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Robotics team sends Buster to state competition

From left, Michael Kempnich, Matt Halik and Josh Hass work on finishing touches for their robot, Buster, before sending it to the University of Minnesota for state competition. (Photos by Anna Erickson / Enterprise)1 / 2
The Nevis robotics team "Devious Machinations" completed its robot, "Buster." Front, from left, Bettsy Hjelseth, Elise Johnson, Joy Thomas and Josh Hass, back, Joe Finn-Bolling, Kyle Magnuson, Tony Gault, Matt Halik, Cody Booker, Michael Kempnich, Colton Otterness, Jerald Thomas and Seth Veit.2 / 2

Buster the robot has been shipped to the University of Minnesota to wait for competition in April.

The robot, constructed by the "Devious Machinations" team from Nevis was built in a short time frame - six and a half weeks.

Over the weekend, the team worked out the final touches on the robot and practiced for the last time before competition April 2-4 at the University of Minnesota.

The kick-off was Jan. 3 and since then, students had been working after school to complete the robot, which will compete in a game called "Lunacy."

In Minnesota, there are 88 teams competing and about 4,000 teams across the country. About 100 teams will be competing in April at the U of M.

Buster needs to pick up balls and drop them into another robot's trailer for the competition. The robot will pull a trailer.

The Nevis team will pair up with two other teams to form an alliance. The alliance will then compete against another alliance made up of three teams. The goal is to get moon rocks, empty cells, and super cells (specialized balls) in the opposing alliance's trailer. The robot must function for the first 15 seconds autonomously. Then, for the last two minutes, the robot is controlled by the team's driver. The playing surface is known as the "Crater." There will be 60 moon rocks, four empty cells and four super cells per alliance for a total of 136 balls, six robots and six trailers on the surface during the game.

Darchuk's Fabrication helped extensively with the metal work for the frame of the robot. The robot had to have bumpers to protect it and other robots from damage. Plus, it had to have a trailer hitch to connect to the 36-pound trailer that will be provided at the competition.

Peter Dombrowsky, 3M Wonewok manager, is team mentor. A $10,000 grant from 3M is funding the FIRST (for inspiration and recognition of science and technology) team. Rusty Uscola, science teacher at Nevis School is the team leader.

Nevis principal Jodi Sandmeyer is also helping the students with the project by offering feedback and asking them questions.

The FIRST program was developed to inspire high school students to pursue careers in science and technology.

The goals of the team are to build a functional and competitive robot, to work together with great teamwork, to have fun and to explore and learn about engineering and robotics.

The team motto is "To Build, To Succeed, To Overcome."

In addition to creating the robot, team members also created a Web site found at

The team still needs to create a video about the team, finalize the team uniform and create a banner and buttons