NAME: Starfighter
    YEAR: 2016
    TAGLINE:"Come on baby... hold together."

  • Ranking and Awards:

    Los Angeles Regional:

    56 out of 66

    Ventura Regional:

    25 out of 42
    Selected to the quarter finals, eliminated in the second semifinal match
  • Drivetrain:

    Primary: 12 inch Center Drive (702 Drive) on 4 CIM motors
    Secondary: Slightly elevated 4 wheel drive chain driven from main drive. 8 inch notched front wheels, 8 inch pneumatic tire rear wheels.
    1x1 inch extruded aluminum frame with custom brackets
  • Mechanism:

    2 CIM dual flywheel ball shooter
    Banebot driven obstical manipulator arm
  • Software and Control

    Language: Java
    Driver interface: dual XBOX360 Controllers
    Sensors: NAVX sensor bundle
  • Autonomous function:

    roll forward through ground based obstical
    Result: 2 or 10 points depending on whether it only reached the obstical or actually crossed it
    Reliability: 90% reaching the obstical, 25% crossing


  • Field:

    a 27 ft. by 54 ft. field. Each alliance commands one tower, five defenses, and a "secret passage" which allows their robots to restock on ammunition, called boulders. One defense in each alliance's set of five, the low bar, is a permanent part of the field. Three defenses are selected strategically by the alliance prior to the start of their match. The final defense changes periodically by audience selection.

    The Game:

    Each FIRST STRONGHOLD match begins with a 15-second autonomous period in which robots operate independently of human control. During this period, robots attempt to cross opposing defenses and score in the opposing tower. Points for this period are: 2 points for reaching a defense, 10 points for crossing a defense, 5 points for a "boulder" in the low tower goal, 10 points for a "boulder" in the high tower goal. During the remaining 2 minutes and 15 seconds of the match, called the teleop period, robots are controlled by student drivers from behind their castle wall at the end of the field. Teams on an alliance work together to cross defenses, weaken the opposing tower by scoring boulders in it, and finally surround, scale and capture the tower.

    Primary Scoring:

    The objective is to score as many balls in goals as possible as well as cross defenses thereby "weakening" (cross once) or "destroying" (cross twice) a defense. scoring "boulders" in the tower goals weaken the tower as well as scores points. If a tower is weakened enough, it can be captures or scaled for bonus points. Scoring is as follows: Crossing a defense 5, Boulder in a low tower goal 2, Boulder in a high tower goal 5, Challenging the tower (per Robot) 5, Scaling the tower (per Robot) 15. Additional ranking points are awarded if the tower is captured by all 3 robots after being weakened and by a breach of defenses where at least 4 defenses are "destroyed"

    Bonus Endgame:

    Scaling the tower so that the robot is above the top of the low goal of the tower, worth 15 per robot.


    A foul not only awarded points to the other team, but also strengthened the oposing tower, sometimes even above its starting strength.
  • Watch the Game Animation here.

Coach's Notes

    "I wear the chain I forged in life! I made it link by link and yard by yard! I gartered it on of my own free will and by my own free will, I wore it!"
    -Jacob Marley

    No, this is not the starting quote from an essay on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" but I thought it was appropriate given the chains We chose to fetter our robot with this year, the chains that felt like every bit the curse that the ghost of Marley had to wear for all eternity.
    Wow, that was kind of dark... Let me start again, because this was not a year defined by darkness or curses or boring games that no one wants to watch. This was a return to success, to excitement on the field, and boucing back from failure at the first competition to success at the second. So back to the start again, just ignore the Dickens stuff.

    When this season started, I already knew it would be different. Besides all the new faces on the team, the game was coming out to be something spectacular. The lame hint of tradition was gone, replaced with what looked like a movie trailer. Kickoff was packed with Monty Python references and the tone of the game was playful. Unlike the previous year where there was no direct competition and really only one way to score, this one had lots of scoring oportunities, some for beginners, and some for experts. Defense was an option again giving rookie teams that could only drive a way to play. And there was plenty of ways to be creative with design. From the moment that the kickoff video started, I knew this was going to be good.

    This year also marked the return of our old friend the "702 drive". Originally designed by team founder and mentor Alfredo, this conventional frive system relies on to large wheels in the center of the robot to give it speed and a zero turning radius. This was a game about speed, not precision, and the omni drive just had no place here. Not to mention the mechanum wheels cant climb a ramp or go over a bump to save their lives. However, our drive has one weak point, it cannot climb ramps. The 4 support wheels are not driven so on a ramp the drive is lifted off the ground and rendered useless. That's when we had the crazy idea. Why not put another drive train on it that can climb ramps and go over the defense obsticals? We didn't even have to retract it. By placing it about a half inch above the ground and at the edges of our frame it would automatically engage whenever we hit a ramp. YAY!!! (marvelling in our own magificence)

    "Ebeneezer Scrooooooge..." (Clank, Clank, Clank)

    He's back again... the ghost of robots past. The one that SHOULD have come in the middle of the night during build season and reminded me why we direct drive motors. I have many times expressed my opinion that pneumatics are evil. However, after this year, chain driven drive trains are more evil... beyond evil... dark Lord of the sith evil!!! We continually threw chains off the secondary drive. This was probably one of the main reasons for finishing so low in our first regional. The other would be the second robot problem. One hazard of building a practice robot before the real one is all the practice is done on the practice version. So the competition robot does not have the time to refine and fix all the little minor problems. For instance we did not discover that one transmission was built wrong with a wrong size gear. Yeah... it was that kind of day at the LA competition. By Ventura we had built replacement transmissions back at the room and one student designed and fabricated a set of sprocket guides making something that looked like a chain pulley that mostly kept the chains in place.

    Ventura showed our real capability. We discovered our robots talent for defense and it's ability to clear obstacles, well as long as the chains held. By the end though, the secondary drive had bent all its axles, broken several chains, had to swap some wheels, and several broken wire crimps. As it went into the semi finals, the only thing keeping that robot together was the team "willing" it to work.

    So in the end, we made it to the semi finals. Any time we make it past elimination rounds is considered a successful year. Was it perfect? Not even close! But we made it work and learned something in the process. Not to mention the most important thing, everyone had fun. Be gone spirit of depressing Dickens! So ends a successful year... or does it? (to be continued...)