Slide deck from our 2013 Advanced Programming Workshop PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Cougars   
Sunday, 18 September 2011 00:00
Here's the 2013 Slide Deck
Download this file (2013 Cougar Advanced NXT-G Programming Workshop v1 w EV3.pdf)2013 Cougar Advanced NXT-G Programming Workshop v1 w EV3.pdf[ ]3778 Kb04/10/13 09:48
Download this file (2013 Cougar Advanced NXT-G Programming Workshop v1 w EV3.pptx)2013 Cougar Advanced NXT-G Programming Workshop v1 w EV3.pptx[ ]5753 Kb04/10/13 08:56
Download this file (CougarAPWconvertedEV3.pdf)CougarAPWconvertedEV3.pdf[ ]3514 Kb04/10/13 09:48
Download this file (CougarAPWconvertedEV3.pptx)CougarAPWconvertedEV3.pptx[ ]4547 Kb04/10/13 09:47
Last Updated on Friday, 04 October 2013 09:49
Cougar Workshop Bot PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Cougars   
Tuesday, 07 September 2010 06:50

We've designed a Cougar Workshop Bot.  And the Incredibots have designed an EV3 version.  It's a simple robot designed just for the workshop.  So If you don't already have a robot for the workshop try this one.  You should be able to build it in about 1/2 an hour.  It's the simplest robot we could come up with that could do ALL of the labs.  It's only got 79 parts plus 6 wires.  With 2 light and 2 touch sensors appropriately located you can try out the back-to-wall and advance-to-line programs.

The LEGO Digital Designer file is attached to this article and the printed building instructions are here

And a new EV3 version of the printed building instructions are here. 

Wire as follows:

Left Motor -> B

Right Motor -> C

Left-Front Light Sensor -> 1

Right-Front Light Sensor -> 4

Left-Rear Touch Sensor -> 2

Right-Rear Touch Sensor -> 3

Download this file (Cougar Workshop Bot.lxf)Cougar Workshop Bot.lxf[A simple easy to build robot that is a great start for learning to use sensors on an FLL field.]16 Kb18/09/11 22:06
Download this file (EV3 Robot.lxf)EV3 Cougar Workshop Bot[ ]14 Kb15/09/14 19:56
Download this file (EV3_Workshop_Robot.pdf)EV3_Workshop_Robot.pdf[ ]4298 Kb17/09/14 07:59
Download this file (NXT_Workshop_Robot.pdf)NXT_Workshop_Robot.pdf[ ]1575 Kb17/09/14 07:58
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 September 2014 07:59
Cougars visit the Columbus Idea Foundry PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Cougars   
Sunday, 18 September 2011 22:29

On Thursday evening, Sept 15, the team went to the Columbus Idea Foundry to take a class on how to use a CNC machine. We were joined by 2 of the team dads and Neils and Eric Hansen from the Lego Lasernauts, an FLL team from Groveport, OH. A CNC machine is a computer-controlled milling machine that can cut 2 or 3 dimensional shapes by spinning router bits at high speeds. Software such as the CAD program that Joey and Alex have learned in school can convert a design into instructions to tell the machine what shape to cut on X, Y and Z axis. 

Dr. Alex Bandar from the Columbus Idea Foundry first gave us a tour of the facility. CIF ( is a a community and do-it-yourself workshop where people have pooled resources so that they can have access to equipment that they otherwise could not afford to use. It is a cooperative machine shop, design studio, artisans community and educational facility. They have all kinds of tools available such as a laser cutter, welding tools, a 3D printer, forge and foundry for casting and blacksmithing, and a woodshop. In addition, there are artists and some small manufacturing and start-up companies that rent studios in the building. There was even a guy working there who is building a completely electric car from scratch! And a Tesla coil...

After the tour, we learned to use the 4’x8’x5” ShopBot CNC machine. We went through the entire process from drawing a sketch to converting the sketch into usable vectors with the software to sending the instructions to the ShopBot to finally cutting out our design in wood. You really need to think through and plan the process to make the cuts in the most logical manner. You even have to take the diameter of the router bit into your calculations. Our test piece had straight and curved edges on the sides, several holes and a shallow pocket. Now that we have taken the class, we are certified to be able to use the ShopBot. Besides wood, the ShopBot can mill thin metals such as aluminum so we now have a way to create parts for our FTC robot!

The Columbus Idea Foundry will be a great resource for the team. We hope to go back and take some more classes so that we can use some of the other tools such as the laser cutter. Thanks to Dr. Bandar for teaching us and showing us all the cool stuff at the CIF.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2011 22:28
FTC KickOff at iSPACE in Cincinnati OH PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 18 September 2011 22:16



We met at the Diamond’s at 6:45am and loaded up the RV for the drive to iSpace. All of the team except Phil were able to attend the event. Phil was running in his high school cross country meet. We arrived at iSpace a little before 9 a.m. and helped set up the “Get Over It” field.

At 9:30, together with Team 4530 Infinite Resistance, we did a demonstration scrimmage so that the rookie teams could get a feel for what a real match is like before they go to a tournament. When we attended our first scrimmage last year, we were really surprised how crowded the field was when there were four robots in play! When we practiced with just our one robot, our practice field in the garage had seemed spacious by comparison.

At 10:00 a.m., we did our panel presentation on “What Rookie Teams Need to Know”. We gave our key points, shared some of our experiences as a first year team, and then answered questions. We brought in our robot, engineering note book  and scouting notebook so that the participants could see how we approached the challenge last year. After our talk, our team split up so we could go hear some of the other talks. I think that we picked up some good pointers for this year.

At 11:00 a.m., we finally got to see what everyone was waiting for...the new game and field!! Just for fun, we tried to run our robot from “Get Over It” on the new field. Our robot could move the bowling ball and score it on the home area and we could also flip over the crates. All those racquetballs are really going to be a challenge and make driving difficult if they get under the robot and caught in the wheels (our first design challenge). 

During the rest of the afternoon, we helped teams with building and programming. By the end of the day, several of the rookie teams had robots that they could drive around. We ended the day by going with Elizabeth and Matthew Worsham for ice cream and a hike in one of the local parks. 

Thanks to Linda Neenan and everyone at iSpace for the great FTC Kick Off event. I think that we are all off to a great start for this season. 



Thanks so much for helping out at the FTC kick-off this weekend.  We heard from several of the rookie team members (and some of the more experienced teams as well) how helpful the information you shared with them was.  We heard one comment that went something like this.  “Just getting to see what the Cougar’s robot could do made this worthwhile.”  We really appreciate your willingness to spend a whole day giving tips to other teams. 


You’ve come a long way since your rookie season last year and we here at iSPACE wish you a very successful 2011-12 FTC season.




Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2011 21:16
Cougars At FIRST World Festival PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Cougars   
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 18:57

FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) is a FIRST ( international robotics competition targeted at high school students. Teams of up to 10 students build robots using TETRIX, LEGO, and custom fabricated components. The robots can measure up to 18" x 18" x 18". Four robots, two teams of two robots, compete against each other on a 12' x 12' playing field.

Cougar 2010-2011 "Get Over It!" Season Summary:
  • Approximately 1600 teams competed in FTC this year.
  • Ohio State Championship
    • 32 teams attended the Ohio State Championship tournament at iSpace in Cincinnati.
    • The Cougars finished the qualifying rounds in 3rd place, and as an alliance captain selected the teams of Python from MI and Trash Torque from the Wellington school in Columbus as their alliance partners.
    • The Cougars alliance went on to win the Ohio Championship and as captain of the winning alliance the Cougars qualified to attend the World Championship.
    • The Cougars also won the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award. "The Rockwell Collins Innovate Award celebrates a team that not only thinks outside the box, but also has the ingenuity and inventiveness to make their designs come to life. This award is given to the team that has the most innovative and creative robot design solution to any or all specific field elements or components in the FIRST Tech Challenge game. Elements of this award include elegant design, robustness, and ‘out of the box’ thinking related to design. This award may address the design of the whole robot, or of a sub-assembly attached to the robot. The creative component must work consistently, but a robot does not have to work all the time during matches to be considered for this award. The team’s Engineering Notebook should be marked with journal entries to show the design of the component(s) and the team’s robot in order to be eligible for this award, and entries should describe succinctly how the team arrived at that solution."
  • World Championship
    • 128 teams qualified to go to the FTC World Championship, held at the FIRST World Festival in St. Louis.
    • The 128 teams were divided into 2 64 team divisions, Franklin and Edison, for the qualifying rounds of the World Championship.
    • The Cougars recorded 5 wins and 2 losses during the qualifying rounds to place 12th in the Franklin division.
    • The top 4 seeded teams get to pick partners to form 3 team alliances to compete in the finals.
    • The #1 seed Bounty Hunters #2864 from Staten Island NY selected Say Watt? #3539 from Edison NJ (1st pick in alliance selections) and the Cougars #4251 (5th pick in the alliance selections) as their alliance partners for the finals. 
    • Our alliance lost in the 3rd game of a 2 out of 3 match in the semi-finals to the alliance of SD30 from Montana, the Wreckers from Westport CT, and MITibot of Lexington MA who went on to win the World Championship.
    • To top it all off we were nominated for the Motivate Award. "This award celebrates the team that exemplifies the essence of the FIRST Tech Challenge competition through team spirit and enthusiasm. They show their spirit through costumes and fun outfits, a team cheer or outstanding spirit. This team has also made a collective effort to make FIRST known throughout their school and community."
The Cougars Robotics Team had a tremendous rookie season. We learned to build significantly more sophisticated robots. We learned to program in 2 new languages, LabVIEW and Robot-C. We learned to make alliances and work with other teams. And as a rookie team we made it all the way to the semi-finals of the World Championship. We're looking forward to next year's competition!
Last Updated on Monday, 16 September 2013 22:09

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FTC Blog

FIRST Tech Challenge
The official FTC Blog
  • Super Regionals - Then and Now
    Super Regional competitions were piloted in 2014 with the intent of creating a more balanced progression of competition. As FIRST Tech Challenge grew, the single World Championship accommodating 128 teams resulted in a very small percentage of teams making it to the top level of competition.

    Super Regional events provided a solution to this problem, and allowed more teams to reach a higher level of competition. The events were a tremendous success. The regions that stepped up to organize, fundraise and execute the events were amazing. The sponsors who believed in the vision donated over a million dollars to make them happen. The team experience was unlike anything else. We are truly grateful for the passion and effort that went into these events.

    Since the inception of Super Regionals several things have changed. Most significantly, we’ve added a second World Championship, as well as new World Championship venues.

    In 2017 FIRST Tech Challenge doubled the number of teams attending World Championships from 128 to 256. The percentage of teams progressing from one competition level to the next was turned on its head. In addition to more spots for 40 international FIRST Tech Challenge teams we added a waitlist/lottery for 80 FIRST Tech Challenge teams at World Championships. That still left spots for 136 Super Regional teams, or 47% of teams competing at Super Regionals.

    The cost to teams competing in both Super Regionals and World Championships is not insignificant. In addition, the cost of the events themselves is substantial, the volunteer and coach time, and the compression of the FIRST Tech Challenge season, it really adds up. Most importantly, the original reason for creating Super Regionals which was helping more students reach a higher level of competition is being solved by the addition of a second World Championship event.

    Taking into account all these factors, 2018 will be the last year of FIRST Tech Challenge Super Regionals.

    Houston and Detroit World Championships each offer new opportunities, mainly in layout and the chance to have all programs again under one, enormous roof. In fact each of the new venues can accommodate more FIRST Tech Challenge teams than our previous venues.

    Starting in 2019 we are happy to announce that each World Championship will host 160 FIRST Tech Challenge teams, or a total of 320 teams from around the world. We will continue to make the FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship experience loud. Teams can expect to compete side-by-side on the largest stages with FIRST Robotics Competitions and in places like Minute Maid Park and Ford Field as well as the George R. Brown and Cobo Convention Centers.

    The growth of FIRST Tech Challenge continues, and we love it. Making our program available to more and more students is what it’s all about. We’re proud to have Championships that recognize and celebrate the students, coaches, volunteers and sponsors that make it all happen. I look forward to seeing you out at the competitions and then changing the world!


    Ken Johnson, FIRST Tech Challenge Director