Sunday, September 21, 2014

1st Report - Robotics 2014

We are up and running with the middle school robotics class.  For those showing up late this is an after school class where I am having kids build 3 pound combat robots.

Biggest class ever I think, I gave the OK to some over booking.  We have 25 students divided up into Tuesday and Thursday sections.  Also the most girls ever, four.  Last year I think we had one and she dropped out.  This year the gals look to be pretty serious.

Above is one of the servos we hack for drive units.  A bit of a glitch this time around, although it is the same type I have been using for years they have some different components.  The kids are finding them harder to work with.  The screws holding them together seem to be made of cheaper than usual Chinese mystery metal and there is also a small plastic tab in a very inconvenient spot.  Its necessary removal involves a combination of filing, snipping and deft use of a serrated steak knife.

The latter raised an eye brow or two.  Schools these days have strict no weapons policies. Appropriate if sometimes enforced to a ludicrous degree.  I had to reassure the students that this was not a weapon. It was a tool.  We are after all right around the corner from the school's metals and wood shop where the wall has assorted hammers and saws hanging in neat rows.

Good bunch of students so far.  Impractical but interesting designs are being explored.  So far the level of prudent oversight is just fine, I have a high school kid volunteering to help after taking the class himself for three straight years.  Also the much appreciated presence of the occasional parent who takes me up on the offer to come on down and pitch in.

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