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This page is the News Archive. The main news page has items for up to a year, after that they are moved to this page for another year.


FRC Team 1640 Winner of Philadelphia Regional & recipient of Rockwell Automation's Innovation in Control Award - 7-9 April

Team 1640 led the 2nd alliance to victory in the Philadelphia Regional Competition. This was 1640 first Regional victory. In fact, this was also our first experience as an Alliance Captain at a Regional Competition.

We had a great Alliance! Our Alliance Partners Teams 365 (Miracle Workerz), 303 (Panther Robotics) and 2607 (Robovikings, who substituted for 365 after their robot died in the Finals) performed superbly throughout the playoffs.

In addition to winning the competition, Team 1640 received Rockwell Automation's Innovation in Control Award for our cutting-edge modular pivot drive-train with its integrated sensor array and control software.

FRC Finger Lakes Regional - 3-5 March

The team had a rough start, with some cRIO problems which took a while to resolve. In the end, however, we were selected for the 4th alliance and made it to the semifinals. We were defeated by the 1st alliance, who went on to win the Regional.

We scored reasonably well in teleop, up to 4 logo pieces per match and always in the desired positions, but clearly could use more practice. There are mechanical and programming issues to resolve prior to the Philadelphia Regional as well.

DC Knights Middle School and High School 2011 VEX event 26-February-2011

The VEXMEN went to Delaware County Christian School for the DC Knights Middle School and High School 2011 VEX event. We qualified 3 more teams for Worlds, won a total of 9 awards and were both the middle school tournament winners and finalists (all six teams were from Downingtown).

The big win of the day was having Cheryl Foster recognized as the regional Mentor of the Year. She has been with our program for just over a year. Cheryl is one of our many adult mentors that do not have children in the program. She has been a huge inspiration to one of our all girl team, Team 90.

It's a Wrap - FRC Build Season is complete! 22-February-2011

Just shy of 1 AM this morning, FIRST Robotics Team 1640 sealed its completed 2011 robot, DEWBOT VII, into a bag for competition. The robot will be unsealed at the team's first competition at Rochester Institute of Technology on 3-March. This sealing brings a conclusion to the team's safe and successful 6-week build season.

The robot achieves all of the strategic objectives set by the team at the start of the build season. In practice, it scored reliably in autonomous, teleoperated, and end-game bonus play. The drive-train is a significantly improved version of last year's pivot drive, combining extraordinary agility with excellent traction and speed. Colored lights on the robot are used to signal for specific game pieces to be added to the field. Team 1640 has never before produced a robot possessing this level of performance and quality. The entire team did a phenomenal job on the 2011 robot.

This year, for the first time, Team 1640 will compete in the Championship Competition in Saint Louis.

The 2011 build season brought with it a number of first for the team, including:

A structured front-end process was initiated for idea generation, strategic goal setting, and development of clear game-focused (customer-focused) performance specifications. These specifications guided the team's detailed design effort.
1640 built a 2nd robot (deux). While increasing the overall work load, the 2nd robot improved work-flow by facilitating parallel [programming & driving] and [mechanical & electrical] work. The real benefit of the 2nd robot. however, will come now that the first has been sealed for competition. The 2nd robot remains available for driver/operator practice and as a development platform for tactics and software/hardware improvements.
The team has a mill, significantly improving the accuracy and reproducibility of component fabrication. Many of the team's students obtained first-hand experience fabricating parts on the mill.
A range of new materials were introduced to the 2011 robot, ranging from the ordinary (polypropylene and fiberglass pultrusion) to carbon-fiber composite. We learned about the benefits and drawbacks of these materials, why to use them, and how.
Our current home allowed us to set up an almost full-size practice field, which we did.

The team thanks the Downingtown Area School District, our generous Sponsors, our dedicated Mentors and Parents, without whose support and assistance none of this would have been possible.

Downingtown goes to Souderton for the Souderton VEXPeriment 12-Februrary-2011

We had a great time at the Souderton VEXperiment 2011. Lots of great action, the VEXMEM won a number of awards and Team 92 qualified for worlds.

Dockbots'11 22-January-2011

Our VEXMEN winter season kicked off with a trip to Lansdale for DockBots'11 We won a number of small awards, and had a great time.

Downingtown FLL Team Rocks Oxford FLL Qualifier 8-January-2010

The Downingtown FLL teams had a great day at the Oxford FLL Qualifier. The Oxford Qualifier for FLL was held yesterday at Oxford High School.

The competition was comprised of 40 teams from the area, six of which were from Downingtown Area Robotics FLL program. This competition differs a bit from our VEX and FRC programs in that the kids not only compete with their robot but they are also required to do a research project relating to the annual theme. This year the theme was Body Forward which pertains to Biomedical. They are also judged on how they work as a team, their core values pertaining to the program and the quality of their robot design and programming. They really push these elementary level kids to excel while having a good time. When the competition is over only nine of the teams are selected to move on to the Region Championships at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware.

Team 1001 - BioBots

  • 3rd place Champions Award (overall competition award)
  • 3rd place Robot Performance (score of 320)
  • Selected for the Regional Championships

Team 1003 - Robot Wizards

  • 1st place Robot Performance (top score of 325)
  • 1st place Programming Award
  • Selected for the Regional Championships

Team 1005 -

  • 5th place Robot Performance (score of 275)

Team 1004 - Nerve Connections

  • 10th place Robot Performance

Congratulations to all of our Downingtown Area Robotics teams as they did a great job and represented Downingtown to the best of their ability.

Their next event will be the FLL Regional Competition on 22 January 2010 at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware.

Congratulations to all the teams, it's a very impressive showing for a program that is in it's second year!

The first place team was Team 1215, Minds In MOEtion, from Coatesville, PA. They are sponsored, funded, coached, and mentored by FIRST Tech Challenge Team 3489 - Minds In Gear. Two of the members of Minds in Gear are Downingtown Robotics members Sasha and Nicole Wall. Great Job!

Mill brought on-line 5-January-2011

It's ALIVE! Mill comes to life on 5 January 2011 at 6:15 PM! After four years of silently hanging around the halls of Downingtown East High School, the Jet Milling Machine was moved to the Downingtown Robotics Center. After some cleanup it was plugged into the power and gulped down it's first taste of sweet 208 volts at 6:15 PM. The mill was soon set to it's first task of creating a protective base for future milling operations. Thanks to Scott, Gary and Ben along with the DASD electrical crew for getting the mill up and running and to Ben on getting our first part made.

Having a mill will make many of the machining operations that were impossible to do in house now a real possibility. While we will still use Wamac (one of our Sponsors) for complex parts, the mill will allow us to create things like transmissions and our award winning pivot drive in-house.

This is also another example of how the expanded space at the Downingtown Robotics Center has help boost our capability. In the mill's prior home in the physics hallway of Downingtown East, it was not usable due to safety issues around flying hot metal chips. In it's new home we can let the chips fall where they may! (Well not really, we have protective screens to keep the chips flying too far)

A special thanks to Ed Tremblay from East Coast EDM who was gracious enough to donate his time, truck and expenses to move the mill for us.

CPR Training 18-December-2010

CPR Training
Nine students, mentors and parents from Team 1640 received CPR training and 2-year ASHI certification on 18-Dec at the Uwchlan Ambulance Corps.

Downingtown Area Robotics Open House - 15-Dec-2010

DAR hosted an Open House on the evening of 15-December.

Practice FRC Kick-off - 11 & 12 Dec-2010

Team 1640 conducted a Practice Kick-off on 11 & 12-December 2010 in preparation of the real deal. A formal Design Process was introduced and tested during this exercise. 2006 Aim High game rules were employed for the robot basis, with the exception of the control system, which utilized 2010 standards.

Game simulation using students as robots proved very effective and provided very good insights into the game play and requirements for winning matches.

Lansdale Catholic FIRST Lego League - 20-November-2010

There were 48 teams competing in the first Lego event of the season. The Lansdale event is one of the largest events in our area. The Downingtown teams did very well.

  • Team 1003, Robot Wizards: Best Programming, Top Finalist and 3rd Place Robot
  • Team 1001, BioBots: 7th Place Robot
  • Team 1004, Nerve Connections: 24th Place Robot

VEX Fall Classics - 20-November-2010

On Saturday 20 November we had 42 teams from 4 states came play Round Up. There were two events in one, the Junior Fall Classic for 18 middle school teams and the Fall Classic for 24 High School teams. Over 350 people crowded into the Downingtown Middle School for a day of fast and fun robotics action. Read all the details in the Round Up Fall Classic. Our thanks for QVC for being the sponsor of this event!

Ramp Riot and Girls In Gear Demo - 13-Nov-2010

The FRC and VEX teams went to Ambler PA to participate in Ramp Riot and to do a demo for the Girl Scouts Girls in Gear program.

DEWBOT VI did pretty well during the day and we were picked for the 5th alliance. Quarterfinals didn't go well with a mechanical failure taking us out of the competition.

The demo went very well, over 70 Scouts got a chance to drive our VEX robots.

For details see DEWBOT VI Ramp Riot and the Girls In Gear pages.

VEX Adult Mentor Workshop - 7-Nov-2010

On Sunday 15 VEX adult mentors met at the Downingtown Robotics Center. Sessions by Steve Rhoads, Bob Whalen covered mechanical construction of bases, grippers, grabbers, arms, game rules, match play, and software. All 15 mentors reached the Technomage Software Apprentice Level.

FRC Pancake Breakfast - 23-Oct-2010

Our 2nd annual All-you-can-eat Pancake Breakfast at Applebee's in Exton. Special guest appearance of Capt'n Rizzo & company.

FRC Car Wash - 17-Oct-2010

FRC Team 1640 washed cars to raise funds at the Lionville Chick-fil-A.

Chester County Council Boy Scout Camporee - 16-Oct-2010

STEMRobotics and the VEX-MEN demonstrated the fun and excitement of competition to 1200 Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts from Chester County. They were very busy keeping 6 robots moving and managing the crowds. The Scouts were thrilled at the chance to drive and a few even took a crack at playing Round Up.

Duel On the Delaware - 16-Oct-2010

Sab-BOT-age's 4th time participating at Duel on the Delaware. All new FRC students participated as Human Players.

We finished 10th out of 28 teams in the qualifying matches. Team 007, the 8th alliance captain, invited us and team 433 (Firebirds) to join their alliance. Alas, we did not make it to the semi-finals.

The Team Screwdriver won an award.

VEX-MEN break 100 - 13-Oct-2010

In 2009 we hit a milestone with 50 roboteers. A year later we hit a new milestone of over 100 roboteers! It is pretty exciting that there is that much interest in competition robotics in Downingtown, 25 times growth in only 5 years! Congrats VEX-MEN!

Franklin Institute Robot Conflict Demonstration - 9-Oct-2010

FRC Team 1640 (Sab-BOT-age) was invited to demonstrate DEWBOT VI at Northeast Robot Club's (NERC) Franklin Institute Robot Conflict. DEWBOT wisely stayed out of the arena. FTC Team 3489 (Minds in Gear) also represented FIRST at this combat event.

Presentation & Demonstration at FIATECH - 5-Oct-2010

Carly, Sasha & Kenneth at FIATECH
Kenneth, Sasha and Carly of Team 1640 presented and demonstrated DEWBOT VI to FIATECH during their annual meeting on 5-Oct at the Sofitel, Philadelphia. The three presenters did a great job and generated a lot of interest. Thanks also to Matt and Nicole for their assistance.
About FIATECH: FIATECH is a consortium of industries and companies from the industrial, power, and retail markets that, of necessity, build large assets such as refineries, power plants, large commercial buildings, or manufacturing facilities. In addition, it includes the leading providers of engineering, design, and construction services...

We thank our long-term sponsor, Bentley, for the gracious invitation to make this presentation.

Julie Bachmann / Rich Kulik Wedding - 14-August-2010

Julie & Rich
Congratulations to Team 1640 mentor Julie Bachmann and Rich Kulik on their wedding day! Best wishes for a long and joyous future together.

Julie has been a Team 1640 Mechanical Mentor starting with the 2006 (Aim High) season.

Team Picnic at Warwick Park - 1-August-2010

The Team's annual picnic was helt at Warwick Park, 2-dusk. FRC Medallions and Team Certificates were presented to the 2010 team members and new members had the opportunity to meet everyone. It rained a little, but who's afraid of a little rain? Temperature was mild. Turn-out great! Great food. Great company. Great conversation. Some horseplay & a small dog as well.

DEWBOT VI travels to Indiana - July 2010

Eighteen members of Downingtown Robotics headed to the Indiana Robotics Invitational. The robot did very well, placing 31st out of 78 robots. Jack, one of our VEX roboteers won the VEX Swept Away tournament.

Summer Cub Scout Demos

Across the summer we are doing VEX Cub Scout Demos at scout summer camps in the area. Over 400 scouts will drive tumbler bots during the summer.

Upper Uwchlan Block Party

DEWBOT VI and VEX robots provided the community with a hands-on demonstration at at the Upper Uwchlan Block Party on 19-June. DEWBOT VI kicked soccer balls all afternoon. DEWBOT III was also on-hand, but didn't actively participate in the festivities.

Seniors Graduate in June 2010

Congratulations to our graduating Seniors - Paul, Brianna, Amanda, Jen and Cole!!!

Bridgewater Raritan Battle Royale - 29-May-2010

DEWBOT VI participated in the 2nd Bridgewater Raritan Battle Royale (BR)2. Team 1640 received the competition's Engineering Excellence Award for DEWBOT's unique, multi-mode pivot drive-train and the mirror mounted to find balls hidden behind the bumps. 1640 placed 12th out of 21 teams in the qualifying matches and was selected by the 2nd Alliance (2753 Overdrive & 1279 Cold Fusion). We were eliminated in the semifinals.

There was also a large VEX event held concurrently at this location...

Foster Schucker & Steve Rhoads named VEX Mentors of the year

Steve and Foster won the 2010 VEX Mentor of the Year at the Clean Sweep VEX World Championship. This is the highest mentor award presented by VEX.

S.T.E.M. Defined! 19-May-2010

Downingtown Area Robotics provided a robotics demonstration for all ages at DASD's S.T.E.M. Defined night at Downingtown Middle School. Our room was packed with both robots and humans! FLL, VEX and FRC robots were all present and busy. DEWBOT VI faced off against DEWBOT V while DEWBOT III watched the door. Thanks to all the Roboteers, Mentors and Parents whose hard work made this is great success.

Monty Madness 15-May-2010

Sab-BOT-age made a strong showing against a very competitive field, finishing qualifying matches in 10th place out of 42 teams.

We were the first selection of team 365 MOE, captain of the 6th alliance. Team 2344 Saunders Droid Fatory completed our alliance. Alas, we were defeated in the quarterfinals by the 4th alliance (103 Cybersonics, 341 Miss Daisy and 75 RoboRaiders).

PARC XIII 8-May-2010

1640 placed 8th seed out of 19 teams and was selected by Team 2753 (Team Overdrive) for the 3rd Alliance (together with Team 339). We defeated the 6th alliance in two games in the Quarter-Finals, but were ourselves defeated by the 1st Alliance (Teams 25, 341 & 1989) in the Semi-Finals.

Team 1640 received the Gracious Professionalism Award.

DEWBOT VI experienced a number of mechanical problems at PARC XIII, even missing a qualifying match in the process.

Downingtown Science Fair 3-May-2010

Downingtown Area Robotics FRC, VEX and FLL Teams all participated in the Downingtown Science Fair at Lionville Elementary School on the evening of 3 May 2010.

PSU Firefighting Contest 24-April-2010

Team Buzz-bot went to the annual Penn State Abington Firefight Contest. The robot is a basic squarebot with side sensors and two front facing fang touch switches. There is also a touch sensor for when the robot drives face into the wall. Lastly there is a light sensor to see when the robot is near the candle mat. To blow the candle out it has a 1000 RPM motor with a seven inch propeller. When the sensor sees the white floor it turns the fan on.

The first run wasn't good (some major wall slams), but the second run was great. There was a minor problem with the light sensor. It would see the reflection of the overhead lights and trigger the fan. The fast fan. The very loud fast fan. The crowd was amazed by the noise. The robot worked its way to the room with the candle but backed up rather than moving forward.

The team won a Creativity Award for their design. Congrats to Buzz-bots! They are already planning next year's robot.

Clean Sweep VEX World Championship

Team 80 Pegasus and Team 81 Longshot are at the VEX Robotics Competition Championship in Dallas TX. They are having a great adventure. Read about the details on the Clean Sweep VEX World Championship page.

Also see:
News Archive 2011
News Archive 2010
News Archive 2009