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[restab title=”Introduction” active=”active”]

The resources page is meant to aid any team who is looking for information about certain FRC-related or other robotics relevant topics. This page has been compiled by analyzing the various changes our own team underwent and publishing the methods that we found most effective for handling certain tasks in the divisions of our Robotics team. If you are interested in receiving further resource-related information, please email If you are interested in helping us add content to the resources page, please email



[restab title=”Animations”]

Our team uses both Autodesk 3DS Max and Autodesk Maya. We do tend to primarily use 3DS Max and cater to Maya specifically for the Mac OS X users on the team who do animations. However, both applications each have their own advantages that we try to use to benefit us for our Safety Animation submission.



  • The animating abilities of Maya do prove to be more configurable than with 3DS Max. The modeling in Maya can be scripted with either Python or MEL, which may make the process easier for an animator who knows how to program. 3DS Max does have animating capabilities but Maya is known to have a far simpler animation system that allows animators to create splendid animations with relatively little effort when compared to 3DS Max’s animating process.


  • 3DS Max comes with a number of libraries and modifiers that can accelerate the modeling process as well as help bring out finer details in the models made without tiresome labor. One can achieve the same level of modeling with Maya; however, the process will most likely seem more difficult for the Maya user because of the lack of numerous modeling libraries and simplified tools for finer detail.


Please email for any questions about animations.

[restab title=”CAD”]

Computer Aided Design (CAD) is a way for the team to design and  visualize the robot before it is even built. CAD also allows us to anticipate possible design faults before we start building, which saves us time, effort, and money by accounting for those faults and improving the design before fabricating the robot. We make sure to produce a complete robot CAD by the end of build season’s second week; however, we have most of our chassis CADed before the season even starts.



  • We use the SolidWorks as our CAD software, and every year we download the newest version. FIRST gives each team 60 free copies of the newest SolidWorks, and we use most of the licenses given to us. SolidWorks is really easy to learn, and the company that produces SolidWorks provides a multitude of free tutorials. Youtube also has a vast amount of instructional videos on SolidWorks.

[restab title=”Electronics”]

Electronics is the glue between the physical mechanics of a robot and the higher level software. It is, in many ways, akin to the nervous system in a body. Just as the nervous system allows the brain to interface with a body, Electronics connects mechanical systems to the brain of the robot, the RoboRIO. As a department, Electronics works in tandem with EVOM, chassis, and software to design an electronics plate that contains all the various components needed to run a robot successfully as well as sensors and peripherals that suit the year’s challenge.



  • Batteries power the robot and should be wired to the Power Distribution Panel. Batteries should not be plugged into one another and do need to be charged on a regular basis.


  • Encoders are small device that attach to a shaft and measure the number of rotations made by the shaft. We like to use Grayhill 63r encoders, but there are a variety of encoders to choose from.

Limit Switches

  • The two kinds that we use are optical and physical limit switches. Optical limit switches are activated when something passes through the switch and blocks the light that is being sent to the other side of the slot. Physical limit switches have a tag that sticks out of the switch. These are activated when something presses on the tag. Limit switches stop parts from exceeding their limits by closing or opening the circuit.


  • Most of the electronics are connected to the RoboRIO directly including the Power Distribution Panel and the first talon in the chain. This configuration allows the RoboRio to send commands to the rest of the robot.

Talon SRX

  • Talons are what actually get programmed and make the robot move as they control the motor and supply power. We use the latest and greatest Talons, the Talon SRX’s. Talons should be connected directly to the power distribution panel and a motor. Each motor should have only one talon.

Power Distribution Panel

  • This connects the battery to the rest of the parts on the robot like the roboRIO and the talons and supplies power to those devices.


  • Wiring is what keeps the electronics functioning and thus is very important. Burned, damaged, or cut wires can damage electronics or the entire robot.


Bad wiring:



Passable wiring:



Great Wiring:



  • Although it is not necessary, a crimping tool with a slot for the size of wire that is being crimped makes this process much easier. First, strip the wire of enough insulation to fit into the crimp, but not so much that the exposed wire is sticking out of the crimp. Then, put the crimp with the wire inside in the crimping tool and push the handles together. After taking out the crimp, pull on it lightly to check that it is done properly.


  • This is a process used to create connections between wires. Since the soldering iron is hot, it should be handled with caution. It is better to use the lead-free solder, but even that can create toxic fumes. Be sure to clean the solder iron after use with water and to tin the tip of the solder. After soldering two wires together, use some shrink-tube or electrical tape to insulate the exposed wire.


Please email for any questions about electronics.

[restab title=”Links”]

Have any useful STEM related links? Email, and we will add them!


Most Important Websites for FRC Teams

  • Blue Alliance: Provides Information on FIRST teams and competitions.
  • Chief Delphi: One of the largest user bases in the FIRST community, providing help on a variety of topics.
  • USFirst: Official website of FIRST Robotics.

Computer Aided Design (CAD) and 3D Modeling


  • Partsim: This is a circuit simulator with spice. It allows one to draft and map out a circuit on their computer.

FRC Programming

  • Eclipse: This is the software used for writing code.

Regional Competitions and Offseason Events

  • Central Valley Regional: Everything you need to know if you’re attending this Regional.
  • Sacramento Regional: Information on the Regional at UC Davis and links to useful FIRST documents.
  • Silicon Valley Regional: Everything teams need to know about SVR and includes a map of all California FRC teams.
  • CalGames: A Bay Area offseason competition that is produced and run by WRRF, a robotics education group in our area.
  • Capital City Classic: A Sacramento offseason competition that is produced and run by different FRC teams every year.
  • Chezy Champs: A Bay Area offseason competition that is produced and run by FRC Team 254, The Cheesy Poofs.
  • Madtown Throwdown: A Central Valley offseason competition that is produced and run by FRC Team 1323, Madtown Robotics.

Parts/Stock Suppliers and Manufacturers

  • AndyMark: Suppliers of multitudes of robotics products.
  • BaneBots Suppliers of multitudes of robotics products.
  • Gorilla Metals: Suppliers of multitudes of metal in the Bay Area.
  • HSC Electronic Supply: Was started in 1963 and has developed into an excellent and well-known electronics surplus store.
  • IPI Plastics: Suppliers of multitudes of plastics.
  • Jameco Electronics: A leading online and catalog distributor of electronic components. Jameco also publishes an informative E-Newsletter.
  • Lux Manufacturing: Manufacturers of precision CNC machined components and assemblies.
  • McMaster-Carr: Suppliers of multitudes of products. If you can’t find it anywhere else, you can probably find it on McMaster.
  • Meadows Manufacturing: Manufacturers of precision CNC machined components and assemblies.
  • TAP Plastics: Suppliers of multitudes of plastics.
  • TechShop: A company that offers free use of tools (CNC Mill, waterjet, powder coat over, etc) for becoming a member.
  • Trossen Robotics: A source for hobby and educational robotics.
  • VexPro Products: Suppliers of multitudes of FIRST robotics products.
  • West Coast Products: Suppliers of multitudes of FIRST robotics products.

Technology and Science Programs

  • California State Summer School for Math and Science (COSMOS): A residential academic program hosted at four University of California campuses: UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, UC San Diego, and UC Irvine.
  • Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy: These activities include K-12 educational programs, teacher training, summer camps, and competitions.
  • NASA Education: This link has information on NASA’s range of educational opportunities for students from kindergarten through university.
  • NASA Education at Goddard Space Flight Center: This link has information on NASA’s range of educational opportunities for students from kindergarten through university, as well as articles on teens and young adults in STEM.
  • NutsAndBolts Foundation: Links to camps, events, and ways to get involved in robotics for people of all ages.
  • Technology Student Association (TSA): TSA offers more than 60 STEM-based competitive events for middle school and high school students through the TEAMS and UNITE programs.
  • The Tech Challenge: This is a Silicon Valley-based program to inspire technical innovation in youth, sponsored by The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.

College Information/Scholarships


  • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA): Information on the central research and development organization for the Department of Defense. They have annual autonomous competitions which may provide dramatic advances for traditional military roles and missions.
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): Information on astronomy, rocket, and space projects conducted by the United States.
  • NASA Robotics Alliance Project: Brings students, engineers, private organizations, and government resources together to increase robotics expertise in the United States. Online resources include courses, webcasts, and cool robots.


  • Popular Mechanics: This magazine has current robotics and engineering related articles
  • Popular Science: This magazine has everything on space, STEM and robots.
  • Robot Magazine: This magazine has the latest in hobby, science, and consumer robotics.
  • Robotic Magazine: This magazine is a source on all things robotic, from toys to industrial robots.
  • Nuts and Volts: This magazine deal with information on a broad range of topics on robotics and technology.
  • SERVO Magazine: This magazine covers robotics education and a range of how-to information.

Other Links


  • Mapcon: This link has information on robotics history, industry, products, services as well as robotics news.
  • RIA: This link is about all things robotics including education, events, industry resources and news.

[restab title=”Power Tools”]

We use a multitude of power tools to machine the components we use on our robots. All the power tools we use help us turn stock material into a complete, functioning robot.


Angle Grinderangle_grinder

  • This is a hand-held tool that is used for smoothing rough surfaces and removing/cleaning welds. Our team has two angle grinders, one that is powered by an external battery, and one that plugs into an outlet; Theangle grinder that plugs into an outlet is much more powerful. Please be cautious when using this tool on steel, as it causes sparks. It is also important to note that this tool is very loud.






  • This is a stationary tool used for cutting materials such as woods, plastics, or metals using a blade that runs perpendicular into its table. This machine cuts pieces quickly, precisely, and effectively. Be cautious when using this tool as fingers and other body parts can easily get cut off.





Battery Powered Hand Drilldewalt_drill_small

  • This is a rechargeable hand-held tool used to drill holes in material. The drill bits can easily be replaced to make larger or smaller holes; screw bits can also be added to screw or unscrew items. This is probably our most used item on the team.





Belt Sanderbelt_sander

  • This is a stationary tool with a sander to smooth out rough edges on freshly cut pieces. The belt sander can handle steel, aluminum and wood projects. Be cautious when using this tool as fingers, hair and other body parts can easily get caught and sanded away.






Chain Breaker

  • This is a hand-held device that pushes the pins out of the chain allowing new links to be added or removed.  It is relatively easy to use but requires an allen wrench to screw the pins in and out. We find that the Dark Soul chain breaker works the best for #25 chain. This is not a power tool, but it is just as important as a power tools.






  • This is a hand-held tool with interchangeable heads to allow for cutting, sanding, buffing and brushing in small spots. Be cautious when using this device as it can cause sparks to fly in the plane of the cutting disk.





Drill Pressdrillpress

  • This is a stationary drilling platform that allows for easy control of the drill bit. The drill press can use various size drill bits, can it can be used to cut a multitude of materials include wood, plastic, aluminum and steel. The drill press can also be geared down or up by adjusting the timing belt to allow for faster or slower drill speeds.





Dry Cut Saw (Chop Saw)chop_saw

  • This is a stationary cutting tool for making large, quick cuts in metal, wood and plastic stock safely without the use of cutting fluid. This tool can be used to make miter cuts by adjusting its table. Our team uses this tool to ensure that cuts are at the specified angle that we want them to be at. Be cautious when using this device as it can cause sparks to fly in the plane of the cutting disk.







  • This is a hand-held tool used for cutting wood and plastic using an interchangeable blade that rapidly moves up and down. While cutting, the jigsaw rests on the piece you are cutting. The jigsaw allows the user to make precise cuts on a very large, flat piece of wood.






Mill and Lathe

  • The mill and lathe is a very dangerous, and difficult to master tool. Not many students use this tool, mostly mentors. This tool allows for precise cutting, drilling, shaving, rounding, and trimming of oblong shaped rods and tubes.






Oscillating Multi-function Powertool

  • This is a hand-held cutting tool used for cutting, sanding, buffing and brushing. This tool is very similar to a dremel, just much larger. This tool has interchangeable bits that allow it to be used on metals, woods and plastics.

[restab title=”Programming”]

Our programming division is dedicated to coding the robot in the most efficient manner so that it may be versatile enough to solve a variety of the annual challenges it encounters on the field. We work in conjunction with the electronics department and the EVOM department.



  • We initially used C++ and although it worked well, we decided that we wanted to use a language that was taught in our AP Computer Science course, which is why we switched to Java. Both languages are fine to use for FRC, so your choice should be based on what the members dominantly know or prefer. To learn the basics of coding in Java with the WPILib Library, look here.


  • The IDE which we use is Eclipse. The library which we use is WPILib. You can learn how to set up Java for FRC programming with the NetBeans IDE and WPILib here.
    • Note: Our team personally does not use the NetBeans IDE, we use the Eclipse IDE, so in order to use the same setup we use, download and install the Java JDK in the link below and then going to and install the eclipse IDE.


Please email for any questions about programming.

[restab title=”Public Relations”]

The Public Relationships sector of our team is critical for building a strong foundation between the team and our school, Archbishop Mitty High School. Without this strong relationship, the team would not be able to easily recruit members from the student population and integrate them into the team. This sector is also in charge of maintaining the relationships we have with our current sponsors and building new ties with prospective ones.


Connecting with Archbishop Mitty High School

  • Our school offers us the ability to broadcast ourselves to a large pool of students through robot demos, club fairs, poster distributions, and one minute video broadcasts known as “Mitty Minutes.” To do all this, we usually use Adobe Premiere Pro CS6.

Reaching To Our Sponsors

  • Our public relationships sector handles keeping our sponsors informed of our achievements and properly thanking them for all they do for us, while constantly searching for new sponsors who will support our cause.

Physical Media

  • We do most of our poster, banner, and physical media design using Adobe Illustrator CS6 or Microsoft Publisher for fast publication with built-in templates to choose from.

Social Media

  • The PR department constantly updates the team’s social media outlets like our Facebook account, Twitter profiles, and YouTube channel.


To get in touch with our PR team, please email

[restab title=”Safety”]

Safety is very important, especially when dealing with strong power tools that are capable of seriously injuring or even killing a person. This is why our team takes safety very seriously. To combat injury, we require each member of our team (returning members included) go through a deep training program at the beginning of the year that teaches them how to properly handle various tools. We also have a safety test and several liability forms that need to completed, passed and signed annually before one can be a member of our team. We also require that each member wear safety glasses and have long hair tied back when when in the same room as a running power tool. In our lab we always have a first aid kit clearly marked and visible, and we have a former pharmacist as a mentor just in case.

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[restab title=”Scouting”]

Scouting is vital for our team to succeed in competitions. We use it to gain data on other teams we are competing against and competing with. We also use our scouting data when we are in final alliance selections.


Scouting Sheets

  • We scout using custom scouting sheets. Each year, we modify our scouting sheets based on the game. During a competition, we have a large chunk of our members scout matches, while a few other members input the teams’ data onto a Google spreadsheet. In order to make inputting data efficient, we also pull information from for easier data organizing.

[restab title=”Website”]

The purpose of our website division is to publish all the details of how our team approaches FRC competitions to allow other upcoming and current teams to view it. Our website additionally allows the team to communicate with ease while not in meetings through forum posts.

Coding and Content

  • We have combined the WordPress site generation tool with our own custom CSS and JavaScript to better match our tastes. This allows us to be able to have members easily update content to the site without coding experience.


  • Our team has a handful of students who work solely on our website, and keep it running. They write code, content, and keep updating our website throughout the year.


Please email for any questions about our website.

Link to Google Sites


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