Hello my 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p1 friends!

Week one of build season is about to come to a close, but there’s still a hefty five more remaining. I must say, I am so proud of each and every one of you. Students, parents, and mentors - all of you deserve a wholesome pat on the back for bringing this team so far. We’re steaming full speed ahead, significantly faster than any other year. Heck, this is the first year we’ve actually started churning out functional prototypes in week one. Huzzah! Keep up the amazing work and we’ll be golden for a blessing-ly exceptional 2017 Competition Season! Special shout out to all the parents who so generously signed up to supply food to all our hungry mouths!

A brief forewarning: Build Season emails will be exceptionally long, as you may have already taken note here. Please take your time to read important reminders. Also new this year: we’ll be sending out brief updates from each sector (below) regarding what has happened, what’s going on, and what to expect. These are for both parents and students to catch up on what really happens inside that shady textbook room and are completely optional for you to read.

Couple of Reminders Before We Chug into Week Two:

Team Calendar

Remember you can find all meeting dates and times on our team calendar. You might just note that this Monday, 1/16, is a meeting day and we’ll be open from 10 am to 4 pm as per usual on holidays/weekends.

Logging Workshop Hours

Remember to keep signing both in and out every meeting you attend. Every minute you log in the workshop is counted towards your build season hour total. Keep in mind all competition team members must meet the requirement of 40% of all scheduled workshop hours. There are a total of 141 hours, therefore competition team members must reach a minimum of 56.4 hours before the end of build season. If you ever forget to sign in/out, please fill out a Time Log Worksheet and get it signed by and turned into a mentor within 2 weeks of committing scanning neglect. You can also check out logged hours by last 4 digits of Student ID on the [attendance data GotHub repository!]

Subteam Updates, Written by Our Heads:

Mechanical: (drafted by our beloved Christian C.)
This has, no doubt, been a hectic week for mechanical. With the challenge having been released this last Saturday, there have been a plethora of things to do. The whole mechanical division had to split up to tackle individual tasks, the biggest of which being field construction. Our construction team has started building the field for this year’s competition so we would have something to test the robot on. Everyone else in mechanical has also been hard at work as well, whether it be on prototyping new mechanisms, such as the shooter, or CAD’ing (Computer Aided Designing) the robot in Solidworks. The teams that worked on different mechanisms in mechanical are climbing, headed by Sam Reissmann and Kiran Raj; gear manipulation, lead by Jannie Yu, Raylen Li, and Orson Wang; shooter being lead by Joshua Fuller; and finally drivetrain and chassis being headed by myself.

Controls: (developed by Master Jamie S.)
This week, we’ve been hard at work helping Mechanical prototype components for the final robot. Our first task was to handle FIRST’s changes to the FRC programming environment, and I’m happy to report that both real robots and the simulator are working again. We’ve also been experimenting with using an encoder to control the speed of the shooter wheel in order to make our shots more consistent, and have gotten some promising results! Finally, we’ve been planning out our autonomous programs, and adapting our vision system to support this year’s game. Next week, once Mechanical finalizes the robot’s design, we’ll start planning the wiring and writing the code for real. We’ve got plenty of time to do that though, so coming up is the calm before the storm of testing and debugging.

Strategy: (formulated by our Marquis de Stratege, Daniel B.)
Over the past week, strategy has assembled a comprehensive priority list and set of match strategies. These strategies are currently being compiled into book format for later use during competition. We are moving to analyzing the teams that will be competing against us in San Diego and Sacramento and will transition to preparing scouting tools in about a week. Throughout the week, we have also gone over rules and will continue to do so in subsequent weeks.

Business: (reported by Madame Jannie Y.)
Now that build season is finally up and in full gear, business is shifting to update the team’s marketing resources. Our main objective during this week was to revamp our official business plan to reflect on our most recent outreach projects and changes that we made to the structure of the team. The business plan condenses our team’s objectives, organization, financial plan, and much more into one booklet for judges and potential sponsors during competition events. We have also finalized our competition t-shirt design and will be ordering them soon in the following weeks. In subsequent months, business plans to heavily collaborate with mechanical to increase the visibility of robot performance & design to spectators and with submissions to assist with our Chairman’s Award preparation.

Submissions: (authored by Head of Submissions, Sarah C.)
For the past few weeks, we have finalized the Chairman’s long essay. We are reviewing the Chairman’s short essays and Entrepreneurship Award as well. We have finalized the script and questions for the Chairman’s video coming up. We are brainstorming ideas for the Chairman’s presentation and will be starting on Woodie Flowers soon!

If you’ve legitimately read all the way down here without skipping, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back - I salute you (holy narwhals, it’s a whopping 1179 words). If you ever so happen to have any questions that remain unanswered, please do feel free to shoot me an email - I’m always open. And without further ado, I hereby conclude this email with a quotation by Andrew Carnegie,

“Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!”

Shoot for the stars, my friends, and don’t be afraid to face those challenges that may daunt you.

~Raylen L

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