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.