Below are some of the specific details of the PART programs.
Our programs are in high demand, so students must commit to meet both the overall club requirements, as well as the team-specific meeting and competition schedule.
PART relies on volunteers, sponsors, and individual and corporate donors to bring competitive robotics to Placer County high school students. Each family will be requested to completed a Donor Pledge form for the 2019-2020 season.
The PART Donor Pledge form recommends a contribution of $300 from each participant. If you are passionate about robotics and meet the team requirements, but have concerns about the overall financial commitment, please contact our Board of Directors at 9163599139 or firstname.lastname@example.org to explore assistance options.
PART’s VEX season begins over the summer as teams begin strategizing and designing their robots. VEX teams typically have 5 team members in various roles including design & build, programming, engineering notebooks, and driver. The most successful VEX teams have all team members fully engaged in the build process, with some team members specializing in design, programming and driving skills. Our VEX team members put in 100s of hours into designing, building and perfecting their bots & driver skills to prepare for competitions.
Team members must agree to actively participate in at least 80% of their VEX team meetings.
tentative season schedule
Sacramento area VEX League mid Oct through Late January
4 Fridays after school (1x per month)
3 other regular tournaments throughout Northern California (Saturday full day Events) as determined by the club leadership
Google Signature Event - PART plans on registering its top 4 VEX teams in the Google Signature event (typically held mid February 2020)
California State Championships (early March 2020)
NORCAL VEX Tournaments - logistics
Most VEX tournaments are set up as “meet you there” events for the team - team members & parents arrange their own personal transportation, getting their robot & equipment to the event, and purchasing meals and snacks during the day
Some members book hotel rooms Friday evenings for events in the bay area, such as the Google Signature event
state championships - qualifiers
Qualified teams compete in the VEX State Championship. Each team member must commit to attending States if the team qualifies.
California VEX high school teams can qualify for the State Champions by
winning a Tournament Championship or Qualifying Award, such as the Design Award at California tournaments, or
Earning an invitation via having a top skills rankings in the State of California
VEX typically has 3-5 locations in California: Sacramento, San Jose, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, and San Diego
The closest site is not always the ideal site to attend from a competition/Worlds qualifying standpoint. The PART board, in consultation with the team captains, will chose the competition site for each PART team that qualifies for the State Championships
San Jose / Sacramento sites, if available, are relatively low cost events. If a team attends State Championships in San Jose, we highly recommend that team members stay at a local hotel Friday evening
Students & parents are responsible for all transportation, food, and lodging costs for State Championships
Additional Costs to attend States
Sacramento site: none
San Jose: 1 night hotel in bay area highly recommended
Southern California sites: Transportation (car or plane), hotel, fuel
world championships - qualifiers
Teams can advanced from the VEX State Championship to VEX Worlds.
Students & parents are responsible for all transportation, food, and lodging costs for teams that attend VEX Worlds
Based on historical prices, attending worlds can cost ~$1000 per attendee.
Student-led, trip specific fundraisers are an option for Worlds travel. Team members must take the lead on any fundraising efforts.
VEX Worlds in Wed-Sat. Team members will likely miss 3 school days to attend VEX Worlds. PART is an independent organization - parents are responsible for working out arrangements directly with the school.
NRL COMbat teams
Our National Robotics League (NRL) program is a TRAVEL TEAM program. Currently all events are located outside of Northern California and are chaperoned trips. The schedule for combat robotic events is fluid each year, and subject to change based on the individual organizers for each event.
PART combat programs use the HackerLab as our makerspace. HackerLab has generously offered a special membership discount for PART team members. Sierra College, through it’s Silver Sponsorship of PART, helps provide the electrical, machining and technology training to make full use of the HackerLab. PART members have the option of being full-year HackerLab members, or activating their membership only during their combat season.
In August, PART will work with the HackerLab to schedule our early season on-boarding training. During that time, combat team members need to attend the required safety and tools training at the HackerLab in order to use the various makerspace tools such as electronics soldering, 3D printing, laser cutting, woodshop for prototyping, and metal shop for final production.
Our goal is for each 15 lb combat team to attend 3 NRL events - 2 regional events, and 1 National event. Team leads are responsible for managing their entire lifecycle of their combat bot and managing season costs against a specified season budget. PART provides the equipment, tools, and supplies for teams to design, build and compete. and the HackerLab as the primary workspace. Team members are responsible for team travel and personal costs attending all NRL events.
Each student-led NRL team requires a significant time commitment from both team members and parents/mentors. Each team requires the following:
5-8 students per robot, at least 4 of which commit to attending Nationals if qualified/spots available.
All team members must be HackerLab members during the main combat build season. The pricing of the PART HackerLab Membership and specific training classes is available privately
Like VEX, each NRL combat team member must agree to actively participate in at least 80% of the NRL bot team meetings
2 team members must commit to full metal shop training at the HackerLab, including CNC milling. Class sequence and cost are available to applicants
1 mentor committed to support the team throughout the season. The mentor is also offered a HackerLab discounted membership and training. Each NRL team should have its own mentor to provide HackerLab supervision/hours support
2 parents per team willing to chaperone each NRL team to travel events. Given we are attending 3 events, with upwards of 4 teams per event, we need to secure commitment from chaperones at the beginning of the season.
For cost reference, PART’s 2018-2019 Combat Season consisted of:
October 2018 - October Obliteration at Mt San Antonio College, near Pomona, CA
Chaperone and team members release Friday from school, attended the event on Saturday, and drove home Sunday
2018 Cost: $150 per team member - 2 vehicles fuel, meals, 2 nights hotel. Cost in 2018 was $150 including breakfast. Students paid for their own lunches and dinners. Actual cost will vary based on market conditions, number of students attending, room occupancy, etc.
February 2019 - SparkleCon Smash VI, Fullerton, CA
2019 Cost: $130 including breakfast. Students paid for their own lunches and dinners. Actual cost will vary based on market conditions, number of students attending, room occupancy, etc.
May 2019 - NRL Nationals in California, PA.
2 Teams of 5 members, with 2 charpones attended our first National competition, just outside of Pittsburg, PA.
In 2019 cost was approximately $600 per student ($430 airfare, $170 for shared rooms/fuel, etc). Future costs will vary based on market conditions, number of students attending, room occupancy, etc.
Future Nationals trips would likely be in the $750 - 850
Student-led, trip specific fundraisers are an option for Nationals travel. Team members must take the lead on any fundraising efforts.
Team members will likely miss 2-2.5 school days to attend Nationals. PART is an independent organization - parents are responsible for working out arrangements directly with the school.
We hope to bring a high-school aged combat event to Northern California in the near future. If (and when) that happens, we will call on parent volunteers to assist in running the event - each NRL team family will be expected to contribute, either the day of the event, or helping organize the logistics leading up to the event.
insect weight combat bots
One of our favorite programs is the low-key, grass roots Insect Weight combat bots. Teams of 2-3 design, build and compete in robot fighting ranging from 150g to 3lb bots. Northern California has numerous 1 and 3 lb events - some open class against pro-level builders, others restricted to junior teams of age 18 and under.
In 2018-2019, our 3 lb bot “The Dryer” went toe-to-toe with some of the top beetleweights in the country at the SparkleCon Smash VI, and again at the new NorCal Robotics Expo hosted by the awesome local Sierra College Robotics Club! PART also introduced our first 1-lb bot, Paper Thin, which competed at the CSUS SmackDown in SacTown and the NorCal Robotics Expo.
Insect weight bots are an amazing, low key way for our team members to get introduced to the fundamentals of mechatronics and combat bots before diving into the full commitment of an NRL team.
Our team members continue to explore other exciting technology projects and competitions, such as Amazon’s Deep Racer and RoboCar (aka DonkeyCar Racing). Are you a Placer area high school student and want to pursue another exciting team-based robotics competition? Contact us at email@example.com with your ideas.
All travel trips and related costs are estimated and subject to change. The PART Donor Pledge form recommends a contribution of $300 from each participant. If you are passionate about robotics and meet the team requirements, but have concerns about the overall financial commitment, please contact our Board of Directors at firstname.lastname@example.org to explore assistance options.