VEX Team Make More Progress

After a slow start, the VEX team is making progress toward a solution to the Starstruck challenge. Terry provided some much needed wrench turning over the last week to help get caught up to a challenging schedule. Ethan and David tackled the lifter arm. Howard and Mike provided a first cut at the software.

The video shows the drive control working as expected after getting the motor polarities correct; and the position controlled lifter arm is functional, but needs more power, higher torque gearing, or some rubber band assistance.

The team expects to have that solved in the next couple of weeks, including a first cut at the autonomous mode.


Join the Bit Buckets!

I want cha
I want cha

We have 5 Vex spots, 4 Pumpkin Toss spots, and 1 FRC spot.

Vex Robotics Saturdays 1:00 – 5:00 from June through mid-December 2016. Meetings may be extended to April if the team qualifies for State/World. $200. Grades 9-12.

Pumpkin Toss Sundays noon – 2:00 from August to October. Build a trebuchet to compete at the UA Mall in October. $50. Grades 9-12.

FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Sundays noon–6pm from August through May; meet six days a week during intensive 45-day build season in January-February; out of town/state travel for competitions next Spring. $460, includes Vex and Pumpkin Toss. Grades 9-12.

1) Sign up!

Fill out the Student Interest Form

2) Show up!

To join the Vex team show up to our build meeting on Saturdays 1:00-5:00pm at CoLab Workspace, 17 E Pennington, downstairs.

To join the Pumpkin Toss, attend our meetings on Sundays noon-2:00pm at Xerocraft Hackerspace 101 W 6th St.

To join the FRC team, attend our meetings on Sundays 2:00-6:00pm at Xerocraft Hackerspace 101 W 6th St.

3) Pay

$200 Vex due on your second meeting/end of September
$50 Pumpkin Toss due on your second meeting/end of September
$460 FRC due on your second meeting/end of September

NOTE: City High has scholarships for their students so there will be no membership fee if you attend City High.

The team also seeks more mentors to teach engineering concepts to the students. If you can volunteer your time please let us know:

Mentor Interest Form

We did it!

The Arizona West Regional was an amazing success for the team! We not only qualified for championships via a wildcard system in finals but we also won the Excellence in Engineering Award. Some of the best teams in the world competed: The Holy Cows, The High Rollers, and Team Appreciate. Several of them have been to the top field at Championships, Einstein, before and are nationally recognized. Despite all of this we created and led the second seed alliance with our friends from last year, The Sabercats, as well as The Holy Cows.


Because of our incredible success, we qualified for World Championships in St Louis. However, going to FIRST Championship is incredibly expensive and the team needs your support. In order for us to be able to attend the team needs to raise at a minimum $10,000 more dollars. We are an IRS-certified 501c3 nonprofit so any donation that can be made is tax deductible. The Bit Buckets are also eligible for Arizona School Tax Credit donations, for more information go to our sponsor us page, which is entirely free as it just allows you to choose who some of your state tax dollars go to. If you wish to help us, you can donate money here and remember that any donation that can be made would mean the world to us. Thank you for your support!

Profiled For Excellent Design

Please enjoy this excerpt about the Bit Buckets Robotics team in the book FIRST Robots: Behind the Design. Out of the 2900 teams that participated in FIRST last year they only chose 30 top-performing robots to profile, so we are very proud.

This book was published in January and a copy was sent to every FIRST Robotics Competition team in the kit of parts distributed at Kickoff. Pages 202-207 are entirely about our 2016 robot design while the next two pages in the pdf, 18 and 173, offer photos.

We are featured in the chapter on Computer Controlled Cutting Systems for innovative use of the Trotec Speedy 300 Laser Cutter in the creation of our plywood robot. This robot took first place at the 2015 AZ West Regional, earning the right to compete in the World Championship. It also won a Creativity Award and Engineering Excellence Award. We couldn’t have made such a groovy robot without Xerocraft Hackerspace!

If you want more information abut the robot design book or if you want to order a copy, here is a link to the book’s webpage.

To download the excerpt from the book, click here: Behind-the-Design-4183 (pdf, 9 pages, 8.5mb)