Robotics Space Needed

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WE HAVE SPACE Thank you to all of you that wrote in to the board or came to the June 9th meeting. Foster met with Lee Snodgrass from Facilities and Foster, Faith, Clem and Paul met with the STEM Academy facilities committee to discuss space. The recommendation that went forward and was approved was:

We stay at the existing location in DEC until ~ Sept 10
In September move to the warehouse facility on Boot Road

We can stay in that space until it's sold. We have a plan B in the event the space is sold.

Thanks again for your support, we heard about the decision movements before the board meeting started.

Next steps are to meet with Facilities on the space and how to get it set up for our equipment (including the mill from Downingtown East!)

We will be posting plans for the 2010 Summer of Robot Fun, keep an eye out for it!

This page has a description of the space needed by the robotics program.

At a high level we are looking for

~5000 sq ft of space
~2000 sq ft of concrete floor (the entire floor can be concrete)
External access that will allow the load/unload of 60" x 36" x 70" objects
10-110 volt 20 amp circuits
2-220 volt 40 amp circuits 3 phase service
Heating / cooling year round
work areas of the space needs to have office light levels (500 lux)
storage areas of the space can have warehouse light levels (200 lux)
Access to external opening windows and/or doors

FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC)

These are the bigger robots, geared towards high school students.

Active Build Space

During the year we actively work on the robot. Our primary build season runs from January through April. We also go to spring (May-July) and fall competitions (Oct-Nov). We also run a summer skills session in July and August. So the shop build area is in use year round. We mostly build in the evenings from 6-9 PM and on the weekends (8AM - 9PM)

Robot Build Space

During active construction there are roboteers that are machining parts (see tool list below) and assembling parts. Presently we have access in our work shop to three 48" square assembly tables, two cafeteria tables and three 60" x 24" workbenches. The 48" tables allows 360 degree access to the robots to maximize the number of people working on the robot.


For about 20 hours a year we use a MIG welder to construct and repair chassis and game play elements. Presently we use a corner of the existing shop space.

Engineering Design Space

We use computer tools in designing the robot. We have a Computer Aided Design team of ~5 people that need desk space, internet access and power for laptops.

There is also a similar sized team for programming the robot. They also require desk space, internet access and power for their computers.

The media team is small at 2-3 people working at any one time. Like the other teams they need desk space, internet access and power.

While the three teams are presently co-located in the same room, they could be set up in two or three different spaces (i.e. smaller office space)

Tool List

We have the following set of power tools that are freestanding

14" metal vertical band saw (40" x 28" approximate footprint)
12" metal vertical band saw (36" x 22")
2-drill presses (30" x 20")
48" metal lathe (67" x 23")
large milling machine (60" x 48" x 70") - presently stored at the high school
small milling machine (36" x 36" x 70")

We have the following that are bench-top or easily moved for use

bench grinder
bench sander (31" x 14")
wheeled horizontal band saw (54" x 16")
wheeled shopvac (20" x 20")
wheeled toolbox (27" x 18")
wheeled electrical toolbox (30" x 20")
wheeled robot cart (30" x 48")

We've been allowed to use the following tools courtesy of the Downingtown Educational Center and its VoTec department (many thanks to Charles Bonner, Linwood Smith & Greg Berger)

10" chop saw (72" x 24")
10" table saw (60" x 36")
bench-top drill press
bench-top sander

Storage Space

We have differing storage requirements for parts of, and for the robots.

Ghosts of robots past 091209 csm.jpg

We have a great deal of robot parts that fill five 48" x 24" x 60" shelving units and 12 20" x 30" crates (though this configuration can be changed). These parts range from nuts and bolts to electronics. While we have open access to the parts now (they are part of the shop space), they could fit into a closet.

The "in-progress" robots that are being built need to be stored. We have rolling carts that the partially assembled parts are stored on. One robot is the competition robot, the other is the proxy robot. We design and build on the proxy robot, the final assembly is then built and mounted on the competition robot. Each robot can be up to 38" x 28" x 60" in size.

We do store chemicals such as tap lube, paint, spray and tube adhesives. We have Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for all items.

During the entire year we keep four running robots, this years and three from prior years. These robots serve as our demonstration teams when we go to sponsor sites, back to school nights and to community days. The four robots are approximately 38" x 28" x 60" in size. We have constructed a stacked garage to store the robots when they are not in use. The robots will just fit stacked in a room with a 10' ceiling.

The following items could be stored in a non-temperature controlled space:

Raw metal and PVC storage. We have a
Siri McKown Murph shifting stores 091124 csm.jpg
material stacker that holds metal in 10' lengths. The stacker is 5' wide and loaded weighs about ~2000 lbs.
Floor carpet is rolled and stored next to the metal stack. The current 12' wide carpet is enough to cover 1/2 of the practice area.
At the beginning of the build season we have the wood materials to build the game play items. This consists of 4' x 8' sheets of plywood and 2" x 4" lumber. The game play items tend to be bulky when assembled, a good estimate is 4 parts all about 48" x 36" x 48".
The robot ships in a wooden crate that is 48" x 36" x 70". For most of the year it can come apart and will stack into a slightly smaller area.

Storage security is very important. The robots and parts are very expensive and we don't want items lost or damaged. Our present storage areas are locked when we are not in the shop.

Practice Space

The fields from year to year are approximately 27' x 54' and has a carpeted floor (about 1/3 of a basketball court. Because many games have lifting challenges (lifting Tetrahedrons or Workout balls) onto goals or other obstacles, the ceiling height needs to be at least 12 feet for part of the field. We have carpet that we can put over a concrete or tile floor.

In 2009 and 2010 we practiced at the DEC facility. The lower cafeteria level was good since the dimensions of the open area was 26' x 60' with a 14 foot ceiling.

Competition Space

The FRC robots travel to all of the competitions so there is not a need for competition space.

VEX Robotics Competition

These are the table top sized robots, geared towards middle and high school students.

Active Build Space

Build space is 4-6 kids per team building a robot. In the past we have build on cafeteria tables, giving a team 1/2 of a section (two teams build on a full table). The fixed seating means the tables can be closer together and you are not pushing chairs around.

We expect to have 10 teams with 4 sets of programmers, this means we would need 7-8 full size cafeteria tables.

We did look at space that was 10 10*10 offices. With a small folding table and some chairs that will work too.

Hard floors work better for dropped parts. (Nuts and bolts can hide in the rug nap)

Lighting needs to be office level (~500 lux) We are working with small components that can be hard to see.

Fire marshal requirements ~70 people.

Storage Space

Existing storage is 5 wire shelving units that fill a 20' wall. There are also two carts that contain the floor tile and the walls of the practice field.

Vex wall 091202 csm.jpg

This space is big enough to hold all the parts for 10 teams (our current estimated size)

Practice Space

The field is 12' x 12' and there needs to be at least 3' from the edge of the field to the wall to allow for roboteers to stand around the field. It helps if people can stand completely around the field to see all sides of the activity. We try to keep teams from NOT walking on the foam floor as much as possible.

Event Space

We hold two events a year. The ideal location is a cafeteria space that will allow 32 teams (so that would be 16 cafeteria style tables) and three or four fields (12' x 12') to be set up.

There needs to be ~10 110 volt 15 amp circuits available. Lighting needs to be at least warehouse space levels (~300 lux).

Fire marshal capacity ~ 190 people.