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2023-2024 Centerstage: Gustav

Gustav is possibly our fastest robot yet. Its foundation is built on a 16.5x18-inch mecanum drivetrain with 1150 rpm motors, providing nearly 3 times the maximum speed of our previous robots. Our collection made up of 3 stationary spinning hex-shafts with surgical tubing and 1 drop-down bar allows us to collect pixels from all over the field, even in corners. These collection pieces, paired with a laser-cut funnel transfer the pixels into a box, which closes a latch and rotates to score on the backdrop.

Our high-speed lift raises the box to any height, giving us potential set line bonus points.

Sensors on the box automatically close the latch and rotate the box to the optimal angle proportional to the backdrop, optimizing our scoring capabilities. 

The drone launcher is one of our most iterated designs. Starting with an inconsistent rubber-band launcher and 9 iterations later, our final design includes a spring-powered launcher with adjustable angle control with an innovative, yet reliable nose-heavy drone.

We have an extremely simple yet effective suspension design consisting of a spring-loaded winch, which instantly deploys, giving us a fastest hang of 0.8 seconds. 

We also have an innovative deploying finger on the box, which lets us move around pixels already on the backdrop, allowing us to score mosaics more consistently.

With a young team this year, Gustav's simple, yet effective design outperformed our expectations, granting us the Finalist Alliance Captain at our Qualifier, as well as the Think Award, and Inspire Award Second Place.


2022-2023 Power Play: Rotato

Rotato features an innovative rotating turret (hence the name) with vertical sliders and an active rubber-band intake. We decided on a 12x12-inch mecanum drivetrain, allowing easy maneuverability through junction poles.

The rubber-band collection was designed to instantly collect cones upon touching them. A high-speed motor spins two bars in opposite directions, collecting the cone into an automatic funnel system. To deliver, the motor direction is simply reversed. To reduce weight, all of the collection components were 3D printed, and our structural components had internal ribbing for support.

Our slider system went through many different iterations. Our initial design had 6 steel slides facing forward, allowing for wobble, which caused us to tip over 3 times in our Qualifier and State competitions. The new design featured inward-facing aluminum MISUMI slides, significantly reducing back-and-forth motions.

Our innovative turret features a Lazy Susan Turntable with a 3D-printed internal ring gear, allowing us to turn nearly 1000 degrees without problems. This helps us score from the stack in autonomous to the closest low junction without moving the drivetrain. 

Rotato's innovative and calculated design helped us win the Inspire award at both our Qualifier and the Illinois State Championship, as well as performing as the Finalist Alliance First Pick at the Qualifier.


2021-2022 Freight Frenzy: Maximus Prime

Maximus Prime Reveal Video

Maximus Prime is built on a 12x12 inch mecanum drivetrain to fit between barrier and field wall. Strafing wheels help to roll against the wall and make it easier for the driver. The main collection mechanism is the set of star wheels and surgical tubing in front to quickly bring in blocks and balls. A transfer mechanism consisting of surgical tubing moves the freight into a hopper on the lift. The hopper has polycord fingers in the back to hold freight in and push it out when desired. Two sets of MiSUMi slides mounted on top of eachother at a slight angle allow Maximus Prime to reach well above the tom level of the Shipping Hub. To score ducks off the carousel, Maximus Prime uses a horizontal motor and bevel gears powering a compliant wheel. To score heavy blocks on the Shared Shipping Hub in Teleop and to score Shipping Elements in End Game, we use a separate arm to be as time efficient as possible. A magnet on the end of the arm flips down at the beginning of a match and locks in place with a spring loaded pin. The magnet is also spring loaded and is pulled up to release freight with a servo through a bowden cable. The cable goes through a ball joint, where the magnet is attached, which allows for precise pick up and release of freight. The angled arm and motor assembly can be quickly mounted on the robot side needed for the assigned alliance color without the use of any tools.


Maximus Prime preformed very well during the Freight Frenzy season and was ranked 11th place at the State Competition. We were all pleasantly surprised by Maximus Prime's scoring and had a very fun year throughout Freight Frenzy!

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This season, Annatar competed in four remote League Meets, Qualifier, States, and advanced to Worlds. Because of Covid-19, none of our competitions could be in-person and Worlds had to be cancelled. Despite all the challenges faced this year, we have been very blessed to compete this year and design a highly competitive innovative robot.

2020-2021 Ultimate Goal: Annatar

Annatar Reveal Video

Annatar was a very innovative robot with many unique features. Annatar uses mecanum wheels and odometry to easily and accurately move in all directions in the field. Annatar was designed around an Actobotics extrusion frame that allowed team members to easily mount and adjust components. In the back of the robot, Annatar’s double four-bar linkage grabs, lifts, and ejects the Wobble Goal in Autonomous and End Game. For collecting the rings, Annatar’s active intake uses four, star-shaped paddle wheels to quickly bring rings into the transfer. To transfer the rings from the collection to the launcher, Annatar has two large 3D printed corkscrews to easily lift the ring into the launchers. The two corkscrews are powered by one motor connected to two bevel gears to move them at the same speed and in opposite directions. Once a ring reaches the top of the corkscrews, another star-shaped paddle wheel helps to push the ring into the launching wheels consistently. For launching, Annatar has a double flywheel launcher on two lead screws driven by servos to adjust the angle of the entire assembly as needed during a match. 

Annatar has over 25 3D printed parts and over 30 CNCed parts, which, along with the rest of the robot, are designed in Fusion 360. 

Mando competed in the League Qualifier, Illinois State Championship, and advanced to the World Championships. Unfortunately, Wolds was cancelled due to COVID-19 and we were not able to compete with Mando. At Qualifier, we won 1st place Inspire, as well as at States! Our mentor, Dr. Davis, also won the Compass award at States. Although this year didn’t end as we had hoped, we were very blessed to compete with Mando. 

2019-2020 Skystone: Mando

For accurate maneuverability, Mando’s drivetrain uses mecanum wheels and odometry. We have an Actobotics extrusion frame that allows us to easily mount and adjust mechanisms. To control the foundation, Mando uses touch sensors and 3D printed wedges mounted on servos on the front bumper. For collecting blocks, Mando's active intake uses spring-loaded compliant wheels which quickly pull stones into the hopper. To deliver the collected stone, we use a chain linkage mounted on sliders to stack stones up to 38 inches. The chain linkage maintains stone orientation to ensure accurate delivery. 

Mando has several unique features developed by different team members. One such feature is a proximity sensor in the hopper that signals our delivery mechanism to autonomously grip the collected stone. To score the capstone on top of the tower, Mando has a little pocket on the back of the scoring mechanism. Scoring it is as simple as backing up, and lowering the linkage. This minimizes weight and works in conjunction with stone delivery. Using AutoDesk Fusion 360, we design and then produce many custom parts with precise hole placement, accurate angles, and minimal weight. In all, Mando has 20 CNCed and over 20 3D printed parts.


Charon competed at our League Qualifier, Illinois State Championship, and World Championship in Detroit. We were chosen for a finalist alliance at Qualifier, and considered for a finalist alliance by the top team at Worlds. We were 1st place Inspire at Qualifier, 3rd place Think and 2nd place Inspire at State, and nominated for Connect at Worlds. We had a very blessed year with Charon!

2018-2019 Rover Ruckus: Charon

Charon Reveal Video

Charon uses a mecanum drivetrain that allows it to maneuver easily across the field. It uses linear slides to extend our double-wheeled spinner into the crater to easily and quickly collect both balls and blocks. The slides then return back to the robot and dump the minerals into the hopper/delivery system. Our innovative delivery sorts both balls and blocks. The robot is positioned at the corner of the lander for a quick delivery by the sorter. The blocks slide under the curve of the sorter while balls roll off the curve. Our vertical lift system uses large pulleys for speed and small pulleys for high torque. Charon also uses a color sensor and color strip for lift position in both autonomous and teleop. We used several CNC and 3D printed parts on Charon. This includes our phone case, drivetrain side plates, spools, side panels, and lift system. 

2017-2018 Relic Recovery: Legacy

Our Relic Recovery competition robot, Legacy, uses a four-door grabbing mechanism to collect glyphs. This mechanism is on a pivot, allowing it to flip to grab a second glyph or to rearrange the colored glyphs for a cipher. In addition to turning 180 degrees, the grabbers move in a horizontal motion to allow maneuverability and fine-tuning in collecting and scoring glyphs. This motion allows us to use a quick and defensive West Coast drive while still being capable of precision glyph scoring.

The relic grabber uses a 3D printed mold that lines up exactly with the shape of the relic. Because of this shape, the relic slides right into place and stays in the secure grip while the robot moves around on the field. This grabber is mounted on drawer-slides that allow us to score the relic standing in the third zone.

Legacy competed at our League Qualifier, Illinois State, NSR, and Detroit Worlds. At State, we were chosen as part of the winning alliance. At NSR, Legacy’s performance allowed us to compete in the division semi-finals. At Detroit Worlds, our team was blessed to win the Connect Award!


2017-2018 Relic Recovery: Robot(s) in 3 Days!

As soon as the game was released, we got to work on our 2017 Relic Recovery Ri3D robot. This year, because of the size of our team, we built two Ri3D bots: Casebot (top) and Caluper (bottom).

Casebot utilized diagonal grabbers which allowed us to grab glyphs no matter what position they were in as we approached them. The diagonal grabbers were then mounted on two side-by-side drawer-slide lifts that enabled us to score the glyphs in the cryptobox.

Our second Ri3D bot, Caluper (pronounced ca-LOOP-er), uses a simple two-door mechanism to grip the glyphs. This system is connected to a single set of drawer-slides that allow us to raise and lower the glyphs. Our relic recovery tool has two teeth that slide on a rack-and-pinion system to grip the relic. The rack-and-pinion system is located on the end of an arm that starts folded back but then swings up and around to lift the relic off the ground.

We made a few updates to Caluper, removing the relic mechanism and adding in a jewel arm for autonomous. We used Caluper in our first three league meets, and we were very pleased with how it performed, winning all but one of the fifteen matches it competed in.

2016-2017 Velocity Vortex Robot: Crossfire V2

Crossfire V2 Reveal Video

After the State Competitions, we had a lot of good data on what we could do in order to have a competitive robot at the North Super Regional. We had 3 main goals for our next iteration robot:

  1. Increase the number of particles scored per round.

  2. Make a 100% consistent 2 beacon autonomous.

  3. Make the robot easier for pit crew and drive team to interact with.

Our refined Crossfire robot retained the foam paddle spinner, but we replaced the surgical tubing with neoprene rubber sweepers that elevate the particles up to the hopper. We have a “bubble hopper” that pops up to allow us to store all 5 particles in our robot. Our launch system still features the “Choo-Choo” catapult linkage to launch particles quickly and consistently. We have gotten a high score of 15 particles scored by only our robot; we average 9 particles per round in competition.


Crossfire’s autonomous scoring system includes a set of drop-down side wheels to let us drive along the wall, and we score the beacons with our rack-and-pinion button-pusher. We ran our 2 beacon auto program 9 times at NSR, and we scored 17/18 beacons that event. We are able to score 2 particles in an assistance location to work with any alliance partner. We can also park on either the center or corner vortex.

Our robot has the ability to score the cap ball in the end game. We use an innovative “Crawler Jaw” to pull in the cap ball and hold it in the jaw. This design lets us get the cap ball from anywhere on the playing field. Our lift goes from the bottom to full extension in 3 seconds. At NSR we averaged 14.625 seconds to cap (from driving to the ball to it being capped).


We designed our robot to work well with any team. FTC Stats gave our robot Crossfire an OPR score of 132.7 points for the NSR competition. At the St. Louis World Championship, we were Fourth Seed Alliance Captain where we competed in the semifinals.


2016-2017 Velocity Vortex Robot: Crossfire

Crossfire Reveal Video

After building our Robot in 3 Days, we started work on our main competition robot. While planning the new robot, we determined that we needed to add the ability to score the beacons in autonomous and score the cap ball in end game. Crossfire was the result.

Most of Crossfire’s design is an improved version of Velociraptor. We kept the EVA foam paddle at the front of the robot and added surgical tubing beater bars above the paddle to lift the balls into our hopper system. The "Choo-Choo" catapult design was also recycled with some improvements as it had proven to work very well.

We added a cap ball lift at the back of Crossfire to allow us to cap in end game. The mechanism uses polycore belting to quickly grab and score the cap ball which allows us to collect and score in under 15 seconds.

Crossfire’s quick-capping system and fast particle scoring allowed us to be the first pick of the winning alliance at Meramec which, along with the Inspire Award, qualified us for MO State where we competed later that year.

2016-2017 Velocity Vortex Robot in 3 Days: Velociraptor

Velociraptor Reveal Video

Velociraptor was our first Robot in 3 Days (Ri3D) robot. It utilized an EVA foam paddle to collect particles, which were then funneled into a spring-loaded catapult. The catapult used a "Choo-Choo" mechanism to allow for easy firing and was incredibly accurate.

Velociraptor competed at 2 league meets and did not lose a single match due to its 2 ball autonomous and 7-10 ball teleop. Overall we are very pleased with the outcome of our first Robot in 3 Days and hope to repeat the challenge next year.


2015-2016 Res-Q Robot: Hannibal (V1 and V2)
Res-Q Game Video

For our Res-Q year, our robot was a combination of a climbing and an extending robot. It used treads off of a robotic pool cleaner to climb, which worked well enough to allow us to climb to the high zone within two weeks of the game release. However, as we added more parts to our robot to allow us to score debris, we began to have a problem with falling backward off the ramp.

In addition to the treads, Hannibal V1 had a lead screw driven lift, which allowed us to shift our center of gravity while climbing as well as get one load of blocks in the high goal. To collect debris, we used a rubber band reel which collected blocks extremely quickly since the rubber bands would catch the edge of a block and roll it into our scoop. From there, the scoop arm would raise and the blocks would slide back into a tread system which would score off to the side.

As we continued to make modifications, our tipping problem grew worse, so we decided to switch the orientation of the collection to the other side of the robot, decrease its width, and add a side-to-side rack and pinion. This effectively eliminated our tipping problem, allowed us to score in the high goal much more effectively (fitting 14 blocks in during practice), and eventually hang from the top bar.

For autonomous, we were able to deliver the climbers into the shelter or park fully on the ramp low zone. By ourselves we could score 10 blocks in the high goal, trigger all 3 climbers, and hang for a total of 255 points.

We did not advance from North Super Regional, but we won the Promote Award there. During our Res-Q season, we greatly increased our precision manufacturing skills and helped a lot of teams figure out the new Android control system. Since we did not advance to the World Championship which is located only half an hour away, we took the opportunity to volunteer. In doing so we got a lot of great tips from teams there, and had a great time watching all the robots compete.

2015-2016 Res-Q Robot: Sabertooth (unused)
About the time of the Missouri State Championship, our main Res-Q robot started having major problems with the rubber treads popping off. This, along with our low maneuverability and the fact that we could only get about 10 blocks in the high goal each match, prompted us to take on the project of building a completely new extension-based robot to be used at the World Championship.

Sabertooth utilized a layered rubber-band collection system which could collect a full load of five blocks in 2.5 seconds. It then transported the blocks to the mountain goals by means of a 3-stage cascaded linear lift that could deploy in 3 seconds and had enough torque for us to hang. We didn't have it finished by North Super Regionals, but we later completed it after our season ended and have used it for multiple demos and presentations. After some slight modifications to the hopper design, we were able to score five loads of blocks in a match.

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2014-2015 Cascade Effect Robot: C4

Cascade Effect Game Video

C4 used a dual-height spinning foam paddle to gather the balls. Our hopper would then rise to the correct goal height by means of our linear lift and score out the back into the goals.

In all of our competitions leading up to the World Championship, we had a rubber-band reel which was very innovative and cool, but it was limiting our scoring. After some testing, we changed to the foam paddle which increased our ball pickup speed by 500%! (To gather a full load of 5 balls we went from 15 seconds to 3 seconds)

We could reach all the goals, and by the end of our season, we could fill the 90 cm and 120 cm goals, as well as possibly getting a few balls in the 60 cm. At the World Championship, we had a consistent center goal autonomous. We also had 140 point ramp autonomous which drove off the ramp, scored a ball in the 60 cm goal, scored a ball in the 90 cm goal, and then brought all 3 goals back to the parking zone. This made us one of only two teams at the World Championship who were able to score 140 points in autonomous.

In practice by ourselves our high score was 653 points, and with another robot (Team #4211 The Bombers) we scored 924 points: all the points available in tele-op and all but 30 available in autonomous.

At the 2015 World Championship we had a record of 6 wins, 3 losses, and ended in 21st place in our division. We were not picked for an alliance, but we had an awesome year and learned a ton about electrostatic-discharge and properly using the design process.

C4 later acted as the ringbearer at the wedding of two Robo Raiders alumni.

2013-2014 Block Party Robot: FLUFF-E 

Block Party Game Video

To collect and score blocks, FLUFF-E (Fun-Loving Unit of Fantastic FIRST Engineering) had a scoop with bent-over edges to allow for a wider, and thus faster, collection. We also had a flag spinner that could raise the flag in 3-4 seconds. To hang, we had an arm that raised a hook and attached to the bar. We could then winch in our cable with a dual-speed winch (high speed to pull in the cable slack, high torque to lift the robot). It was excellent for double hanging, but we never fully accomplished a double hang at Worlds.

At the World Championship, we had a full scoring autonomous program that could score the autonomous block in the IR goal consistently and then get on the ramp. It was also set up with a menu so we could easily select from one of three starting positions, as well as having the ability to select which side of the ramp to go up and a variable 0 to 15-second delay.

By ourselves, we could score 15 to 16 blocks, raise the flag, and hang for about 190 points.

At the World Championship we had a record of 4 wins, 5 losses, and ended ranked 43 in our division. Our rookie year was really fun and we learned a ton about the many different ways to accomplish a task.

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