Charged Up

This season saw the all-new 2023 game “Charged Up” introduced.

What a crazy year it was. We started with recruitment in the middle of 2022. We recruited a large group of dedicated rookies, but sadly had to see many of our long time students graduate the team and move on to greater things.

However, with the help of returning senior students and the mentors, these rookies were trained and prepared for the 2023 season.

Between the students and under the amazing lead of an expanded student management and mentor group two robots “Lenny Grabitz” and “The Cube Hammer” were designed, built, tested and competed with. Lenny Grabitz was taken to the Southern Cross Regional in Wollongong giving the team 3rd place with Koalified (6996) and Embers (7583). After this amazing result, a small but dedicated team conceived The Cube Hammer, a robot that gave us the win at Macquarie University’s “Duel Down Under” with Barker Redbacks (4613) and ARTEMIS (5876).


Our Competition Robot "Lenny Grabitz" Being Assembled
Digital Render Of Our Off-season Robot "The Cubehammer"

New Automation Opportunities!

The 2023 FRC game, Charged Up, introduced new and challenging opportunities for advanced automation. With introduction of April Tags onto the 2023 fields, the ability for advanced localisation, automation and targeting was created. With dual cameras on each of our robots we were able to allow our robots to accurately target game pieces for collection from the substation and score in tight areas. These April Tags also allowed us to improve our field position estimates drastically. Rather than relying entirely on odometry readings that count the rotations of the wheels in our robot, leading to inaccuracies and game-losing control problems as a result of wheelspin, we were able to refresh these readings using position data gained from the April Tags, cameras and vision processing to ensure these errors were corrected immediately.

Near-Final Prototype Of The End Effector On "Lenny Grabitz"
Shooter, Tilt and Turret Mechanism Of "The Cube Hammer"

Game Piece Handling Mechanisms

The end effector featuring on Lenny Grabitz was a product of vigorous prototyping and iteration. In its final form it was comprised of a linear actuating piston that would drive a four-bar mechanism, opening and closing the claw like mechanism. This design allowed us to manipulate both cubes and cones with ease and strength. This mechanism also housed break beam sensors and a limit switch to aid in the automation of the game piece collection process.

The Cube Hammer featured a completely redesigned game piece handling mechanism. This mechanism took inspiration from the flywheel shooters of the 2022 Rapid React season, using this method to shoot and score cubes. In this design, there were three core components:

  • The shooter component, which could intake and shoot to score cubes
  • The tilt component, which would drive the vertical angle of the shooter, within a range of 180 degrees
  • The turret component, which would rotate the shooter and tilt mechanisms 270 degrees, allowing for automated targeting and ease of scoring
In-taking Mechanism Shared Between "Lenny Grabitz" and "The Cube Hammer"
Near-Final Version Of The In-taking Mechanism
"Car Wash" Mechanism From "The Cube Hammer"

In-taking Mechanisms

Both Lenny Grabitz and The Cube Hammer shared an over-bumper in-taking mechanism. This design was heavily inspired by our 2022 intake comprising of rotating rollers and a pneumatic deploying system. This design was, however, slimmed down and simpler, reducing weight and improving the reliability of the mechanism, making it the most reliable system between the robots. This intake allowed us to quickly intake the ball-like inflatable cube game pieces, aiding in our game piece handling speed, crucial to our amazing performance across the season.

With the redesign of our robot, also came the modification of how we managed the in-taking of game pieces. The Cube Hammer utilised the same main intake, however, with an added  mechanism. As the cube shooter of our robot was placed far back in the chassis and raised slightly, a mechanism was required to shift cubes from the front of the robot to the back, with reliability. From this, a mechanism made of two direct driven rollers and a bent sheet of metal known as the “Car Wash” was formulated. This mechanism would use the rollers to force the cubes towards the rear of the chassis and raise them up the sloped metal, ensuring clean intakes.

Assembley Of The Arm Extension Mechanism
Arm Extension Mechanism
Arm Rotation And Extension Mechanismns

Arm Mechanism

The core operation of Lenny Grabitz was comprised of an arm rotation and extension mechanism. 

Rotation was driven by two Rev Neo motors and a custom gearbox machined and assembled in-house. This was connected to the arm itself via belts and pulleys and later chain and sprockets. This mechanism allowed us the remain in frame perimeter at the start of matches and when moving across the field, but also to rotate and collect/score game pieces when needed.

The extension mechanism was made up of a Neo 550 motor, pulleys, a rope harness and telescoping arm. The extension was essential when scoring game pieces as it allowed us to modify our scoring position (Mid-High) without needing to move the chassis and introduce human error. This gave us a fully automated scoring operation.


3rd Place Alliance With Koalified (6996) and Embers (7583)

Southern Cross Regional

The team places 3rd after an intense and frantic weekend


Our alliance with Koalified and Embers, worked in synergy to achieve third place at the Southern Cross Regional. The competition started with us tearing both our rotation belts to pieces, an incident that dropped the mood of the team and forced us to 35th out of 37 in the qualification standings. However, with round the clock work from the pit team, this problem was rectified with chain and sprockets giving the amazing drive team the ability to pull us up through the standings to 8th and scoring us a place as the 1st pick in the 4th alliance. With amazing scoring from our alliance partners and top-tier defence from us, we were able to score third place with a close loss in the semifinals.

Full scores for the team are on the Blue Alliance – Team 4774 The Drop Bears 2023 Season

Winning Alliance With BArker Redbacks (4613) And ARTEMIS (5876)

Duel Down Under

The team wins the competition after overcoming great struggles

From burning out our least accessible motor in record time, to breaking one of our most crucial mechanism, to winning with the 3rd alliance, this competition was a roller coaster ride of emotions. It started with a smoking motor after incorrect reassembly caused it to stall and overheat when it was powered on for the first time. Not only this, but it was in an area only accessible via great disassembly. However, the team prevailed after some quick thinking and the help of power tools. Our problems didn’t stop there, with the turret mechanism having an irreparable problem due to missed design flaws. With a late night and an early morning, the dedication of the students didn’t go amiss and the shooter was directly mounted to the chassis and ready for playoffs. These issues put us in 11th out of 14, but a lucky pick by Barker Redbacks and help with some last minute repairs put us with high hopes of winning. After an unfortunate failure of the favourite alliance, our alliance with BArker Redbacks and ARTEMIS made easy work of the competition and placed 1st.