Guest Blogger Bob Payne is the Coach for First robotics team: RoboSpartans. You can contact RoboSpartans with questions on their Facebook page here.
The RoboSpartans #4082 are a high school level robotics team who participate in the FIRST® Tech Challenge program, where we build and compete with 18” robots made out of a variety of metal and plastic materials. For the 2012-2013 Season, the list of allowable robot parts opened up to include a multitude of raw materials. We made many trips to local home improvement centers, often feeling as if we had too many choices and not enough time. While at a tournament, we noted a competitor’s 3D Printer was a star attraction for visitors. The only obvious issue was the size of the equipment, which took up much of the allotted trade show booth sized space, known as the team’s “pit”. It was a great idea, but impractical, especially for a small team like ours. Our team had been tossing around the notion of using a 3D Printer for some time, but we were inspired to kick-up our research from that point. We used space as a major consideration. That constraint led us to the sleek and space-conscious design of the Cube. We were intrigued by the descriptions of the Cube’s portability and ease of use.
In March, we received our Cube order and immediately printed the Cubify chess piece. It was so easy to set-up and use. We then began creating new parts for our robot’s appearance at the FIRST® World Championship in April. We designed a special pulley and chain guard.In no time, team members were creating “swap” items that were used for giveaways to pit visitors during tournaments. The biggest issue we have is the constant crowd around the Cube. Some velvet rope is almost necessary. Everyone wants a hand in on projects as if the Cube was producing candy. It’s that addicting!