Thank you for your support

I received the performance statistics from our Facebook page and I am blown away! Thank you very much to each of you that took the time to like a post, picture, or video. Special thanks to those of you that shared our page! We went over the 100 follower mark at the beginning of the weekend :) If everybody that likes our page shared it on Facebook, we should have no problem reaching 200 followers! Do you accept the challenge?

Also, remember that we are active on Twitter and Instagram (@kcroboticsteam for both). Follow us for the latest news and pictures!


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FTC SC Championship Recap

Last Saturday, our middle school team participated in the 2015 South Carolina FTC Championship. Five students and 3 mentors woke up really early that day to travel to Gaffney High school where the competition took place. The team chose to name their robot “Cupcake” because Mr. Stanek, one of the mentors, always makes sure there are cupcakes ready in the robot room for the hungry teenagers

From left to right; front row: Michael, Hudson, Stefon (CMA), Daniel and Kelly (CMS). Back row: Paul Sullivan, Jamie Hames, Henry Bull

From left to right; front row: Michael, Hudson, Stefon (CMA), Daniel and Kelly (CMS). Back row: Paul Sullivan, Jamie Hames, Henry Bull

After arriving to the competition site, the team set up their toolboxes and the robot in the pit area and began checking the robot’s hardware and software before inspection. The robot passed both inspections with flying colors! After inspection, all the students had to participate in the judging section, in which students explain how the robot works to the judges.

Once the preliminary events were completed, the students were able to practice driving the robot on the competition field.

For the qualification matches, KC Robotics was able to participate with in 2 different alliances: Blacksburg High RoboCats and Aiken County School District Atomix,

Blacksburg High RoboCats

Match 1

Aiken County School District Atomix

Match 2

By the end of the qualifying rounds, our team was ranked #3 overall, which gave the students the opportunity to select alliances. The team chose to team up with the hosting PokiBots, and the team from Charleston County School District.

During the elimination matches, one of the alliance robots did not function properly, and our team did not get to participate in the final round. However, the students were a great sport and exhibited Gracious Professionalism (c) throughout! In fact, the picture above was taken right after getting eliminated–look at those smiles!

During the awards ceremony, KC Robotics team was recognized for the following 2 awards:

  • 1st Place Rockwell Collins Innovate Award
  • 2nd Place for the FTC Inspire Award

The Inspire award is very special as it recognizes the efforts of the team as a whole and provides an invitation for the next tournament stage: the Super Regional Championship, in which teams from Texas to Florida compete for a chance to go to the National Championship.  We are elated about the opportunity to go and are currently working out the logistics to send students, mentors, and the robot to San Antonio, TX, in mid-March.

Below are the judging guidelines for both awards. Well done KC Robotics Team!

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An Award Winning Team

Team work, problem solving, using tools… That’s so much fun! But winning is also fun! Did you know that KC Robotics Team is an award winning team? Check out our awards page and see for yourself.

As the competitions approach, we would like to win more awards, on top of enjoying all the fun of robotics competitions. Today, the FTC team was working hard on updating the Team Notebook, practicing driving, and making inventory of parts used in the robot for the Bill of Materials.

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The FRC team had a brainstorming session with Mr. Bull to improve the design of the lifting mechanism.


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Trial and Error

The FTC team is focused on practicing driving the robot and figuring out strategies to get the most points. At this point, the robot is programmed to get 70 points in autonomous mode by doing the following:

  • driving off the ramp
  • dragging the goal to the team area
  • dropping the plastic balls in the goal

Check it out!


The FRC team focused on finishing up the elevator and they got to test its limits!

One crate….

Two crates………….

Three crates!! There is definitely room for improvement!

What would you do to stabilize the elevator?

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We are social!

Are you enjoying this blog? We are active on the web through several social media sites. Follow us through your favorite social media site, or all of them!

Instagram: @kcroboticsteam

Twitter: @kcroboticsteam


Google+: KC Robotics Team (

YouTube: KC Robotics Team

In your opinion, are there any other social media sites in which we should participate? Let us know in the comments!

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Holiday Workday

We took advantage of the Martin Luther King holiday today to have an intensive workday instead of the regular afternoon session after school on Tuesday.

When I walked into the robot room, it was obvious everybody was at work. There were students drilling, sounds of metal clanking, tools everywhere, the deafening sound of the vacuum… There is no reason to waste time! The clock is ticking, and every moment spent working on the robots or straightening up the room out helps in getting ready for both the FTC and FRC competitions. We even had Mrs. Welch running an errand to refuel the mentors with coffee and the students with soft drinks! Thank you!

The FTC team (208) came back from their scrimmage on Saturday with quite the list of upgrades needed to improve our performance in the game: the bucket was too low, the string for the telescopic arm was sticking, the wheels were lagging, and more practice was needed to score points correctly. Needless to say, this scrimmage proved invaluable in getting the team ready for the competition. The middle school students worked hard today to fix these issues.


The FRC team continues to work on the frame and elevator truck for the big robot.


The students also made gear boxes for the wheels and attached a motor to the boxes.


The media team (Mrs. Putnam and I) worked on updating the FTC engineering notebook and of course, this website.


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Buiding Season Week 2 Recap

Today, the FTC team is at a scrimmage competition in Hartsville, SC. There will be a later post outlining the details on that.

The FRC team made progress in building a frame for the base and the elevator mechanism and figuring out a prototype to turn the totes from the upside down position. There was math, measurements, and tools involved in the process. Even I was put to work and learned to use the drill!

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No School, No Problem!

Even though the public school students did not have to attend school on Tuesday, we had a good group of students show up to play with robots!

The FTC team has been working on updating their engineering notebook by adding pictures and short snippets about the students that are participating in the upcoming scrimmage on January 17. The students were able to practice driving the robot and were able to fix some problems that came up.wpid-img_20150113_164256580.jpg wpid-img_20150113_164133058.jpgThe FRC team had several tasks from which to choose so there was plenty of work for everybody. The software has been installed in the computers. Some of the students worked on making a prototype for the frame, elevator truck, making wheel supports, or figuring out how to turn over a crate from the upside down position and from the sideways position.

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More than just the Segway….

This segment from today’s Sunday Morning (CBS) almost brought tears to my eyes because it portrays a true revolutionary. Dean Kamen is the creator of the FIRST competition and the reason we get to have fun in these amazing competitions. It is true that Kamen is mostly known for his Segway invention, but this man has dedicated his life to innovation and it shows. Click on the link below to see a glimpse of his life and achievements–inspirational to say the least!

If you had the chance to meet Dean Kamen, what would your conversation sound like? Please share in the comments section.

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FIRST Saturday Workday–pun intended!

Both students and mentors came to the robot room early this morning to work on both the FTC and FRC robots.

Some advancements made on the FTC robot are the very “high tech” wood sticks that prevent the plastic balls from flying away from the robot as they are picked up. The FTC team is currently experimenting the optimum spacing of the sticks. The white plastic rolls rotate and the alternating plastic “teeth” pick up the plastic balls and elevate them to a plastic receptacle that guides the balls to a bottle holder. This holder is mounted on a telescopic pole which can extend up to 5 feet high.


Mr. Bull also spent some time going over the basic rules with the students to make sure everybody is aware of what is allowed and what gets a penalty.


Finally, the students were able to test the robot and fine tune some issues.

The FRC team built the robot control system board and was able to test it today. The instructions for the wiring were followed closely, so everything lit up like it was supposed to. It is alive!


McKinley and Jarrod started building a ramp out of Plexiglas and plywood.


Later, other students joined in the design and building of the ramp.

wpid-img_20150110_105813670.jpgThere is a lot of work that needs to be done in the upcoming meetings. What is your favorite “job” in the robotics room?

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