We had a series of scheduled Botshops this season, the finale was today, and it was awesome!
What's a Botshop, you ask? It's a workday featuring a combination of veteran teams and rookie teams, with a full field for testing and scrimmaging. For most of our Botshops, we also combined FLL and FTC activities in one event, to make the atmosphere more festive and interesting for everyone.
Thanks to the vagaries of scheduling, we found that the last scheduled Botshop would occur after the Eastern MO FLL championship event, which was Saturday, and so we decided to focus our last Botshop on FTC, and take it on the road to TechShop St. Louis. Botshop at TechShop turned out to be a great way to introduce the teams to the possibilities of TechShop.
TechShop has standard metal shop equipment, ideal for cutting and trimming the aluminum and steel parts used in FTC, and a treat for teams that normally work in classrooms or basements. TechShop also has computer-driven fabrication machines, and that is where the real synergy is found. One of our rookie teams, Run DMZ from Jennings High School, have been trying to construct an attachment so their robot can control "particles" while it drives up a corner "vortex" ramp. During testing of their latest prototype, they decided they needed to extend the length of it, and started asking for advice. I suggested the possibility of designing a custom part in CAD, and cutting it out of acrylic on Tech Shop's laser cutter machines, and in a short period of time (and with the help of TechShop's dream consultant), they had a custom made part designed in AutoCAD!
We had use of one of TechShop's STEAM rooms, which has rollup doors that open onto TechShop's common area, and we had three FTC teams in attendance: 6127 iBots, 8862 Cyber Ducks, 11470 Run DMZ, plus Mr. Ellis from Chaminade.