About the Team
A learning-focused high-school team, we are primarily student-run, with a hierarchy of student leaders and students that allows the workflow to run smoothly. We run out of Clague Middle School, giving us the opportunity to work smoothly with our local school district - and to mentor our FTC team, The GearCats. On our team, we stress gracious professionalism, one of the strongest themes of FIRST, at all times during competition and build season. In addition to this, we also practice coopertition, or the practice of being respectful and kind to your opponents in the understanding that we are all working towards the same goals - to succeed and to have fun. We do our best to create a friendly but competitive environment on our team in order to motivate each other and spread the spirit of FIRST.
Funded by student fees and sponsorships by businesses both local and national, we work our hardest to offer all students opportunities to learn about robotics, engineering, and their respective fields through FIRST's programs.
RatPack, like most other teams, is made up of several different subteams, each of which plays a vital role in sustaining our team and creating a functioning robot. Together, they create the strong, student-led team that we pride ourselves for being. They are advised from a distance by their respective mentors, generally parent volunteers who have expertise in these fields, and led by a network of student leaders who coordinate robot build to the best of their abilities.
Before we begin building, a plan is necessary in order to begin fabricating parts. This is the task of the design team, also nicknamed CAD due to their usage of Computer Aided Design softwares to create these plans. Pretty much the 'DNA' of the robot, they design all of the bot's components based off of the decisions of their teammates, and create custom parts in accordance with these ideas using CAD and CNC machines.
Robots don't just appear by magic, they're built by a specialized team of students who have spent most of their time on the team being trained on power tools and fabrication in order to construct what is essentially the skeleton of the robot. While everyone participates in robot build at some point or another, this is the primary team that directs and teaches their fellow teammates on what to build, when to build it, and how.
Robots need power in order to function, and this is where it comes from. The electrical team specializes in the creation of custom circuits and wiring in order to allow our robot to work to the fullest. Using sensors, motors, controllers, and other off-the-shelf units, students in this subteam create what is essentially the circulatory system of the robot in order to provide our programmers the power to do their job.
RatPack robots are coded in C++ from scratch every year. Students translate buttons from the controller to specific actions on the robot. From defining movements of the drivetrain to incorporating sensors in robot behavior, students in programming learn techniques to tackle each programming challenge.
Marketing students develop RatPack's public image. We plan outreach events to spread the message of FIRST and STEAM education. Students also have an opportunity to archive our team experiences through photo and video, before and after the build season. Marketing students create a team video and write an essay both illustrating our impact on our community and how RatPack has grown as a team. Students also are active in team branding, designing clothing (T-shirts, hoodies, etc.), pin buttons, handouts, website, business cards and more.