Ferradermis Members Win Milwaukee Tool Competition with Rube Goldberg Machine

By Laura Masbruch
Whitewater High School Robotics Advisor, Banner Volunteer

Congratulations to Ferradermis team members Reilly Aschenbrener, Anderson Waelchli, and Sterling Truesdale, who recently won the Milwaukee Tool, “Hit the Nail on the Head,” competition with their Rube Goldberg Machine. What was unique about this machine and this competition? Instead of building one machine in the same physical space, the three team members built segments of the machine in their own homes. Created by Milwaukee Tool to be pandemic friendly, the competition required that each segment of the machine perform a virtual handoff to the next segment. The end goal of the project was to hit a nail with a hammer, and Milwaukee Tool provided each competing team with a series of hand tools worth about $100 that they could use in the machine. 

The students chose a game theme for their machine and made use of video games and board game pieces throughout. The first virtual handoff used Super Smash Bros Ultimate; the defeat of a player in the game caused a vibration of the second student’s game controller, which triggered the second segment of the machine. At the end of the second segment a computer macro recorded on the computer triggered an Arduino project, which started a servo motor on the third segment.

The competition was open to high school STEM groups throughout the state. Teams submitted videos of their machine which were judged by Milwaukee Tool with the top three entries receiving prizes of additional tools. For their first place finish, Ferradermis will be able to shop for $800 worth of power tools from Milwaukee Tool. Second place was awarded to FRC Team #6421, the WarriorBots, from Muskego, and third place went to FRC Team #6732, the BHS RoboRaiders from Bruce, WI. Thank you to Ferradermis mentors Allison Conrad and Nick Ackerman for helping guide the team throughout this competition.

To watch the winning videos for the competition, visit the links below:
First Place – Ferradermis – https://youtu.be/XyoeVZKXFJQ
Second Place – WarriorBots – https://youtu.be/keK0CZKQ3sQ 
Third Place – BHS RoboRaiders – https://youtu.be/fMs7-CtTuJQ 

Ferradermis is Whitewater High School’s FIRST Robotics Team #6574. The team is also preparing to participate in many virtual competitions sponsored by FIRST during this COVID affected season. Watch for more information in the coming months on Infinite Recharge at Home and the Innovation Challenge.

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