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Student Spotlight- Connor FitzGibbon

Connor FitzGibbon is a unique member on the Robo Vikes. As our new Shop Lead, his skill of manufacturing equipment has been a tremendous asset to the team. Connor is currently a junior in the class of 2020. This means that he will teach the new Robo Vikes all he knows for the next year to come. Connor provides insight, proficiency, and leadership to the mechanics team which allows them to operate in a more efficient manner.  This year, Connor undertook the fabrication of many key parts of the robot and led the team well as Pit Master, which means he was in charge of repairing the robot during competition.

Robotics 2018-2019 build season

Mr. Depta is very excited for next year with Connor on the team. He is experienced with all machinery and works numerous hours to lead the team to triumph. He wants to continue his education after Nolan at Texas A&M University in the hopes of getting a degree in mechanical engineering. Connor will definitely succeed in the future.


Robovikes invited to the Texas Robotics Invitational

Taking place at Strake Jesuit High School in Houston, Texas, the Texas Robotics Invitational is an off season event that has  taken place every summer since 2014. It was founded by FRC team 3847, Spectrum, and is staffed by many Houston area teams and volunteers. TRI focuses on bringing FRC teams together with FIRST values and has a priority on FRC teams in attendance to get experience on how a FRC competition works. On May 2nd, team 4206, the Robovikes, was invited to attend the event.  This is considered by many to be a major accomplishment, as only teams considered to be the best in state are invited to attend such an event. With less than 40 teams in attendance last year, tough competition is guaranteed. In previous years, teams such 148, the Robowranglers, team 118, the Robonauts, and team 624, Cryptonite, were some of the robots in the playoffs bracket at the event. Considering Team 4206’s excellent performance this year, Coach Ray Depta has expressed full confidence in the teams skills and ability to compete at the event.         

Coach’s Corner

It is the end of the school year and what a fantastic year it was.  We had a lot of new students on our team who have really developed into strong young engineers for our future.  We also will graduate several seniors (Please see the article) and we owe a debt of gratitude for their hard work and leadership this season. 

There are many things to be excited about at this time.  One, each day we watch as construction vehicles continue work on preparation for the new I.D.E.A. building. 

We will be going to Houston to compete in the Texas Robotics Invitational on June 28 and 29 at Houston Strake Jesuit High School.  We hope to get our young students a lot of valuable experience that will help get us ready for next season. 

Also, our students in Engineering II and III are cross training each other.  Veteran students, John Conover, Erik Cura, and Brennan Chan are training younger students in how to connect the electrical control system and pneumatics.  Adrianna Araujo and Connor FitzgGibbon are working on CAD projects to design a drive train and a gear box.  Senior students, Will & Ryan Bice, are trying to resurrect our robot from 2014 Aerial Assist robot.  Our hope is to get many of our old robots up and running.  This allows our students to have fantastic learning opportunities and with the new I.D.E.A. building, it will allow us to showcase historical robots and perhaps use them in real game simulations.  Remember, up to 6 robots are in a match. 

Luke Tompkins and Edson Omana are working on a Google Sheet and trying to fill it with all of our inventory. It includes images of each item as well as a link to the page from which to order it. This will be very helpful to the team.

Also, our team visited St. Andrew’s Elementary School in Fort Worth, one of our feeder schools, to discuss with their Principal, Mrs. Macias, the possibility of rebuilding their robotics program.  Students Adrianna Araujo, John Conlin, and Peter Granados, who are all alumni of St. Andrews, proposed their ideas and pledged their support to Ms. Macias. 

We are excited about 2019-20.

Graduating Seniors

As the year comes to a close our seniors begin to prepare for graduation. They have taught us so much during their time on the team. Here is a short look at all of our seniors and where they will be heading in the future.

William Bice has been on the team for 3 years he has been robot lead for the past two years. Will will be attending Texas Tech University where he will be studying mechanical engineering. His favorite memory was being a part of the pit crew during the World Championship in 2017, he enjoyed the overall design process of the robot and seeing it become a reality.

Ryan Bice has been on the team for 3 years and this year he was in charge of managing the team’s schedule as Schedule Lead. He will be attending Texas Tech University where he will be studying computer engineering. Ryan’s favorite memory is him doing such a great job at keeping everyone on task as schedule manager.

John Conover has been on the team for three years in which he has worked on electronics and pneumatics. John will be studying engineering and psychology at Loyola University at Chicago. John’s favorite memory on the team was fighting with lightsabers.

Peter Granados has been on the team for three years in which he enjoyed fabrication and assembly. Peter will be going to Texas A&M where he will be studying mechanical engineering.

Luke Tompkins has been on the team for one year, he was on the marketing team and helped with inventory. Luke will be studying chemical engineering at the Oklahoma State University. His favorite memory was working on inventory.

Edson Omana has been on the team for one year and he has been vital in marketing for the team. Next year Edson plans on attending Texas A&M to study biomedical engineering. His favorite memory was inventorying our shop and classroom.

Brandon Yu has been on the team for one year. Next year Brandon will be attending Texas Tech University to study computer engineering. Brandon’s favorite memory was going to competitions and assembling mechanisms.

Matthew Vu has been on the team for one year in which he worked on programming the robot. Matthew will be attending The University of Texas at Austin where he will be studying Electrical Engineering (Computer Science Track). His favorite thing about being on the team was being able to meet many new friends on the Robovikes and learn from mentors who have so much experience in the engineering industry. His favorite memory was when we won the Chairman’s Award because we had another chance to show we were a team worthy of competing at state and acknowledge the efforts of the Chairman’s Team.

Jordan Schwartz has been on the team for 3 years. He will be attending Texas Tech and majoring in Political Science. His favorite memories were all the fun we had as a team at school, after school, and on the trips, especially at Austin this year. 

Thank you seniors and good luck!

Control Systems

One aspect of the robot that doesn’t seem to have much time in the limelight is the control systems. The control systems of the robot are everything electronic, from the battery to the light-based targeting camera, that is on the robot. Control systems in FRC may accommodate numerous robot functions, from precise motor rotation speeds to piston actuations to camera assisted automatic object targeting. As indicated by the name, control systems are the bridge between having a working robot and controlling a working robot.

The quintessential control system layout most robotics teams use includes a Power Distribution Panel (to provide power), a Voltage Regulator Module (to provide power to more sensitive equipment), a Pneumatics Control Module (to provide power to and allow codeable pneumatics), Motor Controllers (to allow motors’ variable speeds), a Roborio (to read and execute code) and a radio (to connect with the driver station). Besides these, there are several other components that can be added to a control system for various uses, like a wi-fi switch, cameras, or even gyroscope sensors. The control system is simple enough for a high school student to learn but complicated enough that functional possibilities are endless.

The current electronics team


One of the final projects for this year is to implement the new inventory system. This task has been assigned to members Luke Tompkins and Edson Omana. This new system was developed using Google Sheets. The form includes the part, the part number, the image of the part, the number we currently have both in and out of use, and the link to order the part. This new inventory system enables increased productivity and organization.  This system was badly needed. In the past there have been multiple occasions when we have ordered parts that we already had before. It allows for easier accessibility for the students to know when to order parts. In addition, this new system can also be beneficial to the new members joining in the fall. They can be assigned to inventory and become familiar with all of the parts and items we use throughout the year.20190506_105434Screenshot 2019-05-10 at 9.00.01 AM20190506_105326

Coach’s Corner

Happy Easter!  Our FRC season came to an end a few weeks ago, but not without a glorious finish.  In March, the Robo Vikes competed in both the Plano and Dallas District Events and although we were knocked out in the first round of the elimination rounds, we were presented with a very pleasant surprise at the award ceremony. 

The Robo Vikes were voted by the judges as the winner of the Chairman’s Award of the Dallas District Event and this allowed the Robo Vikes to automatically qualify to compete in Austin at the State District Championship.  The Chairman Award is the most prestigious team award awarded by FIRST.  It is presented to the team who the judges feel best exemplifies the values of FIRST.  John Conlin headed up the team which included Alex Alvarado and Brenden Ewert, and this is the first time the Robo Vikes won the Chairman’s Award. We are very proud of our Lead, John, and the Chairman’s for setting a high precedence for future Chairman’s Teams, especially since this is John’s first year as a Chairman’s Lead.

Our trip to Austin was a fabulous one as the Robo Vikes and the robot were moving on all cylinders.  The robot performed very well in every match, often completing one hatch panel during autonomous and then as many as 8 cargo balls during the teleop period.  Although the team was dissapointed it did not qualify for the World Championship in Houston, everyone was very happy with the way the season ended.

This has been a fabulous year.  This is the first year in team history where the team completed building two fully functioning robots (The competition robot and the practice robot) as well as building a plywood sided prototype robot.  The team had the most driver practice we have ever had as well. 

The week before Easter, the team met to evaluate the season.  Mentor Mike Crance led the team through the evaluation process.  As the school year winds to a close, the older students are busy cross training the younger ones and the team is busy getting all our previous robots back up and fully functioning.  Overall, this has been a very successful season. 

Austin – Driver Meeting

Robo Vike Alumni

Team 4206 at Austin

The Robo Vikes competed in the FRC Texas State District Championship held April 3-6 in Austin, TX. The team was able to qualify to go to this championship thanks to our Chairman’s team winning the Chairman’s award during the Dallas District Event. It is a honor and a privilege for the Robo Vikes to be able to move on to this event and compete with the best teams in the state of Texas. The team was outstanding in their performance during this event as every member of the team worked as hard as they could. The scouts were able to provide accurate and precise data of the other teams during the competition so the drive team could be prepared for their upcoming matches. The pit crew worked efficiently and effectively in order to do routine maintenance checks on the robot while changing out the battery and switching the bumpers when needed. The chairman’s team worked hard to impress the judges with their presentation and were even stopped by a judge afterwords who told them that their presentation was excellent.

Robot performance improved at Dallas due to improvements made and lessons learned in Plano, allowing the Robo Vikes to end up ranking 34th out of the 64 teams present at State. Unfortunately the Robo Vikes were not picked by any of the top 8 teams for playoffs and did not qualify for the Houston World Championship. This does not mean that this season was an failure though as the Robo Vikes were able to create a fully functioning robot that efficiently did what the team created it for. The 2019 FRC season for the Robo Vikes has set a new standard for the team on how they should be able to perform from here on out and everyone involved in this season should be proud of what they accomplished.

Team 4206 at Dallas

The team competed in the FRC Dallas District competition from March 30-31st. The team competed hard in this event but ended up losing during the quarterfinals of the event. The team ended up competing as the 8th team alliance captain but lost to FRC Team 148 which led the 1st seed alliance. However there were many other events that happened during this competition that made it one of the most pleasing competitions the team has participated in so far. The robot this time around was up and down in terms of full functionality. However when the robot was fully operational it worked like a charm. The teams pit also earned the safety pit of the day for how clean the team was able to make it throughout the whole competition. When the matches were over the team was sure that our 2019 season had come to a close. However in the end the team won the most prestigious award FIRST gives, the Chairman’s Award. The award is given to the team that best represents the model of First and is a great representation of how all teams should act. This award was able to continue our 2019 season and let us go to the state championship in Austin Texas.

Student Spotlight- Oscar Morales

Team 4206 is home to a plethora of great leaders and students deserving of recognition.  One of the big standouts is Oscar Morales, a sophomore and fabrication genius.  He brings a lot of value to the mechanics team while also providing the important role of safety captain.  Oscar provides a great deal of insight and proficiency to the mechanics team which allows them to operate in a more efficient manner.  This year, Oscar undertook the fabrication of many key parts of the robot.

As safety captain,  Oscar wrote the safety manual and presented how the team operates safely to the judges.  His efforts as safety captain were recognized when the judges awarded team 4206 with the Safety pit of the day award- one of the safety awards that can be given to an FRC team.

Oscar leads by example with his frequent attendance and passion for the Robo Vikes. When asked about the Robo Vikes, Oscar said, “I am really glad I joined the Robo Vikes, and I know it will help me in my future career”.  He reflects a future hardworking and passionate engineer that will be the foundation for the future.  Oscar work ethic and his undying passion is like a dash of color in this monochromatic environment. He what other members should strive for.