Nevada County’s ACME Robotics team wins NorCal championship | TheUnion.com

Nevada County’s ACME Robotics team wins NorCal championship

Submitted to The Union

ACME Robotics, the local FIRST Tech Challenge robotics team, won the Northern California Championships on Feb. 18 and now move on to the next level of competition.

Currently the team is preparing for the upcoming Western Regionals event in Spokane, Wash., in March, with hopes of reaching the World Championships event in Houston in April. The team started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money from the community for team members and mentors to travel to the remaining events in the season.

The Northern California Championships took place in Newark and brought together the top 56 teams from the region. ACME won the coveted Inspire award, which is the highest award given at a tech challenge competition and that reflects the breadth and quality of the overall team activities throughout the year. ACME was also on the winning robot alliance team. In the final match of the event, ACME and its alliance partner, Rise of Hephaestus, set a record for the highest match score of the season in the western United States.

ACME Robotics is in its fourth season as a team and currently includes 10 team members. The team was founded by Ryan Brott and Kellen Bodine, who are both seniors at Nevada Union High School. With both graduating this year, the team set a goal this season to make it all the way to the World Championship competition in Houston. Winning the NorCal event was the first step of the "post season" on the path to the Worlds event.

"We brainstormed extensively to come up with a robot design that could complete all of the missions in the game this season," Brott said. "I think that we have a solid design, as we've set a record for the highest match score on the West Coast in two separate matches this season."

This season, the team engineered the robot drive train from scratch.

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"This is the most precisely engineered drive train that we have ever built," said Bodine. After designing the drive train in CAD, the team cut the drive train out of raw metal stock using a computer controlled plasma cutter. The team machined several of the other drive train parts and then assembled the complete drive base for the robot.

"I can really feel the difference when driving the robot this season, due to the solid drive base design," Bodine said.

Another milestone for this season is the selection of Nevada Union junior Kelly Muir as an FIRST Tech Challenge Dean's List finalist. Only four participants from the Northern California region were selected to move on to interviews at the Worlds event in Houston, and only 10 students will be selected as winners from the United States.

ACME is a community team with team members from five different local schools. All of the funding comes through donations and team member fees. Funding up to this point in the season has been through the support of local sponsors such as Telestream, AJA Video, Autometrix, NV5 and Rotary Club of Nevada City, as well as individuals such as John and Darlene Abt and Dan and Joanne Castles. If you would like to help support ACME, a GoFundMe campaign has been initiated to raise funds to cover post season travel costs.

Check out the ACME Robotics website for details at http://www.goacmerobotics.com.

Source: ACME Robotics