Online Help Desk

Team Updates

The weekly FRC team updates sent out via email are archived below.  Click on one of the update headings to see the full message.

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+ FRC Update 2016 – 14

Hello Teams,

As the school year draws to an end we wanted to keep you up-to-date on some of the great things in store for you in the fall.  We will do our best to limit updates over the summer holidays, but if you have any questions or need anything, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

2056 Ways to Inspire Conference

OP Robotics is very excited to be hosting the 2056 Ways to Inspire Conference.  An all day conference to be held at Orchard Park Secondary School – Home of FIRST Team 2056.  The conference will be held on October 1, 2016 at our school in Stoney Creek, Ontario and will consist of a number of topics including:  Programming FRC robots, Getting started with VEX IQ, Lego EV3 and FLL, Chairman’s Preparation, Strategic Design, Effective FIRST Strategies, Preparing for Judges, Mechanical Design, and Curriculum.  We are looking for presenters for 30, 60, or 90 minutes sessions.  These can be hands-on workshops, Q & A sessions, presentations or demos.  Our target audience will include students, mentors, parents and teachers from pre-rookies to veterans.  If you would like to be a presenter – please complete this application form.  Look for the complete itinerary early in September and pass the word around.

Off Season Events

Early registration ends on June 30th for the three Ontario off season events, so be be sure to register and get your payment in so you can save.

Fall Fiesta (Toronto – October 22, 2016)

The Southwest International (Windsor – October 29, 2016

The STEMley Cup Championship (Hamilton – November 12, 2016)

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn and improve in the off season and give your rookie students a taste of what competitions season is all about!  Register here.

SWATposium Message From 771

Greetings from SWAT 771,
In planning the dates for next year, we want to make sure SWATposium is on your calendar.  It’s such a great opportunity to introduce new members to the FIRST Robotics program.

Please mark Saturday, November 5 from 9-3 on your calendar.  It is a free event including morning and afternoon snacks (can you say cake?) and will be held at our school in Oakville, Ontario.  Pizza lunch, including drink and cookie will be available at a cost of $5 or you can bring your own lunch.

P.S.  Please forward to anyone who may be interested in this event.  It is open to all those interested in FIRST Robotics

7 Days Left for Rookie Discount!

FIRST Canada will provide an additional $1,000 to any rookie team who registers for the upcoming season before June 24.  Veteran teams – if you know of any potential schools who might want to start a rookie FRC team, please connect with them!

Graduating Students

Please remind your graduating students to join our alumni Facebook group and to consider connecting with their university/college FIRST alumni group to keep in touch.  If they don’t have a group at their post secondary institution or if they would like to get involved with mentoring a local FIRST team (FLL Jr., FLL or FRC) they can contact us at

Outreach Activities

Keep us up-to-date on your summer outreach activities by sending us pictures and a brief description so we can share them on our social media.

Special Wonderland Discount for FIRST

Did you have great time at our annual FIRST Robotics Rendezvous?  Thanks to the wonderful alumni that organized the event you can have even more fun!   Those involved with FIRST Robotics Canada can enjoy special savings with promo code: Robot16.   Complete details are attached.

Have a safe and happy summer!


+ FRC Update 2016 – 13

Hello Teams!

Before you head off to enjoy your long weekend, we just wanted to update you on a few things that may be of interest..

FIRST Stronghold Off-Season

Remember the fun doesn’t have to end!  Sign up now to attend one, two, or even three, off-season events in the fall.  It’s a great way to see the fun and learning continue, not to mention it give new students a glimpse of what is in store for them next season.  The best part is the price!  It’s an affordable way to get in more competition practice.  To register visit:

FIRST Robotics Rendezvous at Wonderland next weekend!!!

Looking for a fun filled, action packed, team bonding experience?  Just the entire FIRST Canada family on May 28th at Wonderland.  Come as a team, or have your student attend with their family.  Take advantage of the discounted tickets, join us for a special all-you-can-eat lunch with games and prizes, and spread the word!  The first 100 people to buy tickets get a behind the scenes tour of the Leviathan!  To qualify, email your ticket confirmation number  To purchase tickets go to  Note: If you have a seasons pass you only need to buy the meal ticket!  We look forward to seeing you all there in your FIRST swag!

Important update – Potential Rookie FRC Teams!

FIRST Canada will provide an additional $1,000 to any rookie team who registers for the upcoming season before June 18.  Veteran teams – if you know of any potential schools who might want to start a rookie FRC team, please connect with them!

Innovation Nation

Here’s an opportunity to register for the conference or to enter a team in the competition visit:


If your FRC team is thinking of starting a FLL team (ages 9-14) we wanted to let you know that registration for “Animal Allies” is now open!

Solidworks Resource

Wishing you a fun and safe Victoria Day weekend,


+ FRC Update 2016 – 12

It certainly has been a great season here in Ontario with five fantastic regional events, but the fun isn’t over yet, so we have some more news to share with you this week.

Shipping to Champs
All FRC teams who are competing in St. Louis and have already qualified must ship their robots immediately. All qualified teams have access to the 2016 Championship google group for detailed information around the shipping process.

Please ensure that you clearly mark on your waybill paperwork the following statement:


Please contact John Hobbins for any questions around shipping –

Contact Info For Championships
All teams attending Championships are asked to email with their team number, hotel name & address and an emergency contact phone number, such as a cell phone number that will be available during the event.

Wonderland Tickets Now On Sale!
Our Alumni have been busy planning our annual Wonderland social event.  This is always a very popular event and if you are one of the first 100 to purchase and get a special behind the scenes tour before the park opens.  Please let your students and mentors know that tickets are now available on line.  We’ve included a poster for you as well, see the attached.  Be sure to invite any FLL teams you mentor and event volunteers as well.

All Grade 12’s
Please invite your graduating students to join our Alumni Facebook group, so they can stay connected with other alumni, find out about university alumni groups and volunteer opportunities.

Webinar on Championships
This Monday at 7pm the webinar is focused on reviewing the paperwork needed to get your team’s robot to St. Louis for the World Championships … and bringing it back. Regional Director John Hobbins will walk us through that.   We will have other discussions on the upcoming Worlds and of course we will do a regional event recap. Join us! Register here:

Have a terrific weekend!


+ FRC Update 2016 – 11

Hello Teams!

Wow, talk about exciting regionals in Ontario so far, and there are still more to come!  Meanwhile here is the lasted news and info from FIRST Robotics Canada

Important – Safety Glasses

Teams are reminded that they are expected to bring their own safety glasses to the event and that those available for loan are for guests only.  Please be sure to pack them where you can access them easily before entering the pit area and ensure you have an ample supply for all of your team!

Science Rendezvous Demo Teams Needed

Teams interested in demoing at Science Rendezvous on 7 May at either the University of Toronto (St George Street) or Ryerson (Dundas Square are invited to contact George Chisholm for more information.  If you are a team attending Championships you may decide to make arrangements to bring back your robot yourself or use a back up bot as it is unlikely shipments back will be received in time.  This is an all-day event.  Shelter, power, food, water, tables and chairs are provided.  Teams need to be prepared to drive their robot and discuss the benefits of FIRST with the public.

Ask the Expert Webinar – Tips; Positive Team Morale

Our webinar series are jam packed with great advice, so be sure to listen in!  This week we welcome Peter Karl, Bryan Kelso, Christine Bibic and Tony Lam to reflect on Week 2 and 3 regionals and to speak about positive team morale. We also give a couple of safety reminders from Mario Guindon and John Hobbins.  Register at

Rick Mercer

It has been confirmed that the air date for the Rick Mercer FRC segment will be on March 22nd at 8 pm (it also repeats the following Friday at 7 pm).

Greater Toronto East Photos

Here is a link to some of the photos from the big event last week in Oshawa for those that are interested.  Many thanks to John Shaw for sharing them.

Enjoy the remainder of your March break,


+ FRC Update 2016 – 10

Hello Teams!

We certainly have been have seen lots of excitement and amazing teams at our events so far. It’s a testament to the incredible work you and your teams have been putting in.  Thank you for all you do!

Off Season Events

Attached you will find information on registering for the upcoming off-season events.  You can also find the information here.

Watch Events Online

Watch the live event feed at

Alumni Facebook Page

Please ask all your grade 12 graduating students to join our Alumni Facebook page now so they can remain connected with the FIRST Community.

Alumni Photo

A group alumni photo will be taken on the field Friday at lunch at the remaining Ontario regionals, so encourage any of your alumni mentors or spectators to join in.


Your team is invited to join our alumni and the rest of our FIRST Robotics Canada Family at Wonderland again this year.  Save-The-Date:  May 28th and be prepared to have lots of fun!

+ FRC Update 2016 – 9

Hello Teams!

We are off to a great start with our Ontario events and look forward to seeing all of you in person over the next several weeks.  Here are a few things to keep you posted on….

Off Season Events

Believe it or not registration is now open for the Ontario off-season events.  Don’t miss out and register soon.  See the attachment for more information.


This year our alumni are once again busy organizing a fun social day at Wonderland.  Save-The-Date:  May 28th and be prepared to have lots of fun!

This week’s Webinar
Safety at a FIRST Event; Week One Reflection; Game Analysis: Open Mic Discussion.  This week we welcome Safety Advisor Mario Guindon, and team mentors Roland Sing, Shawn Lim, Ian Matthewson and Bill Thorne. The topics being discussed will be how to be safe at a regional, week one reflections of GTR Central, some game analysis, and we will have an open mic discussion on the season so far.

Lost & Found

Lost something at a regional?  Check in at pit admin as our lost & found collection moves along with the field from event to event.

+ FRC Update 2016 – 8

Hello Teams!

We have a few reminders for you as competition season is just around the corner!

North Bay Regional

The North Bay Regional is still in need of robot inspectors.  Please help us get the word out and encourage potential candidates to apply via VIMS.

Competition Reminders

  • Remember to print off and bring a copy of your Team Roster from TIMS, plus any additional paper consent forms you have.
  • Remember your safety glasses!
  • Review the safety manual and rules.

Ask the Expert Webinar – Monday February 29 at 7pm

Competition Preparation; Scouting, What to bring, Pit Building; Palmetto Regional Recap

This week we welcome Stan Hunter of team 2056 (OP Robotics). Joining him will be Trevor from OP and Team 254. They will help prepare you for what you need to do to set up a good competition pit, how to scout the teams at the event successfully, and what you should be bringing to your event.  Also joining us will be FIRST Canada Regional Director John Hobbins who will give a firsthand recap of a week 0 event, the Palmetto Regional.  Click here to register.

Victoria Park Practice Day Follow Up

Thanks for attending our Practice Day event on Saturday February 20th. It was great to see so much enthusiasm and spirit, and our field certainly got a good workout.  Thanks to all who completed the survey. The winner of the Tim Hortons gift card is Chase Haddleton of FRC team 5834. The card will be sent by mail to your school. We have had some items reported missing, so please would you check your boxes for them ASAP? They were left by mistake on a grey table in the hall, and the team to whom they belonged is very anxious to get them back: A Versaplanetary gearbox with a chewed up hex shaft, and an AndyMark PG 2015 motor gearbox assembly. Please contact Vance Scott ASAP if you find these items. Also, if you left anything behind (by accident) please let us know and we will try to locate the items.

Have a great weekend and see you at the competition!

+ FRC Update 2016 – 7

Hello Teams!

It was great having the chance to chat with some of you last weekend at Crescent’s Practice Field.  We hope to see even more of you at the various practice fields this weekend.  There is always so much to learn from these types of activities and they are a great chance to get to know other teams, so if you have the opportunity we encourage you to try to make it out to one of the community fields.

The final push is on to get things done before “Bag and Tag Day” on Tuesday, but we have a few things to remind you of, so please take the time to read this email through and pass the relevant information along to others on your team.

Stop Build/Bag & Tag Day February 23rd

You may work on your robot until midnight local time, but your robot must be bagged and tagged when the clock strikesmidnight! For detailed information about the bag and tag process, please review Section 5 of the Administrative Manual:  The lockup form will need to be printed and you’ll want the big clear bag and tags from your kit of parts on hand as well.

Robot Inspectors and CSA

North Bay is extremely short on Robot Inspectors this year and is still in need of a CSA.  If you know someone that might be able to help out, or have some former alumni that would be in the role please have them sign up in VIMS.

Ask the Expert Series occurs several times. Please register for the date and time that works best for you:

Ask An Expert Webinar:  Judges:  How to present your robot and team
This week we welcome four engineers from Quanser Inc of Markham. Dr. Tom Lee, Peter Martin, Herve Lacheray and Gilbert Lai have not only mentored teams (4001, 771, and 5031) but they have also judged at many of the FRC Regionals in Ontario. Dr. Lee has also been judge advisor at events such as last year’s North Bay Regional. They have a wealth of knowledge and will share what they can but not all the judging secrets can be divulged. However teams will be much better prepared after listening to these gentlemen.  Hear from our experts as they explain and answer questions from the listeners about this important topic.  Have your mentors and students listen in on this call by registering at:

Greater Toronto Central

FIRST Robotics Canada is looking for a few past Dean’s List Finalists to help out on the Thursday of the Ryerson event with the Dean’s List lunch and networking session as well ambassadors on the Friday and Saturday.  If you have a past finalist that might be able to help out, please contact

Sponsor Recognition

Be sure to recognize your sponsors on you robot and in your pit.  Often times company executives are invited as our special guests to the events and like to tour the pits to check in on the teams they support, so we want to make sure their companies are properly recognized.

Victoria Park Practice Field

Thank you to all the teams that have signed up for our “practice day” session on Saturday, February 20, 2016. The event is now completely full. If you would still like to come practice, at another date, please to make arrangements for a semi-private session. There is still some space. Additionally, we will be open all day Monday from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. If you wish to come during that time period, just show up. Please make certain your team sends at least one adult supervisor. Also, if your team builds a second robot, our practice facility will be available (by appointment) after the stop-build day right up until October 22, 2016!  **Refer to past updates for alternative practice fields if you are still looking for one.

Mississauga Practice Field

FRC Team 1325 has a 3/4 practice field in our new Robotics Lab (former auto shop) at our school and would like to make it available to interested teams for practice. We are located at 1490 Ogden Avenue, in the Dixie Road and QEW area of Mississauga.  The field has a tower, hanging tower, feeding station, 5 defense bases with all 9 deference and secret passage berms. We also have a brand new carpet after a generous donation from Best Bargain Carpet and Flooring.

Email Roland Sing ( with at least 24 hours notice to book a time. We can accommodate two teams plus ourselves for a total of 3 at a time. Our hours are Monday to Friday 2:45 to 9:00 pm, Saturday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Your team should be accompanied by an adult mentor when you do come.

Electrical Tip

This year looks like it will be a rough and rugged one as robots tackle the defenses, so you will want to make sure your electrical connections are extra secure this year!  For more tips join the rookie google group by contacting

Outreach Opportunity

OACETT would like to invite a few JFLL, FLL and FRC teams to showcase their team and FIRST Robotics at Woodbine Mall on Saturday March 5th, 9am-4pm. If your team would like to participate, please contact

Oshawa Outreach

Oshawa community event that is coming up on February 25th.  It involves a bunch of schools in the Ajax area going through a series of stations in groups of 30 for 10 minutes at each station.  The event runs from 11:30-2:00 p.m. at the Oshawa Civic Centre in their Field House.Exhibit to be engaging for 30 kids…I don’t think FLL is the space for this because the robots are so small but if we had an FRC robot or two that might work…what do you guys think.  Every 10 minutes would have a new group of kids…maybe we could have some kids drive, some shoot, some catch the ball, etc.? If you can showcase your robot and team, please contact Paul Keenan

Got Questions?

Email the online help desk at

Hang in there, just a few more days until bag & tag 🙂


+ FRC Update 2016 – 6

Hello Teams!

Hope things are starting to come together for your team.  Remember if you run into challenges we have the online help desk and drop in centres, so take advantage.

Ask the Expert Webinar – Bag and Tag Day Stories; Final Preparations for the Regionals

This week we welcome Sheri Lynn Koscielski of team 772, Nancy Dewar-Stenning of team 1305 , and Sarah Sils of team 771. They are going to tell us what their teams do on Stop Build Day to celebrate the end of the build season. Then we will discuss what should happen next and update teams about the opportunities to practice before bagging their robot on Feb. 23rd.  Hear from our experts as they explain and answer questions from the listeners about these important topics.

Register here:

Hamilton Scrimmage

The Hamilton scrimmage will be Sunday February 21 (not the 22), and teams can sign up here:  (See also the attached for more details.)

Victoria Park Practice Field
The Victoria Park CI / FIRST Robotics Hub Practice Field will be available for a group practice on Saturday, February 20, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. All teams interested in attending must register in advance. There is only space for a maximum of 12 teams.  Click here to register. Also, any teams looking for semi-private time to practice prior to this event should contact to make arrangements . The field is now open!  Here is the registration link…..

Crescent Practice Field

Crescent School’s Team 610 and FIRST Robotics Canada have partnered to offer Open Practice and Build sessions at Crescent School’s Field House starting this Family Day long weekend until Stop Build Day.  FIRST Robotics Canada will be setting up a full field perimeter, and Team 610 will share their half-field of wood field elements. Teams are invited to bring their own field elements, and if enough teams do we may be able to have a full field and simulate matches. Please check the sign-up sheet below to see which teams are coming, and what field elements will be available.  There are “Field Only” times, and “Field + Build” times. When the entire Field House is available, teams are invited to bring tools, parts and materials to set up pit areas to build and work on their robots during “Field + Build” times. These may be useful during Family Day weekend, as many schools are unable to get access to their normal build facilities during the holiday.  During “Field Only” times we have access only to 1/3 of the Field House, which is an area only slightly larger than the FRC Field. Space is limited, and teams will not be able to set up large pit areas, and we ask teams to use these times primarily as robot testing times.  The different time slots are indicated on the sign-up sheet below, indicated by Team 610’s sign-up times.  If you have any questions of concerns, please e-mail Shawn T. Lim at  Sign-Up Sheet for 2016 Open Practice and Build at Crescent School – Field House

Game Piece Substitute

In case anyone is in need of substitute game pieces for later in the year, Team 1241 has a suggestion to share.  They were able to secure balls that are 10g heaver than the official game piece, but are identical in every other way except they are red, from Marchants in Toronto.  They were about $45 a ball.


Just a friendly reminder not neglect your bumpers and to read up on all the associated rules.

Enjoy your long weekend,


+ FRC Update 2016 – 5

Hello Teams!

Less than 3 weeks left before “Bag and Tag Day”, so we know you are all really busy but wanted to keep you posted on some important information for your team.

FIRST Ontario Regionals

The competition season is just about upon us!  Please take note of the following key information regarding our events.

  • All Ontario events will allow teams one hour during robot load in to set up their pits in order to alleviate congestionon Thursday.
  • Pit Size – Waterloo, Central and East pit sizes will be 8′ wide by 10′ deep, all other events are 10′ X 10′, so plan your pits accordingly.  The pit size allows for a more complete practice field and larger event registration.

Ask the Expert Series – Open Mic; Why go to a practice field?; Tips and Tricks; Referees
Teams that have been listening in on the weekly webinars are receiving excellent information and lots of great tips, so don’t miss out and be sure to register!  This week we welcome Vance Scott of 4914 whose school, Victoria Park CI provides a practice field for teams to use. We also have Tibor Torontali of the AlphaDogs to talk about practicing before Stop BuildDay. We also have FRC referees Noeen Kashif, Kaushal Kapasi, Pranit Trivedi, and Prakhar Garg. From them we will hear what the referee’s job is at an event and how to interact with them. We will also hear about teams tips and be able to answer your questions about game ideas and strategies.  Hear from our experts as they explain and answer questions from the listeners about these important topics.  Click here to register:

Victoria Park CI/FIRST Robotics Hub Practice Field

The Victoria Park CI / FIRST Robotics Hub Practice Field will be available for a group practice on Saturday, February 20, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. All teams interested in attending must register in advance. There is only space for a maximum of 12 teams.  Click here to register. Also, any teams looking for semi-private time to practice prior to this event should contact to make arrangements . The field is now open!  Here is the registration link…..

Awards Deadline

Don’t forget Thursday, February 11 at 3pm is the deadline to submit for the Entrepreneurship Award and Dean’s List Award.

Calling All Teachers – Curriculum Wanted!

We graciously ask you to submit FIRST related teaching resources – curriculum, that you feel would be worth sharing with other Ontario FIRST teachers. Teaching resources or activities include: lessons, units, course outlines, courses, specific learning tasks reflecting FIRST and ministry course expectations. When submitting resources, please ensure you include your name, course name and course code, and a comment if you want your name included or removed when the material is posted on our website.  Resources should be submitted to our curriculum link on the FIRST website at: or directly to

Outreach Opportunity

The Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT) would like to invite a few FLL Jr., FLL, and FRC teams to showcase their team and FIRST Robotics at the Woodbine Mall on Saturday, March 5th, 9am-4pm.  This would be a terrific way to spread the word about FIRST!  If your team would like to participate, please contact

Wishing you and your teams a great week,


+ FRC Update 2016 – 4

Hello Teams!

Build season is quickly zipping by and we know all of you are very busy, so just a few things to let you know about.

This Week’s Webinar – Coaching During Matches; Organizing a Driver Team; Professional Behaviour

This week we welcome Thuvisham Rajagulasingam and Malavya Shah to the webinar. Both Thuv and Malavya are mentors from 1241/1285 at Rich Hansen in Mississauga. They have been part of many award winning Hansen teams and have a lot of knowledge that they have agreed to share.  Please register for the date and time that works best for you:

Hamilton Practice Field

An informal scrimmage will be held  on Sunday February 22 (the day before stop-build day).   We will make 10 four-hour slots available for teams between 10am and 6pm, so that up to 6 teams can practice together.   If your team is interested in attending please email, so that you can be included in future updates.

Help Desk

Got a question about “Strong Hold”?  Ask the FIRST Robotics Canada Online Help Desk.


Award submission deadlines are coming up this week and next, so be sure to keep an eye on the calendar.

Wishing you all a productive week!


+ FRC Update 2016 – 3

Hello Teams!

Just a few reminders this week…

PDV’s (Product Donation Vouchers)

Don’t forget to claim your PDV’s!  Take advantage of these free offers.  You’ll find all the information under the heading virtual kit.  Some are specific products, like VEX Pro and others are for dollar amounts like DigiKey.

Ask the Expert Series 

Join us January 25th at 7pm for the next topic in our Webinar series.  We will be covering Robot Inspection at a Regional, Purchasing Parts, Rule Updates and Robot in 3 Days.  Aakash Bhatt from Team Tesla makes his anticipated appearance to talk about his team’s experiences in the 3 day build.   Robot Inspector Andrea Valenzuela gives timely tips about what to expect when you get inspected at an event. Bill Thorne talks about purchasing parts for your robot that are not in your Kit of Parts.   Hear from our experts as they explain and answer questions from the listeners about these important topics.  Register today and encourage your team to do so as well.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Outreach Opportunity

OACETT (Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists) would like to invite a few FLL Jr, FLL and FRC teams to showcase their team and FIRST Robotics at Woodbine Mall (Toronto) on Saturday March 5th, 9am-4pm. If your team would like to participate, please contact

FRC Practice Fields – Please be aware that completing your robots ahead of the six weeks will position your team to attend practice sessions at Crescent School and Victoria Park C.I. in Toronto during the last two weeks of the build season! Schedules and related contact information will be available in future e-blasts.

FIRST Scholarships

Please remind your students to apply for the FIRST Scholarships.  There are several Ontario post secondary institutions that offer scholarships so “apply, apply, apply”.

Have a great weekend,


+ FRC Update 2016 – 2

Hello Teams!

We have been hearing lots of excitement about this year’s game, Strong Hold, and hope you and your team are off to a great start this season.  We strongly encourage you to reach out to FIRST Canada staff and other teams if you need any extra help as the build season moves along very quickly.

Here’s what’s new for you this week…

Special Offers For Canadian Teams

Attached you will find some special offers for Canadian Teams.  You should have already received these in a previous email or with your kit of parts, but just in case you missed them here they are again.  Note: The Balluff flyer has been updated since kickoff with an updated part number and we are including some some extra details as well. In addition here are links to all of the sensors.

Inductive Sensors




Photo Sensors





Ask an Expert Webinars
This week the topic is Rules, Robot in 3 Days, and Game pieces and Strategy

This weeks experts are:

  • Lee Awad from Team 772
  • Aakash Bhatt from team Tesla – a Canadian Robot in 3 Days team
  • George Chisholm from 1360 and a FIRST Senior Mentor

Please encourage your mentors and students (yes students) to join us. We would hope that every team is represented by someone.  Here is the registration link:  If you have some suggestions for additional topics for the coming weeks please let Paul Keenan or Bob Chirrey of Team 4001 (the hosts) or John Hobbins know.  By the way there will be a little rules quiz with the webinar.  Sign up now!!!

Field Elements

One of our senior mentors has compiled a few “unofficial notes” on the field elements.  Some teams may find them helpful so we are passing them along.

  • There are two versions of field elements.  The actual field element constructed out of steel, aluminum and polycarbonate for actual competition and the cheaper version for teams to build made of plywood.  Drawings are available for each.  There are some significant differences this year.
  • Defence Ramp.  This is the standard base that all the defences fit into.   The real one has a carrier, some angled bits and a plastic ramp on each side.  On the field drawings, the carrier is 24 x 50 and the polycarb ramps are 1/4 x 11 3/4 x 52 1/2.  The team version is plywood.  The base is 24 x 48 and the ramps are 1/2 x 10 x 48 – 4 inches narrower to make better use of materials.  Note that there will be a significant difference in friction between the real ramp and the team ramp.  The first is 1/4″ thick polycarbonate (Lexan).  The team version is plywood.  A fix is to glue thin polycarb on top of the plywood.  Don’t buy it at Home Depot.  It’s much cheaper at plastic dealers such as P&A Plastics in Hamilton or Johnston Industrial Plastics.  If you’re sawing it, take care.  It’s much easier to cut on a table saw if you have a zero clearance table insert or put it on top of a sacrificial piece of plywood or masonite to prevent it from bouncing.
  • Each defence element uses a standard base which has casters mounted on it that fit into holes in the carrier above.  The standard base is 23 x 50 and is called a D base.  All the team versions use a 3/4 ply base which is 23 3/4 x 48.  2″ shorter.
  • To make them plywood and 50″ long will cost a fair amount more as we’ll get 2 out of a sheet of ply rather than 4.
  • If you make them full size, you will require much more plywood.  I’ve discussed this with my design team and they aren’t concerned about the narrowness.
  • With the low bar, the real field uses 1″ schedule 40 aluminum pipe (1″ inside diameter).  The team version calls for steel pipe which is available at Home Depot.  No big deal for the top but the the pipe is used for the weight at the bottom of the curtain as well and the steel version would be heavier but cheaper.  The real version is also longer than 4′ which means you’d have to buy an 8 ft length and cut it down.  Schedule 40 aluminum pipe is less readily available.
  • The team field element drawings call for a piece of 1.25 Schedule 40 pipe for the Cheval de Friese.  This is overkill for a 4′ span.  I suggest a piece of 1″ pipe – readily available at Home Depot for about $14.  I couldn’t find the pipe clamps listed.  1″ pipe PVC pipe clamps will do it as the loads are light.  3/8″ bolts are overkill as well.  1/4″ are fine and fit the holes in the clamps.  The drawings call for 4.  You’ll need 8.  They come in a package of 5 in the electrical section of the store.

Wishing you call a productive weekend and sending out a big thank you to those that are taking time out to help with the FIRST LEGO League East Championships tomorrow,

+ FRC Update 2016 – 1

Welcome back to a new year and another exciting season of FIRST Robotics!  We are sending out this week’s update a little early as there are some important deadlines and information you will need to know with kickoff just around the corner.  As always, please share this information with any members of your team that you think would benefit.


**Important Kickoff Reminders
  • if you are not planning on picking up your kit personally please be aware it CAN NOT be released to anyone without the proper surrogate paperwork coming to the kickoff coordinator directly from FIRST HQ
  • don’t forget to bring a print out of your team roster or bring signed consent forms
  • mentors picking up kits will have to show photo id
  • consider bring a dolly to assist you in getting your kit to your vehicle
  • if you are picking up multiple kits plan to have enough room in your vehicle
January 8th Deadline for Sponsors in TIMS
Each team needs to add in their sponsors’ names as part of their team name in order to recognize and thank sponsors. This team name is put into the program that is prepared for every regional event. It is also announced as your team name when you compete at an event for the first time.  It is easy to do this. There is a video link below on how you do it. It has to be done by Jan. 8th… tomorrow. Please take a few minutes to add your sponsors in.  If you have any questions please contact Paul Keenan.


Science Centre Kickoff Approximate Schedule
8:00 Doors Open
8:30  You can begin entering theatre
9:30 FIRST Robotics Canada Announcements and Annual Trivia Challenge (Win some great prizes!) 10:30 Broadcast
11:15 Kit Distribution (Rookies first)
Quickbuild will follow immediately at Crescent School
*We haven’t been able to confirm, but in the past if you arrive before the museum opens you have been able to park for free.


Upcoming Dates
January 9 @10:30amFIRST STRONGHOLD challenge release
January 9 – final updates to sponsorship information in TIMS are due
January 15 (noon) – Deadline to report any damaged/missing parts from your kit of parts
February 4 – Chairman’s Submission
February 4 – Woodie Flowers Submission
February 11 – Dean’s List Submissions
February 11 – Entrepreneurship Award Submission


Game Resources
Don’t forget to download the encrypted files ahead of time so that you are ready to roll once the challenge is released.
Don’t forget you can always view out past up date at  If you would like someone in addition to your main and alternate contact added to the update distribution list, please


See the attached flyer for information on a potential battery supplier.


Wishing you a wonderful FIRST STRONGHOLD season!


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