Maple Valley Days


Last weekend, Bear Metal participated in Maple Valley Days, a fair at Lake Wilderness. We had a booth and talked to the public about our team and FIRST as well as promoting STEM in the community by advertising our robotics summer camps. We had our two outreach bots available for the public to view and drive as well as Ursa Origin on display. We also walked in the annual Maple Valley Days parade. It was an enjoyable weekend for the team, and afforded the public a view of what our team does. Thanks to everyone who participated and those who came by our booth or watched us in the parade!

Kids driving the outreach bots

The booth and Bear Metal members

Walking in the parade

Catherine Kirschbaum

Secretary of Communications

Bear Metal Robotics

Build Season: Day 1


Today marks the first day of the 2018 Build Season. Our team woke up early in the morning to go watch the game release at the Auburn High School kickoff event. You can view the game animation at:

FRC 2018 Game Animation

After watching the game animation, we broke off to view the game pieces and participate in break out groups that discussed rules and strategies for the game. Our team then went back to our own school and started to go over the game rules as a team, discuss strategy in smaller groups, and then share with each other. The rest of our meeting was spent talking among ourselves about strategies and possible mechanisms. We have created documents for team members to put down ideas about both strategy and mechanisms as well.

team members go over game rules

Going into our second meeting tomorrow, we plan to separate our team into two groups- strategy and prototyping. We hope that this weekend will give our team a nice kick start into the season.

We can’t wait to see what lies ahead in the next few months!

Ryleigh Weston

Secretary of Communications

Bear Metal Robotics


Prototyping Challenge: Day 5


Today was Day 5 of the annual Bear Metal prototyping challenge. Bear Metal members were able to utilize their resources to finish their assemblies and make final revisions on the arms. Each sub-team was able to test and modify their designs to become more efficient and effective.


Sub-Team Bravo:  

Sub-team B was able to fix their existing design flaws, for a more effective and  design . They also collaborated as a team to troubleshoot and renovate their arm, while fixing the brackets.  

Sub-Team Epsilon:  

Today, sub-team E focused on finishing their assembly. Everyone was engaged and collaborated on various methods for tensioning. Eventually a tensioning method was decided upon, and the members incorporated the new addition to their assembly.

Sub-Team Alpha:

Today, sub-team A was able to extend their arm and eventually incorporate the modified mechanism into their CAD design. Even though they encountered troubles with their planetary, the members persevered and almost completed their assembly.  

Sub-Team Romeo:  

Sub-team R mainly focused on tensioning their chain. They altered their design to fix problems that they encountered with many different forces. This is due to the fact that many forces were acting on the arm, and as a result it didn’t twist like planned.

Programming Challenge:

The programming team was able to finish most of their tele-op and autonomous round. They also worked hard on finalizing the code and testing for their programming challenge.

Sarina Sanjay


Bear Metal Robotics


Prototyping Challenge: Day 4


As we start to near the day of competition this Saturday, lots of work has been getting done. Bear Metal members have been able to divide and conquer the work load and are making great strides. Specifically,

Sub-team Bravo:

Worked on attaching motors and belts, changing out wheels, and mounting the prototype to the robot arm. They ran into the problem of the brackets not being strong enough to attach to the arm. Their solution was to design their own brackets. Their long term goal is to fix issues that come up during testing.

Testing out prototype on cone

Sub-team Epsilon:

Got both arms, horizontal between the arms, and gussets attached. Epsilon was also able to get their forklift designed and just need to get it machined.

Sub-team E prototype

Sub-team Alpha:

Worked on getting their prototype designed out and ready for a metal iteration. One issue that they had today was a lack of sub-team members showing up.

Sub-team Romeo:

Worked on getting their chain to the right length, mounting a gear box and pancake cylinder, and testing the prototype out. They were able to train a few of their members on how to mount the mechanism onto the arm. One issue that they had was the chain length. They plan to keep working on fixing the chain and to test out the pancake cylinder mechanism. Their goal is still to “have a working prototype and win”.

Updated prototype

Team members working on prototype

Bear Metal members work on designing parts

Programming Challenge:

The programmers continued to work on their robot code. Many more teams have moved to the testing stage.

Programmers test out code on programming chassis

Prototyping Challenge: Day 3


At the start of Wednesday, Sub-team Bravo took the parts of their basic wood prototype and started to replace them with metal iterations. Beyond this, the metal parts were changed and redesigned, with the help of Joseph O’Brien, in order to create an effective second prototype. Most of the second prototype was developed, only having belt tensioning and arm mounting left to be done for Thursday.

prototype being demonstrated against cone

prototype with metal iterations

At the start of Wednesday, Sub-team Epsilon had the arms completed but they were too heavy so they removed one of the wheels on each arm because they were not being effective and they could complete the same task with one wheel. Epsilon also reduced the length of the arms to make sure it did not lean too much and tested the arms to make use they functioned properly. They plan to mount the motor closer to the hinge and round out the end of the arm.

Epsilon writes out a design for a prototype

Sub-team Alpha worked on an arm in CAD, designed a new part, and put them together. They prepared parts and started to build after revising their design.

Sub-team Romeo finished assembling complex mechanisms such as the gearbox and the pivot. Romeo also made progress on the ratchet and ended up switching out a servo with a pneumatic pancake.


Ryleigh Weston

Secretary of Communications


Blake Post


Bear Metal Robotics


Prototyping Challenge: Day 2


Today was day two of our annual prototyping and programming challenge. Once again, we broke up into our 4 prototyping sub-teams and groups of 2-3 programmers.

Sub-team B:

Their main idea and focus is to have a roller mechanism with a forklift and two arms to support the rollers in order to pick up the cones. They determined that using pneumatics would be too complicated to prototype with the time allotted. By the end of the day they figured out that they need to drop the idea of having actuating arms and instead to “use a spring to allow the arms to close in on the cone and release when the rollers are reversed” as per their daily build blog. 

Newest prototype for Sub-team B

Student working on prototype

Sub-team E:

They are doing a similar idea to team B where they have rollers and a forklift working together. Their main issue has been finding enough jobs to occupy their group. To fix that issue, they divided into two groups- one group finishing the design for the arms and the other beginning to build both arms. They took advantage of their resources by using the laser machine to cut wooden parts. One issue that the team had was the time that it took to design the arms. Their solution is to seek help from student leadership. 

Sub-team E’s prototype

Students working on prototype

Sub-team A:

Small difficulties with the “stick” prototype. The first version of their hook broke due to a misjudged cut. Their new version 2 stick hook is up and running. The conveyor group in Team A has disbanded and are now working on a wrist-like mechanism. 

Brainstorm session

Sub-team R:

They have decided to pursue their arm/claw idea. This is where they have a backstop mechanism and then a “claw” is pivoted and wraps around the cone. They worked on deciding how to mount motors and a ratchet. They also started to work out the poly belt attachment and spacer plates for mounting. Their long term goal is to “have a working prototype and win”. To do so, they want to be able to pick up 5 cones simultaneously with all of them starting sideways.

Students getting their hands dirty

Programming Challenge:

Some teams were able to get their tele-op programming working today. Others kept working together to keep writing the program and to make fixes.

Programmers work together to make a tele-op and/or autonomous program

Bear Metal student with an old prototype

Ryleigh Weston

Secretary of Communications


Ethan Bertrand


Bear Metal Robotics

Prototyping Challenge: Day 1


Today was the first day of our prototyping and programming challenge. Members started the challenge off by reading the rules and objectives. They then worked in their sub-teams under the guidance of a team captain and started to brainstorm different ways to approach the challenge. The teams debated internally on what mechanisms should be tested and started making a proof of concept. In addition, each team started on a detailed build blog that can be used to keep them on track. Specifically:

Sub-team B decided that they wanted to have a forklift that uses pneumatics to clamp onto the cone as well as keep it upright while delivering it to the table. They decided to base their direction for the day on specific goals that they wanted to achieve in order to get the most points. Sub-team B was able to complete their back plate, drill their forklift on, and get bearing blocks drilled with a good fit. Their next step is to finish the frame and to at least start on attaching pneumatics. Here is an example of their brainstorming:

Sub-team E decided to split their group up with half of the team working on a forklift base while the other started working on roller arms. They were able to get dimensions for a roller arm and start to design it in Autodesk Inventor. The team ran into some issues with aligning to the cone but are planning on re-adjusting their design so that the cone slides in easier. Their long term goal is to create a forklift with roller arms that keep the cone stable while lifting.

Sub-team A worked on brainstorming as many ideas as possible. In the end, they came up with a very simple proof of concept but multiple problems arose from the simplicity of the design. The design is also not complex enough to work on all week, so they plan on expanding the design to be more complex in order to fill the week as well as fix some issues.

Sub-team R brainstormed with one of our mentors, Joseph O’Brien. They worked on creating a good structure by splitting work between certain people and pre-assigning jobs. They were able to make a proof of concept and start to make parts.

Towards the end of the day, we got together to talk about what went right and what we can improve on. One of our strengths was that each team made sure that everyone could comfortably voice their opinions and ideas even if people didn’t agree and was able to come to a final consensus. One of the good things that Sub-team R did was to give people outcomes rather than tasks so that they are working more on their problem solving skills. However, we hope to continue to improve on keeping people motivated and focused on the task by making sure that everyone has a job and continuously setting goals.

Ryleigh Weston

Secretary of Communications


Zoey Oshiro

Assembly Lead

Bear Metal Robotics

Bear Metal’s Annual Prototyping Challenge and (NEW) Programming Challenge!


Starting tomorrow, Bear Metal members will be participating in our annual Prototyping Challenge. We will split up into 4 sub-teams, each of which build their own prototype to accomplish a certain goal. This year’s challenge is to collect a standard traffic cone from an upright position and place it on a table. Each team will be working to address specific goals in relation to weight, ability to place cones, etc. and will be awarded points for every goal that they meet. Every prototype will be mounted onto a prototyping chassis that we have been working together with newer members to create over the past few months. We will be meeting every day up until the day of the competition, December 16th.

This challenge is a great way for our team to prepare new and existing members for the upcoming build season by creating a more accurate representation of how it will be structured and by teaching them how to create effective prototypes.

In addition to the prototyping challenge, we will be holding our first programming challenge this year. Members of our programming team will be working in teams of 2-3 people to create an autonomous program.

Ryleigh Weston

Secretary of Communications

Bear Metal Robotics

Parent Meeting for Prospective Members (MANDATORY)


Our first parent meeting for prospective members will be on October 5th 6:00-7:30pm in the Tahoma High School robotics lab (room C101). If your child is interested in being a part of the team please make sure that at least one parent shows up to this meeting as we will be giving out a lot of information on this date. If you have any questions, feel free to send us a message under this post or the Contact Us tab.

Thank you!

Ryleigh Weston

Secretary of Communications