Rolla Robotics Prints for Veterans

Rolla Robotics Prints for Veterans
Posted on 02/23/2022
This is the image for the news article titled Rolla Robotics Prints for VeteransRHS students and members of Rolla Robotics, Lucas George and Isaac Guffey, have been working on a project to serve local veterans who struggle with dexterity and grip strength. The pair used open-source plans from “Makers Making Change” to 3-D print several items that assist with mobility such as cane holders, bottle openers, and key handles. Guffey says, “The primary focus of this project is to help those who may have arthritis or joint problems that come with aging which might make grabbing small objects difficult. People having more access to this stuff is really great because I know the frustration that can bring.” 

The students have been working with veterans at the local VFW as part of their outreach efforts in the community.  George said an advantage to using these 3-D prints is the ease of production. “You can design something like this [cane holder] in maybe 30 minutes and then it can be printed in another 30 minutes to an hour. Then you can troubleshoot it right away which allows us to make custom products or modifications to existing ones.” In addition to the satisfaction that comes along with helping members of the community, this project is a great way to connect members of the Robotics teams. “We don’t always work with super simple 3-D modeling and software, so this is a good opportunity to introduce our younger members to both 3-D printing and the outreach part of our program,” said George. 

These projects are cost-effective and environmentally friendly. “The most common types of plastics we use for our projects are PLA, which are cheap, easy to use, and recyclable,” said Guffey. The team is working on custom designs based on feedback from members of the VFW and their specific needs. “We have 3-D printers here [at RTI] and at home, so we can troubleshoot and refine these designs very quickly,” said George. There is a lot of excitement within the team to keep this project running. “I plan on continuing to help the community through 3-D printing. It’s not just something I do for robotics; it’s a fun pastime, and I like being able to put that knowledge into something I enjoy and that helps the community,” said Guffey

In addition to the great work Rolla Robotics has done in the community, they also had a great weekend at their most recent competition. Congrats to the 4 Rolla Robotics FTC Teams on their excellent performance at the Southwest Lake League Championship!  All 4 Teams competed through the Semi-Finals robot matches and 3 of the 4 teams were in the final robot matches!  
The following awards were earned by the teams: 4964, Rolla Patriots: Member of the Finalist Alliance, 2nd Place Control Award; 5893, Direct Current: Member of the Winning Alliance, 3rd Place INSPIRE Award; 6168, the Maniacal Mechanics: Member of the Finalist Alliance, winner of the CONNECT Award, and 2nd Place INSPIRE Award; 13132, Miner Clue: Semi-Finalist, 3rd Place Innovate Award. Based on the performance of the teams and the awards earned, Direct Current and the Maniacal Mechanics are advancing to State! The Missouri State FTC Tournament will take place on Saturday, March 5th at Missouri S&T in the Gale Bullman Multipurpose Building. The opening ceremony and competitive matches will begin at 11:30. Good luck, Rolla Robotics!
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