Recycled gold: Robotics wins $1000

Students sit around a table to make a digital rough draft of the Solar Roller using a design program.

Students sit around a table to make a digital rough draft of the Solar Roller using a design program.

Hannah Hadelman, Staff reporter

Scrap aluminum, a gearbox and motor from an old remote controlled car, recycled scooter wheels, 18650 batteries from an old laptop and solar panels from a backpack with a built-in recharging station. All of those materials were crafted together to form a robot car that was able to accelerate forward for 500 centimeters and win the Robotics Program $1000.

In December, seniors Madison Dishman, Victoria Guise, Stephen McCreight and Andrew Pereiro entered the inaugural Dream It Do It 500 and created a solar-powered car. The “Solar Roller” car won the Industry Favorite award, which came with a trophy and $1000 in prize money.

Robotics teacher Stefan Ibarguen presented the opportunity to the students who decided to take it on as was a joint exercise between the Robotics Club and the Modeling and Simulation classes.

“This is the first year of the competition but if it is repeated, I expect we will compete again,” Ibarguen said.

Dishman, Guise, McCreight and Pereiro brainstormed the idea and then worked with their manufacturing partner, Machining Training Simulation in Longwood, Fla.

It is required that students work with the manufacturer to design, create and test a device that follows the rules of the contest. The DIDI 500 required a team to create a device that would travel 500 centimeters under its own power. Materials couldn’t be purchased for this device, they had to be recycled or scrap metal.

In the end, the students and business created a solar powered car named Solar Roller, along with a video and marketing material to showcase their work.

“We did not know who our competitors were, and I would not say that we expected to win anything,” Dishman said, “but we put in a lot of work and hoped that we would win one of the awards.”

The Industry Favorite award came with a trophy and $1,000 which will go toward helping the Robotics team participate in upcoming events and purchase robotic parts.

The Robotics club participates on higher complexity robots than the class does because the club creates robots that have significantly higher costs that preclude their use in a classroom.

“As a rule of thumb, we like to joke around and say that you can assume that any piece on our robot is about $50. If you’ve ever seen our robots, you can imagine how quickly that adds up,” Dishman said.

The club continues to participate in the first Robotics contest at the First Tech Challenge level. They are in the process of finishing up the league competitions and they will have their League Championship on Jan. 28 at Hagerty. If the team is successful, they will move onto Super-Regionals in Atlanta and then onto the World Championship in Houston. They are also participating in the VEX Robotics competition for the first time this year.

“We are really just getting our feet wet this year,” Ibarguen said. “We are treating it as a building year to better understand the structure of the competition and be fully prepared for next year.”

This is the finished product of the Solar Roller.
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