Bear Metal heads to World Championship

With district competition behind us, Bear Metal now heads to St. Louis for the 2016 FIRST Championship (the “World Championship”) later this month. Over the course of district competition, we competed in three qualification tournaments and then the district championship in Portland. Currently, we are ranked eighth in terms of district ranking points in the Pacific Northwest District. Continue reading

The Robot is Back!

Our competition robot is back! In the early morning hours on March 30, our robot reappeared in front of our school. Though we are exultant to have our robot back, three parts were missing: the robot processing unit (RoboRIO), a Raspberry Pi (for processing aiming data from the camera), and the radio.

Working on Robot

Alicia, our electronics lead, and her team have inspected the wiring and found nothing else out of place.

We have repaired and rebagged the robot as it was at the end of the last competition. During the 6-hour unbagging period, we will make further repairs (replacing the bent axle, etc.).

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Regarding Support Request from our Friends

As has been reported extensively in the local news, our team trailer which included our robot, pit, and tools was stolen on early Easter Sunday morning. There has been an outpouring of support from our fellow FIRST teams, and Bear Metal is extremely grateful for this.

In our shop, we still have our practice robot. FIRST has given us special permission to bring that robot up to the condition of the stolen competition robot. We are currently assessing our needs, and will be in contact with those who have offered help once we know what parts or tools will be of help.

If you would like to help with a donation, please send it to:

Tahoma High School
Attn: Tahoma Robotics Club
18200 SE 240th ST
Covington, WA 98042

Federal Tax ID: 91-6001641

If you wish to contact us, here is our email address: [email protected]

Big Win in Oregon, then Club’s Robot Stolen

Tahoma Robotics Club, Bear Metal, won big at the FIRST robotics competition in Philomath, Oregon, March 25th and 26th. Now the team advances to the district competition two weeks from now in Portland, Oregon. In the meantime, the team will compete at another event in Auburn on April 1st and 2nd.


This year’s game, “Stronghold”, has a medieval theme. Robots attack their opponent’s castle, throwing boulders, traversing rough terrain, crossing drawbridges, and lifting gates. Teams are assigned to alliances of three, and each match pits two alliances against each other, with a total of six robots on the field.

In the qualification rounds, Bear Metal won its first match. Problems arose, though, in the following matches, and we had to solve mechanical and software problems in the brief intervals between matches. Overcoming these hurdles, we rose to 3rd place by the end of the qualification rounds.
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Bear Metal tours Blue Origin rocket factory

figure 1
Photo courtesy Blue Origin

Starship Enterprise stood before us as we entered the lobby. We crowded around the starship model actually used in making the first Star Trek movies. Then we noticed the full-size spaceship towering nearby. Shiny and bullet-shaped, it resembled the Victorian spacefaring projectile of Jules Verne’s fiction. Outfitted in steampunk fashion with brass and copper ornament, nineteenth century moonship shared space in the lobby with twenty-third century starship.

Tahoma High School’s robotics club was visiting Blue Origin, the rocket building company started by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and headquartered in Kent. Our group of 12 students and 7 mentors were there to see the factory where the spacecraft are built which, according to plans, soon will take passengers on suborbital flights. Larger rockets will deliver satellites and other large payloads to earth orbit.

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Bear Metal makes finals at Auburn Mountainview

Tahoma High School’s robotics team, Bear Metal, rose to the finals and won several honors and awards at its first competition of the year. On the weekend of March 4th and 5th, 39 teams from across western Washington gathered at Auburn Mountainview High School for the FIRST Robotics Competition qualifier event.

This year’s game is called “Stronghold”, and has a medieval theme. Robots attempt to storm their opponent’s castle, throwing boulders, traversing rough terrain, crossing drawbridges, and lifting gates.

Bear Metal’s robot was robust and ready for the competition. The first day was filled with qualification rounds. Teams were randomly assigned to alliances of three, and each match pitted two alliances against each other, with a total of six robots on the field. In this part of the competition, we bounced around the top five in the standings. Qualification rounds continued into the evening, and we finished the day in second place.

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