The Suburban Life incorrectly listed Jack Ducham as being on our Team. While we know Jack from Boy Scouts and also from the Lyons Township High School Tech Club, he never has been on our Team. It was funny seeing that particular mistake since it seems to come out of nowhere. That article did have accurate captions for their pictures, so the kids were identified there, but the award which brings us to State was described as the Aspire award instead of Inspire. We're taking the stand that any press is good press. We do appreciate the exposure that these articles give the FIRST FTC program. We would like to see growth in our local area. < addendum - Mike Hendrickson just emailed me. He edited the on-line article to correct Noah's name, take out Jack Ducham and change the award name. Thanks Mike! >
If you haven't seen it, take a look at Jane Michael's article in The Doings. She really caught the essence of our Team and the competitions. The short video that accompanies the article was a nice surprise. We've linked to it on our site, but it is published along with the article on the Sun-Times site. Thanks Jane!
Preparations for State have involved more practicing and some modifications to the robot. Boy, those Tetrix DC motors have been failing at the rate of one a day. We found out at our FLL outreach that Tetrix produced some gearboxes with plastic gears in them that shipped over this past summer. The plastic doesn't stand up to the loads and fails. Once I heard about that, I took a look at the failed motors and sure enough, the gear boxes all had the white gear in them. By the process of breaking them in practice and at matches, I believe that we've replaced all of our motors now. We tested the motors themselves and found that for the most part, the DC motors still work.
It is great to still have a competition to focus on. We find that more happens in the two weeks before a competition than at any other point. The boys have made huge advances in their programming knowledge. We even took another swipe at producing drawings in CREO. Someday, I'd like to understand this whole regeneration failure problem that CREO suffers from. I've redrawn the DC motor part file 5 times now, and re-extracted the original one from the Kit Of Parts zip file at least 8 times. Randomly this works for a while and then doesn't. It is very disheartening.
I guess what surprises me the most is that you can see your entire assembly on Saturday and then reopen it on Sunday and it will be missing parts. Most consistently, the motor has been disappearing. Even the file from the KOP zip file will lose the motor. All of our assemblies and part files are in the same directory. Occasionally, I've created a whole new working directory and copied the file into new directory, opened the same files that weren't working before the copy operation, and found the parts to be whole again. That suggests a memory issue within CREO, but what do I know. I've searched the internet for more info but only come away validated and without a solution. Now we take a screen capture after every significant development.