Category Archives: Build Season

Week 6 Build POVS

This past week, I was able to learn a lot more about the Jetson and all of the systems that are working in it.  I also improved my teamwork skills with the two other members of my subcommittee.  I was also able to exercise my knowledge of trigonometry and C++ while figuring out how to improve our vision code.

Yiyun Wei

Class of 2021

During Week 6, business was busy planning upcoming events, finishing up awards and updating the website. I have gained several important skills throughout the build season, including responsibility, leadership, and communication, and it was exhilarating to see all of our hard work pay off. Even though we faced many challenges along the way, we had the invaluable experience of learning from ourselves and others, which made it all worth it in the end.

Elizabeth Fernandes

Class of 2020

The past week started off pretty chill. For me at least, it was mostly prepping for the arrival of the electronics boards, such as gathering parts and planning, and helping some other committees here and there. But now that the electronics boards have arrived (at least the vertical ones), we have a lot of more work to do. The pace has picked up, and now we are in more of a hurry to put components on the boards.

Cynthia Chung

Class of 2019

Week 3-5 Build POVS

Through weeks 3-5, we pretty much made the whole robot. It was super fun watching the robot come to life from drawings in a notebook to a real-life robot. In these past couple weeks, I have learned so much about CAD and everything else in mechanical.

Ella Hedman

Class of 2021

Build season has been a mix of fun and intense. I am a co-lead of the In n’ Out group and for the past few weeks we’ve been focusing on the finishing up our CAD and manufacturing and assembling our mechanism. It’s been really great teaching Leela, the rookie in my group, new things, especially in CAD. I’ve grown really close to the other members of my group too.

Lily Johnson

Class of 2019

These past few weeks, the programming committee has made a lot of progress with vision tracking, autonomous, and game component code. Each group is working on something new for this year, and it’s really exciting to be involved in the technical growth of our committee. I’m in the vision tracking group and we just finished finding the distance from the camera to the reflective tape. We hope to find the angle from the camera to the tape and connect the Jetson to the roboRIO in the next few weeks, and I can’t wait to see our code run on the robot.

Elaine Duh

Class of 2018

Build Season Week 5 Update


By Lisha Sebastian ‘21 and Angela Zheng ‘20


In week 5 of Build Season, the Janksters gathered together to engineer the prototype robot before assembling the final robot.


Chassis worked on spacing for the test robot as well as the axles and chain for the competition bot.


Game Component 1 worked on the frame of the robot while also working on the cross beams on top. The clamp arms were cut and sanded for the pivot arm. They attached motors and gearboxes onto the robot.


Game Component 2 finished putting together their mechanism for the robot. They also ordered the polyurethane tubing, more ⅜ inch shaft collars, and milled holes for the baby sliders.


Many Projects started marking the placements of the mounts with Chassis. They also started drilling holes for the bracket to attach onto the side mounts.


Programming programmed the encoder on the In and Out mechanism and finished the autonomous code with Game Component 2. They worked on figuring out Bhow to have a better resolution display from the camera.


Electronics cut and attached connectors to the robot while finishing limit switch mounts for In and Out. They fixed Camera 1 and finished labeling nuts and bolts for the prototype robot.


Business finalized the back of the T-shirt.They also submitted their entry for the Chairman’s Award. Robot Reveal Night preparations are underway and invitations are being sent out. Don’t miss out on seeing our robot on February 17th from 6:00-8:00pm at Notre Dame!

Build Season Week 4 Update


By Lisha Sebastian ‘21 and Ria Nair ‘21


At the end of Week 4, the Janskers finished CAD and now focusing on manufacturing and assembling parts for the robot.


Chassis cut shafts for outside wheels while doing CAD a shaft. They also replaced short inputs with longer ones, removed bearings, and redid their spacing. Towards the end of the week, they made grooves for the shafts.


Many Projects pressed the team numbers onto the fabric for the bumpers and then stapled the fabric to the bumpers. They designed the mounts for the bumpers and began cutting them. Finally, they CADed the bumpers.


Game Component One completed CAD, drilled holes in their bearing carriages, and found and ordered the parts. They also milled bearing holes on 2×1 beams and started constructing some bearing carriages. Before the end of the week, they assembled the bearing carriages and gearboxes.


Game Component Two finished the motor mount and completed CAD. They also started manufacturing the arms for our robot and ordered many parts. They’ve added in electronics’  limit switch mount, milled the clamp arms and the support shafts for both robots, and sent out the correct waterjet files for the clamp arms.


Programming reattached the d-link to Pepper Ann (last season’s robot which is being used to test code) while working on finding the distance from the camera to the reflective tape. They also planned out different actions in autonomous mode.


Electronics found a new encoder while fixing programming communication. They tested Camera 1 and discussed potential materials. They 3D printed and tested their designed RoboRio mounts. They also finished mapping organization, mounting batteries, and wiring extra batteries


Business has almost finished planning and organizing our annual Robot Reveal Night. They’ve also been busy preparing a special event for mentors.


As we continue through the build season, keep an eye out on our social media for updates on the progress of our robot!

Week 2 Build POVS

Electronics has been quite busy this week. We’ve made great progress on our CAD for our boards, though the design has ended up being changed, and on our CAD for several other components we had to work on. I personally have been working on the horizontal electronics board and, from time to time, fixing up the programming robot for Programming to be able to test their code. Build Season is definitely getting more intense now, but I’m still really excited to see how it all turns out in the remaining upcoming weeks.

Srija Ponna

Class of 2020

For the past week in the programming committee, we’ve been working on a couple of different projects. There’s one group working on programming the different game components on the robot, another autonomous focused group, and a vision tracking group that’s working on integrating the Jetson TX1 with our robot. I’m in the autonomous focused group and we’ve just started working on a PID controller with the gyro to accomplish some of the various turns in our autonomous routes. This is around the time of the season in which I’ve begrudgingly adapted to school being my primary home, and so far, it’s been a fun couple of weeks.
Anisha Kabir
Class of 2019

Build Season Week 3 Update


By Ria Nair ‘21 and Angela Zheng ‘20


As week 3 is coming to an end, the Janskers are in the process of finalizing their plans and beginning to manufacture the robot.


At the beginning of week 3, Chassis finished cutting out the frame for the robot and finished making CAD drawing for the mill. They also started using the mill to manufacture parts and started drilling holes in chassis frame.


Game Component One continued working on CAD, made basic calculations for chains, gear ratios, and 3D printed many small parts. Later in the week, they mostly finished their mechanism, but they are still working on the gearboxes. They also determined sprocket placement, figured out what gear ratio they are using for their gearboxes, ordered parts, and cut side plates for the bearing carriages.


Game Component Two continued to CAD up their parts, and are finalizing the angles and sizes of the pistons. They also worked on solving math equations to figure out the center of gravity of the pivot arm they are currently manufacturing.


Many Projects have made significant progress on the robot’s bumpers as well as helped out with the LEAD program, an event the Janksters hold annually for to introduce 7th graders into STEM.  


This week programming tested gyro on programming robot, wrote code to drive straight with gyro in autonomous, talked to mechanical about changes to in&out, and fixed vision processing error. They  changed the IDs on the programming robot for the talons so it matches their code, tested straight driving code, got the robot to detect tape from a distance, got program to draw corners of tape on Jetson.


Electronics completed printing both camera mounts. The camera mount allows the drive team to have adjustable vision when driving the robot. They also enabled the gyro to be programmed.

Business finalized the bumper fonts to give to Many Projects to print out. They wrote and posted a Week 2 Update Article and a Throwback Thursday post to Twitter. Business continued to work on their sponsorship packet, made progress on the t-shirt design, and completed their banner design.

Build Season Week 2 Update


This week the Janksters divided into seven groups: chassis, game component 1, game component 2, many projects, programming, electronics, and business.


At the beginning of the week, Chassis discussed the placement of the back cross brace with electronics and began CADing the gearboxes,wheels, shaft, and encoders. They also discussed the placement of the gearboxes to ensure the robot wouldn’t tip over too easily.


Early this week, Game Component 1 finalized their design, began preliminary CAD, ordered parts, and started 3D printing parts. Later in week 2, continued CAD, discussed camera mounting, and started gearbox calculations. Towards the end of the week, game component 1 nearly finished CAD and decided on gearboxes, sprockets, chains, and encoders. Game Components Two ordered parts, continued building the arms, and did various calculations to figure out the ratios for the pivot arm motors.  Many Projects had a productive week with finishing building the scale and the exchange portal. After completing these two big projects, they are starting on the bumper configuration.


In the beginning of week 2, Programming programmed pistons for game component 2, and started programming for game component 2. Later in the week, they finished the code for game component 2, finished the chassis code, discussed camera placement with electronics and mechanical, finished code for game component 1, and learned how to operate the jetson. At the end of the week, programming coded the buttons to move the robot, and started the vision processing code.


To start off week two, Electronics began CADing up their parts and ordering some of the parts. They have also editing and 3D printed parts which include the Jetson, camera, and lights mounts. They have also been communicating with other committees to figure out the dimensions of the parts going on the robot.


Early in week 2, business finished order forms for t-shirts and jackets, started designing the t-shirt and button, finished the clipboards, completed LEAD program handouts, and finished the cost analysis worksheet for giveaways. Later in the week, they finalized the tie design, worked on updates and social media posts, and explored further into photoshop. Towards the end of week 2, the weekly video was finished, made major progress on the sponsorship packet and chairman’s essay.

Week 1 Build POVs

This year’s Kickoff was the first I’d attended, yet it wasn’t difficult to feel closely involved with the process – we all had the opportunity to brainstorm prototypes for this year’s robot, and doing so really helped me think critically about the game and the potential mechanisms that could be used. During the week, my prototyping groups came up with a mechanism resembling a hug, a system using rollers to move the power cube, and others; after that, my committee (programming) set to work getting all of our devices up to speed for this year’s game, and considering potential sensors to implement and how to code them. Many people envision robotics as the frantic rush of physically constructing a robot, but this week allowed us to experience the careful planning and diversity of ideas that go into creating a viable design, which is just as critical.

Sandhya Ganesan

Class of 2021

Week one was extremely fun because my group (intake– output) got to prototype and test different ideas. We made a list of requirements of what we want our mechanism to do. We also built prototypes and had a lot of mentors to help us out!

Shivani Vazirani

Class of 2020

The first week of build season has gone by really fast. Electronics has been doing  research about sensors that we might be using for this year’s game while mechanical finishes prototyping. We’ve also been working on small projects that branch out from electronics which has been engaging and fun. This year’s game is really interesting and I’m looking forward to our strategy and seeing how other teams plan theirs.

Emily Duh

Class of 2019



By Elizabeth Fernandes ’20 and Angela Zheng ’20

The Janksters kicked off the build season by gathering together to watch the FIRST live stream. Everyone was ecstatic to learn the new game challenge for this year. After watching the reveal video, mentors got busy to build a mock game playing field with the students. These games allowed the students to try out different strategies as well as to get a better understanding of the game. After analyzing this year’s game, the Janksters split up into groups to brainstorm ideas for the robot and started by coming up with a list of things the robot needs to accomplish as well as some possible mechanisms they can use to accomplish those tasks.

Mechanical split into the different subgroups based on this year’s game. The subgroups include: Chassis, In n’ Out, Many Projects, and Up and Down.

The chassis subgroup discussed with the Up n’ Down and In n’ Out groups about having an open or closed chassis and decided on having a closed one. They figured out the range of the gear ratio, approximately how much space each chassis element will take up and where the other mechanisms will fit, finalized the type of wheels. They finalized certain decisions regarding chassis and ordered the gearbox.

The In n’ Out group brainstormed various potential mechanisms to get the power cube off the ground and onto the scale, switch or exchange. After making a list of evaluation points for each idea, they narrowed down their options to using a claw or rollers. They completed prototyping the claw mechanism and began a prototype that uses rollers.

The Up n’ Down group researched various mechanisms that can be used to move the power cube up and down and decided on either sliding tracks or a jointed arm. They created a list of requirements for the mechanism and did the calculations for each idea. After making CAD drawings and prototypes, they decided that the sliding tracks are preferable because it is more simple and reliable.

This week, the Many Projects group focused on choosing which game components to build and how to construct them. After exploring the various options, they decided on building the exchange and its platform as well as modified versions of the switch and scale. Then they created a materials list of all the parts needed for each component with all of the measurements. They anticipated how much space is needed to store the game components and potential areas around campus that can accommodate them.

The programming committee installed the CTRE library and updated the 2018 Eclipse toolchains and plugins onto their personal laptops. They updated the team’s driver station laptops for this season. They fixed the CANTalon errors and started adjusting the syntax from previous code to accommodate the changes. They researched encoders, gyros and the USB camera and practiced programming limit switches. They discussed vision with mentors and concluded it would be beneficial due to the complex autonomous this year.

The electronics committee determined which sensors they could use, compiled a list of necessary sensors, which are touchless sensors, encoders, and sonar, and discussed limits on the vision tracking. They came up with new materials they need for this season and labeled and organized the new components in the Kit of Parts. They worked with the chassis group to figure out spacing and encoders and talked to the programming committee about gyros and sensors. They fixed issues on the driver station CAD and did a design review. They repaired the pneumatics board pole and battery mount and added final brackets onto the battery cart.

The business committee began brainstorming design ideas for the front and back of the shirt and buttons. They designed concept art that incorporates elements from the game challenge. They developed a concrete plan for the Chairman’s Award with deadlines and who will be involved in the writing and editing process. They began editing chairman’s and analyzed other teams’ techniques. They did further research on giveaways and narrowed down the list to screwdrivers, logoed tape, a mini first aid kit, post-it notes or a screw checker. They took photos and videos for social media and next week’s video update.

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Week 6 Build POVs

It’s crazy thinking that this is my last build season! Week 6 means crunch time so we’re all scrambling to make last minute decisions and putting the finishing touch on our robot. It’s really different this year for me since I’m on Business now instead of Mechanical so the stress of putting actual items on the robot isn’t as big for me. However, there’s still a lot of planning and details that need to be worked out for my assignments. I can’t believe my last Build Season is coming to a close. It’s been an interesting one definitely but I’m glad I got to know my teammates better and gain new skills.


Minh-Chau Doan

Class of 2017

This week, we have mostly worked on manufacturing parts for our second robot and making some final decisions and changes. It has been really stressful, but all the chaos is exciting at the same time. It’s strange that I’m already about to end my third build season and I can tell that I have grown so much since freshman year.

Nikita Jagdish

Class of 2018

Plagued with a mixture of nerves and excitement, I remember heading to kickoff at San Jose State, just six weeks ago. Now, after countless hours of trudging to school, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I want more time! After finishing driving and manual two speed transmissions code, our chassis programming group’s latest challenge is working on programming automatic two speed transmissions. We’ve been working on mapping the correlation between joystick values and encoder rates for driving our test robot. I’ve also been working on combining all of this season’s code into one comprehensive project, a task that has been tedious but rewarding to complete. Though it’s exhausting, the moments of success, growth, and joy that pop up during the rigor and intensity of build season are what constantly reinforce my love for robotics.

Anisha Kabir

Class of 2019

On week 6 of Build Season, I mainly focused on CADing the front and back camera mounts and had help from Ayusha, Becky, and our mentors. Because there was some last-minute updates about the mounting place of the camera, each of the camera mount had to be modified several times. Although we had to build several versions of each of the two different camera mounts, my skills in CADing had improved a lot, my critical thinking in designing a mount has improved, and my confidence in CADing has grown. Now that Build Season is coming to an end, I feel that the excitement is starting to lower down, but I am looking forward towards the Steamworks competition.

Michelle Vanuy

Class of 2020

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