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Lancer Spirit Online

The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

Robotics team on their 2024 competition season

Brendan McLeod
“Black Pearl” sits among the many bins of pars required to create it.

For the PVC Pirates robotics team, 2024 marks the beginning of a new season full of competition, engineering, gracious professionalism, and most importantly fun. With the new game being released this January, the team has begun to manufacture the new robot that will take them to competition, and potentially to victory. 

“The team works well together,” senior Alex Harrison said. “We all accomplish one shared goal pretty efficiently.”

As soon as this year’s game, Crescendo, was announced, the Pirates were up and ready to brainstorm and test the multiple factors that would come into play while being competitive in the arena. 

Team robot “Black Pearl” sits on top of the shop table at LHS. (Brendan McLeod)

“The first day was spent going over how the season was going to play out and getting to know each other,” Harrison said. “When the game was announced, I was excited that the build season was starting and that I could start to think about strategy for the game.”

With only so many weeks to turn their grand ideas into game-ready machines, the team has to put immense effort into their building schedule. With nearly daily meetings and constant refinements to the parts and concepts, the pirates are extremely efficient when it comes to getting things built.

“We are very efficient,” junior Cole Rogers said. “Since we are mostly all friends, the process is much smoother.”

Although the team is able to communicate with each other at an advanced pace, problems do occur that can make engineering a more difficult process.

“During build season a common struggle we encounter is taking ideas from paper to physicality,” Sophomore Aiden Calusdian said. “Oftentimes we will have what we think is a great idea but not know how exactly to best implement it into real life. We work together to overcome these challenges through our access to a large amount of different perspectives and viewpoints with our fairly large team.”

Prototype robot displayed ready to test. (Brendan McLeod)

Being able to perform under pressure is one of the most important parts of the competition, but in the world of FIRST robotics, build season is equally as important. Being able to brainstorm and fabricate ideas is also extremely important, as a team without ideas is a team without a robot. 

Robotics team robot sits awaiting parts during an eventful build season. (Brendan McLeod)

“Build season, compared to the regular off season, feels much more clear and set in stone in terms of what we have to do,” Calusdian said. “We have more specific tasks that we plan to accomplish rather than in the off season, where we have less information on what specifically needs to get done. A drastic change I’ve noticed between the build season and off season is the general attitude towards work. In build season, people seem more focused and on task as we have a more clear goal to accomplish.”

Starting with the basic concept of what they have to achieve during the game (which changes drastically every year), the robotics team must collectively decide primitive design features so that they can test individual parts of the device. Everything from the pieces that allow the robot to drive around the courses to intake design must be communicated to the many departments tasked with fabricating the bot. 

“It feels great when the robot works in competition or just testing,” Calusdian said. “The hard work definitely pays off and it feels great whenever we do something right, although usually it’s not the first time.”

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About the Contributor
Sean Cornett
Sean Cornett, Multimedia Editor
Joining the Lancer Spirit staff for his first year, Sean Cornett will be the new multimedia editor, aiding in anything involving a camera or a microphone. Behind the camera, Sean has shot anything from mountainous landscapes to action sports. However, in his free time he also enjoys playing his guitar, or escaping to the woods on his bike or skis, weather permitting. Outdoors and adventures aside, he also enjoys robotics and is no stranger to spending hours wrenching on all kinds of things. Whether he is out in the woods or in the shop, Sean will jump at any opportunity to be behind a camera.

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