2013 FRC Challenge - Ultimate Ascent

For the Ultimate Ascent challenge, the team endeavored to design, build, program, and operate a robot that would deliver frisbees to the low goal and carry frisbees up the corner rail of the scoring platform, earning points for climbing as well as for placing frisbees in the high goal. This robot featured a chain driven drive system, a conveyor belt climbing apparatus, and a 3D printed gear box to assist in climbing maneuvers.


The robot was designed to interact with the low goal and the climbing challenge. The team chose to not pursue throwing the frisbees in favor of placing frisbees and earning the bonus points for the climb.

Coiled Neck for Frisbees

To place the frisbees in the lower target and also in the top goal (as was our intent for the robot), we built a receptical to receive the frisbees, which was mounted on a compound curved neck. We created a form for the neck, bent the wood, and laminated it with carbon fiber.

Drive Train

The robot featured a chain driven tank drive system with traction wheels at the rear and standard wheels at the front. The goal of the different wheels was to provide better grip at the beginning of the climb.

Conveyor Climbing

The climbing mechanism for this robot consisted of a chain conveyor belt that passed through a channel underneath the robot. The conveyor belt featured fiberglass “claws” that were iteratively designed to grip the pipe of the tower and pull the robot up as the chain indexed.


This robot utilized Jaguars and a 2CAN feedback system. Our approach to the challenge of that year did not require the use of a camera or a gyro/accelerometer to navigate the field.

Distributed CAN

Working with Jaguars, we found that communication often dropped at individual motor controllers, so a daisy chain distribution of feedback would be intermittant at best. We instead created a hub and spoke method of CAN distribution which increased reliability.


The code for the robot this year was a model of simplicity.  Closed loop control at the wheels was the limit of light code.  This enabled our robot to bounce lightly off the ground when it fell from the tower.

Custom Gearbox

To help the robot transition over cross bars on the climbing tower, we created a probiscus that would deploy at those intersections. We modeled and 3D printed the gearbox necessary to best operate that device.

Cyber Penguins in Action

At competitions