Category Archives: Janky News

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 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 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!


Week 3 of Build


As Build Season is passing by quickly, the Janksters struggle to make the most efficient use of their time, but they remain productive and enthusiastic.

In fact, the Electronics Committee is making their finishing touches on their board, which they have been designing through CAD. One of these designs is figuring out how they will wire their board to the chassis.

The Programming Committee has been teaching their rookies valuable skills through experience. The rookies had to make a presentation about gyros and accelerometers that even the veterans ending up learning from! They have also been testing out the electronic board and deploying codes.

The Mechanical Committee has been busy in their different groups:

Field Elements have completed the CADing of the drive station and finished all their prototyping, as well as the mockup.

The Scaling Committee is also working on CADing and are almost done! Through overcoming obstacles as a team, they have bonded greatly, and the rookies have developed the critical thinking required to find easy solution.

Finally, the Chassis group has almost finished making 4 different gearboxes and are trying to complete their portion by their deadline.

Finally, Marketing has made great progress, as they have decided on their final designs and are ready to print. A social media plan has been implemented, and bows are almost completed, as well as the costume for our mascot. They have also created the Robot Reveal invitations, which are ready to send out.

We also had some non-Build Season related events that were really fun! For example, on Saturday, a few 7th graders in the LEAD program came to visit our team, and we had the opportunity to show them our committees firsthand. We can’t wait to meet a new group of students again next year and hope that they join robotics, no matter where they choose to go.  Today, our team took some time to relax and watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail to go with our medieval theme in this year’s competition, Stronghold.

As usual, we could not have done any of this without our amazing sponsors, mentors, and parents. Thanks so much!

Week 2 of Build

Credit to Tamara Kawa

This second week has been an amazing for the Janksteres, who remain productive and diligent.

The Marketing Committee has been making bows that the Janksters will wear at upcoming competitions. They have also finalized giveaways, the annual t-shirt as well as button design, and the design for the team’s standard. A social media plan is now finalized, and updates to our website have been made. A few members were able to attend a Networking Presentation, where they captured the attention of new, generous sponsors.

Our amazing programers have been working hard. They have researched for their daunting task of programming the robot,  including attending a special presentation yesterday, where they has the opportunity to learn more about electronics. The veterans created a challenging quiz to help them stay on task, and they are now forming a plan based on the Mechanical and Electronic components.

The Electronics committee has completed the task of creating a board for the robot and worked on their first electronics project. Not to mention, they have been working tirelessly to complete BOM measurements to make sure the Janksters are ready for competition.

During the past few days, the mechanical sub committees have made progress on their separate projects:

The ball manipulation group has been brainstorming and taking dimensions. They have also finalized their general plan by analyzing what will fit on the chassis.

The scaling group has been pondering the logistics of their mechanism and how to keep that mechanism going. There have been some obstacles, but we have no doubt that their Janky minds will soon find a solution!

Finally, the chassis group has been taking the necessary measurements and they have been CADing, in order to figure out the proper spacings required.

All in all, The Janksters have completed so much in the span of seven days, and we can not thank our mentors and parents enough for their support!

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Week 1 of Build


This week has been both chaotic and productive for the Janksters, who are almost finished prototyping the various brainstorms for their robot.

During Kickoff, we divided into groups to read the game manual before joining together to make a list of our goals. On the second day, we we went through that list to prioritize the ones most practical and important for us. The team was then dispersed again to brainstorm the various components of the game, such as strategy, mechanism, and defense. Throughout the next few days, these groups divided further into subcommittees:

The Scaling Group first came up with three ideas and were able to create a mockup of one possible mechanism.

The Field Element Group recreated three of the Stronghold defenses- rock wall, ramparts, and moat-, and they are currently working on the low bar, which is proving to be a challenge.

The Ball Manipulation Group took a look at previous year’s robots for inspiration and recently tried out various wheels with their prototyped mechanism. The wheels are now decided, but they have to figure out the spacing of where everything should be placed and are considering janky ideas for the robot.

The Chassi group made up of many rookies and veterans commented that they had bonded a lot already in just the first week. They brainstormed about possible designs and whether they were feasible through a lot of math. Now, they are prototyping their top ideas.

Programming is working on training their rookies on C++, as they must wait for a final plan from the other committees in order to start their work.

Marketing has also been very productive, finalizing their final t-shirt, standard, and button design. A social media plan also been decided on, as well as this year’s giveaway.

All in all, the Janksters are so excited about the return of Build Season and hope to keep the productive spirit of it’s members!

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Credit to Tamara Kawa

by Tamara Kawa ‘16

Originally posted on Notre Dame High School

It’s that season of the year again – FIRST Robotics Competition Build Season! And Notre Dame’s very own FRC Team 1967 Janksters couldn’t be more excited! Eager to start a new build season, the Janksters woke up at 7:30 am and eagerly waited for the new game to be announced. Before long, the room was abuzz with excitement for this year’s game – FIRST Stronghold.

FIRST Stronghold is a great throwback to previous FRC challenges that includes an innovative, medieval twist to capture-the-flag. The 2016 FRC game is played by two alliances, each with three teams, whose main objective is to breach the enemy’s defenses and capture their tower. To capture a tower, the robots must launch boulders past castle walls until the tower is sufficiently weakened. However, before attacking and scoring points, robots need to be able to get past the enemy’s defenses. These obstacles, following the game’s medieval theme, include drawbridges, portcullises, and even a moat!

The Janksters were pumped from the first second. Moments after the reveal, Emma Ryan, sophomore and mechanical co-lead, stated, “I think this game is definitely more exciting than last year’s game, but I do see that it’s going to be more of a challenge – especially with those changing field elements.” Tiffany Ta, junior and mechanical co-lead, adds “It’s going to be a lot harder than last year’s game, but it’s also going to be really, really fun.” After rewatching the game video and taking inventory of the Kit of Parts, Team 1967 read through the game manual, thoroughly investigating each section and rapidly noting the important restrictions. With the game understood, the girls then enacted a few rounds of FIRST Stronghold, followed by a strategic brainstorm session that left the students eager to explore the game more. Anisha Kabir, a freshman experiencing her first build season, commented, “It looks challenging, but I’m excited to see what we’ll do!”

The following Sunday was dedicated to prototyping mechanisms that could breach defenses and launch boulders. Rookies and veterans alike spent hours with whiteboards and computers, researching machines that complete similar tasks and drawing out their various ideas.  Another group of Janksters finalized the team’s strategy, considering all the ideas from the brainstorming session and debating the benefits and drawbacks for each. Throughout the morning and afternoon, the Janksters left no stone – or boulder – unturned as they explored all the possibilities of the 2016 game. Adriana Mulla-Carrillo, a mentor and team alumna from the Class of 2012, marvelled, “Just seeing how far the strategy discussions have come has been really cool to see.” At the end of the day, when the team came together to discuss their findings, all the mentors were amazed by the depth with which the Janksters discussed their mechanisms and strategies. Yashna Bansal, team admin and Class of 2017, reflected “It was very nice to see all the ideas come together, especially when those four groups put their mechanisms together.”

In just two days, Team 1967 has made amazing progress in building a robot for one of the most dynamic FRC challenges yet. What will FIRST Stronghold have in store for the Janksters? They may not know quite yet, but they’re enjoying every second of it.

2016 FRC Challenge!

Credit to FIRST
 This year’s competition, Stronghold, is played with two alliances of three robots. Both teams are on a Quest to breach their opponents’ defenses, as well as weaken and capture their opponents’ tower with boulders.

There are nine possible defenses, but only five are on the field per Alliance – these are referred to as the “Outer Works”. The low bar is constant throughout each match, but one other is chosen by the audience, and the three remaining are chosen by Alliances. A defense is only reduced when an opposing robot crosses it once, but after being crossed two times, the defense becomes damaged. When four out of the five defenses are damaged, these fortifications are “breached”, so the team that has crossed will be awarded extra points.

During autonomous (first 15 seconds), Alliances can accumulate points through moving to their opponents’ defenses, crossing it, or scoring boulders in their rival tower.

In Teleop (final 2 minutes and 15 seconds), Alliances accumulate points while defending their castle, obtaining as well as scoring boulders, and possibly capturing or scaling their opponents’ tower.

Each Alliance’s tower has a high and low goal, into which boulders will be shot into and if successful, will reduce the tower’s strength. When enough boulders have been scored, the tower can be captured during the last 20 seconds by the rival Alliance surrounding or scaling it.

For more information, take a look at this year’s game manual:

Here is this year’s game animation:


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