Signup for Nov 23rd SCRA Training at CMU


The Steel City Robotics Alliance has graciously invited you to a comprehensive training session on November 23rd.  Parents and mentors are welcome at any sessions. You can choose any four classes from the list below. Programmers, note there are two interactive LabVIEW sessions so bring your laptops with LabVIEW installed.   If you aren’t sure what to sign up for, ask a mentor.

Follow this link to the sign up google form sheet (includes directions and map):

Printable version of the SCRA Workshops program is available here:

Finally, kudos to Sarah and Nicole for creating a scouting session! Nice initiative team!

Here is a list of all the different training sessions you can take. There is something here for everyone! New students and parents, I highly recommend you go to “What is FIRST.”

1:30-2:15 Workshop Session 1

  • Strategy (Jason Mols & Nick Winwood, Mentors, FRC Team 1708 & 2641)  Learn how to use your team strengths and weaknesses to make a match strategy and alliance selection for the most success… Learn what stats to look at. Learn how to make choices during a match and how to work with your alliance to have a chance to win no matter what the rankings are. 
  • Fundraising 101 (Girls of Steel) Is your team struggling to find funds to build your robot come January? Are you unsure about who/where to start asking? This workshop will take you through various methods of fundraising that have worked for our team. We will talk about identifying potential sources of support for your team, and will walk you through the fundraising process. At the end, we would love to hear about your team’s fundraising experiences, and will answer any questions that are not addressed in the presentation.
  • The Systems Approach to Robot Creation (Tim Angert, Mentor, Titanium Titans) Learn about an approach to design and fabrication that looks at the robot as one system, from design inception, to manufacture, to final programming. So often teams treat everything as separate subsystems instead of one complex interconnected system where one thing effects everything else. Learn how to avoid the perils of relying on programming instead of simple mechanical solutions and vise versa. In addition to this when we think of the system we can easily design for functional flexibility, where do we need adjustability and where do we need precision. Learn more about one of the most beneficial design approaches that you can take during this session.
  • Good Programming Design in Control Systems (Bob Robison, Mentor, Chrome Clovers) This session will give the participant an overview of good practices in designing control systems and the topics that are crucial to understanding these systems in contrast to procedural applications. The participant, after attending, should be able to understand the basic difference between control systems and procedural programs like Microsoft Office or Peachtree Accounting.
  • Sensors and Sensing (Allen Nuttle, Google) Imagine where you’d be without your senses! Sensing is fundamental to robotics and there are many available sensors that can easily add significant capabilities to your machine, and preseason is the time to explore things in this area. We will go over what some common and less common sensors can do, how they can facilitate better performance and enable additional capabilities, how to incorporate them into a robot’s mechanical and electrical systems, and how to program them. Also, I’ll provide info on where to obtain them, since this can be a barrier for some.
  • Helping with New Team Recruiting and Support (Craig Yankes, MSA) Our region has recently rolled out the pilot of a new approach to team recruiting and support. This approach needs “topic specialists” that might occasionally be asked to make a phone call to help a rookie team in an area that the Guide can’t answer. (For example, a particular programming or mechanical problem.) You will hear about this new approach in the session plus become aware of the technical areas in which we could use more specialists.

2:20-303 Workshop Session 2

  • What is FIRST (Patricia DePra, FIRST) This presentation will give a brief overview of FIRST programs, followed by details of what makes FRC such a unique experience. Concepts such as Gracious Professionalism will be interwoven with competition details such as the random team alliances in qualifying matches. Additional aspects included will be FIRST scholarships, mentors, opportunities for team members beyond building the robot, and a peek behind the scenes at the organization of FIRST on both the national and the local levels. Finally, where to find more information will be discussed, including navigating the website, as well as local resources to help your team succeed.
  • Don’t make your hand a permanent part of the robot (Sarah Douglas, FIRST Judge) This session will discuss some of the do’s and don’t of Robot Safety and include some of the new items on the market to help keep you safe.
  • PR/Social Media (Cara Friez, Robomatter,Inc) In this session, you will learn the basics to successfully market your team by using blogs, videos, social media, press releases, events, and more! After this session you will be able to put together a marketing plan that will allow you to stand out with a positive message, find your target audience, measure analytics, and set goals.
  • Pneumatics (Jason Mols & Nick Winwood, Mentors) This Session will give the basic over view of all Pneumatic parts. Successful use and applications for pneumatics and how to plumb and set up the Pneumatic system to the specs of FIRST. Also will have Show and Tell
  • 2015 FRC Electronics / Programming (Joe Jackson, Mentor) Over the summer, we had a chance to beta test the 2015 FRC Control System. This session will highlight what we learned about the new electronics as well as the Eclipse-based programming environment.
  • Mechanical Design (Luke Yount, Pitt)  In this session, you will learn the basics of mechanical design, such as useful sources for models, and components, and basic manipulator design. In addition a variety of techniques for making designs quick to produce, and fast to assemble will be covered.

3:10-3:55 Workshop Session 3

  • How to win awards: Why isn’t there a scoring rubric? (Sara Douglas, FIRST Judge) This session will discuss what wins awards and what doesn’t. We will talk about judging and how best to present your team. There will also be discussions on the various awards and what criteria are used.
  • Building a pipeline for girls in FRC (Girls of Steel)The pipeline model describes our efforts to create continuity for girls in our community to be involved in FIRST robotics or STEM activities starting in 4th grade. In 2013 we initiated two programs – two community FIRST LEGO League teams and 8th Grade Junior team memberships (interns), and continued our participation in many other activities i.e. through our extensive outreach events. This year we have realized the benefits of reaching out and targeting girls at an early age, as seen by our growth of the Junior team memberships from 4 to 18. During our presentation we will share tips and ideas for your team to get involved in encouraging more girls in STEM.
  • 3D CAD in Solidworks Part 1 (Brian Morris, Prism Engineering)Basic 3D Engineering with Solidworks to create a part and drawing with an emphasis on weight, strength, and cost.
  •  LabVIEW Programming Part 1 (Nolan and Mullin, DSA) An interactive introduction to the LabVIEW programming environment and FIRST-specific functions for control
  • Project Planning (Craig Yankes, MSA)The chaotic build period can be (at least somewhat) tamed by using the project planning tools normally used on larger projects to manage task scheduling problems. The basics of project planning using the free ProjectLibre tool will be introduced in this session

4:00-4:45 Workshop Session 4

  • Meet your regional director (Patricia DePra)This interactive Q&A session will be an opportunity to meet your Regional Director, Patricia DePra, who will answer questions about FIRST goals, successes, and challenges specific to our region, what happens behind the scenes and throughout the year, and other topics raised by attendees.
  • LabVIEW Programming Part 2 Advanced topics in intelligent machines and autonomous functionality using the LabVIEW environment.
  • Creating Effective Presentations (Julia Deems, The Tepper School CMU) A central goal of any project is to share what you’ve learned. This workshop will focus on strategies for delivering information in a way that your listeners will remember. Drawing on principles in argumentation, psychology, and design, this presentation will offer strategies to make your team stand out.
  • 3D CAD in Solidworks Part 2  Advanced 3D Engineering with Solidworks to create an assembly and verify its functionality using Solidworks Motion and Solidworks Simulation
  • Electronics and Wiring (Randy Bish, Mentor)

5:00 Cake!

FRobotics Monday Newsletter

What’s going on this week – see calendar link on right hand side of website.

Tuesday 11/4 – ITT Tech Circuitry 3:30-4:30
Wednesday 11/5 – Social Media / Video / Writing Subteam meeting 2:30-3:30
Thursday 11/6 – ITT Tech CAD class 3:30-4:30

Save the Date
Sunday 11/16 Time TBD Mentors Meeting.
Sunday 11/16 Time TBD Workshop Setup Day. Watch for slot signups.
Wednesday 11/19, 11/22 Workshop Safety Training (pick one). Watch for slot signups.
Sunday 11/23 12-5 Steel City Robotics/Girls of Steel Workshop Day. Training.

The Tshirt order form is open. It is a google form on the right hand side of the website.

Congrats to Cam Nagg for the $250 donation from Conti Testing. Remember that checks are best, but in kind donations of things we can use (like safety gear, raw material, party food) or things we can raffle (like that awesome spa gift basket last year) are also appreciated. Examples of solicitation letters and thank you notes are on the website, under the FORMS tab.

Thanks to Dr. Cala and Mr. Behnke for taking time out of their weekend to teach us project management and LabView programming. We had a good turnout!

Training Tips of the Week:
Programmers – look at the website for LabView tutorials
New team members – look at the game rules and video from last year’s game Aerial Assist to get an idea what info will be released at Kickoff January 3rd.

Thank you notes and Outreach
Nina is circulating a Thank You note for ITT Tech. Please make sure you sign it! Also, there is a note of support being sent to Team 2260 Pengbots in Marysville, WA. Lets pay it forward and show our FIRST Family that we care.

FRobotics Orientation – for new and returning members and their parents #pghFIRST

Please mark your calendar for Monday September 29. 6:30-8pm. Ms. Garda’s Room. Franklin Regional High School.

Franklin Regional FRobotics will host a new members and parents orientation. Please plan to attend to hear about this exciting club! Parents are encouraged to attend with the new students to see how they can help with this very resource intensive endeavor. For information about the FIRST Robotics Competitions, feel free to visit the site and the

The following sub teams will host a table top display or demo, and talk to prospective teammates about what they do. Sign up sheets will be available for students, and information provided to parents as potential mentors. Current members are encouraged to come and mingle with new recruits, answer questions, and possibly sign up for a new sub team.

Social Media

Others if we have more help could be Scouting, Writing, Vidography, Photography, Sewing, Rules & Regulations, Outreach/Service, Drive.

Parents are encouraged to visit the FIRST website and sign up their student(s) for Team 4150 using the link

See you then!

Meeting with State Rep Eli Evankovich #PGHfirst

Meeting with Pennsylvania State Rep Eli Evankovich 5/23/14

Mrs. Stewart’s Room 2:45pm

Attendees: mentors and team members


Hello FRobotics!

Today was the meeting with State Rep. Eli Evankovich. We introduced him to our team and Panzer. During this meeting we discussed Mr. Evankovich’s career and he answered some questions from the team. We told him about this past season and gave him some specs on the robot. Mr. Evankovich mentioned that if, in the future, we needed help finding a workshop space he would help us. He would like to possibly attend a future local business networking event, which will be held later in the year. He also gave Casen the name of a possible sponsor. Overall this meeting was very successful.

It turns out, Rep. Evankovich is an FR Alumni.  We look forward to working with him in the future.Image

Thank you to everyone who attended.

Go FRobotics!



Thank You #FIRSTfamily #omgrobots @FRC801 @FRC1592

Recently FRC teams 801 Horsepower and team 1592 Bionic Tigers sent us a letter and two signed t-shirts. Yesterday we signed FRobotics t-shirts to send to these two teams.  The text of their letter was poignant and inspirational. Here it is for everyone:


9 May 2014

FRC Team 801 Horsepower, Merritt Island, FL

FRC Team 1592 Bionic Tigers, Cocoa, FL

Dear FRC Team 4150 FRobotics,

As fellow members of the FIRST Community, we would like to join the FR Proud Team and show our support for your students, mentors, staff, and faculty. One tradition that our teams have it to sign team shirts and present them to our alliance team partners when we make it to the Championships at a Regional competition. In the true spirit of FIRST, we would like to present your team with signed shirts from our teams as your newest alliance partners. 

Team 801 Horsepower, and TEam 1592 Bionic Tigers became sister teams 3 years ago as a way to share resources and continue our programs when prospects of our survival were bleak with the end of the Space Shuttle program, loss of sponsors, and a rapid downsizing of our communities as people left to find employment. We work together as one “Ultimate Coopertition” team year round, but compete separately as two teams. 

Last season, just 5 miles from the University of Central Florida on the night before the Orlando Regional Competition, our trailer was rear ended, and all vehicles in the accident were a total loss, including both of our robots, Neil and Buzz. After the initial shock wore off, the students banded together and declared that failure was not an option and we would still compete. In the true spirit of Gracious Professionalism, with the help from the 59 other teams at the regional and sheer determination, we completely rebuilt both robots forms cratch in one day and did not miss a qualification match. We went on to play in the Quarterfinals and although we were eliminated, we knew we had just achieved what everybody said was impossible. At the San Antonio Regional, just three short weeks later, we helped a Mexican rookie team do almost the exact same thing — start over and have a robot that was completely ready in two days after the FedEx truck transporting the robot was stolen.

Our message to you is this: Never give up. Things can look pretty bleak at time and  you don’t know how you will possibly overcome them, and then somehow you do. We added a symbol of a  Phoenix to our robot logos to show that we were able to rise from the ashes. It is a lesson that the students and mentors alike never forget. You can do anything you set your mind to.

Congratulations on finishing as a Finalist at the Pittsburgh Regional this year! We look forward to getting to know more about your team, sharing ideas, and the possibility of being alliance partners at a competition one day!

Best of luck from the Students, Mentors and School Liaisons for Teams 801 and 1582


Thank You FIRST Family #FRstrong #PGHfirst #omgrobots

Thank you all for the well wishes. Our team members and family members are physically well. The emotional scars will take a little longer. We still have two friends in the hospital, and would appreciate you sending all that FIRST energy their way.

If you haven’t seen it, here is an outstanding video uploaded by classmate Julia Drnjevich, ‘We Are FR Strong’ as a thank you to everyone for their support for Franklin Regional after the mass stabbing at the school…

‘This video is to show how much we thank everyone for supporting us and helping us get through this tough time. The song I used is “Stay With Me” which I thought was perfect for this video because everyone was able to stay strong as a community and supported each other.

We wouldn’t be able to get through this tough time without everyone’s support. Seeing all the banners made by different schools puts a smile on everyone’s face and really helps everyone get through the day.

The amount of heroism in our school is amazing and it really shows how much we care for one another. As the rest of the victims are still recovering, we continue to keep them in our prayers. We are FR Strong!’

Everything is better when you’re part of a team

What an amazing feeling to be part of the teamwork that was the Blue Alliance at the finals of the Greater Pittsburgh Regionals! Team 1501 T.H.R.U.S.T from Huntington, Indiana, Team 2641 PCCR from Central Catholic in Pittsburgh and FRobotics brought home the silver 2nd place medal.
Congrats to The red alliance –Teams 4547 (WestyTek of Johnstown) 3260 (SHARP of Pittsburgh) and 836 (The RoboBees of Leonardtown MD). Well Played!