NAME: The Beastie
    AKA: (Insert curseword here) YEAR: 2007
    TAGLINE:"Failure is Always an Option"

  • Ranking and Awards:

    Southern California Regional:

    50 out of 52
    Record:(1-7-1) (dont' know how that win got in there)
  • Drivetrain:

    There wasn't any!
    It just sat there.
  • **Removed:

    Center drive "702 Drive" with 6 inch andymark kit wheels
  • Mechanism:

    Theoretical dual robot lifting elevator
    (Theoretical since it never actually did it)
  • Software and Control

    Language: no idea, the programmer put the code in and never talked to anyone.
    Driver interface: 2 switches
    switch one was supposed to deploy the lifter panel "wings", but those deployed when the robot enabled so it really did nothing. (did I mention the programmer refused to talk to anybody?)
    Switch 2 started the pneumatic pistons that lifted the elevator panels. (Notice I didn't say lifted robots. I did mention it never actually lifted a robot, right?)
  • Autonomous function:

    If you count the elevator panels deploying at the start of the match then it had an autonomous mode. No, you're right, malfunctioning robots and faulty code do not really count.
  • Autonomous function really:

    Reliability: 100%, it definitely never did anything autonomously


  • Field:

    The center of the field had a round rack with scoring pegs. The rack was rotated slightly after every match

    Primary Scoring:

    A Tic Tac Toe game in which inflatable pool innertubes were hung forming rows and columns. The more you had in a row or column, the more points you got. How many points? Don't know, we couldnt move let alone hang a pool tube.

    Bonus Endgame:

    get one or 2 robots 12 inches above the floor either by making a ramp or lifting. I would tell you how many points, but we never got any of those either. Didn't I tell you about how it never lifted a robot?

    Autonomous scoring:

    Using a camera (Since the rack moved after each match the camera was necessary. It also never worked) track a green light above the rack of pegs and hang an unmovable tube. Nobody at the regional got this so it really doesn't matter what it was worth.


    We did not get a single penalty! of course its hard to get a penalty when you don't move
  • For a much more accurate description of the game,
    Download the Game Animation here.

Coach's Notes

    They called Apollo 13 the successful failure. I call 2007 a SPECTACULAR failure. The beastie was only good at one thing and that's failing. And it did fail REALLY well. During the build it manged to bend the drill press. It broke the budget with the single biggest expendature of any robot I was involved in, the honeycomb aluminum "wings". On the last day of build season it was found to be: too long, too wide, too tall and too heavy. This required the entire robot to be disassembled, cut, and reassembled in 24 hours. It failed at finishing, requiring us to continue working after ship date to get the last parts done. At competition the drawer slides we were using for sliders were bent from the practice loads we put on it. This meant the lifter pistons had to push the sliders apart too. And since the drive axels could not take the weight of 3 robots, the drivetrain had to come off. The "wings" were one inch thick making it difficult for robots to climb on them further reducing the chances ever lifting a robot.

    Then, in our last match (whether it was last scheduled or not, it was OUR last match) In the end, 2 robots managed to get on the elevator panels. They got balanced and ready. and our would be driver (since it didn't really drive) flipped the switch. Amazingly the robots started to lift. (don't get your hopes up, i've told you 3 times already it never actually did it.) It looked like we were going to finally see the results of all our hard work and sleepless nights come together. But then, the beastie had one last failure to make. The panels had been designed to be held up by 4 wood screws in a shear load. With about 300 pounds of robot, 4 wood screws were not going to hold up. With a horrible clunk the panels broke away from our robot depositing our alliance partners on the ground, thankfully with minimal damage. The final failure was complete. The drive team curled up in a corner of the pit area, and the rest of the team dragged the wreckage back to our pit.

    Who was to blame for this utter failure of a robot. Anyone who blames the students on the team needs to be slapped. Those kids put their heart and soul into the making of that wreck. They gave everything they had and more, and it is sad that there was nothing to show for all the excellent work and time they spent on the project. Some may blame the FIRST system for making it so hard for low budget teams to do well, but this is total nonsense. I have seen many low budget teams, including ours, make wonderful machines, show immense creativity, compete and win matches, elminations, and regionals. Some may blame the mentors, but this also is complete garbage. Those volunteers gave a lot, and I do mean A LOT of their free time trying to make something from that mess. They should be commended for never giving up on the kids or the project. In the end, the blame goes only one place, me. I take the blame for that failure as any coach would. President Truman said " the buck stops here" and the wreckage and failure of the 2007 season stops here too. I could make the excuse that I was new, a first year math teacher, and first year robotics coach with no experience, but that really is no excuse. I have seen other rookie coaches win regionals in my time on this team, being inexperienced does not mean being bad at something. I WAS in charge and therefore I TAKE the blame. There is no excuse.

    So what came of this. Obviously I did not quit, although I was given the option at the time by the school. I did what you should do when faced with such utter failure, I learned. Whether Thomas Edison said it our not, it is a wonderful quote. "I did not fail 1000 times, I found 1000 ways not to make a lighbulb" In 2007 I learned about every way possible how NOT to build a robot. Every failure was a lesson, every problem was a future solution. I may have been inexperienced, but 2007 was a very intense and immersive class on robot building. Does that mean I knew everything the next year? After all, the 2008 robot made it to the finals. The answer is a resounding NO! The day I stop learning is the day I resign as the coach of CCHS Robotics team 702. Anyone that is stupid enough to think they know everything has lost the meaning of education, guidance, touching the lives of others, and the simplicity of just having fun. All of these things are at the core of FIRST robotics, and more so at the core of being an educator. Did the Beastie Fail, yes! Did my students have fun doing it, yes! Did everyone learn something in the process, yes! Did I enjoy it enough to keep coming back year after year? As I write this, my 6th season as coach of the CCHS Robotics team has just ended. I cannot imagine ever giving this up, nor can i imagine that I will ever stop learning, just as I have learned from all the members of this team in the last 6 years. Every day they show me something new, and i find new ways to be proud of them all. And through all the successes that we have had, or will have, I can say that without that one faiure of 2007, none of the successes would have been possible.