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DB11 150217-8.jpg
DB11 HH 150301-7.jpg
MAR Finals 2 1640a.jpg
In contrast to last year, the team went to kick-off this year with no terrible oath hanging over our heads. Our only goal of real significance is to continue to improve; improve our processes, our design skills, our engineering, our fabrication capabilities, our service to our students and to our community. All very nice. But will nice win competitions? Will we have the drive and perseverance victory requires?

In retrospect, it seems we have. The 2015 season was good to Sab-BOT-age.

DEWBOT XI is designed to compete in the 2015 FIRST Robotics Competition game, Recycle RushSM.

Notable events & accomplishments:


This is the time of the year that all good roboteers and mentors most love and fear.

I love build season. It is the very heart and soul of the robotics year. I love the challenge, the close team work (yes, even the friction resulting from teams working hard under pressure), the prototyping and testing, the false starts and finally finding resolutions to tough design problems. The hard work. The tough decisions. The pressure. The building itself; bringing everthing together and getting all of it working just right. Build season is my favorite time.

I hate build season. The sleep depravation. The angst born of trying endlessly to reconcile seemingly irreconcilable design demands. The fear that this year's robot will not live up to expectations; that we will not be worthy. The parts that just don't come together and the systems that refuse to work reliably. Why do I do this to myself every year?

An old wise guy once said to me: Nothing difficult is ever easy.

Design Details

Drive Train

We made the decision to stay with swerve drive for the 2015 robot. In view of the fact that blazing speed and acceleration seems to be detriments in this year's game, concepts to increase speed were not adopted and Mini-CIMs were used in lieu of CIMs to drive the robot.
With the departures of Ben Kellom as mentor and Edgetech as sponsor, we redesigned our swerve module to significantly reduce the machine time requirements and to bring as much of the machining in-house as practical. New sponsor AMS Filling Systems provided the parts we could not produce in-house.
3-Tote Autonomous - Archimedes Qualifier

Internal Stacker

Our main scoring system allows us to build stacks of up to six Totes under a Recycle Container and to score these. This stack is built inside the robot chassis and we score by simply dropping the stack and backing up. This led us to design a U-chassis, the scariest design element of DEWBOT XI.

Intake System

Pulls Totes into the robot and automatically aligns them for stacking. No fuss, no muss. When open, presents a 23.75" Tote Acquisition width. When closed, the pointy ends match the Landfill spacing.

RC Burglars

Recycle Containers (RCs) were the key to scoring big in Recycle Rush, and an alliance of solid stackers would win if they were able to control the majority of RCs on the step at the match start. This made a fast RC Burglar which grabbed RCs at the very start of autonomous an essential accessory for a victory-seeking robot.

3-Tote Autonomous

We expected a lot of robot, RC and Tote sets in autonomous. We had our own routine for this (Plain Vanila Autonomous). Turns out we were mistaken. The only worthwhile alternative to autonomous RC Burglars is 3-Tote Autonomous. The ideal alliance (ours during Archimedes Eliminations, for example) possesses two robots with fast double RC Burglars and one with a reliable 3-Tote Autonomous. That's all she wrote.

Robot don't tip! software

DEWBOT XI tipped over twice at Hatboro; once during Finals (resulting in our loss). Ouch! Tipping over in competition is rarely a good thing. So we stopped it. In software.
Utilizing the NavX input, pitch is monitored to determine whether the robot is in danger of tipping over forwards or backwards (but when we tip, we tip backwards). If a tipping danger is detected, drive control is taken to drive the robot backwards or forwards to reestablish stability. Once stable, drive control is returned to the driver (or autonomous routine - this safety feature works both in autonomous and teleop).
The feature works really well and saved our bacon on quite a few occasions. Easy to see in video.
This is an upgrade on DEWBOT VI's Carly don't tip feature.

Official Events

Kick-off - 3-January-2015
Hatboro-Horsham - 27-Feb - 1 March-2015
The team got off to a good start for the season at this week 1 event. Finishing qualifications as 3rd seed, we accepted 1403's (Cougar Robotics) gracious invitation and joined the first alliance. Together with 3637 (The Daleks) we finished as Finalists. Sab-BOT-age also received the Quality Award (sponsored by Motorola). The team earned 61 MAR qualifying points at Hatboro-Horsham.
Seneca - 20-22 March-2015
A good second competition for us. We finished qualifications as 1st seed and invited 1218 (Vulcan Robotics) and 5113 (Combustible Lemons) to join the 1st alliance. Together, we won the event. Sab-BOT-age again received the Motorola Quality Award. The team earned 73 MAR qualifying points.
MAR Championship - 8-11 April-2015
Sab-BOT-age continued its outstanding performance at this event. After a rocky start (Intake Arm pneumatics did not work during the first qual match due to disconnected wire), 1640 slowly worked its way up to 2nd seed. We formed the 2nd alliance with teams 303 (The Test Team) and 4635 (Ironmen Robotics), finishing the event as Finalists.
The team finished the Mid-Atlantic Robotics competition ranked 2nd (after 225) in a field of 121 teams. We qualified for FRC Championships.
FRC Championship - 22-25 April-2015
We finished qualifications as Archimedes 5th seed out of a field of 76 teams. We spent an anxious evening into the wee hours on Friday night working on our elimination strategy and putting together our alliance pick list. We put together a winning strategy and a great pick list.
...and then the impossible happened. We were able to pick up two complimentary team from our #1 pick list. Picking up FRC 1310 (Runnymede Robotics - Toronto, ON, Canada) was enormous good fortune. Getting FRC 217 (ThunderChickens - Sterling Heights, MI) on the 2nd round; priceless. 1640, 1310 & 217 made an awesome and balanced alliance. And don't forget our 3rd pick, 2383 (Ninjineers - Plantation FL).
While we made it to Archimedes Finals, problems with DEWBOT's lift limited our scoring capability and we were unable to advance beyond this point.

Individual wins and losses don't mean a lot in Recycle Rush, but our official season record was 54-20-0 (a 73% win rate).

Unofficial Events

Midknight Mayhem - 27-June-2015
1640 finished qualifications as 1st seed and invited 225 TechFire and 193 MORT Beta to join us to form the 1st alliance. This awesome alliance put up the events highest score, 214 points, during a semifinal match. Unfortunately, our robot tipped over in the 3rd finals match and we ended the competition as Finalists.
Indiana Robotics Invitational - 17-18 July 2015
Our sincerest thanks go out to FRC Team 118 (Alliance Captain - Robonauts, Houston TX) and 2826 (Wave Robotics, Oshkosh WI) for inviting Sab-BOT-age to join the 3rd alliance in eliminations (and 67 - Heroes of Tomorrow, Milford/White Lake MI - for completing the alliance). This alliance was absolutely outstanding! Together, the 3rd alliance made it to IRI Finals. We were defeated in a very close and hard-fought match by 7 points (345 vs 338).
Duel on the Delaware - 17-October-2015
While first seed (of 33) and first alliance captain (joined by teams 836 and 87), we were eliminated in the semifinals thereby bringing our Duel on the Delaware winning streak to a close.
Great jobs by the whole drive team, in special fedoras-off to first-time driver Abbi and first-time human player Kevin!
Ramp Riot - 14-November-2015
Due to the D-Town Dustoff FLL Scrimmage we needed to be in two places at once. Neat trick. We picked a small, focused team to compete. Six students and three mentors. The students ran the show.
We went to Ramp Riot with a Coach and Operator experiencing their first competition as drive team members, and a human player experiencing his second competition in this role. Only our driver and two pit students were experienced veterans.
How did we do? Really well. We ended up as 1st seed and led the 1st alliance. A huge shout out to alliance partners 1218 (Vulcan Robotics), 1626 (Falcon Robotics) and 1712 (Dawgma). We didn't win, but did very well in the quarterfinals. A truly outstanding last competition for DEWBOT XI.

Other Events

DAR FLL QUAL 141207-41.jpg
DAR FLL Scrimmage - 22-November-2014
Downingtown's third annual FIRST LEGO League Tune Up, the D-Town Dust-off, at the CCIU TCHS-Brandywine in Downingtown, PA.
This non-qualifying event was hosted by Downingtown Area Robotics in cooperation with the TCHS to help area FLL teams gain experience and prepare for their Qualifiers in this year's game, WORLD CLASSSM! 15 area teams participated.
Downingtown Area Robotics-TCHS-Penn FLL Qualifying Event 2014 - 7-December-2014
Downingtown's third annual FIRST LEGO League Qualifying Event was held on 7 December, 2014 at the CCIU TCHS Brandywine Campus in Downingtown, PA. This competition was hosted by Downingtown Area Robotics to allow area FLL teams to compete and qualify for the Penn FLL Championship in this year's game, WORLD CLASSSM!
Team Picnic - 20-June-2015
MAR Team Day at Dorney Park - 11-July-2015
Team Picnic II - 5-August-2015
Team Halloween bonfire - 24-October-2015


Boeing Engineering Week FIRST Robotics Demo - 26-Feb-2015
Swerve drive workshop with Team 365 - 19-March-2015
A multidisciplined team from Sab-BOT-age visited the Miracle Workerz to help work through some swerve drive issues.
Sugartown Elementary School's Lego Expo and Robotics Fair - 17-April-2015
A joint FRC1640 / FTC7314 demonstrations. Both teams were able to make their robots interact with the Sugartown students and were a huge hit!
Demo during Downingtown West High School step-up day - 1-May-2015
Downingtown West students Dana, Fatima and Trevor, with support from Laura and Ryan, introduced our robotics program to incoming freshmen.
Demo at Avon Grove Charter School - 9-June-2015
The team held its first robotics demonstration at Avon Grove Charter School. Thanks to Malia and Paul for organizing this and to all who participated.
Camp Horseshoe Boy Scout Demo - 21-July-2015
Downingtown STEM Academy Demo - 22-September-2015
Girl Scout Open House - 21-October-2015
We had an excellent turn-out of Girl Scouts and parents at our open house. Thanks to the Moyers for organizing this event!


2015 Season Wrap-up Video Video
In light of our recent competition performance, the team continues to receive media attention. Summarized below, together with the team's media output.
2015 Season Wrap-up Video
Matthew's 2015 season wrap-up video provides an awesome visual summary of 1640's build and competition seasons.
IRI Application Video
Matt and team produced a great video for our IRI Application. - Best of the Bots
Dana was featured in a photo from the Seneca competition.
Photo for 2015 FIRST Championship facebook page
SeasonRecap FINAL web-6.jpg
DEWBOT X is featured in FIRST's 2015 Championship facebook page.
2014 FRC Photo Gallery
Five of the 63 marketing tool photos in FRC's 2014 gallery show DEWBOT X and/or our drive team.
Team Sab-BOT-age made the photo banner on the FIRST website
Patrick Curran, Abbilyn and Siri Maley at the 2014 FRC Championship. Photo at right.
Team Sab-BOT-age's photo in FIRST's Scholarship Flyer twice
FIRST Scholarship Program.jpg
Both the 2015 and 2014 robot and team are featured.


Team 1640 2015 Summer CAD Certification


Shifting Swerve
Sine Plate
CAN control 6wd chassis
SRX-MATE interface board
Switch from LABVIEW to Java


Welding - UPDATED!


Team Sab-BOT-age is what it is only due to the efforts of the people involved. DEWBOT XI's success will be in the hands of the students, mentors and parents engaged. The team's very existence is possible only through the gracious generosity of our sponsors.

DEWBOT XI Students
Sponsors 2015

See our other robots in the Robot Archives.