Category Archives: Build Season

2016 Stronghold

Last year’s challenge, Stronghold, was played by two alliances of three teams each. These alliances compete to breach their opponents’ defenses, the outer works, and capture their tower. They score points by crossing defenses in their opponents’ outer works, scoring boulders in their opponents’ tower high or low goals, and surrounding and scaling their opponents’ tower at the end of each match.

The game is played on a 27 ft. by 54 ft. field, in which each alliance is assigned one tower, five defenses, and a ‘secret passage’ where their robots restock on boulders. In addition to the low bar, three defenses are selected strategically by the alliance and one by the audience prior to the start of their match.

Each match begins with a 15-second autonomous period in which robots operate independently of human control and attempt to cross opposing defenses, s well as score in the opposing tower. 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.

For more info, click here

End of Build Season

My first build season as a part of Team 1967 was certainly an experience that I never would have had, hadn’t I joined Robotics. As a part of the Programming Committee, one of the main things we had to do before starting to work on our code was to go talk to the other committees to get a sense of which components we needed to program. At first, this task seemed very daunting to me, as I am naturally a very shy person, but after a while, I noticed that talking to others seemed to get easier and easier. Now, it doesn’t bother me at all to go talk to members of other committees, which is a rather large accomplishment for me. My favorite part of build season was Robot Reveal Night, because it was quite gratifying to see that all of our hard work hadn’t been for nothing, and had resulted in a functional robot.

Nandana Suresh

Class of 2019

Stop Build


The Janksters have made phenomenal progress this Build Season, and we are so proud of all members for their determination and organization throughout these challenging six weeks.

In Kickoff, the team was given a video and a 100-page game manual. They delved into the depths of the game in order to understand exactly what we need. Cynthis Chung ’19 commented, “By the end of the day, we ended up with a long list of great ideas that are going to contribute to the making of our robot”.

The team were then ready to come up with a strategy after sorting through everyone’s goals, ultimately deciding on one that would best fit our capabilities and objectives. Concrete ideas were created, and prototypes were made. Prototyping allowed everyone to experience problems and solve them, narrowing broad ideas to the best, msot rational option. Katie McLaughlin ’19 summed it up perfectly when she said “My favorite part is seeing all these crazy ideas start to form something that is becoming more realistic. After much discussion and troubleshooting, members started finalizing factors like how actual mechanism will function, materials they will use, and solving any issues that they come across”.

Once actual committees were created , the Build Season process became much more goal-oriented, and each group of students was able to bond throughout the next few weeks. Mechanical became separated into Ball Manipulation, Field Elements, Scaling, and Chassis. All committees kept working hard despite the time crunch of deadlines. but they began to stress when Robot Reveal came around the corner.

Though the team didn’t know if the robot was going to work in time, but it was fully functional for family, friends, and teachers to enjoy, so we were able to make finishing touches before Stop Build. Despite the many mechanisms it has, including 10 wheels, two electronics boards were able to fit on. Long hours did not bring anyone down, and around 2 hours before Bag and Tag, the robot was able to go around defenses, shoot boulders, and move with maneuverability.

Yesterday, our coach returned to school with various pints of ice cream to continue our tradition of naming the robot. She collected the names of the many employees that had helped her in the process of buying ice cream, toppings, and syrups. One name was picked out, and the team is ecstatic about the result. We are ecstatic to welcome Cierra of 2016 into our robot family!

The team is now preparing for competition, and the drive team has been decided. There’s a time crunch to get some practice in with the second robot, and all the committees are trying to consolidate items to pack. Additionally, members Tamara Kawa and Tiffany Ta are practicing for their presentation in Chariman’s Award, which they will show to the judges at our first competition, Central Valley Regional. Come out to Madera and watch Cierra perform for the first time on March 11 and 12th!



Robot Reveal Night 2016


On Sunday Night, Notre Dame High School was filled with excitement as the Janksters, Notre Dame’s robotics team, proudly presented the result of six weeks of hard work. More than 150 parents and teachers watched with amazement as the robot maneuvered its way across the Learning Commons!

The night started off with a student-run presentation about the general process the team goes through during Build Season from “kickoff” to “bag and tag.” The four main committees (mechanical, electronics, programming and marketing) then shared their goals and highlights from this year’s build season. Some of these goals were lofty and couldn’t be fully achieved, but students found true reward in the journey.

Following the student presentations, Coach Marta Carrillo shared details of the hours that had been contributed during the season – more than 8,000! When asked about the most significant part of the night, Nandana Suresh ’19 said it was “the amount of total hours everyone put in,” which was by far the most in the history of our team.

When it was finally time to reveal the robot, the crowd was full of excitement and curiosity. The robot made its way through the middle of the Learning Commons with maneuverability that did not disappoint. Amritha Sankrappan ’18 commented, “It was fun and a great learning experience. It was cool to see our robot move for the first time.” Some team members had never seen the robot’s full range of capabilities so they were as surprised as parents and teachers to see it pick up and shoot a boulder in the air before successfully crossing a defensive obstacle.

The last hour was set aside for the audience to see the robot up close, ask team members questions they may have, look at the marketing committee’s various accomplishments and mingle with others while enjoying snacks.
We hope our guests enjoyed Robot Reveal Night as much as the team did because their support has been our source of inspiration throughout the build season. We have further improved our robot since Robot Reveal Night and look forward to competition!

(Originally published on Notre Dame San Jose)


Week 6 of Build


Hooray! It’s the last week of the 2016 Build Season, and the Janksters are making loads of progress as they realize that Stop Build is only a few days away.

The Mechanical Committee has finished CADing for the most part, but subcommittees are struggling to finish their large projects:

Field Elements finished a full set of bumpers and are now trying to finish the second set of bumpers, along with a shield.

Scaling made revisions to their scissor lift in order to make it fully functional, and they have also created a cross brace on the chassis.They are a little behind schedule but working hard to mount, as well as build, various elements.

Chassis are very close to finishing the chassis for the final robot, but they do need to assemble parts for a second Chassis.

Point Scoring has built all of their components but are having worried that they may not have enough time to finish their mechanism!

The Programming Committee is nearly finished coding for the robot’s different elements, but they have to compile all of those codes to ensure that it works on the electronics board. They are currently working on autonomous and working through any obstacles that show up along the way.

Meanwhile, the Electronics Committee mounted and debugged various electronics boards on the robot, all of which were found to be successful!  However, they still have to mount the battery mount, work on limit switch mounting, and make a few finishing touches on the robot’s final electronics board.

Finally, Marketing has completed most of their projects, including bows, t-shirts, and buttons, all of which will be ready for Robot Reveal Night. They have been consistent with their social media plan and are now working hard on giveaways for competition. Robot Reveal will undoubtedly bring a few new tasks for the committee to work on.

We look forward to these last few days and will be proud of the robot, no matter it’s capabilities.

As usual, the team would not have been able to accomplish any of this without it’s sponsors, mentors, and parents. Thanks for all of the support!



Week 5 of Build

The team has been pushing to finish the robot during Week 5, finishing up all of the CAD and beginning to assemble the robot itself. As co-head of mechanical who is trying to balance both outreach work for Chairman’s and robot work, it’s been a pretty hectic week as I’ve been jumping around between working on award-related material and pushing my subgroup, the point-scoring mechanism, to finish everything on CAD and begin to put together the mechanism while keeping them on task. It’s been great to see everyone step up more and really realize the fact that we have a lot of work to do, yet so little time to do it before both Robot Reveal Night and Bag and Tag. I’m really looking forward to seeing how our robot turns out during Week 6!

Tiffany Ta

Class of 2017

As a rookie marketer, I’ve been learning a lot. This week, we’ve finished making all of our buttons for competition. We’ve also finished making all of our team bows and are about halfway done with making our giveaways. The most fun part of being a part of the team has been writing thank-you cards to people who have helped the team. This past week, we held a little Valentine’s Day event for our mentors. We 3D printed little keychains in the shape of a heart with gears to show our thanks for our mentors for working with us over the long weekend. I’m looking forward to attending my first robotics competition.

Emily Duh

Class of 2019

Week 5 Build

Credit to Tamara Kawa

It is already Week 5 of Build Season, and the Janksters have been continuing their hard work on the robot.

The Electronics Committee has finished making vertical boards, mounting components on both of their boards, and wiring talons to the power distribution panel.

The Programming Committee has been busy coding, which they are currently testing and debugging.

The Mechanical Committee sub-groups have been busy:

Field Elements is working on bumpers and the robot cart handles.

The Scaling Committee has manufactured parts for their scissor lift and winch. They have also finalized their CAD and are putting together their parts.

The Chassis group has started putting the chassis together since they are finished CADing.

Finally, the Marketing Committee has been working on the standard, and they have almost finished making bows. They have started button production and are currently working on Robot Reveal Night preparations.

Thank you to all of our sponsors, mentors, and parents for all of your help and support!

Week 4 of Build

For week 4, my subgroup decided to tackle the designing and CADing of the robot cart. It was really fun and a knowledgeable experiment. Since our subgroup has many miscellaneous projects, it was hard to switch gears, but although it was a challenge, we have an amazing robot cart. And though it will be hard to put this project away for the time being, we will switch gears yet again, this time, onto good bumpers for the robot. Despite being tough, this week was exciting as we’re getting closer to our final robot.

Ayusha Acharya

Class of 2018

I am in the Field Elements group in the Mechanical Committee. This week, I have accomplished to learn more about the chop saw, filing, and using the drill. We have been working on the bumpers and the handles for the robot cart. For me the most fun thing for me during build season so far was to work with my wonderful team and all the other Janksters. I made many new friends by working with my team, and I have learned a lot more about life in robotics as well as school through veterans.  I can’t wait to train the rookies next year!!

Anjali Kasula

Class of 2019

Week 2 of Build

Being a rookie at the same time as being involved in other activities makes the opening weeks of build season that much more hectic but also, so much more exciting. This past week marked the end of Week 2 of Build Season. Week 2 consisted of a lot of brainstorming and research. To make this process more efficient, my committee (mechanics) split into subgroups to tackle different components of the robot. I was assigned to the Scaling Subgroup to design a mechanism that can scale the tower in less than 15 seconds at the end of the match. My favorite part is seeing all these crazy ideas start to form something that is becoming more realistic. After much discussion and troubleshooting, we started finalizing factors like how actual mechanism will function, materials we will use, and solving any issues that we come across.

Kathryn McLaughlin

Class of 2019


Week 4 Build

Credit to Tamara Kawa

The Janksters have been working hard as Build Season continues. We are already into Week 4, and there has been a lot of progress.

The Electronics Committee has finished CADing for the sideboard and are finalizing the CAD for the vertical board. Right now, they’re working on mounting electronic pieces, such as the battery mount.

The Programming Committee has been presenting information on coding and making sure everyone is comfortable with deploying code. They have recently started writing the code for the robot.

The sub-groups of the Mechanical Committee have been keeping busy as well:

Field Elements has finished CADing for the robot cart.

The Scaling Committee has made progress with CADing the mounts and have finished CADing the main mechanism for the robot. They plan to start building this weekend and finishing the main mechanism.

Finally, the Chassis group has finished working on their gearboxes and have started working on the chains.

The Marketing Committee has continued working hard on designs. They completed robot reveal invitations  and are almost done with the team’s t-shirt designs.
There has also been progress on the team standard.

Thank you to all of our wonderful sponsors, mentors, and parents for helping us!


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