After a devastating 2020 season… or lack thereof, the team returned to campus in August with new hope. Recruitment kicked off early during Opening week and included public demonstration of the 2020 Ankle Grinder. With a 60-member roster and some zoom meetings scheduled, the team was ready for a new era of combat robot building.

Brainstorming took place over several weeks of meetings, before the team decided that they just couldn’t decide. An interchangeable weapon was settled on, with a drum and an eggbeater option. With that decision in place, the CAD team took over, taking the next two months to 3-demonsionally design the robot in Solidworks. By the end of fall semester, parts acquisition had begun and technical drawings were being produced.

With the design complete, it was time to give it a name. Fantastic names were suggested, ranging from mean and scary, to thematic and adventurous. The ultimate name came about when the team was voting on such a topic. CEO Levi Madden wrote in the suggested 13 names, and the form auto-completed a new, sample response as each name was added. Levi accidentally left the stock response “Option 14” in the running, and after a close vote (and recount), the bot had its name. The accidental addition has such a clean flow, leaves a hint of curiosity, and looks fantastic incorporated with the team logo. It worked out to be a perfect name for bot.

Option 14 students returned in the spring to begin working in the recently expanded design center. A new bay, full of robot parts purchased over the winter awaited the eager students. Work began almost immediately. The team picked up a regular schedule of Saturday work sessions, operating saws, mills, lathes, welders, and screwdrivers to construct the beast the CAD team had designed. By the end of February, the robot was coming to life with testing taking place in the team’s practice arena.

Scheduled to ship out for the March 20th Norwalk Havoc competition, the team dedicated their spring recess to long hours in the shop. The interchangeable weapons and armor were interchanged, the spare parts were readied, and the pallet prepped for freight delivery to Norwalk, CT.

Option 14 is the biggest bot yet, and will be competing at the March 20th, 2021 Norwalk Havoc Robotics League Tournament.

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