Robot building: Olentangy District Robotics Team
photo illustration: Emma Clute
The Olentangy District Robotics Team is currently engaged in the 2021 First Robotics Competition. The competition held by the FIRST Organization invites school groups to construct robots for yearly international competitions.
The FIRST Robotics Organization livestreamed the year's rule on the first Saturday of January. This is when the team starts coming up with design ideas for the robot, in order to win in the competition.
“We are meeting about 11-14 hours a week, from the beginning of January to the end of February to build a competition robot. Things are different because of COVID-19 protocols, and we won’t have an in person competition this year. Instead, we will be completing timed, remote challenges and submitting our best times as videos. That said, I feel that the build aspect of the robot is going fairly typically,” robotics club supervisor and math teacher Andrew Bachmann said.
Students can take part in many different roles on the robotics team. Students may join fabrication and help build the robot or join design and use computers to conceptualize the construction of the robot to help in testing and construction. Students can also join electrical and work with electrical components on the robot.
“Students do not need any prerequisite skills to join robotics, but previous knowledge can almost always be applied from mechanical know-how in fabrication to proficiency in solid works for CAD. If a student doesn’t know how to do something but wants to be a part of the team, we can teach them how,” fabrication specialist and robotics mentor Chris Miller said.
There are also smaller and more niche sections in the robotics team. Business helps manage finances, sponsorships and buys parts for the rest of the team. The drive team occasionally helps with other groups, but the students there spend most of their time driving the robot and practicing for competition.