Category Archives: Build Season

2014 Daredevils Open House

On Thursday, February 13, from 6-8 p.m., we will be hosting our annual Open House in the East Library/Media Center. The event will begin with an overview of this year’s game, Aerial Assist, presented by some of our team members, and afterwards, we will have our past robots on display. Then, in the mezzanine, we will be unveiling and demonstrating this year’s new robot around 6:45 – 7:15 p.m.

6:00 p.m., refreshments in the library
Overview of Aerial Assist
Move to the mezzanine and view past robots
Around 6:45 – 7:15 p.m., unveiling of our new robot, name reveal, and a demonstration

You won’t want to miss this, we hope to see you there!

Daredevils Honored by Al Franken’s Visit

Today, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Senator Al Franken visited us at Archer Racing to see our team, robots, and where our fabrication team works. We showed him the exciting progress on our new robot, followed by our team Co-Captain, Anna, demonstrating our award-winning robot, Arcana. We were also honored to have the opportunity to ask Al Franken questions and have a group photo with him.  Senator Franken pointed out to the press that robotics has grown to the point where there are more robotics teams than varsity boys’ hockey teams in the state of MN. Senator Franken expressed that teams like the Daredevils prepare students for their careers in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) concepts as well as other closely related fields that students are introduced to as a part of FIRST Robotics. We are honored that Senator Franken took the time to  visit our team here in Duluth, MN, and come out to Archer Racing.

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2013 Robot: Arcana

Last Tuesday was the official end of the 2013 Build Season, the much-feared day known as “Bag and Tag”, as all FRC teams must package completed robots for transport by the end of the day. The product of our past six weeks, Arcana, can be seen in action below.

Defined as “specialized knowledge or detail that is mysterious to the average person” or “a deep secret” (via, the Daredevils chose the name “Arcana” due to its relationship to FIRST Robotics: in many ways, the skills we learn in building our robot and our team are specialized and mysterious to laymen. In a nod to the hyper-security of early Build Season, where robot plans are a highly guarded secret, Arcana also seems an apt choice. (Older readers may also remember an Arcana Transformer, but that’s just icing on the cake.)

This year, the Daredevils will be competing in the Northern Lights Regional in Duluth, MN and the Midwest Regional in Chicago, IL. Contact us here, or at, for more information. Good luck and go teams!

Open House


The Daredevils had their Open House on Wednesday, February 13, at Duluth East where they unveiled their new robot, Arcana, to the community. Arcana means “specialized knowledge or detail that is mysterious to the average person.” Arcana also refers to a transformer called Arcana.

Before the official Open House, the media outletsRobot_yr_book from Duluth were given a prequel to the new robot, its features, and its abilities. The public event began at 6:30 PM when the Strategy Department gave their presentation explaining Ultimate Ascent and its rules. After the presentation, visitors were directed to the mezzanine. There, Arcana waited, covered by a giant red cloth donated by one of our biggest fans, “Grandma 2512”, Judy. Our Coach, Tim Velner, and Duluth East’s principal, Mrs. Knapp, talked about how proud they were to be part of the Daredevils and the accomplishments that this team has made. Captain Kirsi explained this year’s robot construction in greater detail. Archie unveiled Arcana, who then demonstrated his Frisbee shooting ability, his fold up elevator, and his revolutionary drive train.

The Build Season

SFIRST_Frisbyo now is the time for building and brainstorming, as  everyone is planning how to get a robot to shoot frisbees and scale a pyramid. As previously stated, this year’s challenge Ultimate Ascent, requires all FRC teams to fire frisbees into goals for standard points. However, for the last 30 seconds of each round, teams can attempt to climb a colored pyramid to gain 10, 20, or 30 points. The build season lasts for six weeks from the first Saturday in January, to the 19th of February. The last day of build season teams will put their robots into a bag to prevent further alterations. The robot will go into storage and be shipped for later use at various competitions.

So far this season, between Archer Racing and East high school’s workshop, the buildRobo_Work department has made good progress on this year’s challenge. Team members working on the fabrication process meet at Archer’s and marketing members work at East. The build department works as late as 9pm every day and are given dinner that is provided by parents of the team.

Saucers Fly, Robots Climb

Today, 18 teams from around Minnesota and Wisconsin gathered in UMD’s Bohannon 90 to watch FIRST’s 2013 challenge reveal via NASA’s live broadcast. FIRST (For inspiration and recognition of science and technology) is an international non-profit dedicated to building interest in STEM fields through robotics competitions. UMD and the Duluth East Daredevils hosted this Kickoff event for the third year in a row.

Coach Velner describes FIRST

This year’s challenge is called “Ultimate Ascent”. This challenge requires teams to build robots that are able to accurately shoot frisbees into five goals, varying in point value based on size and difficultly. In addition to shooting frisbees, robots can also climb or hang one of two steel-pipe constructed pyramids that rise up to 90 inches in order to receive bonus points at the end the match.

This challenge will certainly stretch the creativity of participating robotics teams, and we can’t wait to see how other teams tackle the challenge. We look forward to competing this year and wish the best of luck to all participating teams.

To see this game in action, you can attend a double-header regional in Duluth at the DECC/Pioneer Hall, March 7-9.  Duluth’s Lake Superior has become a double regional due to the rapid expansion of robotics in the region. This event will attract 104 teams, with the potential of bringing 3,000-5,000 people to Duluth. Free and open to the public, the Northern Lights and Lake Superior Regionals are looking for volunteers for this big event. If you are interested in helping out, please contact Jay and Chris Dillon at