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Winning the MAR Championship
Scoring at Lenape
Tripling with 1741 & 217 at IRI

DEWBOT VIII is Team 1640's answer to the challenge of FIRST's 2012 game, Rebound Rumble.

No doubt about it, DEWBOT VII is a very tough act to follow. Still, we've set our sights high and built the most complex robot (actually, two) ever for Team 1640. We think we did pretty well!

Build Season

Thanks to the gracious generosity of Waterloo Gardens, the Team had a wonderful space in which to build and test DEWBOT VIII.

What can I say about build season? Too short; too long; too intense; too cold; too little sleep; too much work; and a great deal of fun and a keen sense of accomplishment. This is the very heart of the robotics year. The time we both live for and approach with a little dread.

Build season opens with Kickoff, where we learn the details of the new game, and runs for 45 days, at which time the robot is sealed for competition.

Click on the DEWBOT VIII Build link to learn more about the team's build season and to access the Build Season photo galleries.

Design Details

Drive Train
Hybrid Drive-train in assembly
key drive-train requirements for Rebound Rumble were:
  • Ability to cross the mid-field line via either the Bridge or going over the Barrier (Need)
  • The ability to drive in the wide orientation in order to fit three robots on a Bridge (Need)
  • The ability to drive in the wide orientation to facilitate ball pick-up from the playing field (Need)
  • Avoid blocking robots, especially between Key & Bridge (Desired)
  • Ability to lock wheels on the Bridge to avoid rolling off when power is cut (Desired)
While not a specific strategic requirement, it was perceived that the ability to drive in the narrow orientation would make crossing over the Barrier safer & easier.
Furthermore, if pivot drive was used, it was decided that the shooter would be aimed my rotating the robot, rather than via a rotating turret (not applicable if tank drive was selected). The logic was that pivot drive enabled the entire robot to become a turret, so we should exploit this and avoid a redundant turret. Also, the cost of pivot drive (in mass, $s and complexity) makes this necessary.
While not a strategic objective, it is understood that 1640's pivot drive provides extraordinary defensive performance if necessary.
To meet these needs, it was decided to design DEWBOT VIII with a Hybrid drive-train comprising (4) Pivot Modules for general mobility and (2) driven 8" Pneumatic Wheels specifically for crossing over the barrier. While driving on a flat surface, the Pneumatic Wheels are 5/8" off the field surface.
Through value engineering, the Team made significant improvements to the Pivot drive design, reducing mass, cost and eliminating separate left and right modules.
Specific drive modes were developed for Rebound Rumble. These are:
  1. Fat Snake - Primary drive mode - snake drive with a wide chassis orientation.
  2. Skinny Snake - Used primarily for crossing the Barrier - Pneumatic wheels are automatically driven in the direction of travel.
  3. Aiming mode - Orients wheels on a circle and rotates chassis about center. For shooting and chassis reorientation. Unlike previous DEWBOTS, this mode remains on until specifically turned off.
  4. Crab mode - Primarily for evasion
Ball path through collection, storage & shooter

Ball Collection & Lift
Ball collector requirements for Rebound Rumble are:
  • Quickly and reliably pick balls off the playing field
  • Ability to top load at the Inbound Station
  • Able to possess three balls
  • Able to prevent possession of more than three balls
  • Fast transport of balls to the shooter
This page provides the details on how we delivered on these critical strategic requirements.

1640's Shooter requirements for Rebound Rumble are:
  • This is a shooter; not a dumper
  • Primarily targeting the top basket
  • High scoring reliability (>67%) from Key or closer
  • Ability to feed balls to alliance scoring field from the outbounder station
  • Backspin to drop into basket and provide dead landing upon feeding
  • Fast recycle; one shot per second (minimum)
  • Automatic rangefinding & aiming
  • Maintain low CoM for bridge balancing & preventing bridge tips
This page provides the details on how we delivered on these critical strategic requirements.

Bridge Manipulation
DEWBOT VIII rendered in SolidWorks
1640's Bridge manipulation requirements for Rebound Rumble are:
  • Wide chassis orientation to facilitate triple balancing
  • Center of mass low enough to prevent robot tipping on inclined and dynamic bridge with robot in the wide orientation
  • Pivot "brake" to prevent movement on bridge after achieving balance
  • Ability to quickly and certainly lower the bridge to enable mounting from a robot wide side
  • The original bridge manipulation mechanism was integrated into the top loading ball hopper
Additional nice to haves were identified after gaining some competition experience:
  • Bridge arm can be used to influence center of mass and therefore balance
  • There is value in being able to push the bridge up as well as down
  • A hook could be employed to link robots to enable hanging off the bridge edge in triple balancing
DEWBOT VIII's bridge manipulation approach & mechanisms witnessed the greatest changes of any functional area during the competition season. Also the greatest improvement.
From a game-play standpoint, the Bridge is HUGE. Both in qualifications (where the coopertition bridge is critical for Qualification Score) and in eliminations (where triple balancing makes an alliance tough to beat), being able to control the bridge and balancing is a critical aspect for success in Rebound Rumble. We ended up being a pretty competent bridge robot (but not best in class).

Official Competitions

Win at Hatboro-Horsham - 2 & 3-March-2012
Hatboro-Horsham alliance victory photograph
with Alliance partners Teams 341 (Miss Daisy, Alliance Captain) and 1218 (Vulcan Robotics), Team 1640 won the Mid-Atlantic Robotics (MAR) qualifier at Hatboro-Horsham Senior High School. Great work by the whole team and a great start to the 2012 competition season!

Lenape District Event - 24 & 25 March-2012
Team 1640 played well at the Lenape competition, placing 11th in qualifications out of 38 teams. We were selected by the 5th alliance, but were eliminated in the quarterfinals.
On the positive side, we were able to lower the bridge, balance alone or with a 2nd robot and pick up balls easily (all improvements over Hatboro-Horsham). Shooter tachometer and PID are working, but we have not yet calibrated them.

WINNER at Mid-Atlantic Region Championship - Temple University, Philadelphia - 12-14 April-2012
MAR's 1st 3-robot balance
FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 1640 won the Mid-Atlantic Robotics FRC Region Championship at Temple University with alliance partners Teams 341 and 25. FIRST Team 1640 was founded by Physics Teacher Paul Sabatino at Downingtown East High School in 2005 and continues to serve high school students in the Downingtown Area School District and surrounding Chester County area.
The Alliance Captain, Team 341, Miss Daisy, is from Ambler, PA and Team 25, Raider Robotix, is from North Brunswick, NJ. Together, the three teams went undefeated throughout the 3-stage elimination matches (quarter-finals, semi-finals & finals), thereby winning the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship. With this victory, FIRST Team 1640 qualifies to participate in the 2012 FRC Championship in St. Louis, Missouri from April 25 to 28.
The three-team alliance was unstoppable, playing amazing offense and defense. The pièce de résistance was the alliance's end-of-match 3-robot balance on the bridge, an achievement hitherto unrealized in any Mid-Atlantic Robotics event (and worth 40 points!). Not only did we achieve the elusive 3-robot balance, but we did so 5 times in 6 matches.

FRC Championship - 25-28 April-2012
For the 2nd consecutive year, Team 1640 participated in the FRC Championship in the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis. We played well and finished the Newton Division qualification matches as 13th seed in a field of 100 teams with a 6-2-1 record. We were, alas, not selected by an alliance. We were, however, selected by Popular Mechanics, who interviewed our Pit Captain Molly and included DEWBOT VIII in their short-list (10) of All-Star robots.

Unofficial Competitions

Monty Madness - 19-May-2012
Winning plaques from BR2
We used this event primarily for drive-team training. We finished qualifying matches as 15th seed out of 39 teams.
We were the first selection of team 369 (High Voltage), captain of the 6th alliance. Team 484 (RoboForce) completed our alliance. Alas, we were defeated in the quarterfinals by the 3rd alliance (103, 2016 and 224).

Champions at Bridgewater-Raritan Battle Royale - 26-May-2012
Another competition with a driver training focus. As a result of limited turnout, Sab-BOT-age was able to register two robots (Prime & Deux) as 1640 and 1639, respectively. Three new drive teams were able to gain competition experience. A concerted pre-competition effort was required to bring Deux into working and fighting trim. This effort paid off.
Our 2nd robot, Deux, playing under the nom de guerre of 1639 (Tipsy Honeybadgers) and shared by two prospective drive teams, together with 1st alliance partners 869 (POWER CORD, alliance captain) and 25 (Raider Robotix), was a champion of this competition.

Indiana Robotics Invitational - 20 & 21-July-2012
This is our 3rd consecutive year of participation in the Indiana Robotics Invitational (IRI)! The most selective of all off-season competitions, IRI invites 76 (70 attended) of the absolute best 2012 team from around the world (from a practical standpoint, US & Canada). Our now-veteran drive team did a bang-up job and kept pace with even the best team at the even, thanks to our awesome scouting crew. Full accounts of the matches cover the details of who we played with and the results, while the photo gallery provides images. We spent a lot of time on the practice field, mostly working on autonomous until we discovered the code error that fixed it.
Getting set to win Duel
We finished qualifications as 13th seed out of 70 teams; quite an improvement over past years. We were not, however, selected for an alliance.

Champions at Duel on the Delaware - 13-October-2012
The first alliance teams 271 (Mechanical Marauders, Bayshore NY) and 341 (Miss Daisy, Wissahickon HS, Ambler PA) graciously invited us to join them and together we won Duel on the Delaware in six matches. Our 3rd competition win of the season with Miss Daisy. We had the honor of participating in Miss Daisy's 100th match win of the 2012 season.

Ramp Riot - 10-November-2012

Other Events

Wrap Night at Waterloo Gardens
WG LOGO 3.gif
Move into 427 Creamery Way
On 13-August-2011, Downingtown Area Robotics moved into the warehouse at 427 Creamery Way, Exton. Waterloo Gardens is generously and graciously allowing the team to use this facility. Another great space for robotics, allowing a full-scale practice field. We are very grateful to Waterloo Gardens for the use of this building. Again, no sense of permanence. Our 7th home to-date.
All training is shifted immediately to the new site. This is a fine place to build a robot!

Pancake Breakfast
Our Applebee's Pancake Breakfast on 16-October-2011 raised nearly $1,500 for the team.
Boeing plant tour

Boeing Ridley Park Plant Tour - 5-November-2011
The team toured Boeing's Ridley Park helicopter plant, together with teams 341, 365 & 486. The V-22 Osprey and CH-47 Chinook assembly lines were visited, as well as Boeing's Wind Tunnel and Flight Simulation facilities.

UTC Sikorsky Coatesville Plant Tour - 23-June-2012
Sponsor Sikorsky Global Helicopters graciously organized a tour for team Sab-BOT-age of their Coatesville PA plant. It is at this plant that the S-76D and S-92 helicopters are completed prior to shipment to customers around the world.

Team 1640 at Sikorsky Helicopter Plant
250px-Sikorsky aircraft logo.gif
Team Pool Party - 4-August
A hot, steamy August afternoon. Can there be a better way to cool off than a team pool party? Even cooler if this serves as a formal break between 2012 and 2013 seasons. From this day on, we are working towards doing as well as we can in 2013.

There food, drink, diving contests, raft battles and a serious game of some hybrid between "pool bombardment" and "Calvinball".
Congratulations to 2013 season co-captains: Douglas & Molly!

Outreach & Volunteering

STEM Academy & DEHS Robot Demonstrations - 18-Nov-2011
Team Sab-BOT-age and recently retired DEWBOT VII demonstrated the benefits of FRC to Downingtown STEM Academy and East Students in back-to-back demos.

Boeing Engineering Week FIRST Robotics Demo - 23-Feb-2012

Best Buy's Community Connection Day - 21-April-3012
The Team, along with DEWBOT VII and a few other smaller robots, participated in Best Buy's Community Connection Day.

Sugartown Elementary School's Lego Expo and Robotics Fair - 10-May-2012
All parts of DAR participated in the Sugartown Elementary Lego Expo: FLL, VEX & FRC. This year's DEWBOT shot foam basketballs at small children. It just doesn't get any better than that!

Team 1640 with School Board President Jackie Fenn and Superintendent Dr. Larry Mussoline
Demo at Downingtown
Battle O' Baltimore volunteers
Open House for VEX - 23-May-2012
VEX Students and their families were invited to an FRC open house.
Ernest Schwenk, Downingtown East teacher and a founding mentor of 1640, graciously joined us for this event.

The DASD Board of Education recognises FIRST Team 1640 - 13-June-2012
The Downingtown Area School District School Board recognised FIRST Team 1640's outstanding 2012 season performance at the June School Board Meeting. The presentation script and slides are provided.

Boy Scout Troop 181 Demo - 26-June-2012
Sab-BOT-age demonstrated DEWBOT VIII to Boy Scout troop 181, Paoli, PA. The demo ended with a basketball shoot-off between DEWBOT and troop members.

Uwchlan Day - 7-July

DASD summer Demo - 24-July
FRC Team 1640 gave a special demo at Downingtown Middle School for High School students taking summer courses. Douglas, Garrison, Jack, Mike, Pat D, Ben Rajcan, Julie Christopher Debbie Drago and Faith McKown participated.

Demo at DWHS Freshman Summer Picnic - 21-August-2012
Douglas, Jack, DJ, Kenneth, David Moyer, Ben Rajcan and Faith McKown show DEWBOT VIII off to incoming Downingtown West students. Sincerest thanks to Downingtown West High School Principal Thomas Mulvay for his gracious invitation.

Team 1640 Volunteers at Battle O' Baltimore - 15-September-2012
Molly, Kira, Lucy, Pat D, Ian, Andrew (field reset), Sasha, Nicole (queuing), Debbie Drago, John Weissman (safety glasses) and Siri Maley (referee) made up almost a quarter of the main volunteer crew for one of Maryland's premiere off-season events, Battle o' Baltimore. These rookie (other than Siri) FRC volunteers had a blast--plus some good food and a great court side view--for their first event. The Baltimore Area Alliance was ecstatic to have us, and we're all looking forward to next year! Bravo to Siri for organizing this outstanding volunteer effort!


Fall Project - Robot design
Team 1640's Fall Project is the complete design of a robot for an old FRC game (outside the team's memory). We selected the 2003 game, Stack Attack for this exercise.
The Project started with a well-attended Practice Kickoff on 17-September.

Team discussing ideas around field mock-up table during Practice Kickoff
Fall Project - Pivot Drive Value Engineering
The design of the 2011 Pivot Drive System was reviewed with the intent of:
  • Reducing mass
  • Reducing cost
  • Reducing mill time
  • Improving reliability
  • Improving performance

Summer Project - Touchdown Tango Robot Design
Though our attention was split several ways during the summer (primarily towards new driver selection and IRI), we did run our first ever full-scale game design project based on the fake game, Touchdown Tango. Two teams completely run by students undertook to score foam footballs in Field Goals and cross shallow polycarbonate Hurdles across the field. Teams mostly only got into the conceptualization and prototyping phase, but there were footballs flying and chassis rolling. We'll be applying what we learned (mostly - this is hard!) to organizing DEWBOT IX's build season.


Design Team
Control Team
Drive-train Team
Chairman's Team

Team Sab-BOT-age is what it is only due to the efforts of the people involved. DEWBOT VIII's success is 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.

Sponsors 2012

See our other robots in the Robot Archives.