2022 FIT District Waco

March 14, 2022 in Competition, FRC by William Qu

Last weekend, Texas Torque achieved success at our first competition of the season in Waco, Texas!

We ended the qualification rounds as the fourth-ranked team and finished the competition as an alliance captain that advanced to the finals.

Our chairman’s team won the Engineering Inspiration award, qualifying them to compete at the State Champs in April.

Shreyas, our team’s driver and Safety Captain, as well as our business lead, Macy, received the Safety All-Star award for their commitment to maintaining a safe work environment for everyone.

Texas Torque is now the 12th ranked FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team in Texas because of our incredible, hardworking team.

Thank you to everyone’s support in getting Texas Torque geared up for a week one competition!

We look forward to competing at Pasadena next!

See Texas Torque’s Waco recap video here:

Torquealiers HEB Parade (Cancelled)

November 24, 2021 in Outreach by Surya Shetty

Last Thursday was the 72nd Annual HEB Thanksgiving Parade. Texas Torque and CavBots, another team based out of The Woodlands College Park, entered the parade together as the Torquealiers.

Unfortunately, the parade was canceled due to the threat of inclement weather, but it was still a lot of fun to work with our fellow team to try and celebrate the Thanksgiving holidays in a colorful and festive way.

We want to give a huge thanks to all the wonderful people in CavBots and in our own team that worked so hard to try and bring the festive feeling of Thanksgiving to life, as well as the organizers for inviting us to participate in such a celebrated event. We hope to have an even better experience next year!

The Remix Reboot (Cancelled)

July 26, 2021 in Outreach by Scott Rippetoe

We are back. Texas Torque could not host The Remix this past fall, in 2020, for obvious reasons. After discussions with FIRST in Texas and campus administration, we will be hosting The Remix 2021 on October 2, 2021. Because the field for Infinite Recharge takes more time to set up than those from previous years, we are starting field assembly at noon on Friday, October 1. Teams are welcome to load-in any time between 6 and 9 pm Friday night or after 7:00 am Saturday morning.

One of the reasons we offer The Remix is to allow pre-rookie teams an opportunity to compete at a robotics competition with an FRC robot before they attend a district event. Because these teams often have no financial resources, we do not charge them to participate. To make matters worse, there are teams that did not get to attend an official event in 2020 or 2021. Many teams have new drivers and operators and do not identify them until the new school year starts.

We are going to try something a little different for workshops this year. We thought it would be helpful to have students from different sub-teams get together at lunch. They can talk shop while eating. We may still have a session dedicated to Chairman’s apart from the working lunch.

Texas Torque does not use The Remix as a fundraiser. Any profit remaining after we cover expenses go to support the Montgomery County Women’s Center. We also ask teams to bring a $10 LEGO set and a bed-in-a-bag set. The LEGO set will end up in the hands of a child at a local hospital. The bed-in-a-bag set will go to Angel Reach, a program for young adults that have aged out of the foster care system but still need support.

Details regarding The Remix are available here.

PPE for Education and Healthcare

September 21, 2020 in Outreach, Slideshow by Scott Rippetoe

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 by Scott Rippetoe

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 by Scott Rippetoe

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.