the premises, where we had delicious treats including brownies, cupcakes, and Dalek cookies. Not only did we raise money, but we also raised awareness of our team, answering questions and talking about our organization from behind the sales table. We’d like to … More