Maker Spotlight: FIRST Robotics Teams – Screaming Chickens and Steel Stallions

FIRST‘s Mission…

…is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology by Dean Kamen and Woodie Flowers. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.

Screaming Chickens, FRC team 3997

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Who are you, and what do you make?
We’re the Screaming Chickens, FRC Team 3997, and we make robots…..BIG ROBOTS!

How did you get started making robots?
I found the right group of people to learn how to build robots and compete with them.
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What is your favorite part about making robots?

The entire process of designing, building, wiring,and programming the robot to complete a specific task.

What is the most difficult part about making robots?
Finding sponsorships to fund these expensive robotics parts.

What is the best piece of advice you have for someone who is interested in learning how to make robots?
Do your research and find a good group to work with.

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Why should people come to the San Antonio Mini Maker Faire?

To see the amazing things people have made, including our awesome 7 barrel t-shirt cannon and our other robots!

Steel Stallions, FRC team 4412 and FTC team 4416

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Who are you, and what do you make?

We are the The Steel Stallions Robotics Club of the School of Science and Technology San Antonio. As a team, we are responsible for designing, building and programing robots used in FIRST Robotics Competitions. The team is responsible for manufacturing robots for two divisions of competitions, FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) and FIRST Robotics Challenge (FRC). Although both robots for both competitions require an equal amount of dedication and complexity in planning and execution, FTC handles a much smaller robot in comparison to the massive FRC robot.
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How did you get started making robots?

The team officially began in the fall of 2012 with a roster of only four confused, but dedicated students. Equipped with the most basic set of tools, supplies, and a limited scope of Robotics knowledge the Steel Stallions went on to achieve victory is many regional competitions. The team achieved a ranking within the top 15% of competing teams for both FTC and FRC divisions with the first two years of competing. Currently, the team has flourished and expanded to a roster of 17 members with a new vision of mentoring those interested in Robotics, the foundations of manufacturing and programming.

What is your favorite thing about making robots?
Excellence, dedication, discipline. These are the crucial qualities needed to achieve success at any level. The greatest benefit of being a Steel Stallion is cultivating these qualities, providing an invaluable advantage in this competitive world. Furthermore, the Steel Stallions provides members with a sense of comradery and the opportunity to mentor and learn from each other, encouraging cooperative problem solving.

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What is the most difficult part of making robots?
As a young Robotics team with a flood of new members, one of our greatest challenges is funding. With the influx of new members, more safety equipment and tools are required to maintain efficient productivity. Funding is also needed to cover registration for competitions which cost $300 for FTC, and $6000 dollars for FRC. Fundraising is done to cover the cost, along with solicitations to local businesses for any form of support in return for advertisement. Although funding is what is greatly needed, any form of help is always appreciated and welcomed.

What is the best piece of advice you have for someone who is interested in making robots?
To those interested in coaching or creating a Robotics team, be forewarned; it will consume a copious amount of time and dedication, yet the satisfaction of competing and the most prestigious Robotics competing is immense. To the captains of a Robotics team; always have a meticulous plan of what objectives or goals need to be achieved and never be afraid to ask for help. Lastly, to a every Robotics member; always maintain a degree of professionalism with other members and those outside the team. It will leave a lasting impression.

Why should people come to the San Antonio Mini Maker Faire?
If you are interested in any field of technology, the San Antonio Mini Maker Faire is an excellent event to visit. With a plethora of booths by different groups, individuals, and organizations, there is a guaranteed chance something will captivate your mind. Whether it be the complexity of the language of 1’s and 0’s, or the awesome power of 3D printing. Even if you are a luddite, you should still check out the Faire. There will surely be something there that will call your curiosity and capture your attention.

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