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					Aragon Robotics Team 840                                                                            Issue 3 Spring 2010

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                                                                                                       ISSUE 3

                                     The Aragon Robotics Team tri-annual newsletter

Silicon Valley
                                                                                          Table of
                                                                                          Silicon Valley
                                                                                               Regionals 1

                                                                                          Media       2
                                                                                          Featured    3
                                                                                          Maker       3
      The Aragon Robotics Team put           mechanism a final check.                     Elections   3
their robot to the test at the Silicon             The remainder of the day was            A New Year
Valley Regional, held from March 18 to       spent conducting practice matches
20 at San Jose State University. SVR is      with other teams in preparation for
                                                                                          Senior      4
one of 43 robotics competitions hosted
nationwide every year by US FIRST.
                                             the main event the following two days.
                                             While Pit Crew worked out the kinks,
After six weeks of build season, a period    Drive Team collaborated with alliance
during which the team brainstormed,          partners and finalized their strategies,     Build Season 6
prototyped, and built an entirely original   while observing teams’ drive in the               Debrief
robot, the team was ready to see their       practice matches.
robot in action. Before dawn on a chilly           Friday morning found the entire        Finances
March morning, a carefully handpicked
Drive Team and Pit Crew loaded their
                                             team huddled in the dark outside the
                                             science wing at Aragon High School,
                                                                                             Year Review 7
equipment and donuts onto their              waiting for the cars to arrive to drive us
volunteering parents’ cars and sped off      to SVR. Once we arrived at competition,      Team        8
toward San Jose State University Event       Pit Crew made the final changes on the           Roster
Center for the competition.                  robot while the media team passed out
      That Thursday, the two Crews           Spirit Boxes to the teams ART would be       Thank You   8
unpacked the robot and made sure             alliances with and against in the coming         Sponsors
everything was up and running,               matches. Veteran Crew members took
checking the programming, installing         new Crew members under their wings
bumpers, and giving the kicking              as Drive Team met with other teams
                                                                  continued on page 2

Issue 3 Spring 2010                                                                                  Aragon Robotics Team

“Silicon Valley Regionals” continued from pg 1
                                                                 and get the robot up and running again. In the practice area,
                                                                 Pit and Drive Crew were finally able to finesse the robot’s
                                                                 controls and get some better results. The entire team waved
                                                                 streamers and cheered loudly as 840 began to rise through
                                                                 the ranks, ending the first day of competition on a positive
                                                                       On Saturday, the final day of competition, the entire
                                                                 team made the trek once again out to San Jose State for the
                                                                 completion of SVR. Despite some minor setbacks, the team
                                                                 managed to emerge ranked 24 out of 50 at the end of the
                                                                 day. Though no awards went to ART, the team was proud
                                                                 to rank in the upper half while the “newbies” celebrated
                                                                 their official transition into veteran status. In spite of the
                                                                 challenges and setbacks, the team made tremendous strides
                                                                 and advancements from where it stood last year. At the end
to discuss strategy. ART suffered some wiring issues and         of the day, everybody went home with broad smiles, croaky
mechanical problems early on and ranked in the lower half        voices, and remnants of face paint. All were pleased by the
of fifty robots for most of the morning. At one point, a motor   robot’s commendable performance and look forward to an
for the clutch system came off, but after several minutes of     exciting exhibition at the at the Bay Area’s Maker Faire and
working feverishly, Pit Crew was able to replace the motor       another competition in CalGames in the fall.

Media in Review
      Building a robot capable of competing in various com-             With our focus on the spirit award, our overall goal
petitions relies not just upon a cohesive build team, but also   during competition was to promote spirit by stressing the
on a functioning media team. Throughout the year, the me-        importance of cheering for ones’ alliance rather than just
dia subdivision works closely with members of the Executive      for each individual team. At competition, media members
Council to make sure that the team receives its due of public    handed out spirit boxes, mini foam fingers, and beads, ev-
acknowledgment. Every year, me-                                                           erything being based off of the two
dia develops a theme upon which                                                           alliance colors red and blue. The
it bases its activities for the year;                                                     spirit boxes contained streamers,
the theme affects t-shirt and but-                                                        which media crafted out of ribbon,
ton designs, as well as competition                                                       duct tape and wooden dowels, along
activities.                                                                               with a rally towel and a set of but-
      This year’s media team con-                                                         tons. For the mascot, media used
sisted of veterans Lauren Nishizaki                                                       painted cardboard and a hula hoop
(media manager) and Heather                                                               to recreate the FIRST logo. During
Yee, as well as “newbies” Monica                                                          competition, the logo was passed
Cunich, Ari Ross, and Sophia Wie-                                                         between members of our team and
nbar. During their brainstorming                                                          even to people from other teams.
last spring, the veterans had decid-                                                      The FIRST logo was decided upon
ed on the theme of “healthy bots,                                                         as a clear way to convey the FIRST
healthy minds,” and with the help of the “newbies,” designed     Robotics spirit throughout the competition..
t-shirts and buttons focusing on that idea.                             With the senior veterans leaving this year, the respon-
      During the fall semester, media taught their “newbies”     sibility of maintaining the media group has been handed to
about design programs and newsletter format. Upon com-           the new veterans, who are now responsible for publishing
pletion, they started thinking of ideas for competition and      newsletters and brainstorming next year’s theme.
decided to focus on winning the spirit award.

Aragon Robotics Team                                                                                 Issue 3 Spring2010

   Mission                               Featured
                                               American Nuclear Society's Robotics and Remote Systems Division (RRSD)
                                         has generously decided to sponsor the Aragon Robotics Team through a grant.
 (ART) is an organization that           They have contributed to the team's
 brings together students, teachers,     success for many years now. RRSD’s
 parents, and private contributors to    mission, “to promote the develop-
 encourage intelligent, innovative,      ment and application of robotics
 and collaborative activity in Aragon    and remote systems,” correlates to
 students. ART is a team in which        our own goal of gaining experience
                                         in the fields of computer science and
 members work together, which is
                                         electrical and mechanical engineer-
 especially evident in our culminating   ing. We thank them for their gener-
 project: constructing a robot able to   ous support!
 complete certain tasks in the annual

 U.S. For Inspiration and Recognition

 of Science and Technology (FIRST)
 Robotics Competition and Western
 Region Robotics Forum (W.R.R.F.)
 California Robot Games.                          Last year, members of the Aragon Robotics Team attended the 2009 Bay
       Though projects are developed        Area Maker Faire at the San Mateo Expo Center. Students were inspired by
 and built entirely by the students,        the innovation, engineering and technology demonstrated by the Makers. So,
 ART welcomes professionals and             this year, ART has decided to man its own booth as Young Makers. On May
                                            22 and 23, ART will be displaying its Breakaway robot to the attendees of the
 mentors to help teach and cultivate
                                            Maker Faire. We hope that you can come to show your support!
 pertinent skills, not only those
 applied technically in the field, but
 also skills in management and team

Elections Year
    A New
      After SVR, the team convened to elect a
new executive council, which then selected next
year’s managers. Our new leaders are Anna Olson
as Chief Executive Officer, Alex Phinney as Chief
Operations Officer, Sophia Wu as Chief Financial
Officer, and Crystal Cheung as Chief Information
Officer. Our new managers are Yuzo Makitani and
Sarah Manning as co-shop managers, Zhili Liang as electronics manager, and Anthony Lu as programming manager. Sophia
Wienbar is media manager and Krista Neill is compliance manager. Congratulations to all!

Issue 3 Spring 2010                                                                                    Aragon Robotics Team

Jebsen Man                                 Charlotte Taufalele
                                                 A friend of mine on the media
                                           team first told me about robotics dur-
                                           ing my freshman year. I thought that
                                           it was interesting, but robotics never
                                           really seemed to grab my attention. A
                                           year and half later, it was highly rec-
                                           ommended to me that I join ART, for
                                           I would become more familiar with the
                                           different concepts taught in engineer-
                                           ing (since the course was not offered at
                                           the time.) As a result, I have been on the
                                           team for two years. The whole process
                                           (6 weeks to build) was fairly new, and as    was no more than a grunt responsible
                                           I soon learned, those 6 weeks would not      for doing whatever the veteran mem-
      I first heard of the Aragon Robot-   only be filled with long hours and hard      bers needed done. However, one vet-
ics Team during my sophomore year.         work, but also new friendships and a         eran decided to take me under his wing
After staying late at school one day, I    team that I consider family. I will for-     and taught me everything he knew
saw a couple friends walking from Ms.      ever heed the advice our mentors have        about machining. Over the years, I’ve
Ward’s room with food in their hands       given me, in hopes that one day others       learned how to machine, brainstorm
and robotics on their minds. I asked       can benefit from it as I have.               effectively, and design machines that
them why they were still at school, and
                                                                                        work. Along with that, I learned about
they informed me of the team and the
                                                                                        the power of compromise, the woes of
6 week build period that they were in
                                                                                        disorganization, and how crazy people
the middle of. I became immensely in-
                                                                                        get when they’re given sugar.
terested and opted to join, but was sad-
                                                                                              Next year, I’ll be going to UC
dened to hear that I could not join the
                                                                                        Davis, and I’ll be bringing with me all
team until the next season.
                                                                                        the skills I’ve gained while I was on the
      Two years later, I am now able
                                                                                        team. I’ve enjoyed working with every-
to look back at two successful seasons
                                                                                        one on the team, and I’ll do my best to
of hard work fueled by dedication and
                                                                                        come and visit in the future and to at-
motivation. The team has taught me
                                                                                        tend the competitions. I wish the best of
countless lessons, not just in robotics,
                                                                                        luck to the team in the years to come.
but in life as well. As my college life
approaches, I know that I will be well
equipped with invaluable experiences
learned not only from the amazing
                                           Victor HungI’ve spent on the Franklin Wu
                                              The three years                                 I joined Robotics my sophomore
mentors who give their time to help us,    Aragon Robotics Team have been the           year. Being a part of Robotics for the
but from all of my fellow teammates as     best years of my high school career.         past three years has extended my edu-
well. The bonds that I have formed with    The one thing I regret was that I did not    cation beyond what high school offers.
this team will forever be with me, and I   join the team my freshman year. The          I have gained new friends, new experi-
trust that the team is, and forever will   past three years have been filled with       ences and new knowledge. The lessons
be, left in good hands.                    heated discussions, successes, failures,     of teamwork through hardship and
                                           and many busy hours spent in the shop.       prototyping skills have been invaluable
                                           When I first started out on the team, I      to my development as an engineer.

Aragon Robotics Team                                                                                        Issue 3 Spring 2010
“Senior Profiles” continued

                                                                                         Mark Sherwood

                                                    Overall, ART is much more than
                                             just a robotics team. In my 3 years with           On my second day of high school,
                                             the team, I found a family - one I actu-    I found myself sitting awkwardly on
                                             ally ate dinner with and was able to joke   a desk as a complete stranger told 20
       Robotics renewed the spark of in-     freely with - and learned invaluable life   other complete strangers my entire life
spiration sowed in me as a child, and it     skills and lessons ranging from leader-     story in 2 minutes. The team did ice
prompted me to continue pursuing me-         ship skills to problem solving to gra-      breakers a little differently back then to
chanical engineering. From experience        cious professionalism. ART has given        say the least. However, I was not overly
on the machines to working with Solid-       me an experience that will influence my     surprised to be at the meeting. After all,
works software, I will bring my skills       decisions in college and beyond.            the Aragon Robotics Team was the rea-
with me to college, and these skills will                                                son I chose to go Aragon.
keep my passion alive. Robotics gave                                                            Four years, four build seasons,
me a unique experience that I will nev-      Lauren Nishizaki                            many long nights, a few new skills,
er forget. I have enjoyed every moment             I was on the robotics team for two    and a lifelong family later, I think I just
spent with this team, and as I move on       years, but the many fun and exciting ex-    might have made the right decision. I
to college, I will treasure these memo-      periences I had on the team could have      would like to think that I have helped
ries. Hopefully, I’ll be able to come back   filled many more. I was a member of         ART grow over the years by adding a
to make some more, not as a student          the media team for both years, and was      touch of my own personal philosophy.
this time, but as a mentor.                  Media Manager my senior year. I will        However, my input will never rival the
                                             never forget the hours spent at robotics    ways in which ART’s philosophy has
                                             during build season, the many random        caused me to grow. I used to be an ob-
Armaan Vachani                               conversations held in P1, and the many      noxious, headstrong little brat (there
       Since the time I was a kid, I was     friends that I made.                        are plenty of people willing to testify
always interested in robotic objects.              It is because of my unforgettable     to it too). ART has taught me patience,
This interest extended to taking apart       experiences on the team that I now plan     teamwork, leadership, and more life les-
remote controlled cars and assembling        on attending Harvey Mudd in the fall.       sons that I can list. In the end, I might
robotic animal kits. However, 10 years                                                   or might not use the engineering and
later, when I came to Aragon, I never                                                    design skills I have learned during my
imagined myself as part of a robotics                                                    tenure on the team. However, I will def-
team. I had never even heard of the                                                      initely use the life skills I have gathered
Aragon Robotics Team until the day I                                                     from ART every day for the rest of my
stayed late to make up a Biology Yeast                                                   life. My only hope is that others will be
Lab. I stood there behind my micro-                                                      able take the same invaluable treasures
scope observing the Build Team as they                                                   from ART that I have, whether or not
figured out how fast their motors ran.                                                   they realize it in the process.
I was fascinated and completely dis-
tracted by the group, so I had to ask Ms.                                                Heather Yee            Ying Yao
Ward about the team.                                                                     Tiffany Ho             Jeff Chow

Aragon Robotics Team                                                                                          Issue 3 Spring 2010

Build SeasonDebrief
       After ev-                                                                           orders were not communicated to Mr.
ery build sea-                                                                             Richmond in an efficient manner to
son, the team                                                                              get vital components in on time. This
gathers to re-                                                                             caused a couple delays, but nothing too
flect upon the                                                                             critical.
six week build                                                                                   Additionally, the team discussed
and learn from                                                                             improvements for next year. Most of
mistakes. The                                                                              the complaints were that CAD draw-
2010       build                                                                           ings weren't done fast fast enough,
season       was                                                                           which could be remedied by practic-
signif icantly                                                                             ing more during off season. Along with
better than the                                                                            more efficient CAD work, a more or-
2009 build sea-                                                                            ganized binder for the completed CAD
son but there is
still room for improvement.                any problems
       After learning from the 2009        were debugged
season, this build season went more        quickly and
smoothly. Not only did we complete a       e f f i c i e n t l y,
practice robot and have a functioning      and all CAD
robot very early in the season, but we     problems were
also had a full CAD drawing of the robot   solved in a
3 weeks into the season. Brainstorming     timely fashion.
went well, as we had working proto-                 E v e n
types of most of our ideas to present to   though we im-
the team. After our design process, we     proved greatly
dived into building the robot. We start-   this year there
ed with the basic chassis that came in     were still some
the kit of parts and built modular com-    things were could work on. During               drawings would be helpful as well. If
ponents that were bolted on to our chas-   brainstorming, there were a lot of peo-         work was distributed more evenly, effi-
sis. The build process went smoothly,      ple quiet while asking for ideas. It was        ciency would also increase in this area.
                                                                  a lot of a few people    The team’s time management could, as
                                                                  throwing out idea af-    always, use some improvement. Robot
                                                                  ter idea. Also, com-     debugging and testing time was once
                                                                  munication was not       again cut short, leading to frenzied work
                                                                  ideal. Sometimes,        at SVR. However, the robot was shipped
                                                                  instructions given       on time and fully functional--a happily-
                                                                  were vague and indi-     ever-after ending to another 840 build
                                                                  vidual assignments       season. Senior members bid their last
                                                                  were       sometimes     robot goodbye, while all smiled at the
                                                                  either forgotten or      strides the team had made, and enjoyed
                                                                  unclear. These is-       the euphoric feelings of true robotics
                                                                  sues, however, were      team pride.
                                                                  cleared up quickly.
                                                                  Also, parts lists were
                                                                  sometimes vague,

       Aragon Robotics Team                                                                                                            Issue 3 Spring 2010

   Finances: 2009-2010                                                                            by Sophia Wu
          ART began the 2009 school year
   with $7400 and ended the year with a
   little over $9000. The Aragon Robotics
   Team managed to keep its total expen-
                                                                     existence. The team appreciates these
                                                                     donations, which will help the students
                                                                     of today become the technological ex-
                                                                     perts of tomorrow.
   ditures for the 2009-2010 school year                                   Our goal for the upcoming 2010-             * Jaguar speed controller
   below $10,000, which is quite an ac-                              2011 school year is to raise at least             * 2 Battery Chargers ($100/ea)
   complishment compared to last year’s
                                                                       Year’s Expenditures
   budget of $12,620. Unfortunately, we                                                                               Build
   were unable to raise enough funds to                                     6000                                        * aluminum (any amount)
   compete in both the Silicon Valley Re-                                                                               * band saw blades($50)
   gional and the Sacramento Regional.                                      5000                                        * Miscellaneous Hand Tools (hand
   Traditionally, our yearlong goal has                                                                               files, burnishers, scribes, Dremel)
   been to leave the next year’s team with                                  4000                                      ($250)
   enough money to cover all the year’s                                                                                 * Digital Meter for Bridgeport Mill
   expenses. The following graphs display                                   3000                                      ($1500)
   the 2009-2010 expenditures (right) and                                                                               * 2 Rotary tables for Bridgeport mill
   donations (lower left).                                                  2000                                      ($750/each)
          Between the entry fees for compe-                                                                             * Liquid Coolant System for Bridge-
   titions and the other necessary expen-                                   1000                                      port Mil ($500)
   ditures such as materials to build and                                                                               * Carbide Cutter Set ($650)
   public relations, running the robotics                                      0                                        * cordless drills ($100/each)
   team proves to be an expensive venture.                                           Media    Build     FIRST
                                                                                                                        * Titanium Drill Bits ($100/set)
   To support such a huge undertaking,                                                                Registration      * Mill Cutters ($40)
   the team relies on generous support                                                                                  * welding accessories for TIG welder
                                                                         $20,000. The funds will cover the cost
   from sponsors as well as from team                                                                                 (argon tank) ex.- welding goggles,
                                                                         of two US FIRST Robotics Regional
   and community members. Throughout                                                                                  welding gloves, welding aprons
                                                                         Competitions (Silicon Valley and Da-
   this school year, the fundraising team                                vis), CalGames registration, robot ma-
   sent out multiple sponsorship packets                                                                              Media
                                                                         terials, machine maintenance, and me-
   to companies, applied for grants, and                                                                               * Color Laser Printer ($500)
                                                                         dia expenses.
   held fundraisers. Donations from both                                                                               * Toner Cartridges ($25)
                                                                               Any amount of financial support
   local and out- of -state companies have                                                                             * Ink Cartridges ($150)
                                                                         will greatly benefit our team. Even $5
   also helped ensure the team’s continued                                                                             * Button Machine ($400)
                                                                                         will buy quite a few nuts,
                                                                                                                       * Button Parts ($150)
                                                                                         bolts, and zip ties, and
                                2009-2010 Expenses and Profits                                                         * T-shirts/Sweatshirts ($1000)
                                                                                         our team goes through
                                                                                                                       * Laptop ($1000)
                                                                                         quite a few of them. If
                                                                                         you would like to do-

7000                                                                                                                  Competition
                                                                                         nate or if you have any
6000                                                                                                                    * Silicon Valley Regional Entry Fee
                                                                                         questions, please con-
5000                                                                                                                  ($5,000)
                                                                                         tact Sophia Wu (Chief
                                                                                                                        * Second Regional/Event Entry Fee
                                                                                         Financial Officer) at
                                                                                                                        * Travel Expenses ($5,000)
                                                                                         Any donations would
                                                                                                                        * WRRF CalGames Entry Fee

  0                                                                                      be appreciated. Thank
       Media Expenses   Build          US FIRST
                                                     CalGames    Media Profits Donations

Issue 3 Spring 2010                                                             Aragon Robotics Team

                                                                    Thank you,
Crystal Cheung
                            Monica Cunich
                            Tiffany Ho
                                                  Teacher Mentor:
Anna Olson                  Kevin Huang
                                                  Mr. Richmond
Alex Phinney                Angela Hung
Sophia Wu                   Victor Hung
                            Linh Luu              Mentors:
Managers:                   Jebsen Man            Mr. Chew
Zhili Liang                 Lauren Nishizaki      Mr. Scheinman
Anthony Lu                  Alex Phinney          Mr. Yang
Yuzo Makitani               Ari Ross
Sarah Manning               Mark Sherwood         Teachers:
Krista Neill                Charlotte Taufalele   Ms. Sullivan
                                                                    San Mateo Union High School District
Sophia Wienbar              Armaan Vachani        Ms. Wei
                                                                        Queens Foods Way Company
                            Ivan Wang                                      Western Steel and Wire
                            Scarlett Wilson                             Yu and Zhu Healing Arts Inc.
Members:                    Franklin Wu                                         Alliance Gas
Brian Barch                 Andrew Yao                                   Chew Family • Wu Family
Lauren Chan                 Lily Yao                                    Deb Family • Nishizaki Family
Crystal Cheung              Ying Yau                                  Sherwood Family • Olson Family
Brittney Chew               Heather Yee                                    Shu and Jien-Heh Tian
Jeff Chow                   Martin Young                                         Lisa Mead
                                                                              Printed by UPS

Re: Aragon Robotics Team
Aragon High School
900 Alameda De Las Pulgas
San Mateo, CA 94402