Saturday, December 8, 2012

KING TeC Video: 2169 Web-Series Episode 1

Published on Dec 2, 2012
Here is how the web-series will work: A new video will be posted every week on Friday or Saturday and the next week's theme will be announced at the end of the video. You will get to meet the heads of that department, find out what they do, and why their department is important. You can also ask us a question and we will answer it in the next episode!

To ask a Question:

YOUTUBE: Leave your question as a response to this video for next week's episode.
TWITTER: Tweet us @FRC2169 using the hashtag ask2169.
FACEBOOK: Leave a post on our wall at FRC Team 2169 KING TeC

NEXT WEEK: Next week's episode is on our WEBSITE department since we just relaunched our website recently. Go check it out at !

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Inspirational Letter sent by KING TeC Alumni

2169 and other FIRST Robotics Members,

Though many of you will not know me I felt compelled recently to
connect with my 2169 roots and give all of you an insight as to the
impact of being involved the creative, challenging, and fun
organization of FIRST Robotics. I cannot overstate the effect that
this team has had on my life. The thrill of beating the tight
schedule, the challenge of solving new and complex problems with novel and useful solutions, the satisfaction of seeing ideas and concepts become a reality. Many of you think I have described FIRST Robotics, but I am actually describing my new occupation as a Nuclear Field Engineer for General Electric. The aspects of managing a crew to repair a nuclear reactor, and the aspects of being the lead engineer for 2169 so closely parallel each other. 

You want schedule pressure?

Each day a nuclear plant stays shut down costs the customer an
additional million dollars. You want fast paced engineering? Every
time I hit the floor new issues arise with new equipment being used,
and my team and I scramble for a solution with limited parts and time.

You want a challenge? 

Hair pulling stress, heart racing problems, and managing a dynamic groups all becomes worth it when we close up the reactor and complete a safe and timely outage. 

You want fun? 

Only 2169's parties can compare to the after outage parties. You know what I mean....Volm! The experience I had with 2169 became lively and active talking points during interviews. That's right! FIRST Robotics helped me get a job with GE. Not much in college could compare to the competitive, passionate, and enjoyable experience I had being a member of 2169.

Use this time with robotics as best you can. When 2169 began in my
barn, due mostly to the efforts of people besides me, I never knew
what to expect, and I surely didn't think it would end up being
something I would keep on my resume and reference almost five years later. The dynamics of this club so perfectly reflect the inner
workings and challenges you will all be faced with in the future. The
leadership skills, communication abilities, and passionate drive are
things that college might not prepare you for. Every part of the team
becomes essential to the overall success of the program. The things
you do here matter! Put all you have into this program and I promise
you it will prepare you for the real world in an unparalleled way.
Keep your grades up obviously, but never forget the aspects of a
leader that might not show in a GPA. At the end of the day GPA gets you into the interview, real experience gets you the job.

I hope I am not coming off as saying you need to be all work. If you
ask Joe about me he will probably say what a headache I was half the time. I mean, I was the guy who jumped on the float this year. 

Fun isn't something that has been lost due to my new job. The importance of team cohesion and moral have remained a focus. I recently spent 30 days in Taipei Taiwan working at the Chinshan Nuclear Plant, and needless to say there was room for plenty of enjoyment. Project managers had kickoff parties (Sound Familiar?), would infrequently take the crew out to dinner , and my coworkers and I had many nights of exploring this exciting country. Much like robotics, my job gives me the chance to see other parts of the country, meet bright and dedicated people, and allows me to move up in the world while developing skills critical to my success. Never forget the extra effort put in by the leaders to make the work more enjoyable., and you will go far.

In conclusion I would like to personally thank Joe Passofaro and Mr.
Volm for dealing with the antics of a football player who wanted to
make robots. Your effort has not gone to waste, and I'll try my best
to not end the world this year. The team you have started, the effort
you have put in, and the passion you have shown has touched the lives of so many, and inspired a generation of kids. Whether you are new this year or a veteran senior I implore you all to enjoy every
challenge, soak up the drive, and appreciate every effort both the
leaders and members of this program have to offer. You're beginning a journey that will not end with graduation. 

I wish you all the best, and good luck this coming year.


Robert Viren

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Team Names 2012

Team Number              Team Name

1                                   JACC
2                                   Fire Storm
3                                   Techame Street
4                                   Real Steel
5                                   In Progress
6                                   S.W.A.T.
7                                   WIN
8                                   Robot Apocalypse
9                                   The Wizards
10                                 The Lobos 10
11                                 NAAD
12                                 King Bubba
13                                 Lucky Number 13
14                                 Redstone Robots
15                                 MBT
16                                 Mass Destruction      

Saturday, November 10, 2012

KING TeC Hosting Minne-Mini Regional Tournament on November 17

The Mission of the Minne Mini-Regional is to provide a forum for teams to prepare for the upcoming FRC build season and ensuing competition. We are purposely held closer to kick-off to allow time for teams to form. This event is designed to energize Minnesota teams and to expose rookie team members and teams to a real FIRST experience – all in a fun, casual tournament atmosphere.

Prior Lake High School
7575 150th Street West
Savage, Minnesota 55378

Friday Nov. 16:
6:00PM-9:00PM Pre-load and Pit Setup
Nov. 17:
8:00AM Doors open for registration and pit set up
8:30am First workshops begins
9:50am Second workshops begin
10:00 am Drivers Meeting
10:30 Opening Ceremonies
10:45 Competition begins
12:30pm Lunch break
1:30pm Competition resumes
4:15pm Alliance selections – Top 4 teams
4:45pm Elimination rounds begin
5:45pm Awards ceremony
More Details:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Email from Joel Volm - November 3, 2012

Hi everyone! 

Hopefully you are all designing, prototyping, building, and programming like crazy. It's only about 6 weeks until the big competition. Remember, you can finish building your robot weeks before the competition but you will ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have a bunch of programming and mechanical issues that will take extra time and it's always nice to have a week or so to practice driving so DON'T PROCRASTINATE!!! You should have a base already built and be prototyping/building extra mechanisms now. Your programmer(s) should also be looking at the code now so they are ready to program when needed and they can ask questions at next Friday's meeting (November 9th at 7pm).

A couple of things to keep in mind:

1) Remember, if you need parts from KING TeC's treasure hoard you can call Joel Volm (after 5pm weekdays or anytime on most weekend days) at 952-447-1509. His home address is 13509 Webster Ave, Savage. During the school day use this e-mail ( We have metal rails, motors, wheels, etc. You can also fabricate any part you want out of cardboard, plastic, aluminum, etc.

2) Some of the "VEX Inventor's Guide" binders might not have a detailed explanation of how to make a double-rail wheel system for the base frame. This is very useful for newer teams as it is a way to make the wheels much, much more stable. It would be under the "Structure Subsystem" section. If your binder doesn't have a detailed description of how to make a sturdy chassis you can go to the following link to the VEX webpage to see how to build one. While there you can also see some more advanced parts available and, if we don't already have them, please feel free to buy them yourselves and then donate them to KING TeC at the end of the season (wink wink).

3) If any teams with new members are having organizational problems please feel free to call Joel Volm at the above phone number or e-mail Mike Lins. We can attend a meeting with your kids and help give you a boost. We can help assign team roles, go through a design/prototyping process with you, and possibly give you a tour of our HS team's facilities.

4) You should have a "rules master" that knows all of the game rules by heart so you don't spend a bunch of time designing something that might be illegal. You should also be keeping an engineering notebook that logs everything you do at each meeting. The notebook should include drawings of designs (even if you don't wind up using that design later), topics you discussed, parts used or needed before the next meeting, strategies, t-shirt designs, ,etc., etc., etc. New teams can look at some older teams notebooks at next Friday's meeting to get ideas.

5) If anyone wants to see some very well made VEX robots (kind of like the KING TeC level of complexity) go to Youtube and search for VEX robot competitions. You will see some extremely complicated Vex bots made by high school kids for the official VEX competitions and you might find some designs that you could possibly emulate. You can also get a better idea of how the competitions will work. For the new teams - please don't be intimidated by these robots. We don't expect yours to be anywhere near this complicated. For the 3rd year teams - we expect your robots to be 3 or 4 times more complicated than these (ha, ha).

6) KING TeC is hosting a huge state-wide competition with the big FRC robots on Saturday, November 17th in the Prior Lake high school gyms. It will be a great way for all of you to see a competition up close. This competition will be run almost exactly like yours in December but the robots are about 5 feet tall and 120 pounds (cool!). The competition will run from about 10 am until about 5 pm. It's free to the public. We encourage all of you to stop by for at least 1 hour.

7) Your main job as a team is to build a robot to compete but, as in the real corporate world, you also have to be able to sell your product. Don't forget marketing. You want to advertise yourselves and your robot to other teams so them might select you in the final rounds. You want to have a well-designed and coherent team uniform/t-shirts. You will eventually want to think about making your robot look interesting/pretty/exciting after all of the main functional components are installed. One huge part of KING TeC is our marketing department. We want to look good out on the playing field and we want everyone to know that we are there.

8) Remember to check the team blog-site once in a while. There may be updates and helpful hints. This is also an older post that has a video of last year's competition for those that want to see what a competition look like.

9) One of KING TeC's guiding ideals is this: "Winning for us is having a running robot on the field." Winning a competition is never our main goal. It is a nice perk but never the most important thing. If you can design a mechanism and get it to work during a competition you and your team are all winners. The most important thing you can get out of this program should be technological skills, team skills, and a lot of fun.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Game "Great Balls of Fire" Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Can you de-score balls? Intentionally – no.

Can the human player put all 4 Fire Balls on a robot at once? No, Robots can only hold or control one Fire Ball at a time. This includes “intentional” pushing of a Fire Ball.
Is there a limit to the # of plasma balls that can be carried? - No limit.
Can Fire Balls be rolled or bounced onto the field. No. human players can only “place” fire balls onto their alliance’s robots or into the floor “in” their safe zone.

Can human players touch plasma or fire balls that are pushed into the safe zone (ie. the ball fell off the robot and they want the human player to put it back on) ? – No. Once a ball is placed on the field it is considered part of the field and players cannot touch either the field or their robots for any reason.

Can you score points for parking on either ramp or just your own? - Either ramp is open to both alliances. Robots may block a ramp but cannot push a robot off of a ramp once a robot is fully on the ramp (all four wheels in contact with the top of a ramp defines being fully on the ramp).

Are Plasma Balls only worth 4 points in autonomous?  They are scored both at the end of autonomous and at the end of the game. This results in them being worth 8 points each if scored in autonomous and they remain in the fire pit at the end of the match.
How tall is the barrier showing the outside edge of the Fire Pit? Approximately 4 ½ inches tall.
What happens if a robot falls in the Fire Pit? If it happens during autonomous it will be righted and set up right on the ramp. During the driver controlled period it will be left as is until the end of the match.

For parking in autonomous, do you need to be fully on your opponent's side of the field, or partially?  In order to be scored the robot must be completely on the other side of the field with no portion of the robot breaking the plane of the white tape dividing the field.
Can you steal balls that are in your opponent's possession? – No but you can fight for possession. Once a ball is in possession by a robot you must leave them alone.
Can you go in to an opponent's safe zone? No, but you can try to block it but this is a risky strategy. You could get pushed into the zone and incur a penalty.
How much is a penalty?  Penalties are 10 points each.
How many team members can be in the loading zone?  Two
Does an alliance have to put the Fire Balls in play? No

Are the balls counted only if they are in the put or if they are simply on our side of the field?   They must be "scored" which means placed in the fire pit.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

2012 Game Revealed "Great Balls of Fire"

Great Balls of Fire
Prior Lake Robotics 2012 Middle School Vex Robotics 

Robot Rules

1.  Only Vex motors may be used on the robot for any purpose.
2.  Non-Vex pre-built mechanism of any nature are prohibited.
3.  At the beginning of all matches, maximum starting size of robot is 18” x 18” x 18” – may expand to any size after the start of any match.
4.  Only Vex wheels may be used on the robot.
5.  Team numbers must be displayed on two opposite sides of the robot with numbers at least 2” tall with 3/8” thick type face.
6. Every Robot will be required to pass a full inspection before being allowed to  compete.
7.  No sharp surfaces or edges are permitted on robot.
8.  The following types of mechanisms and components are NOT allowed: a. Those that could potentially damage Playing Field components. b. Those that could potentially damage other competing Robots. c. Hose or string that pose an unnecessary risk of entanglement. e. Those that are designed to flip other Robots.
9.  Non Vex structural building components may be used.
10.  Tape may only be used for electrical labeling or attaching team numbers.
11.  All robots require a flag holder to be installed on the robot prior to inspection. Holder must be able to accommodate a large straw as a flag post.
12.  Only one supplied Vex battery may be used on the robot as the sole power supply for all power needs.

Game Rules

1.  Each match will start with 20 Plasma Balls placed in the center of the field plus 2 preloaded per robot.
2.  Each alliance will given 4 Fire Balls to be used in the last 30 seconds of each match.
3.  Robots may pin another robot for 3 seconds and then have to back away 3 feet for 3 seconds.  Penalty = 5 pts.
4.  No intentional ramming of another robot.  Penalty = 10 pts.
5.  Scoring is done at end of autonomous period and end of game.
6.  Fire Balls may only be placed on a robot from the loading  Zone.
7.  Human contact with a robot or the field is prohibited once a match has started.  Penalty = disqualification of the team for that match.
8.   Each drive team will include one driver, up to two coaches and one human player in the loading zone.
9.   Only team members are allowed in the alliance stations. Interaction with audience members is strictly prohibited.
10.  Scores will be calculated for all periods of a match at the end of each period when all game pieces have come to rest.
11.  Strategies and mechanisms aimed solely at the destruction, damage or tipping over of an opponents robot are not in the Spirit of FIRST and are not allowed. However, this is a highly interactive game and inadvertent damage and tipping may occur. If the tipping or damage to another robot is deemed deliberate, that team will be disqualified for the match and if the action persists may be disqualified from the tournament.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Helpful Guide for Programming VEX Robots

Andrew Kapsch, member of the KING TeC team found this guide to programming that might be helpful.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Message from Joel Volm on October 23, 2012

Parts can be picked up from Joel Volm’s house almost anytime or, if it is more convenient, I will bring all of the parts bins to every large group meeting.

My home phone is 952-447-1509. 

You can call me after 5pm on school days or almost any time on the weekends. 

My address is 13509 Webster Ave, Savage.

If you want to get ahold of me during the day you can use my school e-mail which is

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Twin Cities region has a good start in robotics; let's capitalize on it

The Twin Cities area has a head start to become an international robotics and automation center of excellence. A robotics ecosystem already taking form will build upon our region's expertise in effective high-tech innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration. 

Robots are moving into our personal lives by cleaning living room floors, handling hazardous materials, parking cars and saving lives in roles from security to medicine. The world's emerging robotics industry has vast potential to benefit the quality of life for people all over the world, creating millions of high-paying jobs in the process.

Read Full Article Here:

Next Meeting: Mon, Oct 22 - Game Reveal Night, First timers build night VEX 101

Teams, your assignment is to build a functioning "square bot" for the next meeting on the 22nd. 

As a reminder, you are required to use clutches with your motors:

A square bot is a platform with four wheels that you can drive.  The manual in you kits contains all the information you need to build the bot. 

The next meeting is Monday Oct 22 7pm to 830 in the PLHS commons. 

We will spend the first 30 minutes discussing the game for this year. 

The remainder of the time will be Vex101. 

This is an opportunity for experienced teams to mentor and assist new teams with completing their square bot. 

Future meeting dates can be seen here.

See you on the 22nd. Mike Lins

Any questions contact Mike Lins at or Joel Volm at

Friday, October 5, 2012

Next Meeting for the Prior Lake Middle School Robotics Club is Thursday, 10/11/12

Registration for the 2012 Prior Lake Middle school robotics season is now available on line at

The registration form is at:

Next meeting Thursday, 6:30 PM October 11th PLHS Commons area.

Please register online before the meeting.

Two checks are required at this meeting: $135 activity fee and a separate check for $100 deposit.

Make checks payable to "Prior Lake Robotics"

We will form teams during this meeting. If you have pre-identified team members, please indicate on the registration form. Ideal team size is 4. If you do not belong to a pre-formed team, we will form new teams by grade level and cross leveling experience.

After forming teams, we will sign out kits.

The assignment is to build or attempt to build a basic square bot by the next meeting Oct 22nd.

On the 22nd we will reveal the game and conduct "vex 101" for those teams that need help completing the square bot.

Please visit the website for other meeting dates.

Any questions contact Mike Lins at or Joel Volm at

Friday, September 28, 2012

Expectations for Prior Lake Middle School Robotics Program

Gracious Professionalism at all times! 


 Design and build robot
 Keep an engineering notebook 
 Work as a group 


Guide the process 
Ask open ended questions 
Help students see options, but let them choose

2011 Prior Lake Middle School Robotics Tournament Clips

Friday, September 21, 2012

The 2012 Prior Lake Middle School Vex Robotics Season

The 2012 Prior Lake Middle School Vex Robotics season will kick off with an information meeting next Friday, September 28th, 7pm in the Prior Lake High School Commons.

The Middle School Vex robotics program is sponsored by Prior Lake Robotics team King Tec.

Tentative 2012 Vex season dates:

Information night, Sep 28th 7pm
Team forming night/kit hand out, Oct 11 6:30 pm-9:30pm
Vex 101 for first time participants, Oct 22nd 7-8:30 pm
Work night build issues Nov 9th 7-9:30 pm
Work night build issues Nov 30th 7-9:30 pm
Work night programing (field up) Dec 5th 7-9:30 pm
Practice night (King Tec help/field up) Dec 14th 6:30-9:30 pm
Tournament (King Tec Run) Dec 15th all day in PLHS Gym

All meetings will be at the PLHS commons unless otherwise noted.

Activity fee of $135 for each participant with check made out to Prior Lake Robotics will be due at the team forming night October 11th.

An additional deposit check for $100 per participant will also be required at team forming night. This check will returned upon turn in of the Vex robotics kit (in serviceable condition) at the end of the season.

For more information on Prior Lake Robotics visit

Please email me for more information at:

Mike Lins