Robotics Club Prepares For Competition Day

The Robotics Club at Perkiomen Valley High School consists of 23 students mentored by 3 adults. The mentors and students involved in the club put in 6 hours of work a week in order to achieve the best functioning robot in an attempt to win the 2021 FIRST Robotics Competition.

The PVHS Robotics Team must have their robot complete and their presentations and paperwork ready by March 1st. Their robot must complete a series of small and simple challenges to gain points. The main event in this competition is to be the first robot (out of 4 robots at one time) to throw an orange ball through a hole.

This is more challenging than it seems. Before these students and teachers get to building, they must acquire grants to fund their idea. Once they get the money they need, then the building begins.

Students must come up with a design for their robot that can complete all the tasks. For the 2021 competition PVHS Robotics Club is using their robot design they used for the 2020 competition, but fine tuning it to make it even better.

The first step to think about is the intake which is how the ball will be picked up by the robot. Special wheels for centering the robot make it easier for the robot to get a hold of the ball.

The second step is how the ball will get to the two shooting motors to dispense the ball. For this, the students use a conveyor belt and pilots to bring the ball up to the motors. 

The third step is to get the motors to shoot the ball at the target. The robot the team made has two separate motors.

In the last step, the robot is equipped with an expensive camera for vision processing to get the ball through the hole successfully.

Creating the robot is not just building. Builders have to know how to code/program, do the electrical work, understand Numatics, the mechanical work, 3D print the parts (which is not only expensive but timely), and they must solicit grants. 

In order to be successful, everything in the robot must function perfectly, meaning trial and error is the club’s best friend. The team also makes prototypes and tests their robot before the big competition day.

The robotics club is not a simple club that anyone can join. Members must be ready to take on the difficult and long task of creating the best functioning robot. It takes a person with creativity, desire, and teamwork skills to ultimately win the competition.