Over the March long weekend our team had the chance to compete at North Bay for our second district level competition. The night before leaving, Lisgar Robotics came to have us transport their robot and some of their equipment. It was a smooth drive to North Bay and we arrived at our hotel with time to spare. Most of our members had some free time to unwind after the long drive while a few of us went to set up the pit. The tournament went smoothly as a whole thanks to the efforts of the volunteers and the staff which made the experience more enjoyable for everyone. Now, on to the competition.
Compared to the Durham competition our robot was in much better condition but our main lifting component, the spine, was not working the way we intended. The mechanism was fairly consistent while going up but on the way down the two spine shafts would misalign and bind; without a working spine the robot was almost useless on the field. For most of the first day all we could do was play defence because of this pressing issue. Near the end of day 1 team 6336 the JavaWakies, who were in the pit behind us, recommended we use pam oil to lubricate the spine in hope to stop the binding. To our surprise the impact was instant and significant; it’s thanks to the JavaWakies that our spine worked and that we were able to be useful in our matches. With the spine working we noticed that compared to the other robots ours simply wasn’t as fast at placing the cubes on the scale. This was a flaw to our robot that could not be fixed because it was part of our design from the beginning. Being on the slower side made it harder for us to compete against the other teams and had a large impact on our ranking.
Despite the issues we faced, many good things took place. We met and worked with another Ottawa team, team 2994 the Astechz, to gather scouting data from the preliminary matches. Each team did their own scouting to maximize the data we had on the other teams. After the social on the second night our teams along with team 7267 Lisgar Robotics had a scouting meeting to determine the best course of action for each of our teams. The following morning during the alliance selection the Astechz had become captain of the sixth alliance however neither Lisgar Robotics nor we, the RoboRavens, were chosen to be on an alliance. Our fellow Ottawa team put up a good fight against the number three alliance but unfortunately lost to them in the quarterfinals.
Since our travel partners, Lisgar Robotics, were also not selected for the elimination games we left the competition together at 1:30 and had an easy drive back to Ottawa. The students were all home in time for dinner but the mentors needed to return our rented minivans so they didn’t get home until a bit later; the extra work they put in behind the scenes is very appreciated. We have learned lots from this competition and will use our experiences to better ourselves and carve our path forwards.