Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Weeks of 9/27 and 10/4

 Week of 9/27

- 9/28 - Mechanical Training  - Discord - 8 pm - Exploration of the FRC Kit Drivetrain Video - Slides

- 9/29 - Spectrum Supporters/Parents Meeting - 8 pm to 9 pm - Virtual - Presentation

Week 0f 10/4

- Oct 5th - Mechanical Training - Discord - 8 pm - Beginner Swerve Drive - Video - Slides
- Oct 6th - Awards Meeting - Chairman's Executive Summary
- Oct 7th - Controls Training - Discord - 8 pm - Intro to VEX IQ Sumo Robots and Programming - Slides
- Oct 8th, 3 pm to 6 pm and 9th 1 pm to 8 pm - FIRST Friday VEX IQ Sumo Robots at Strake
- Houston Food Bank Volunteering Oct 11th - 12:30 to 5 pm - Photos

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Week of 9/20/21 Recap

 Here is a recap of this past week's meetings and training.

This Week

-  9/21 - Mechanical Training - OnShape for FRC - MKcad and Feature Scripts
9/22 - Awards Night - Working on our awards submission for 2022. Outlines drafts are getting prepared for our essay, executive summaries, magazine, and video.
-  9/23 - Controls Training - Intro to Java - C1.1 Intro to Java Programming - Video - Slides
Sat 9/25, and Sun 9/26 - 1 to 5 pm - Romi Programming Projects - Slides

- Spectrum

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Spectrum Fall Training

Our weekly schedule

Discord Virtual Sessions

  • Tue 8pm Design/Mechanical Training
  • Thur 8pm Controls/Strategy Training
  • Bi-Weekly Wed 8pm - Awards Meeting
  • Monthly 3rd-Wed 8pm - Team Progress Meeting

Small-group sessions

  • Usually: Fri 3:30-6, Sat 1-3:30, Sat 3:30-6, Sun 1-3:30 

FIRST Friday Fun

  • Fun activities that we do once a month to give students a chance to get to know each other and learn.

Sessions we have had so far this year.


Small-Group Sessions

FIRST Friday Fun

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Gamma Ray 2021: Week 3 & 4

 This has been a much slower build. We are only meeting in person on weekends and CAD development has slowed as students prepare for AP tests.

In Week 3 we were able to get our new router setup to drill hole patterns in tubes and used our laser cutter to cut our belly pan.

With rails cut and a belly pan, we were able to assemble the chassis for our practice drive train.

In Week 4 we were able to add electronics and mounting to our practice drive train and get it wired up.

We also mounted some temporary bumper corners to the chassis so we can easily use this for programming and driver testing.

The competition chassis was also advanced to the belly pan and rails. We have one of the swerve modules for the competition robot assembled and should get more of the other 3 done this week.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Gamma Ray 2021: Week 2


Spectrum was recognized as one of the FIRST in Texas District Chairman’s Award teams. We had one of our students from 3847 and one of our students from 8515 advance to the District Champions Dean’s List round.

Congratulations to all the teams

Subsystem Updates

OnShape Feature Scripts

Here are some of the feature scripts we have been using on this robot to help us generate parts faster.
Laser Joint

  • Creates the finger joints that we often use with laser cut parts

  • Video

T-Slot Joint

Advanced Gear

  • Creates Spur, Helix, and Double Helix gears

Shaped Flange

  • Allows you to make a flange from a sketch profile, and can also offset the flange easily so you can make “Bend Outside” parts nicely.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Gamma Ray 2021: Build Blog

With the bulk of the FRC at Home challenge work completed, we have begun work on designing a new robot for 2021 off-season events: Gamma Ray 2021. It is still in the early stages of its design, but we wanted to allow people to follow its progress.

  1. In the fall of 2020, we decided to register a 2nd FRC team at our schools, Photon FRC#8515. This team will be the "Development Team" for Spectrum. The general plan is new students will be on Photon but will also be members of Spectrum at the same time. 
  2. The plan is for this new robot to compete under the banner of Photon at The Texas Cup event.
  3. We have been kicking around the ideas for this robot since March 2020, but the actual CAD didn't get started until last week. We didn't build or modify our 2020 robot for the skills challenges; we just used it as is.
  4. Spectrum has switched from Solidworks to OnShape, so it will be easier for anyone to view the robot's progress.
  5. Most of the build blog updates for this will be the design slides our team uses to organize our thoughts and keep everyone updated. The full design slide set will be uploaded to our photo gallery.
  6. One of the major goals of this robot was to design and build a full swerve robot before the 2022 season. If you haven't heard, there will likely be a lot of new swerve teams in 2022.

- Spectrum

Friday, January 22, 2021

FRC Resources of the Month - Jan 2021 - OnShape

There are numerous resources for FRC teams published all the time. So much so it's hard to keep track of them all. We keep a nice collection of them on our website resources.spectrum3847.org and maintain it as much as possible, but it's still a lot to process, and it's not easy to see when new items get added or old items removed. 

We wanted to start a new series to highlight resources that we find useful. For the next few months, we will highlight a few broad categories of resources, and then hopefully, we can use this platform to highlight new resources as they come out in the future. 

Our Resources of the Month for January 2021 will be those created to help the FRC community better use the OnShape CAD software.

We need to thank PTC and the developers of OnShape for sponsoring FIRST and allowing every FRC student and mentor access to OnShape for free. OnShape is a 3D modeling CAD (Computer-Aided Design) program that runs entirely in the browser. It's been perfect for many teams who are meeting remotely as it can run on nearly any computer or tablet.

Our FRC community has created a host of resources that allow teams to quickly and easily get started using OnShape to help their team.


www.OnShape4FRC.com was created by Max Westwater, Dave Powers, Jack Tervay, and FRC#6328.

This website makes getting started with OnShape super simple for teams and is one of the sites we link to our beginning students. With an excellent getting started page and links and how to post about many of the resources we will highlight below, this page is a one-stop-shop for anyone looking to get started using OnShape on their FRC team.


MKCad was created by Marcus Bernstein, formally of FRC#1836: The Milkenknights, where MKCad gets its name. MKCad is now maintained by a team led by Ricky Marcus, Parth Oza, Julia Schatz, and Ty Tremblay.

MKCad is the most complete library of FRC CAD models that we know of it. Because OnShape hosts all of the models on their servers, the MKCad team of maintainers can constantly keep everything up to date with new part releases and added features. You never have to download all of the models to your own computer. They have made the library better every year by adding configurable parts and adding nearly every part from most FRC suppliers. It saves a ton of time over going to a vendor site, downloading, and converting every model you need for your robot. Instead, you can just find the part you need from their extensive list and insert it directly into your OnShape assembly. Even before Spectrum switched to using OnShape, we would often use MKCad to find the correct model for a part, export it from OnShape, and insert it into our Solidworks projects.

Julia's Featurescripts

Featurescripts are one of the most powerful parts of OnShape they allow you to automate CAD tasks down to a few clicks. Julia Schatz has been the most active member of the FRC community in creating and sharing these awesome tools.

You can find her scripts here and add them to your OnShape toolbar. Besides being amazing at programming these tools, her blazingly fast response time to feature requests is even more unbelievable. This nearly 200 post CD thread catalogs the scripts' evolution over the past year and a half.

We'd like to thank all of the people who helped create these resources for the FRC community to use and learn from.

Spectrum has started using OnShape this season, and we have been documenting what we learn as well. Our resources aren't nearly as useful as those above, but you are still looking for more, check out our in-progress OnShape Resources document and look at our YouTube channel for tutorials. 

- Spectrum

“If you can’t draw as well as someone, or use the software as well, or if you do not have as much money to buy supplies, or if you do not have access to the tools they have, beat them by being more thoughtful. Thoughtfulness is free and burns on time and empathy.” - Frank Chimero

Thursday, January 14, 2021

2021 Survey Results & Plans

 We surveyed the team to see which activities and events they prioritized. 

From that data, we started laying out a plan for how we will progress with the season. 

As you can see there is a lot of work to do and fewer hours than ever to do it. 

- Spectrum

"If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get to other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own."  -  Henry Ford