2016: World Championship

On Tuesday, April 26, two dozen eager Mechanical Mayhem students and mentors piled onto a bus.  The destination: St. Louis, MO!

Along the way, we picked up our old friends from team Andromeda One (4905) from Ayer, MA. Together, the two teams played board games, watched movies, and talked about the robots they looked forward to seeing at the World Championships! Upon arriving in St. Louis, our students listened to robot conference talks, visited the Innovation Faire, toured downtown St. Louis, and even rode to the top of the Gateway Arch!

The fun really started, however, when the competition began on Thursday morning.  As Mayhem entered its ten qualification matches, we partnered with teams from all over the US and around the world. With a qualification record of nine wins and one loss, we earned the third seed position. Our team selected the Robonauts (118) from League City, TX; the Friarbots (3309) from Anaheim, CA; and the Pascack PI-oneers (1676) from Montvale, NJ, to join our alliance.

Unfortunately, we were unable to move beyond the quarterfinal level. We congratulate our opponent alliance (ThunderChickens, 217; Code Orange, 3476; CyberCavs, 4678; and Blizzard, 188) for continuing through the elimination brackets and winning the Newton Division.

After watching the spectacular Einstein matches, a very exhausted Mayhem and Andromeda One embarked on our return journey to New England: a journey marking the end of the 2016 tournament season.

Looking back over the year, it is truly amazing how much the team was able to accomplish. Rookies comprised 63% of the Mayhem student body, while freshman/middle school students comprised 35% of our team this year. Despite these challenges, the team has managed to pull off a four-blue-banner season.

It’s not all freshmen and rookies, though: this year, we say goodbye to our two team seniors: Evan and Will. These two team members have been with MAYHEM for a combined seven years! The younger team members will surely miss the seniors’ patience in explaining big concepts, their humility in considering others’ ideas, and their leadership in making sure that every rookie’s voice was heard. Evan and Will, your impact on Mayhem is much bigger than the robot you’ve helped to build!

We are very blessed to have such a successful season, and we wish to thank everybody who aided our team in any way.  Thank you monetary sponsors, material donors, mentors, parents, other teams, event volunteers, venue sponsors, fabricators, alumni, and everybody else for such a memorable season!

2016: New England District Championship Event

On April 13-16, Mechanical Mayhem competed in the New England District Championship hosted at the XL Center in Hartford, CT.

World High Score of 257 Points

After an intense 12-match qualification phase, Mayhem held 11 wins and one loss, landing Lady Launch-a-Lot (our robot) in the third seed position. As alliance selection began, our team picked The Gaelhawks (230) from Shelton, CT, and Aces High (176) from Windsor Locks, CT. This alliance breezed through the quarterfinals and set a world high score of 257 points in the process. However, our alliance faced tough competition from the second-seeded alliance (The Nutrons, 125; The CyberKnights, 195; and the Aluminum Falcons, 2168) in the semi-final matches that our team will remember forever.

In the first semi-final match, our robot’s boulder pickup mechanism was damaged in an ugly collision with an opponent robot. With our harvesting mechanism damaged severely, the drive team decided to switch to defense — a move that our robot drivers had never tried, even in practice. Due to this inexperience, Lady Launch-a-Lot made several defensive errors that eventually cost us the match.

In the second semi-final match, our alliance competed well but lost the match by a mere three points — or so we thought. Thanks to a team alumnus watching the live webcast, Mayhem realized that our alliance had been credited five points fewer than it had earned. Upon discussing the match, the referees decided that a match replay would be the fair way to fix the error. Coincidentally, the match replay needed to be replayed! After nearly an hour of tournament delays, our alliance lost fair and square to these competitors, who eventually won the event. Congratulations to Teams 125, 195, and 2168 on your New England District Championship win!

At the culmination of the Awards Ceremony, Mechanical Mayhem was thrilled to be named one of four Chairman’s Award winners out of the 181 New England teams! We would like to extend our sincere congratulations to our fellow Chairman’s Award winners: Gaelhawks (230), Infinite Loop (2648), and Robockets (4761). We feel truly blessed and humbled to be included in such an exemplary group of teams.

Our team’s performance qualifies us to compete for the Chairman’s Award and with our robot Lady Launch-a-Lot at the World Championship in St. Louis, MO, on April 27-30. As this trip comprises a major expense for the team, would you consider sponsoring our team or increasing your sponsorship? It’s not too late, and no donation is too small! Thank you for your support.

Two of Four New England Chairman’s Award Winners

2016: Pine Tree NE District Event

On April 7-9, Mechanical Mayhem participated in the Pine Tree District Event in Lewiston, ME, the second official tournament at which Mayhem competed during the 2016 season.

Mechanical Mayhem competed in 12 qualification matches with randomly selected partners and opponents. At the end of these matches, Mayhem was undefeated, with a win-loss-tie record of 12-0-0, placing us in the first seed position. Armed with the privilege of first pick, Mayhem selected team B.E.R.T (133) from Standish, ME, for their sharp-shooter, consistent scaler, and high-scoring autonomous routines. Mayhem also selected Hyde Phoenix (5633) from Bath, ME, to join our alliance as a defense robot. This alliance worked together effectively, winning the elimination matches without a single loss!

In addition to winning the robot element of the competition, Mechanical Mayhem took home FIRST’s most prestigious award — the Chairman’s Award. This award recognizes teams whose impacts on their participants, communities, and sponsors are exemplary. We encourage you to view our Chairman’s Video to learn about our outreach. MAYHEM is honored to have been recognized with this award, and we are equally honored to have gone “Double Blue” (won both the Event Winner and Chairman’s Award blue banners) at this event!

The Pine Tree District Event marked two Mayhem team records: Firstly, it was the first tournament in which we won every match, both in the qualification and elimination phases of the event. Secondly, it marked the first time that we won twice with another team — Mayhem won with B.E.R.T. way back in 2006!

Because of the success of our robot and our Chairman’s Award win, Mayhem will move to the next level of competition and will be competing for the Chairman’s Award at the New England District Championship in Hartford, CT, on April 13-16.

Would you consider sponsoring our team or increasing your sponsorship as we prepare for the District Championships? It’s not too late! Please visit our sponsor information page. Without our sponsors, opportunities like Mayhem would simply not be available. We sincerely thank you for your support.




2016: University of New Hampshire NE District Event

On March 24-26, Mechanical Mayhem participated in ouIMG_7663-robot-lo-resr first official tournament of the 2016 FIRST STRONGHOLD season with 39 other teams at the University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore Center. For a refresher on the FIRST STRONGHOLD game, see the game animation.

After a day and a half of qualification matches at the UNH District Event, Mechanical Mayhem ranked 3rd and was chosen by the first seed Big Bad Bob (319) from Alton, NH, during alliance selection. Big Bad Bob invited the Metal Vidsters (1512) from Concord, NH, to round out our alliance for the elimination matches. Mayhem’s and Bob’s ease of crossing our opponent’s defenses along with our high-goal scoring and Bob’s low-goal scoring created a strong alliance. The Metal Vidsters worked in our courtyard defending our tower from attack by the opposing alliance. This strategy resulted in only one loss in all the elimination matches, propelling our alliance to a gold medal finish!  20160326_182941-winning-alliance-lo-res-for-newsletter

In addition, Team 1519 won the Engineering Inspiration Award which celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school and community. At the awards ceremony, the judges had this to say about our team, “[Mechanical Mayhem] consistently creates a pathway that inspires the entire community toIMG_9370-pit-work-lo-res appreciate and learn more about science, technology, engineering, and math [STEM]. Externally, this includes FLL mentorship, large-scale community demonstrations, developing and providing after-school programs, and even creating FIRST promotional items for geocaches accessed across the world. This external outreach yields internal success by generating local support for their team which draws from multiple communities and produces well-rounded students with flourishing careers in STEM.”

Our team congratulates Chop Shop (166) from Merrimack, NH, for winning the most prestigious award, the Chairman’s Award, at the UNH District!

We invite you to view our student-created 3-minute Chairman’s Award video on YouTube, our Autonomous Montage video (showing our robot operating autonomously in the first 15 seconds of several matches), and our UNH match videos.

Mechanical Mayhem plans to make improvements in the week ahead to prepare for our second competition, the Pine Tree District in Lewiston, ME, on April 8-9.  If you are unable to attend the competition in person, check out the webcast. The match schedule and results will be available on the FIRST website.

Thank you to our sponsors who are an enabling factor in our success!IMG_7584-sponsor-banner-over-pit-lo-res

2016: Ready to Compete

As you can see from the brief highlights video above, our team has been working diligently on this year’s robot build, programming challenges, and game strategies, as well as video and written award submissions. We intend for our robot to perform well in this epic FIRST STRONGHOLD competition. With a robust eight-wheeled drive train and a linear shooter, our robot executes the game strategy of defeating as many opponent’s defenses as we can while opportunistically scoring boulders (balls) in our opponent’s tower.  The team purchased and built a 3D printer which several students have used to create parts for the robot.IMG_0320-robot-Week-Zero-2016

Our team will be competing in two district events this year, and we would be thrilled if you have the opportunity to visit our local competition, the UNH District Event. This event, free to the public, takes place March 25-26 at the University of New Hampshire Whittemore Center in Durham, NH. We would love to see you there visiting the pits, watching matches from the stands, and enjoying the energy of the competition!

2016: FRC Game Announcement

On January 9, 2016, the new FRC game, FIRST Stronghold, was announced ushering Mechanical Mayhem into an intense six-week build season to design and fabricate a competitive, 120-pound robot. The game is played on a 27’ X 54’ playing field. The goal of the game is to capture the opposing alliance’s castle by attacking it with boulders and surrounding it at the end of the game. Each castle is surrounded by five defenses called the “outer works.” Three defenses are chosen by the alliance, one defense is picked by audience selection, and one defense is permanent: the low bar. Each alliance will have a “secret passage” allowing them to collect ammo (boulders) from their human player stations. Secret passages allow alliances to bypass their own outer works and proceed directly to the opposing alliance’s outer works. Once they cross the other team’s defenses, they may shoot to weaken the opposing alliance’s castle. At the end of the game, if your alliance has gotten at least eight boulders to penetrate the opposing alliance’s castle, you may surround the castle with all three robots to ultimately capture it. Additional points are awarded to alliances who are able to climb the castle walls.


When choosing defenses to defend their castle, each alliance will be presented with six different options. The audience will be presented with two different options. In total, there are nine different defenses and more than ten thousand possible field configurations.

The Category A defenses are the Portcullis and the Cheval de Frise.



The Portcullis is an arch-shaped doorway that opens when lifted.


The Cheval de Frise is a series of four independently tilting platforms.Cheval-de-Frise


The Category B defenses consist of the Moat and the Ramparts.


The Moat is a flat channel with metal beams on either end.


The Ramparts are two ramps facing opposite directions.



The category C defenses are the Drawbridge and the Sally Port.




The Drawbridge is a bridge that lowers when you open it.



The Sally Port is a door that only opens toward the courtyard.



The category D defenses are the Rock Wall and the Rough Terrain.



The Rock Wall is a 4-5/8-inch tall beam.


The Rough Terrain consists of thirty-one rectangular pieces of steel tubing of different heights.



The Low Bar is the only permanent defense and is not included in any category. It is a 16” high steel beam, which is intended to be driven under. There is a curtain attached to the beam to ensure no boulders roll under the beam without assistance from a robot.



Our team is excited to see what we can dream up with our imaginations to solve this creative challenge!