Being kind is a DesignPoint state of mind and we jump at opportunities where we’re able to give back. So, when Tim Miedzinski reached out about FIRST Team 836, The RoboBees of Southern Maryland–we were stoked.
Not only do we get to help others, but it just so happens to be the future of America in the STEM field … we’re in!
Who are The RoboBees?
The RoboBees, is a FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics team based out of Hollywood, Maryland.
Their mission is to inspire their community to celebrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics by teaching life skills in a fun environment and providing an opportunity to apply this knowledge.
The RoboBees is also a part of a new organization, growingSTEMS™, that aims to promote STEM awareness and education in Southern Maryland and beyond. The organization will have three major branches to accomplish this task and is designed to support students from elementary school through high school. The RoboBees is the only FRC team in the program, but have 4 FTC and 6 FLL between Maryland and West Virginia.
How did we lend a hand?
We provided The RoboBees with a Markforged 3D Printer. They received their Onyx One not too long ago. We’re also opening up our resources of Applications Engineers to be at their disposal. We’re sure that the kids and young adults that make up this team could get some use out of some of our expert engineers. It benefits us all really, as we’re sure this team would challenge our AE’s in new and refreshing ways.
So what have they been up to? How has 3D Printing helped?
When I say this team is filled with rockstars, I’m putting it lightly. They hit the ground running, 3D printing a variety of parts that they would have had to produce traditionally or purchase otherwise. Their Markforged Onyx One has brought on both excitement and relief — since they have saved time and money.
To paint a better picture. Let me share what The RoboBees have already managed to do within a few short weeks. They…
- Redesigned mounting blocks/plugs for aluminum box tube.
These used to be made of hardwood and took a decent amount of time on a table saw to get toleranced correctly in the past.
- Made timing pulleys for both 3mm and 5mm pitch belts.
These will reduce prototyping time (no ordering or shipping) and reduce cost drastically.
- Redesigned a rope friction stop block.
This is a much cleaner design and induces next to zero wear and tear on the rope itself.
- Are in the process of printing a bearing block concept that was developed last year.
While they are patiently waiting for a few bearings to come in to actually test this out, here at DesignPoint we are at the edge of our seats because we can’t wait for the results!
- Saw the heat set inserts on the Markforged website and ordered a pack of them to explore functionality.
If it works how they presume it to, it will be an awesome addition to how Team 836 assembles designs.
- Combined a pulley to a round plug on a shaft.
This is now a single part vs a pulley that would have to be fastened to the plug somehow, often requiring a decent amount post machining after the pulley was shipped.
How proud are we of The RoboBees?
There aren’t enough words to express how delighted we are of The RoboBees. We’re so happy that they reached out and that we are able to contribute to their success. We can’t take too much credit though. Everyone on that team has bright, innovative, and inspiring ideas and we’re sure this is just the beginning.
We’ll keep you all posted on our favorite FIRST team.