Front page blog and updates

We are wrapping up the 2018 season and I wanted to not end it without a blog post. This year the blog post has been pretty much non-existent. We have been pretty regularly updating our friends and fans through our Facebook page instead. We have also periodically written articles for the Miami County newspaper. Because of this, I think the blog may eventually move off the main page as we reconsider the information we share here.

The biggest news is moving shop locations to “The Barn” which is a Paola school building which also houses the Ag program and school buses. We will continue to work to build an excellent workspace and hope we will find a home there for many years. The new address is 1705 Industrial Rd., Paola, KS 66071. Hopefully we can get back soon to doing more techical things with the team, but we will be working on getting setup after the move most of this summer. I’d like to get the website back on a more regular schedule of updates and information. We thank you for your continued support of Panther Robotics.


Huntsville Day 1 Results

Just a little update.  We finished 4-3 after the first day and in 15 of 50 place.  Throughout the day we had some pneumatic issues after some hard hits (it is rough out there).  We hope to clear the remaining issues before today’s (Saturdays) matches so that we can make a run at it.

Overall, we played the game well.  One loss was by only 7 points and another we had a partner that could have won the match.  We have been consistently climbing the rope doing so in 6 of 7 matches.  We had an issue with our ratchet in one match, but figured out how to adjust.  We’ve score 2-3 gears in most matches, helping our alliance get the rotors turning.

KC Wrap-Up

Now it has been a couple days since the KC regional.  Typically we like to write up a post to share results and pictures with everyone as soon as possible.  This year we have a smaller number of students, and keeping up with everything we’d like to do has been a challenge.

Thursday we started with a robot that was mostly complete mechanically, but pretty much untested during the six-week build period.  We had to make last minute tweaks to the robot and try to pass inspection as fast as we could so that our two possible drive teams could get enough practice experience to compete.  The inspection didn’t go through without hiccups.  During it, they found that our robot electrical system was ground to the frame, a big no-no, and it had the potential to derail our chances at practice.  Luckily, we noticed a wire had gotten wedged between the metal frame, and removing it (and taping with electrical tape) fixed the problem.  After another small pneumatic problem, we were able to make it to the practice field for 3 matches.

Meanwhile, we were making updates to the NI LABVIEW program which controls the robot and in a later practice match we had a control cable (PWM) to our motor controller come undone.  With help from Tyler Hieber (5968) we were able to fix the electrical issue, but Alex C. (our programming and electrical lead) and Nelson G. (an engineering mentor) continued to have some confusion and problems with code to make the joysticks drive the robot correctly and with pneumatic operation of the gear gripper.  Some of these problems continued into the qualification matches played on Friday, and diminished our abilities to compete.  Luckily, we had the help from various people to help Alex C. to get the robot performing to its best.  We want to thank Pete (1730), Kate (CSA), Gregg (remotely), and anyone else that helped.

Saturday we performed better and had working auto modes for scoring in the high boiler.  We also finished the competition climbing the rope in the last 6 matches, which was a very important task for winning in this game.  We finished in #20 place with a 5-4 record, which was an improvement upon last year (when we finished #37).  However, we weren’t selected to play in the playoff matches, to our disappointment, because of the inconsistent play during our troubles with the robot (which had our drivers going sideways).  During the playoff, our team spent time working on the robot to add some more competitive features because we leave on Tuesday for our second and final regional competition for this year.  We are going to Huntsville, Alabama, which is known as Rocket City because it is the home of NASA’s rocket facility.  We will tour the visitor center on Wednesday and compete at the Von Braun (creator of the Saturn V) center.  Again, you can follow our social media (links in menu) or for updates on our trip.

KC Regional

This is the better link to find the streaming video of the regional and also the schedule of matches for today and tomorrow.  Our first match is at 10 am and we hope to do well.

Yesterday, we had the practice day and were able to get 3 practice matches in and to tune up our robot named Amelia.

For the video from the above link look for the green button that says “watch”.  And speaking of green, Happy St. Patrick’s Day and if you come to the regional (at Metropolitan Community College) stop by our pit and ask for our special Shamrock buttons.

Mid-season update #1

We’re in the middle of build season and working to finish our Steamworks robot.

For game details, see Steamworks.

For our most recent picture and media look to our team Facebook page.

The theme of the website has changed for this year.  Most of the previous information is accessible through the menu.  The team’s robot history is being worked on, moving them into “portfolio” pages.  Other details, like current team members and sponsors, will be updated soon, so stay tuned.



Hot off the press

Read our new article (02/10/2016) in the Miami County Republic sharing FIRST and the 2016 STRONGHOLD game with our community.  The newspaper recently expanded its coverage area, now being the only paper in the county, giving the story further reach.  Miami county has a population of 32,835 (in 2013; source: US census) and is located at the south of the Kansas City metro area.  Thanks to the media committee for writing and getting the story in the paper.

Zeno’s Paradox

As we end our 3rd week of robot building, we are now in the Zeno’s paradox phase of our project.

However, the team is not discouraged, toiling away and suffering only mere flesh wounds (a testament to following safety warnings). All the wheels have touched the ground, and were driven (add video evidence – Chris P.). In the next weeks, we hope our vision and work leads to the holy grail of STRONGHOLD robots and not a quixotic vision of it.

Our diplomats (Chairman’s committee) are wrapping up the final touches on the essay and documents and will soon turn attention to the video. Our team’s history (link) is consistent with spreading the message of FIRST to our community and region, helping other teams succeed, and inspiring students. This year is no different and the team is excited to share the summary of our 2015-16 efforts.


Into the robot build, the work is focused on the frame and drivetrain.  Getting driving is important with the defenses in the way.  Now the team has wooden versions of these defenses (even a drawbridge) to practice with, and understand the difficulties.

Teams of students work vigorously welding, grinding, filing, drilling, lathing, milling, cutting, sanding, painting, inflating, greasing, and all the various parts to the robots base.

Our software and electronics team are busy studying the NI RoboRIO code in Labview, and considering the autonomous mode, where robots are completely in control.  They are constructing the electronics board, and testing components, that will be transferred to the robot later.


Brainstorming and prototyping of robot systems based on the game strategy.  Going to the white/chalk board, the team votes (1-5) to quantitatively assess the pros/cons of various strategies, robot mechanisms, and prototypes.