Buchanan’s first robotics team readies for competition
Published 8:14 am Monday, February 10, 2014
In a large area referred to as “the old woodshop” behind Buchanan High School, Brian Bosler used an electric screwdriver to attach a bracket to the wooden frame of a bumper that would soon be placed on a robot.
Cody Freeman, Bosler’s teammate on the Buchanan Robotics Team, helped hold the bumper tight to a table while Bosler worked.
“It’s coming together, but not as fast as we’d like,” said Bosler, the team’s captain, Thursday afternoon.
Bosler and Freeman are part of the rookie 15-person Buchanan Robotics Team, which was formed late last year. Since Jan. 4, the members have been busy building a robot that will compete in their FIRST Robotics Competition in St. Joseph in March.
According to FIRST Robotics rules, the team must have their robot built by Feb. 18 — the deadline all teams across the state must work against.
“It’s hectic,” Bosler said. “You think you are on track and something will pop up or your part won’t come in on time and all of a sudden you are behind.”
With FIRST Robotics, each year there is a different competition. This year, teams must create a robot capable of launching balls through circular targets. Teams also have the option of creating robots that collect balls and pass them to teammate bots.
Bosler said the team is planning on creating a bot based on assisting.
“Because this is our first year doing it, we didn’t want to build something we wouldn’t be able to finish,” he said.
Robotics coach Phil Place said the robotics team almost did not exist due to the expensive startup cost of $6,000, which gets teams a kit of parts and entry to two competitions.
The only reason it started, he said, is because the school was awarded a state grant of $7,500 for teams wanting to get into robotics. He said they also applied for and were awarded a $4,000 grant from FIRST Robotics.
“Not everybody wins those, so that was great,” he said.
Place is already seeing the benefits of the program.
“The biggest thing is the gratification. That’s what you notice with the kids,” he said. “When they get started and they put some effort into something and they make it work, that’s what I see. Those ‘a-ha’ moments are incredible and a great motivator.”
While the team will always take financial donations, Place said they also could use assistance from area engineers or electricians willing to give them a little advice.
Robotics Team members: