Visiting M3D was very exciting. We understand a lot more about 3D printing now just through learning about the production of 3D printers. Something we thought was really cool was the fact that the employees could assemble a M3D Micro+ in 10 minutes. We also had a lot of fun looking at parts that were printed from the Tough 3D ink filament, as they were flexible but very strong. We were told that parts printed from this material wouldn't break even when they were run over by a car. We asked JJ for advice on how to print the wheel case for our swerve drive and he told us that we were printing at the wrong temperature. We need to look into this and experiment with the temperature of our filament so that we will have stronger parts.
When we got to Launch we set up our robot to demonstrate shooting particles and driving. We made it an interactive experience by having Mr. McMahon and the Launch interns try to catch the particles when Gandalf shot them. We ended up drawing a crowd from the coworking space, and everyone was very impressed by our robot. Mr. McMahon was especially impressed, and was very excited to continue sponsoring us in the future. He told us that he is very attentive to our social media and watches all of our videos, as well as keeping up with our competitions.
This meeting was definitely one that stood out to us. We got to remember where we were when we first started FTC. We got to talk about all the basics of hardware and how the competition and awards worked and that was really fun. It was great to give back the experience and knowledge that we have gained over the past season. Also, the new coach and the kids were really interested in FTC and appreciative of the advice we gave. We should make sure to follow up with them throughout their season and ask if they would like us to attend some of their team meetings.
This was the inaugural year of FIRST global. The one thing that stood out through was the determination, spirit and energy of the teams. Most of them had to overcome challenges and work incredibly hard to get to the competition, and when they did, their passion and persistence really shone through. They were all incredibly friendly, from the hugs from the Indian moms to the fantastic hats and wigs of Teams Peru and Lebanon. The scale of the event really struck us as well. The entirety of South America and North America were represented, with about 85% of African countries and 75% of Asia and Europe. It wasn’t an exaggeration when stating that the whole world had come together. As if the 158 countries represented weren’t enough, the number of ambassadors and press who had come to support teams and the event was almost unreal. It was breathtaking when the teams were parading out and waving their flags during the Opening Ceremonies and forming the globe with the flashlights. Several teams that we are friends with and have seen at competitions were also volunteering such as 4924 Tuxedo Pandas, 6347 Geared Up, 5421 RM’d and Dangerous, and 10078 Enginerds. Several FRC teams were there as well, such as Centreville Robotics and Hall of Fame team 341 Miss Daisy. It was great to make new friends within the FIRST community and hopefully see them at future events and competitions. Overall, the event was an amazing experience, and a rare opportunity, since it will be in Mexico City next year.
Another thing that was really awesome was meeting Team Palestine! We worked with them to get them ready for the tournament.
At the event, we got a lot of genuine interest, in addition to getting interest in volunteering at FIRST events and mentoring our team, thus achieving our first goal. We also got parents interested in getting their children onto robotics teams, as well as many kids interested in the process. We collected contact information from these parents and we plan to follow up with them by sending them information about any trainings we are running as well as try to get people interested in participating in the same FIRST programs into contact with each other and help them start teams. We got nine parents to sign up for more information, and many parents who we talked to say they will consider being a co-coach and providing meeting space for a newly forming FLL team in the area, thus achieving our second goal.