SW Build Blog: Week Two

Here’s the Second week of the Steamworks build blog! If you missed Week One, you can find that here. In this post, updates will be added daily as we go throughout Week Two (1/16 through 1/21). Pictures are coming soon!

Day 07 (1/16/17)

Today was a slow day because there was a lack of members on this Monday holiday but we continued to work on the robot. Caleb continued to tweak the pneumatic gear claw and added two 6″ wide C-channels, one on top and the other on the bottom. Josh made a roller fuel shooter that could hold at least 10 balls. The roller used rubber bands to push the fuel up but the rubber bands would snap from the speed the mini CIM (motor) would go so we have to buy surgical tubing. The hanging mechanism was worked on and two circular Plexiglas sheets were used as a guide for the rope.

Day 08 (1/17/17)

Today we continued to attach and adjust the gear pouch and hanging mechanism while Caleb continued to improve the pneumatic gear claw. Later that day, the fabrication team and the field elements team had a discussion to go over the needs, wants, and wishes as well as what needs to be finalized prototype wise. The hanging prototype needs to be completed and finalized, the hopper and low goal prototype needs to be fine tuned, and for a high goal shooter to be last priority. The files of CADs on Google Drive did not sync so the CAD team did not make much progress. The programming team tried to get the camera running on Lab View but was unsuccessful. Overall, today was a little slow but we got our priorities straight.

Pictures coming soon!

Day 09 (1/18/17)

The fabrication team has made a ratchet system that can hold over 170 lbs! We plan to change motors to increase efficiency on the robot. We decided to use chain and sprockets for the drive instead of using belts and pulleys.  The hanger was finished with an axle instead of an aluminum spool and we got to test out the hanging mechanism on Galahad several different times with two different ropes. The first rope we used was an inch, but the robot went up too far within one revolution so we used another rope that was an eighth of an inch which kept the robot from slipping.  Our google drive was having multiple issues that we were able to figure out with the help of our mentors.  The building and programming sub teams made a list of the supplies that will be needed, which we will be ordering tomorrow.  The fine tuning of the cad for the chassis is almost done and now we have to start drawing the chassis so that fabrication can begin as soon as possible.  The documentation sub team needs to work on keeping the website up to date and a work shop for the website is possibly going to be planned.  The programming sub team continued to work on PID as well as planning out the sensors we will be using.  As a team we need to work on staying organized and keeping up with deadlines.

Pictures coming soon!

Day 10 (1/19/17)

The programming team got the camera to work! This means we can use Vision Tracker to shoot low goals and possibly high goals. The fabrication team worked on the low goal intake and hanging mechanism. On the low goal intake surgical tubing was used, but the tubing would stretch past its limit and break. On the hanging mechanism, long hex screws were used to make sure the rope would stay within them. This is to make sure the robot will be balanced while hanging.  The fuel scoring mechanism was set up for testing and worked well with the use of a voltage regulator that adjusted the speed of the motors.  The newer members were assigned the task of re configuring Galahad, our robot from last first season.  They learned about gearboxes as well while working on Galahad.  The fine tuning of the CAD was also finished today!

Pictures coming soon!

Day 11 (1/20/17)

We ended the second week of FRC season with a productive day!  The fabrication sub team was able to mount the gear boxes onto our practice drivetrain A.K.A Galahad (last year’s FRC robot).  They also improved the intake’s consistency and worked on designing a mechanism to make low goals.   The CAD team began making drawings for the fabrication sub team to begin parts for the chassis, and continued making edits to the chassis.  In programming, a preliminary code in Java was made for the final version of the robot!  This will be edited as the season continues.  They also worked on vision tracking and tested out the ultrasonic sensor with our practice drivetrain.

Day 12 (1/21/17)

It is the end of week two! The fabrication team continued to work on the high goal shooter. A problem on the fly wheel was the amount of energy it took for the fuel ball to be launched so the wheel was switched out from a 4″ traction wheel to an 8″ pneumatic wheel. Now we need to to fix the accuracy and fix the amount of momentum lost after each shot. The electronics team continued to work with the ultra sonic sensor and discovered the sensor from FIRST Choice (which happened to be cheaper) could sense up to 16′ while the one we ordered could only sense up to 5″.

Weekly Conclusion

It has been another productive week! We have finished prototypes for the high and low goal shooter, gear pouch and pneumatic claw, and hanging mechanism. The CAD of the chassis has been fine tuned and ready to be used! We will start the fabrication of our new chassis next week!

2016 Spring Camp Eureka!

Day 1 [3/21/2016]:

Today was the first day of our 2016 Spring Camp Eureka!

This camp we had a staggering 24 students in our morning Lego NXT session and 18 students in our Afternoon Vex IQ Session. The students came in, did some introductions, and went straight to finding partners to form teams with.

Like the past two camps, we went with a relatively unrestricted model. The student groups were all given a number of challenges, and they must work with their mentors to learn the skills and concepts necessary to complete each challenge. This allows each group to figure out what challenges they want to work on, rather than being forced to work on a set challenge. Each group is also able to personalize their learning, as their mentor can teach the individual groups according to their learning style and pace.

In this camp, both sessions were given the same set of challenges. The challenges given to the students include our classic three challenges(The Maze, The Drag Race, and The Sumo bot) that introducing the students to the main concepts of control, speed, and torque. In this camp, we also have some non traditional challenges such as the Robotic Arm, Hang bot, Rough Terrain Obstacle Course, and Sensor Obstacle Course. In addition, we have some general challenges such as the spaghetti tower challenge to make the tallest tower that can hold a marshmallow out of spaghetti noodles and tape, learning basic programming at code.org, and completing a research paper on a real life robotic application.

Today the students worked on a variety of challenges, with lots of students concentrating on the maze challenge. Much of the first day was spent on robot construction, but we hope to see more challenges completed in the next few days.


Vex IQ:



Day 2 [3/22/2016]:

Today was the second day of our Spring Camp Eureka!

In our Morning LEGO NXT session, many groups moved on to programming controllers that they made out of touch sensors. Using this, they could move the robot according to the obstacles that are immediately ahead rather than on autonomous code that they must prepare before hand. Using this, many groups moved on to work on the maze challenge.

In the Vex IQ session, many groups completed their robots and tackled all sorts of challenges, the most popular being the Sumo bot challenge, where they must now defeat a robot constructed by a mentor. This would prove to be very difficult.


Day 3 [3/23/2016]:

Today was the third day of our Spring Camp Eureka!

In the LEGO NXT session, groups would start completing many challenges such as the maze and race, as well as challenging the mentor robot in the sumo ring.

In the Vex IQ session, groups would continue to challenge the Mentor robot on the Sumo ring. Meanwhile, other groups would complete other challenges such as the rough obstacle course, maze, and race challenges.

Aside from the robot challenges, groups would also gain points by completing other challenges such as doing programming lessons on code.org, and building a tower out of spaghetti noodle strands.


Day 4 [3/24/2016]:

Today was the fourth day of our Spring Camp Eureka!

Today many teams worked on finishing up all sorts of challenges in preparation for the display and competition day on Friday. In the NXT session, many groups were able to defeat the mentor robot and also set new records all around, in the drag race, maze, and straw tower.

In the Vex IQ session, we announced that we will be closing the Sumo bot, Maze, and Obstacle course competition in order to make room for our final game. Before closing these competitions, many teams tried them out one last time, setting new records all around.  The game involves a standard 4’ x 8’ Vex IQ field with a trapezoidal bump along the center and a bins on each side of the field. Balls are placed all around the field and robots must move them to the other side of the field, or inside the bin on the opposite side for double points.

Hilo Intermediate Robotics Team!

For many years, Hilo Viking Robotics has been working on starting a robotics program at Hilo Intermediate School. At the beginning of this September we were finally able to start working with a group of 8th graders building robots using our Vex IQ kits. Gradually we were able to gather more students, get the team registered, and find funding for the team.

Starting during the second quarter, Hilo Intermediate School will have a robotics program as part of the Uplink program. Uplink participants can participate in several after school activities including robotics. Interested Students can pick up an Uplink application packet at Hilo Intermediate School’s front office, or download the form here.

HVR hopes to have a successful partnership with the Hilo Intermediate Robotics team and Uplink program.

Kealakehe Vex Tournament Champions!

Tournament Chamions

Yesterday, September 19, members of HVR awoke early to pack for the Hawaii Island TMT Vex Tournament hosted by Kealakehe High school. Team 1378 and 1378Z from the Hilo Viking Robotics would compete with 28 other teams in the 2015 – 2016 Vex Robotics Competition game, Nothing But Net.

Both teams struggled through the qualification rounds, as many technical errors would come to be found during the competition day. At the end of qualification rounds, team 1378 placed 18th and team 1378Z placed 20th.

Despite this initial setback, Team 1378 would bring themselves back through their passionate efforts to fix any problems and their excellent communication with other teams to explain their situation. Proving themselves to be a much stronger team than their ranking had indicated, Team 1378 is invited to be part of the top seeded alliance.

In comparison to other robots at the competition, Team 1378 had a much different overall design. Team 1378 features a unique shooter that accelerates the ball under the wheel rather than above it, maximizing contact time to create an efficient design. The robot also has a multipurpose, multi stage intake, starting with a wide intake, funneling balls to the back where a separate conveyor belt would transport balls from the lower intake into the shooter, or allow balls to be fed directly into the shooter. The creativity of this robot’s design distinguishes it from any other robot in the tournament, earning it the Creativity Award.

Team 1378 would prove to be a more than competent robot throughout the elimination rounds. Working well with their alliance partners Team 7312B from Leilehua High School Robotics and Team 359B the Hawaiian Kids from Waialua High/Intermediate school, Team 1378 proceeds completely undefeated until the Final rounds against the second seed. With the tournament’s best robots clashing, each alliance secures a victory, proceeding to a tiebreaker round which is won by the 1st seeded alliance.



Congratulations to the Hawaii Island TMT Vex Tournament Champions,  Team 7312B Leilehua Robotics, Team 359B Hawaiian Kids, and Team 1378 Hilo Viking Robotics!

HVR could not have done this without support from our advisers, mentors, sponsors, students, and the community. Thank you for your continued support!

Team 1378 Champions


2015 Hawaii Con!

On September 12th, 2015 HVR participated in the annual Hawaii Con, held at the Hapuna Prince Hotel! Hawaii Con is a four day convention that combines classical science fiction and the latest scientific and engineering breakthroughs with local island culture. The convention offers several interactive workshops and presentations with renowned professionals from several science fields. Convention attendees could also talk with science fiction celebrities and explore the beauty of the Big Island’s natural environment through several out door activities.

At the convention HVR was given the opportunity to have a booth for the entirety of the convention’s four days, September 10-13. In addition to this, HVR had the chance to give a free robotics workshop where participants could learn about robotics programs like HVR, build their very own Vex IQ robot and compete in a mini-competition. We had a very nice audience and lots of fun!

In addition to hosting the workshop, HVR members were invited to enjoy the many workshops, presentations, and activities offered by Hawaii Con. Among these activities was the Super Smash Brothers tournament, won by our very own member, Kenji Emerson. Kenji will receive a free four-day pass to the 2016 Hawaii Con.


All in all, Hawaii Con has been both a very educational and fun event. We look forward to participating again next year and hope to see many more people involved!

2015 Summer Overview

Hey folks!

We hope everyone has had an outstanding summer, because we sure have!

HVR would like to share what we have been able to do over the summer!

Vex Robotics

After the 2015 – 2016 Vex Robotics Game Reveal in April, HVR immediately started designing and building their robot. HVR teams have worked throughout the entire summer to brainstorm, design, and prototype their robots. Here is what we have so far:


Summer 2015

June 6th, Na Pua Noeau Workshop

We started our summer with a workshop with thirty talented students from the Na Pua Noeau program. The students worked in groups, working one on one with HVR members to build their very own Vex IQ robot, and then driving it in a competition. The group was especially excited and fun to work with.DSC_0139

June 15th – 19th, Summer Camp Eureka

For our second week of summer, we held our annual Summer Camp Eureka. In this camp we were able to teach 25 students robotics and engineering concepts through the Vex IQ and Lego NXT platform. As this camp’s theme was space, students were also taught about the applications of robotics in space, notably the Mars and Moon rovers. Challenges included an obstacle course where robots must traverse rough terrain, as well as space themed missions such as astronaut transportation and data collection.


July 9th, Upward Bound Robotics Workshop

Nearing the end of summer, we shared robotics with another group; the Upward Bound program at UH Hilo. A total of 14 students worked in pairs or individually to build a simple robot and compete. The Upward Bound program is a program that helps motivated students reach a post secondary education, leading to a bachelor’s degree. In order to help these students, HVR also shared the college and career opportunities that a robotics club offers.


June 9th – July 28th, Subaru Telescopes Internships

Throughout this summer, three HVR members had the opportunity to take part in a summer internship at Subaru Telescopes. In these internships, students had the opportunity to work at a professional facility, mentored by experts in the field. Here are the three students and their projects:

  • Ara Uhr – Ara’s project this summer was to use photo editing software to create new designs for Subaru’s mascot, Subby. A variety of themed designs were produced, including Halloween themed Vampire Subby, Traditional Japanese Subby, Hawaiian Subby, Telescope crew Subby, and many more.
  • Caleb Rogers – Caleb’s project was to test the efficiency of a mini telescope. These telescopes were designed to be easily made and easily placed to observe the sky at a variety of different locations. The goal was to see if it would be efficient to have inexperienced high school and college students build the same telescopes across the world.
  • Hua Uehara – Hua’s project this summer was to build a vibration isolation pallet along with a device to measure the vibration reduction capacity of the pallet. The pallet was designed to help protect instruments and computer equipment that would get damaged by the shock and vibration that result from traversing rough terrain on the way up to the telescopes on the summit.


HVR is excited for a new school year, and look forward to recruiting new members and continuing to work with everyone in the community!

2015 Summer Vex IQ Camp Eureka!

Welcome to the 2015 Summer Vex IQ Camp Eureka Activities log. This page will be updated daily to show the various activities done by the students at Camp Eureka, as well as any related pictures. Click on any images to get to our flickr page for all the pictures taken during this Camp.


Vex IQ Day 5:

Today was the last day of our 2015 Summer Camp Eureka as well as our competition day! Teams had to hustle to get their robots as ready as possible for competition. at 2:30, all teams assembled at the Hilo High School patio ready to compete.

This Camp’s theme was space, and so we taught a variety of concepts necessary to know for space related mechanics. This Camp’s lessons include gear ratios used in favor of strength, demonstrated in Sumo bots as well as on lift mechanisms. They also learned the function of raised drive mechanisms to traverse rough terrain.

The Camp’s game was played on a standard 8’ x 4’ Vex IQ field. Dividing the field was a 2 inch high bump across the center. Along this bump were a number of hollow cubes. Robots scored points by pushing cubes to the other side of the field, or transporting the cubes all the way to the opposite end of the field for double the points. In order to accomplish this, many teams came up with lifting mechanisms to raise the cubes, as well as raised drive trains to traverse the bump.

The matches were very exciting for both the drivers and those who were watching. Many matches involved cubes being thrown back and forth across the bump. The winning team of the 2015 Summer Vex IQ Camp Eureka was Team Robot, lead by Rowan Chhay and Hendrix Merryman. Congratulation to the winning team, and thank you to all the students, parents, mentors, and other supporters who made this event possible!



Day 4:

Today teams took some time to Finish up the obstacle course challenge. Many teams had trouble with this challenge, as the standard drive train would get stuck on the lego field and 2 inch bump. However, there were some teams that were able to clear the challenge very quickly, much faster than our own mentor built demonstration robot.

Once all teams finished the obstacle course, we moved on to introduce our 2015 Summer Vex IQ Camp Eureka game, Stalemate.  This game involves tossing 2”x2”x2” hollow cubes from one side of the field to another, across a large trapezoidal bump. Extra points are given to teams who are able to transport cubes all the way to the opposite end.

In order to address the need to transport the cubes across the bump, many teams have added arms and other advanced mechanisms to manipulate the cubes. At the end of the day, there was a wide variety of different robots.



Day 3: Obstacle Course!

Today was the third day of Camp Eureka!

Today we started with a short activity, going around the room saying things we would like to get at a grocery store. The word the first person says must start with an A, while the next person must say a word that starts with a B, and so forth.

Next we introduced the obstacle course. This course involved a series of challenges; first the robot must navigate through a maze, next it must pass through a bumpy Lego field, cross over a seesaw ramp, and finally climb a 2 inch tall trapezoidal bump. This challenge is extremely difficult due to the need to build a robot that can fulfill all these requirements. Most teams experienced difficulties building a versatile drive base to climb the bump, while still maintaining the ability to turn smoothly.

Tomorrow we will hold a competition to see who can complete the obstacle course the fastest. We will then introduce the final game to be played on Friday.


Day 2: Sumo!!!

Today was the second day of Camp Eureka!

The kids started off with a game to spark creativity in the student’s minds. An abstract image was shown on the board, and the students were to interpret the image in their own way, with no correct or incorrect answer. Answers ranged from unicorns to airplanes. In this activity, we demonstrate that although the image is the same, the interpretation can vary from person to person, and that in order to produce the best solutions, we must consider all viewpoints.

Next we told the students a bit about Computer Aided Design, the software we used to design our own robots. Because the software was very hard to use, for today we had the kids design their robot using play doh.

After making a 3D model of their robot, the kids proceeded to finish building their sumo robots. The teams were each allowed up to 5 motors on their robot, allowing for a wide variety of complex designs.

Near the end of class, we held the sumobot competition, where the robots had to push another robot off of a sumo ring. The most successful robots demonstrated their knowledge by fully utilizing gear ratios to produce robots with the strongest pushing power. Many robots also had a small ramp to scoop opposing robots off of the ground, applying the simple machine of the wedge.


Day 1: Introduction to Vex IQ

Today was the first day of our 2015 summer Vex IQ Camp Eureka! Students from ages 8 – 14 came to our camp to learn about the Vex IQ building and programing platform, as well as engineering concepts and robotics applications in astronomy.

To start the week, we had the students participate in a blind maze activity. In this activity, students worked in pairs, one acting as the programmer and one as the robot. The robot participant is blindfolded, and must get through the maze only by commands from the programmer. But there is another twist; the programmer must only instruct the robot by saying colors, meaning that each group must assign a color to each type of movement command they need. This activity teaches the students how robots must receive very specific commands from the programmer, often in a unique programming language.

The students were then introduced to their first challenge, the Sumobot challenge, where each team must build a robot to push the other team off of the sumo ring. because the Vex IQ system supports many motors, each team was limited to four motors, to be used however they liked. This produced a number of unique designs.

2015 Summer Lego NXT Camp Eureka!

Welcome to the 2015 Summer Lego NXT Camp Eureka activities log. This page will be updated daily to show the activities that the students at Camp Eureka did each day, as well as any related pictures.


Day 5: Competition Day!

Today was the Final day of our 2015 Summer Camp Eureka, as well as our competition day! Teams spent the first half of the day working hard to make last improvements on their robots and making final tweaks on their programs.Click on any images to get to our flickr page for all the pictures taken during this Camp.

After 10:00, the teams took their robots and marched down to their patio to show their parents what they have been able to learn in the past few weeks.

This camp’s theme was space. Our activities included many space related things, such as naming constellations, the order of planets, and recent space missions on Mars as well as a comet. In addition to this, our daily activities included learning about light and touch sensors, programing specific movements, and gear ratios.

This camp’s game was Space Race, inspired by the past year’s accomplishments in space, as well as some long term goals with regards to space exploration. Missions included transporting astronauts to the launch pad, launching them into space, bringing them to the ISS(international space station), taking instruments to the ISS, bringing more astronauts to mars, bringing a Mars rover and compressed air to a colony on mars, collecting samples from Mars, and collecting samples from a passing comet.

Through their continued hard work and efforts, many teams did very well in this game. However, a few errors such as the starting angle of the robot before running a program, and unexpected disturbances in the wheels caused some teams to lose a few points. The small differences kept some teams from achieving the perfect score. However, one team was able to execute their program without any flaws, achieving a perfect score.

The winners of the 2015 Summer Lego NXT Camp Eureka are Jhiro Calso, Ian Furuli, and Ella Nitta. Congratulation to the winning team as well as all the students, parents, mentors and other supporters that made this Camp possible!


Day 4: Space Race!

Today we introduced the 2015 Summer Lego NXT game, Space Race. Teams were challenged to make a series of autonomous robot programs to complete many tasks relating to space exploration. These tasks include: delivery of astronauts to launch station, delivery of astronauts to international space station, collection of samples from a nearby comet and Mars, delivery of oxygen supply to Mars colony, delivery of scientific instruments to space station, and delivery of the Mars rover to Mars.

In order to accomplish these tasks, students worked with their mentors to develop the best strategy to approach the game. Designs vary from robots that shovel pieces around the field, to robots with advanced mechanisms to capture and manipulate the pieces.



Day 3: The Maze Game!

Today was the third day of Camp Eureka!

We started the day with a word scramble activity. The students had to make as many words as possible from the letters in “Camp Eureka”. The purpose of this activity is to show that a variety of words can be made from the same set of letters. Similarly, there are near infinite combinations that can be made from a set of parts for a robot.

Next we introduced the students to their next challenge: The Maze Game. In this challenge students were to program their robots to navigate through a maze autonomously, meaning they are no longer using the controller, but giving the robot specific instructions, either by measuring each part of the field or by making use of sensors and programming logic.This challenge is extremely difficult, mainly due to the amount of programming necessary to complete it.

At the end of the day we went over the final challenge to be done on Friday. This camp’s game is  Space Race, a space themed series of challenges involving transportation of astronauts and resources across Earth, Mars, a space station, and a passing comet.


Day 2: Sumo!!!

Today was the second day of Camp Eureka!

To start off the day we had an activity to stimulate creativity within the students. We showed the kids an abstract image, and asked them to figure out what it is. Answers ranged from horses to laser beams. This activity showed that although the image is the same, different people think of different ideas, and it’s important to consider everyone’s perspective.

Next we taught the students about CAD(Computer Aided Design), and how we use this tool to create our own robots. But because CAD is an incredibly complex tool, we had the students use play doh. after molding different parts of their robot and putting it together, they had a 3D Scale model of what their robot may look like.

After getting an idea by modeling their ideas with play doh, the students continued to build and program their sumo robots. Building robots for this task involved building a touch sensor controller, and learning how to program the touch sensor inputs to translate into commands to move their robots, as well as use of light sensors to see when the robot is close to the white border of the sumo ring.

At the end of class, we held a competition to see who built the strongest robot. Many teams had very strong robots, often going into a stalemate. Impressively, the final robot proved to be even better than the mentor made demonstration robot. Bravo!


Day 1: Introduction to Lego NXT

Today was the first day of our 2015 summer Lego NXT Camp Eureka! Students from ages 8 – 12 came to our camp to learn about the Lego NXT Mindstorm building and programming platform, as well as general engineering concepts and applications of robotics in space.

To start the day we had the students participate in a blind maze activity. In this activity, students worked in pairs, one working as the robot participant, and one as the programmer. The robot participant is blindfolded, and the programmer must give commands to the robot participant in order to get through the maze. In this activity, the students needed to learn how it is to be a robot, which could only take specific instructions, and how a programmer must give the specific instructions.

Next the students were introduced to their first challenge, the Sumobot challenge. This challenge is incredibly simple and straightforward. Each team must build and program a robot that can push another robot off of a sumo ring. This challenge must be addressed with a well designed robot, utilizing advantages of gear ratios and simple machines; teams must also make full use of sensors to write a smart program that will keep them from falling off the ring.

Nä Pua No’eau Summer Vex IQ Workshop!

On June 8th, HVR partnered with the Nä Pua No’eau program of UH Hilo to bring STEM education to the Hawaiian students in our community. Nä Pua No’eau  is a program who’s purpose is to increase educational enrichment opportunities for Hawaiian students from grades K-12. The students of Nä Pua No’eau worked one on one with HVR members to build a robot using our Vex IQ kits. At the end of the day, we ran a competition among them to see who who could use their robot to score the most tennis balls.

Overall, it was a very fun and exciting workshop. The students of the Nä Pua No’eau program are some of the most enthusiastic people we have reached out to.