In FIRST Overdrive, teams competed to complete counterclockwise laps around a central barrier while manipulating large “Trackballs” over and under overpasses to score additional points.
In 2008 we built a robot that was intended to represent a forklift, which caught a large ball and carried it to make laps around a field. Our robot had a broomstick attached on a rail, that was actuated by a piece of string being tightened around a drum, which would then raise the broomstick to push down the ball from it’s starting position above the field. The forklift arms which were retractable with a similar string mechanism enabled us to then lift the ball off the ground.
The robot had a unique drive train optimized for drifting the tight corners of that year’s game, created by a front wheel tank drive, with the back wheels being well oiled crazy wheels. This together with great driving made for a surprisingly competitive robot. The robot’s simplicity also meant that it was very reliable and together with our solid match performance we reached 10th place in the rankings, and became the alliance captain for the 8th alliance. We also won the Judges Award.