The Student News Site of Pinewood School

The Perennial

The Perennial

The Perennial

Flat Earth Fever: Pinewood’s New Cult or Just a Roundabout Misunderstanding?
Didem Becer, Staff Writer • May 3, 2024
Behind the Catchphrases of Math Teacher Stuart Hamilton
Rishi Chen, Staff Writer • May 3, 2024
Innocent Chemistry Prank Goes Terribly Wrong
Addison Parenti, Staff Writer • May 3, 2024

Simon’s Says His Goodbye to Pinewood Robotics

Alexander McCormick
Robotics team debuts their 2024 robot

 The rivet smashes into the aluminum rod, and my fingers clamp down quickly and tightly. The noise is deafening. Again. And again. People say robotics is not a sport, but I challenge you to rivet a robot arm together in less than 20 minutes. Good luck!

   PWRUP has been the foremost part of my life here at Pinewood over the last three years. I have fought emotionally and physically to design and execute a robot for the FIRST robotics competition. Seeing the project you have spent weeks on compete in the field is beautiful, and it takes immense effort to smash together a functional robot. We stay up until 3 a.m. coding the heart of the robot so it comes alive. From placing cubes and shooting rings, FIRST never fails to hit teams with a new way of thinking. We must ideate outside the box and carefully build and design a beautiful robot. Our team has improved from placing in nearly last place to finishing in seventh place across the competition. What changed? Everything.

   First, we used computer-aided design. What is CAD? It’s a fancy computer drawing that helps us think of what we want – a blueprint to turn into reality. Using CAD, we created a robot before building it instead of smashing together parts with hope and a dream.

   Then, we did it again. We did everything again, from cutting pieces to designing code. This process allowed us to improve our design, learning from our mistakes to put it together better the next time. We did this nearly three times for the entire robot.

   Finally, we planned our robot. Everything was thought up beforehand to fit every tightly interlocking piece together. No minute could go wasted because we only had three months to build a fully functioning robot, from brainchild to aluminum beast. My part was particularly unique, as I managed the money for the team. Our robot cost around $5,000, but the team spent much more on new computers and equipment to improve our design process. Built up by five hardworking volunteers, Pinewood theoretically owes them a ghastly sum, although I hope they don’t try to cash in that check.

   There is a beautiful power in taking your mind and making metal out of it. Using a careful process of thinking and execution, you can even create anything you desire with the proper knowledge and a hefty dose of cash. Still, I promise you that iteration is the key to success. Not only did we iterate this year, we iterated from last year to this year, experimenting with our design process until we hit gold. Next year, we will strike aluminum, an infinitely more useful resource in robotics.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Perennial Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *