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Build Week 6

As Build Season wraps up, the Daredevils’ fabrication department has been working hard on putting the finishing touches on our Alea (our robot) to get it ready for Bag and Tag on February 20th. On our logistics side, strategy has been working on scouting strategies, and media and team management have been doing their respective duties to get ready for competition season. The Daredevils also hosted their annual “Open House”, where we revealed our robot, as well as gave tours of our fab lab.

Daredevils 2018 Open House!

            Tonight the Daredevils had their annual Open House/ Robot reveal for the new 2018 robot, Alea. The evening started out with the 2018 POWER UP reveal video. Then we transitioned into the Strategy department talking about the overall strategy of this seasons game. CAD (Computer Aided Design) gave a presentation on how CAD works and what we did to design our robot.

After Tim Velner, the Daredevils coach, briefly went over what we did to help start the team in Vaxjo, Sweden and talked about our upcoming regional competition in March, everyone was divided into four separate groups to tour the fabrication center we worked so hard to achieve. From there, visitors got to see how we work in the build room, for example programming, CNCing, and how we built our robot.

Alea is almost complete, and with five days left of build season, we are so excited to see what the season has in store for us!


Build Season Week 5

Build season is starting to reach its end, and week 5 is just about to close off. The fabrication side of the team has been working hard on building, wiring, and programming the robot, while the logistics side of the team has been busy coming up with strategies. Plus, the team has also enjoyed the company of the Devildogs (Ordean East’s FTC Team), giving them tours of the fabrication center, showing them what we do on a typical day.

2018 Daredevils Open House

On Thursday, February 15, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm, we will be holding our annual Open House in the East Media Center. The event will begin with an overview of this year’s game, FIRST POWER Up, presented by some of our team members. Afterwards, we’ll have our past robots out on display. Then, in the mezzanine, we will be unveiling and demonstrating this year’s new robot around 6:45 – 7:15 pm.


6:00 – Refreshments in the Media Center, an overview of FIRST POWER Up.

Around 6:45 – Move to the mezzanine and unveil the new robot, and a demonstration.

We hope to see you there! We guarantee that you will not want to miss this!



Build Season Week 4

As Week 4 comes to a close, the Daredevils have been working hard on fabricating, wiring, and programming our robot. On the logistics side of the team, strategy has been working on our game strategy and pit scouting, team management has been working on grants and prepping for competition season, and the media team is working hard on writing press releases and documenting the robot development.

Russ Myers Fabrication Center Dedication

On January 24, 2018, the Duluth East Daredevils dedicated their machine shop to Russ Meyers. Russ was a mentor for the Daredevils and joined them from 2011-2017. Russ worked with the Archer brothers at Archer Racing restoring and working on cars of all sorts, from antiques to race cars.  Russ took an interest in the Daredevils and wanted to help them build better robots each year. He opened the machine shop at Archer Racing to the Daredevils and helped them fabricate the parts needed for the robot each year. Although a good system was set up for robot building, Russ never stopped pushing for a machine shop at Duluth East High School.

In the winter of 2017, Russ was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Russ stayed strong, and visited the Daredevils as much as possible as they built their 2017 robot. Knowing Russ, it was hard for him to be just sitting at home without his hands getting dirty in a car or something the team needed fabricated,  At the DECC competition in March 2017, Russ received the Woodie Flowers Award, which honors a mentor for all of their help and support to a team. Russ was more than deserving for this award. 2016 was the Daredevil’s first year fabricating their entire robot at East, and are currently in the process of fabricating their 2018 robot.

Russ passed away July 1st, 2017 after a hard battle with cancer. Although he is gone, and no longer here to mentor the team’s new students, he still lives on. Russ’ consultant and friend, Steve Loudin, took interest in the Daredevils as well, seeing what Russ was doing for the team. Steve said, “Russ meant so much to me,and knowing what the Daredevils meant to him, I knew I wanted to honor him in some way. This is why my wife Kit and I decided to start the educational fund in honor of Russ and his wife, Kathy.”

Russ taught students skills to last a lifetime as shown in Daredevil’s mentor and former team member, Tucker Johnson. Tucker graduated from East in 2015 and was on the team for four years. Tucker was Build Team Captain for three years and was mentored by Russ. He is currently attending the University of Minnesota, Duluth (UMD), as well as mentoring the Daredevils. Tucker fixed the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine in the fabrication center in time to cut out some pieces for the 2017 robot. Tucker works hours and hours with the CNC machine, cutting parts needed for this years robot, just like Russ would have done.

Build Season Week 2

By the end of the second week of build season, the Daredevils have finished building the field elements, prototyping our robot, as well as organizing for later in build season. And, the most exciting update, we’ve started fabricating parts of our robot!

Build Season Week 1

With the first week of build season coming to a close, the Daredevils have been very busy. So far, we’ve been prototyping parts of our robot, as well as fabricating all of the different field elements for practicing. We’re excited to see what new challenges will come later in build season, and in the following competition season!


2018 Kickoff Wrap Up

On Saturday, January 6th, twenty-three teams from around the region joined together under the roof of the Marshall Performing Arts Center (MPAC) at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) to learn about the challenge of this upcoming year.

As the time drew closer for the game reveal, the excitement and the amount of suspense in the room started to peak. However, before the teams could receive the new game, there were speeches and announcements to be listened to. Three speeches were given by three guest speakers. The guest speakers were Marc Seigar, Associate Dean from the College of Science and Engineering, Michelle Roemer, Cirrus Aircraft’s Executive Director of IT, and Anna Karas, a Daredevil alumni.

Marc Seigar gave a general thank you to everyone involved in FIRST. Michelle Roemer spoke extensively about how the skills learned in FIRST will help its members adapt and grow in the changing industries of the future. Anna Karas spoke out about how FIRST really has changed her life as a whole, helping her progress in her life up until this point and potentially beyond.

Finally, the video began. Students, mentors, coaches, and community members alike all thoroughly excited for what could come. This year, the video had its own twist to it. Since this year’s event, POWER UP, has a retro theme to it, the video itself was put into the form of an 8-bit video game! Throughout the video, laughing and giggle could be heard from the crowd, caused by funny character names to the supposed “water game” joke. Dean Kamen, Woodie Flowers, and Don Bossi made appearances as major characters in the video as they talked about safety, scholarships, sponsors, Gracious Professionalism, and the need for hard work.

In the new game, FIRST POWER UP, robots are trapped within a game, and must gain points and defeat the boss in order to escape the game. This retro themed game challenges teams to use their brains in order to gain points and climb to the top of the stage. Teams score points by taking control of a switch and/or a scale, exchanging power cubes in their alliance’s portal and into their vault, and climbing up 12 inches above the floor by climbing on the scale, reaching a bar 7 feet in the air. These challenges are accompanied by power ups that drivers can use to gain a certain advantage.

After the video wrapped up, teams rushed to get their kit of parts and began strategizing and designing their robots. Teams of all levels of experience mingled and swapped ideas for the season. The Daredevils in particular had the chance to Skype with Viking Robotics from Växjö, Sweden. Other teams in the call included teams from Norway, and the Netherlands. Together, they went over strategy and the rules of the game.

Alongside strategizing, part of the team stayed in the Marshall Performing Arts Center and interviewed some on the team alumni. Among some of the questions asked was, “What do the Daredevils mean to you?” The answer amongst all of the alumni was the same, and that one answer was that the team itself is like a family.

With the season just starting, the Daredevils are ecstatic to see what will happen once competition season starts off!


Lowell Elementary Hour of Code

On Thursday, December 7th, the Daredevils’ programming department went to Lowell Elementary in Duluth, MN to help with the “Hour of Code” program, which aims to get younger children interested in coding. The students learned how to program in Javascript in a simulator  program where they had to navigate the robot a series of obstacle to complete a challenge. Then the Daredevils showed everyone how their 2017 robot, Aelous, performed after programming it to play this year’s game STEAMWORKS.