2017 Season – FIRST Steamworks 2017 Season
FIRST Steamworks

One of our favourite robots, Oscar is a named after "Oscar the Grouch" - because its hopper was made from a garbage can. Oscar is a fan favourite because it can shoot six to seven 5" wiffle balls per second. It features a rotating turret, and, during competition, had a camera on board that was used for computer vision targeting. This was our first time using computer vision. Oscar could consistently deliver gears, was able to climb a rope, and always put on a good show shooting a stream of "fuel" into the "boiler". It was also one of very few robots that could single-handedly achieve 40kPa in official play — not just once, but several times! We still bring Oscar out to demos as it is a lot of fun to see in action.

FIRST Steamworks is the name of the 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) challenge. Two alliances, comprised of three teams each, face off in every match. The game involves robots shooting fuel (5" wiffle balls) into a boiler via high and low efficiency goals to build steam pressure. The more steam pressure built up, the more points scored — but the low efficiency goal needs more fuel to build steam! Robots must also deliver gears to their respective airship to spin up four rotors. At the end of the match, robots climb a rope to latch onto the airship and get ready for takeoff! More information can be found on Wikipedia.

Oscar – The Robot

Quick Facts
  • Name Oscar
  • Status In service
  • Size 36” W x 40” L by 24” H
  • Weight 119 lbs

Robot Abilities

More information on each of Oscar's subsystems can be found in Meet the Robot.

6 wheel, two-speed West Coast drive
Holds fifty balls and pumps fuel into the turret
Gear Intake:
Pair of pneumatic grippers that can actively grab and release gears
Fuel Intake:
A set of spinning brushes that directs fuel into the hopper
Laser cut out of aluminum, and has both a rotating and fixed superstructure. The rotating superstructure sits on a base attached to a lazy Susan bearing, while the fixed superstructure holds the indexer. The turret shoots five balls per second
A set of spinning wheels that receive balls from the hopper
Grips onto a Velcro strap and lifts the robot up
Series of straight drive paths and arcs, followed with feedback from encoders and the gyroscope. Computer vision used to determine the distance to the boiler, and calculate the flywheel speed
  • Centre peg
  • Side peg
  • Shoot into high goal
  • Side peg, shoot into high goal
  • Achievements
  • Oscar, 5406 — Winner
  • Penelope, 9406 — Winner
  • Quarter-Finalist
  • Quarter-Finalist, Daly
  • 7th Seed, Daly
  • Quarter-Finalist
  • Judges' Award
  • Finalist
  • Gracious Professionalism Award
  • Winner
  • Industrial Design Award
  • Engineering Inspiration Award
  • Quarter-Finalist
  • Meet the Robot

    To learn more about Oscar's subsystems, click on the green pins.

    A CAD model of Oscar