Team Name: Tri-Town Duct Tape Bandits
Team Size: 25 Students, 8 Mentors
Schools: Platt High School, Maloney High School, Wolcott High School, Rocky Hill High School
Competitions: UTC New England Regional (FRC), National Championships (FRC), PARC (FRC)
Awards: Highest Seed at PARC
Behind the 'Bots
Behind every robot is a story. A story of late nights, endless programming, and a rush to get everything done in only six weeks. Learn more about the design, fabrication, and achievements of each of our robots from our rookie year's bot to our latest robot, Gus 9.
In the year 1998, a single high school student from Wolcott High School approached his administration about starting a new FIRST Robotics team. After explaining the costs needed, the administration simply could not afford the program. But fear not, for the next year in 1999, a tri-town team was formed between the three Meriden high schools (Platt, Maloney, and Wilcox Tech), Wolcott High School, and Rocky Hill High school. To further fund our team in our rookie year, a $45,000 grant was given to our team, and a local company donated to us a used Bridgeport Milling Machine. At the same time, our school district was phasing out its machine shops in the high schools, and a lathe was donated to our team. With a milling machine and a lathe, we already had a enough tools to make a decent robot. However, our team lacked engineering support from a current mechanical engineer.
Since we were a rookie team, we needed to decide upon a team name. After a great debate, the name "Tri-Town Duct Tape Bandits" was settled upon. So with the name dispute settled, we began work on our robot. That year's game involved scoring "floppies" - basically circular beanbags filled with packing peanuts - into large goals. The higher you put your floppy, the more points you received. That year, our robot was a beast - almost everything was over-designed and overkill for the problem at hand. But despite its many flaws, we loved it anyway as it was our team's first FIRST robot. Our 1999 robot, which was christened "Augustus Roboticus Maximus", had only a quarter inch of ground clearance, transmissions made out of 3/8" (without any plans), and a sixty pound frame made of 1/4" aluminum.
With such a beefy robot, it was without a doubt that the robot was over the weight limit. But when the robot was eighteen pounds overweight, a serious "Swiss cheese" diet was going to be needed. Some various un-necessary components were taken off to shave a few pounds, but the robot was still overweight. The one thing left on the robot that could be taken off without losing functionality was a large 1/4" thick aluminum plate on each side of the robot that said "Augustus Roboticus Maximus". The team did not want to lose the entire name, so they started cutting off one section at a time. First up on the cutting board was the "Maximus"; but after that was removed the robot was still overweight. So we kept on cutting. Next to come off the robot was the "Roboticus" but unfortunately the robot was still overweight. Wanting to leave at least one part of the original name on the robot, the team cut off the "Au" and "tus" from "Augustus" leaving only "gus". As they brought the robot over to inspection to get weighed in, a wave of relief went through the team as they were finally under the weight limit. From this point onward, this robot's name (as well as every robot built by Team 228 thereafter) was now "Gus".
In 1999, Team 228 attended the UTC New England Regional and the National Championships in Florida, as well as one invitational competition the Pennsylvania Robot Challenge. (PARC) At that competition, Team 228 was the number one seeded team.
Games Competed In
Double Trouble, which was the first FIRST game in which Team 228 competed in, was also the second FIRST game to ever use a non-ball scoring object. (The first time was in 1997, Toroid Terror when inner tubes were used). The scoring object, called a "floppy", was a beanbag-like item which had a ring of Velcro around it. Scoring in the game involved the positioning of the robots, floppies, and giant mobile "puck" in the center of the playing field.