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FIRST Robotics and RepRap

Posted by Anonymous User 
Anonymous User
FIRST Robotics and RepRap
June 13, 2007 10:22PM
I'm not sure how many of you have heard of FIRST robotics (www.usfirst.org), but it reminds me alot of the community present here. The basic idea of FISRT is to get high schoolers involved and interested in science and technology. They do this through an anual robotics competition. Students on more than 1000 teams across the world have 6 weeks to design build and test their unique robots to acomplish a certain task. These teams run on a tight budget. They also have a time contraint and a need for custom parts. A RepRap would be perfect for making small gears so sync with servos or other small motors, as well as other custom recision objects that would be too costly and take too long to get through conventional means. The spirit of FIRST is all about gracous professionalism and helping out eachother. While it is still a competition, it is expected that you would loan your parts and time to a team in need of a quick repair before a match.

It seems to me like RepRap and FIRST were meant for eachother. Both are trying to acomplish a goal for the general good of everyone, not just the good of themselves. One thing that might be interesting is for those who are deeply involved in this project to send an email letter fax or phone call or all four to Dean Kamen, the founder of FIRST. He loves getting involved with these kinds of things and would do anything he could to help. (for those of you who dont know, Dean is the inventor of the segway...)

Because the Darwin seems like it would be so helpful to the FIRST community, the members of my team, team 422 the Maggie L Walker MechTechs of Richmond VA, is planning on building a Darwin as a summer project. We aim to build a few more to give to other FIRST teams, who will undoubtedly build more to give to others until teams around the nation have RepRaps and can start not only building parts but building RepRaps for people not involved with FIRST.

This is going to be a difficult task. Because RepRaps are so scarce, we will have to find another way to secure all the parts which would normally be RepRapped. I saw in the store that in July, kits will be available, which would be very helpfull. We would appreciate any assistance this community can give to us as we try and complete our first RepRap this summer. If anyone can supply us with diferen hard to find parts, besides the ones on the store, at cost we would be very apreciative.

-Andrew Burks, team 422

PS: Ive seen the 'professional' printer that VCU shows off at their engineering school, and i think it would be sooo cool to actually be able to use one of these!

*EDIT RepRaped is definitely not a word, i changed it to the apropriate RepRapped. There are other typos im sure, but its not worth finding them if they arent offensive.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/13/2007 10:34PM by Andrew Burks.
Re: FIRST Robotics and RepRap
June 14, 2007 12:23AM

I'm involved with FIRST as well, I'm on team 1318, the IRS. When I first learned of RepRap a month or two ago, that was one of the immediate uses I saw for this technology. I do most of the design work for our team, and sometimes the practical fabrication limits we face can frustrate an otherwise good idea. We just gained access to a waterjet cutter this season, but still have no CNC mill support like many teams in our area. A RepRap would be very useful to us. And I don't have to explain the advantage of a few RepRaps in the pit area during competition... while they may not be fast enough to create largish replacement parts between matches (yet!) you could certainly leave one running over Thursday night and have a fresh batch of pieces in the morning.

There's also the whole "inspiration" part of the FIRST message; I think there's something fascinating in seeing something that you conceived in your mind being turned into an actual, physical object, exactly as you imagined it. There's a power there that will be able to attract the right sort of high schooler, the sort that would make a good engineer, to FIRST. Actually, that sort of high schooler soon won't really NEED FIRST if they can get their hands on one of these things... although the mentor-student partnership is still something very useful, IMHO.

...ok after rereading this I might not be making much sense, but I'm tired. Bottom line: exciting developments!
Anonymous User
Re: FIRST Robotics and RepRap
June 14, 2007 08:11AM
hey kyle,

geographically, where is your team located? Were in central VA, so if you're close we might be able to get you one of our first RepRaps that we pump off the one we're building from scratch.
Re: FIRST Robotics and RepRap
June 14, 2007 09:32AM
We're in Washington state, so we're not very close, geographically sad smiley. Of course, if you were willing to ship the parts out to us, I'm sure I could convince my team to pay for all costs.

Re: FIRST Robotics and RepRap
June 14, 2007 09:33AM
This is awesome guys! Already, RepRap is bringing people together. I wish you the best of luck!
Anonymous User
Re: FIRST Robotics and RepRap
June 18, 2007 01:41PM
I'm a mentor to a team in San Diego, I already talked to the teacher that is the head of the team and told him that I'm building a RepRap. Once I have mine functioning I plan on making parts for the kids to build their own for their team, and then encouraging the kids to help other teams make their own. As an added bonus I'm going to have a commercial machine at work to help me make my Darwin, and if there are particular parts that Darwin can't quite make, I'll do those at work too. Can you imagine the build days at the regional competitions with a Darwin in every booth? grinning smiley
Re: FIRST Robotics and RepRap
June 18, 2007 04:26PM
> Can you imagine the build days at the
> regional competitions with a Darwin in every
> booth? grinning smiley

yes i can =). its actually things like that which give me motivation to keep going when a particular part of the project is difficult or just not working correctly. that and the idea that some day our society may shift away from consumerism to producerism.
Re: FIRST Robotics and RepRap
June 18, 2007 06:06PM
ZachHoeken Wrote:
> the idea that some
> day our society may shift away from consumerism to
> producerism.

This is a big part of the FIRST ideal. Already at regionals it is not uncommon to find portable drill presses, band saws and even angle grinders in many pits during the regional, and I've even heard of small mills being taken along. A RepRap would be another great tool in this situation.
Anonymous User
Re: FIRST Robotics and RepRap
November 24, 2007 04:39PM
This sounds great! I have a VEX kit and had simalar first thoughs when i saw this project. I can probaly convince my parents to pay for shipping/ materials if any one near Southren Oregon has a fuctioning prototype (as far as i know there is only one fuctioning RepRap in my general area).
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