One of the ways Atlas gives back to the community is sponsoring the Roseville FireBears FIRST Robotics Team. 2017 marks the fourth year of our partnership with the FireBears. We provide a real world experience for the Roseville Area High School students to take their CAD models from ideas to fabricated sheet metal parts.
The FIRST Robotics Competition is called the ultimate Sport for the Mind. High-school student participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have.” Under strict rules, limited resources, and an intense six-week time limit, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. Each season ends with an exciting FIRST Championship. In 2017, over 3000 teams from around the world participated. Minnesota has 208 teams. More information can be found at https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc.
The 2017 challenge was called FIRST STEAMWorks. The game this year was made with the concept of getting a steam powered airship ready to take flight. Robots needed to bring gears to their alliance’s airships and the human players would place the gears and turn the rotors for points. Robots were responsible for getting fuel into the boilers to power the airships. At the end of the match, the robot needed to climb a rope and activate a light at the top of the climb to prepare the robot for takeoff. A video animation of the game is here: https://youtu.be/EMiNmJW7enI
The Roseville FireBears just completed their 9th competition season. The team consists of 13 volunteer mentors. Mentors are adults with industry experience in fabrication, electronics, programming, CAD and marketing. This year, the FireBears had 41 students ranging from freshmen to seniors. These students are split up into 5 subteams (CAD, Mechanical, Electrical, Programming and Marketing). The students practice in the fall to prepare them for the 6.5 week long Build Season, which begins the first Saturday of the new calendar year. Team website here: http://firebears.org
As part of this sponsorship, Atlas provides a factory tour to the team during the summer or fall when the team isn’t quite so busy. When the Build Season starts, Atlas meets multiple times with the students and mentors from the CAD team to review the robot design, suggest ways to improve and simplify the design for fabrication, and to schedule fabrication and powdercoating. Atlas provides these parts and services so the students learn how things are done in the real world and to be better prepared for college and careers.
Since Atlas and the FireBears formed their partnership in 2014, the team has seen greater competition success. The FireBears won their first trip to the World Championship in 2016. They have won an Industrial Design award and two Imagery awards.
From the team: “For fun our team made different signs to go on the underside of our robot for each match. We knew we would be climbing so we made 20 different messages. No one else had this idea and it was fun to see the excitement on the field and in the stands when we climbed as everyone wanted to know what our next message would be. Of course one of our signs said “Thank You Sponsors” because without them, we wouldn’t have a team and be able to give students an application for what they learn in the STEM fields in school. Thank you for helping us make another beautiful robot!”
An exciting match with our team, the FireBears: https://youtu.be/FVTSQbJjr9E