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Ironclad at the Central Illinois Regional

Ironclad had a great time attending this regional! We made many new friends, talked to other teams, and won some awesome awards. During the course of the competition, Ironclad played well and managed to become the 7th alliance caption (a huge achievement)! However, we got eliminated in the quarterfinals because of the tough competition. Yet our team was not done, we managed to win the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) safety award for the second year in a row. This was an impressive feat, and all because of our top-notch safety team! They manage to instill safety as one of the many core values of Ironclad. As the competition wrapped up Ironclad, empowered by their success, left with the feeling they had represented our community, school, and sponsors extremely well!

Second Annual Ironclad Dodgeball Tournament

On October 19, Ironclad hosted our Second Annual Ironclad Dodgeball Tournament.  Ten teams made of BBCHS students competed for the top prize.  In the end, team Soccer won, with the Mavericks coming in second place. Soccer was treated to pizza generously donated by Chicago Dough Company. Thank you to the teams that competed and to Chicago Dough for the pizza!

Bradley’s 125th Birthday

On August 19th, Ironclad manned a booth at the fair that was held in honor of Bradley’s 125th anniversary. We displayed and drove Athena, let kids drive the ArgoBots, demonstrated the circuit tiles and let people try to make their own circuits, and taught children how to stab a skewer through a balloon without popping it and how it worked. These activities attracted the attention of many adults and kids, and we were happy to answer any questions they had about our STEM-based activities and about our team. It was very entertaining and exciting to watch kids be amazed by how we could pierce a balloon without popping it or by Athena climbing and to watch them try to drive the ArgoBots along our figure-eight track. One kid was so amazed by Athena that he actually went home to bring his friends and show them how fascinating and cool robots were. Overall the event was very fun and a huge success.

– Drake Provost

Girl Scouts at The Forge

On August 10th, Ironclad was lucky enough to host a local girl scout troop at our workshop. With the girls, we had a good time showing them our world championship qualifying robot, Athena! We also sat down and did some STEM activities, such as building structures with marshmallows and toothpicks, as well as building a chain reaction Popsicle stick chain! We ended the night with driving our mini robots, and we all had lots of fun!

Friendship Festival 2017

On June 23 and 24, 2017, Ironclad ran a booth at the Bourbonnais Friendship Festival. Our booth featured our World Championship robot, Athena, as it climbed ropes and collected gears for the public. Not only could people see our robot in  action, they could also do a variety of STEM activities. From circuit tiles to balloon skewers, these activities provided kids with a chance to learn valuable STEM-related lessons in a fun and easy way. Overall, the Friendship Festival was a great way to bring STEM back to the community.

Midwest Regional

After a successful run at the Central Illinois Regional in Peoria, Ironclad strives to prosper again at the Midwest Regional in Chicago. Come check out our World Championship qualifying robot, Athena, at the UIC Pavilion! More information down below:

Invite Midwest Illinois Steamworks

We hope to see you there!

Central Illinois Regional

The time has come! We’ve bagged our robot and are ready for our annual trip to Peoria. The Central Illinois Regional will be held at Bradley University Renaissance Coliseum in Peoria, Illinois on March 17th and 18th.

Friday’s Schedule:

  • Opening Ceremony: 8:30 am – 9:00 am
  • Qualification Rounds: 9:00 am – 5:45 pm

Saturday’s Schedule:

  • Opening Ceremony: 8:30 am – 9:00 am
  • Qualification Rounds: 9:00 am – 12:15 pm
  • Playoff Rounds: 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

We hope to see you there!

BSA Stem Fest

On October 29th, Ironclad attended BSA STEM Fest in Morris, Illinois at the Rainbow Council Scout Reservation. This was an event where kids ages from about 6-10 with their parents came and saw multiple demonstrations in STEM done by various groups, one of them being team Ironclad. We brought Talos and our two small robots (argobots) and they were real crowd pleasers! Kids got to drive and learn a little about the FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST in general. We also told parents about these programs, and we definitely got people interested! Most parents were asking us by when they left about opportunities for their children to join a team like this, one parent who was even interested in starting their own! Over the day, we had about 50 visitors total and all of which were very pleased with us! This event definitely helped us spread the FIRST message across a whole new community we hadn’t touched, and we were definitely welcomed. This is absolutely an awesome event to return to next year, and I already can’t wait.

Maker Faire

On November 5th and 6th, 10 members of Ironclad, plus our coaches, assisted Barnes and Noble at their Second Annual Mini Maker Faire. The Barnes and Noble Mini Maker Faire is an opportunity to teach a younger audience the advantages of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). The first Maker Faire was started by Make Magazine in California and has grown to reach around the world, eventually adding a Mini Maker Faire for smaller Maker communities. Barnes and Noble graciously allowed members of Ironclad to come in and help with the Maker Faire. We helped with the set up of many of the items that were to be on display, including a 3d pen. Many of the products were not to be assembled by the team, but rather would be on display for kids to build. Much like Legos, those items would encourage kids to create and think critically. These creations would, many times, turn out incredible, impressing all of us. One of the products was a small robot that could be easily coded using different color combinations on a line. This rudimentary way of programming introduces children to the idea that they don’t have to just watch robots, but children can direct them with coding. The creativity and enthusiasm found in the children proved that there will always be Makers wanting to share their ideas and creations. Along with Barnes and Noble’s display items, we drove our robot,Talos, in the store, demonstrating the abilities we chose for it to have. While the robot was running, team members spoke about FIRST and our team to curious kids and parents. Many of the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. were astounded a team of high schoolers could accomplish so much, and seemed genuinely interested in encouraging their young one’s enthusiasm in STEAM. Besides the products used to create things by children, there were many cool items on exhibit to demonstrate the increasing abilities of technology, including a 3d printer. An employee of Barnes and Noble brought in his VR headset and  allowed people to try it out. The exhilarating experience of it made evident the various possibilities in technology. At the end of the Mini Maker Faire, while cleaning up, I realized that every kid we inspired those two days could, in turn, do the same later in their life, and that chain would keep on growing. The foundations laid by current STEM enthusiasts will remain throughout generations, providing the basis for future innovators. Due to the welcoming atmosphere of Barnes and Noble and the experience of the Mini Maker Faire, I, and Ironclad, look forward to the Third Annual Barnes and Noble Mini Maker Faire and thank Barnes and Noble for allowing us to help with this one.

-Smit Purohit



e2i Intership Experience

In order to be successful in engineering, real world experience is an immense help. This is why I’m so thankful for my time at e2i over the summer. E2i is one of Ironclad’s earliest sponsors, and I was so fortunate to have earned the opportunity of interning there.


Being on the robotics team sparked my interest in electrical engineering, and so I jumped at the chance to learn more. Before starting the internship, I was a bit nervous going into such a professional environment having only minimal knowledge. As time went on, I became more and more comfortable with being there and I learned an incredible amount. I got to develop my interest for electrical engineering and I can say for a fact that I left knowing twice as much if not more as when I began.

While I was there, I got to experience helping to put together control panels, and in turn, learned valuable skills that I will use in my future career. One of the most significant elements of working on the panels is precision. The people whom I was shadowing would constantly be using tools to increase quality through precision before ever making a cut in the metal, or putting a part into place. There was never a time in which the workers there would cut corners or rush through their work.  I believe it conveys the importance of putting as much effort as possible into creating your work with quality.

Another important skill I picked up was communication and organization in a professional environment. Just by listening to what the workers say, the sense of efficiency and respect is evident. I felt as though I was witnessing a well-oiled machine in motion. All of the workers knew exactly how to handle problems and stay organized. In the workshop, the way that our instructors worked together to complete a common goal was an obvious key to their success. I got to practice these habits, and I know that my future career will be affected greatly by gaining the prior knowledge of how to act and communicate in the workplace.

Perhaps my favorite thing about the internship was getting the hands-on experience. I was taught about how to read schematics, encountered a bunch of new tools, and learned about the functions of the different sections of the control panels. By watching the workers, I learned useful strategies for troubleshooting and became more comfortable with piecing together the puzzle of how electrical systems really work. Along with being incredibly interesting, this is also very useful. I will be able to go farther in my goal to pursue my interests. Acquiring this knowledge and experience is an opportunity that I will be forever grateful for.

-Maggie Barclay