PPE for Education and Healthcare

September 21, 2020 in Outreach, Slideshow

When we started back in March, I never imagined we would be where we are now. So many people have contributed to our PPE effort and made a real difference for nurses, doctors, teachers, and many others.

I just want to share some information to help everyone understand how far-reaching this project has been and continues to be. Texas Torque has sent over 5200 face shields to just shy of one hundred organizations. One group we have supplied to are all the nurses throughout Conroe ISD. In addition, we have supplied ear savers for face masks and several intubation chambers.

Our initial GoFundMe raised approximately $20,000. We have received another $7000 from donations directly to our PayPal account. All of our PPE has been provided free of charge though we do ask for donations. Shipping is our largest expense after material costs. We current have $8500 which should keep us producing for another three to four months. At some point, we may need to make an appeal for more funding.

Our newest project is an effort to create hands-free sanitizer pump stations for classrooms, starting with those frequented by members of Texas Torque. Each station costs under $20 for all the materials and includes a 3D printed part to support the pump bottle. The FTC teams at The Woodlands High School are using our design to create stations for any teacher that requests one for their classroom.

Thank you for everyone’s support. In the midst of so much bad news, be proud that you have had such an amazing positive impact in the lives of so many.

Meet the FA-20 HBF

August 5, 2020 in Medical, Slideshow

Our latest effort to combat COVID-19 is a box fan pulling air through a HEPA furnace filter with a 13 MERV rating. You can find the CAD and more on GrabCAD at https://grabcad.com/library/fa-20-hbf-1. Total cost is under $100. We estimate it will turn over the air in a standard classroom about six times per hour.

We used 1/8″-thick neoprene, adhesive-backed foam tape to create the seal around the openings. It might be helpful to have different thicknesses available to allow for variances introduced when cutting the plywood. The filter is held in place by suction. The fan can be turned to different orientations to get the best seal.

Future upgrades include a handle mounted to the plywood mid-section for carrying, elastic cord to hold the filter and fan in place, and 3D printed inserts to create a better seal for the fan. We recommend purchasing your fan then taking measurements to make sure you get the best seal. Our unit was designed to use a Lasko COOL Colors Box Fan (Model B20301, SKU 0 46013 45492 8) available at WalMart.

COVID-19 is Still Lurking

May 5, 2020 in Outreach, Slideshow

While many places are starting to reopen for business, COVID-19 is still a significant concern. With stay-at-home measures in place and most businesses only open for pick-up, the infection rate was very close to 1.0, meaning one person was infecting one additional person. To see a drop in the overall number of new cases, that rate needs to be lower. Some states are achieving this, but with recent changes we may see an increase in infection rate.

The need for Personal Protective Equipment remains and probably will for several months, possibly into the summer of 2021. That depends on advances made in COVID-19 treatments, the development of a vaccine, the response by individual states, and the build up of immunity in the population. Some states still have intensive care units operating above capacity. Fortunately, Texas has excess ICU capacity. I hope we do not need it.

Thus far, we have distributed at least 1889 face shields, but we currently have requests for nearly 1700 more. We have supplies to make an additional 600 of the ProShield (1477 design) and 1200 of the Manta Ray Protective Visor. VEX Robotics has enough plastic to make at least 10,000 RobotShields (148 design). They are marked out of stock on the VEX Robotics website because they are working to take care of all their donation requests, including those that we can place with them as a partner in the Texas Robotics PPE Project.

Financially, we have over $13,000 in our PPE account, with about $1000 of that encumbered toward recent purchases. So far, we have paid for purchases using our PayPal account and kept that money separate from the team funds in our account at Amegy Bank. We also have team money in the Activity Fund of the Academy of Science and Technology. When a purchaser requires a credit card instead of PayPal, we have used our Amegy debit card then reimbursed the team with a transfer from PayPal. That is the encumbrance mentioned above.

We had a CAD challenge to design an Intubation Chamber. While it has not cleared hospital trials yet, we have applied for a patent. Michael Menezes came up with the basic layout and I contributed additional features based on feedback from medical staff. Here is the most recent photo.

Intubation Chamber Rev3

For now, there is not an urgent need for the team to raise more money for the Texas Robotics PPE Project.

Robotics Teams Rise to the Challenge

April 2, 2020 in Slideshow

Medical personnel and facilities across the country are running low on personal proection equipment, such as face shields and surgical masks. We were contact by local medical professionals about designing and providing a 3D printed face shield. Here is the current 1477 design.

Elle with Mask Small

Demand is starting to surge locally. Each masks costs about $2.50. We are also working with FRC Teams 118 (Robonauts) and 148 (Robowranglers) as they also have designs. Those versions have no 3D printed parts but require a water jet or laser cutter.

Mr. Rip has also been contacted by former students (one pictured above) working in the medical field requesting shipments of the 1477 Face Shield. The cost of ten shields plus shipping is approximately $30.

We are currently working with VEX Robotics in Greenville, Texas to get the 148 design waterjet cut by the thousands and i-SOLIDS in Tomball, Texas to help print parts for 1477 version so we can keep up with demand.

If you would like to help, please consider donating using the button below. The money will be used to purchase filament and plastic sheets to make face shields. If the crisis passes and we have funds remaining, those will be used to purchase a 3D printer and filament for the team.

We are looking for other ways to help the local medical community. We know there is demand for N95 filters and surgical masks.





The Remix 2018 Cancellation

September 29, 2018 in Competition, FRC

Hello everyone,
Texas Torque will unfortunately not be able to host The Remix 2018 game.

The main purpose of The Remix was helping rookie teams gain experience, train rookie team members, and raising money for donations. We would still like to accomplish these goals and therefore will be working on other projects in the community.

For the teams that have been preparing for The Remix, we are planning to host a smaller ‘Rookie Roundup’ where the main purpose will be to train rookie and pre-rookie teams for the upcoming 2019 season. We hope to have more information in the next couple of days.

Thank you for your patience with us as we plan out these upcoming events. if you have any questions, feel free to contact Texas Torque at team@texastorque.org.

2018 FIRST Houston World Championship

April 24, 2018 in Competition, FRC, Slideshow

IMG_9666

Texas Torque’s last official event of the 2018 season was the Houston World Championship (our 8th consecutive World Championship) after triple qualifying at Lone Star Central (Regional Winners, Engineering Inspiration) and South Florida Regional (Chairman’s Award). The World Championship was held in George R. Brown Convention Center and Minute Maid Park, both held in our area, Houston, brought over 400 teams to Houston.

Texas Torque played on the Carver field, competing against 67 other teams for a spot on Einstein. After tough qualification matches, Texas Torque ended at the 47th position, with 4-6-0 record. Although the ranking was lower than anticipated, the robot performed well by continuously being the robot by being one of the robot that placed the most cubes. We were picked by team 5026 Iron Panthers, and together we picked team 108 SigmaC@T and team 1622 Spyder; together the teams formed the seventh seeded alliance. During the playoffs, our alliance was eliminated in the quarterfinals.

Congratulations to Carver division alliance on the World Championship finalists! We would also like to congratulate our friends 2468 Team Appreciate for their Hall of Fame Finalists, and team 148 Robowranglers for winning the Houston World Championship! We would also like to congratulate team 1311 Kell Robotics for their induction into the Hall of Fame.

We’re thankful to have enjoyed a successful and action-packed 2018 season, but the action hasn’t ended yet — we’ll be facing the boss this may at the Texas UIL State Championships!