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New Meeting Schedule

We’ve decided to have our monthly meetings on the 2nd Wednesday of the month until further notice. Meetings are from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at AutonomouStuff, 306 Erie Ave., Morton, IL. Here is the schedule through the end of 2016:

October 14, 2015
November 11, 2015
December 9, 2015
January 13, 2016
February 10, 2016
March 9, 2016
April 13, 2016
May 11, 2016
June 8, 2016
July 13, 2016
August 10, 2016
September 14, 2016
October 12, 2016
November 9, 2016
December 14, 2016

October 6, 2015 at 8:14 am | Uncategorized | No comment

Bot Brawl 2016


The 2016 Bot Brawl took place on August 13th, 2016 at the Peoria Civic Center in conjunction with River City LabsMidwest MakerFest and Ignite Peoria.  Results, pictures, video, and sponsor info can be found on the event page.  This year’s Bot Brawl was a roaring success with a total of 41 robots that competed in the Antweight RC Combat, Beetleweight RC Combat, Mini Sumo, Checkers On A Sumo Ring, Line Follow, and Line Maze competitions.  Thanks to all of the robot operators who made this event fun!!!  Can’t wait to see what creations you bring back next year!

Click for Highlights and Results

October 1, 2015 at 10:18 am | Bot Brawls | No comment

SparkFun Simon Says SMD Soldering Kit – Great intro to SMD

SparkFun has multiple Simon Says kits for sale: there is a Through-Hole Soldering Kit ($24.95) for learning to solder thru-hole components, and the Surface Mount Soldering Kit ($27.95) for learning to solder surface-mount device (SMD) components. Today I’ll be reviewing the latter.

The Pros

As this is a beginner board, SparkFun is very generous with the spacing of components so that you have plenty of room to solder, without accidentally creating a solder bridge. The one
exception to this is the ATmega chip which I will discuss below. The kit includes 1-2 spare SMD resistors / capacitors, which is helpful because the components are very small and it’s very easy to lose track of them. If you want to be extra creative, SparkFun designed the board so that you can program a new game using an in-system programmer (ISP), and you can also incorporate functions using the ATmega’s analog IN and RX/TX peripherals. These all require soldering extra header pins but that is an easy task. Once you have finished assembling the board, you can flip a switch to turn sound on/off while playing a game.

The Cons

SparkFun could improve the kit’s assembly instructions – I would change the assembly order so that the first component you solder to the board is the ATmega chip. This would eliminate the possibility of boxing yourself in after soldering other components. The kit does not come with a roll of solder wick or a flux pen/paste; if you order this board I recommend having them in case you need to fix a bad joint or a solder bridge.

Overall a solid kit for those wanting to get started with SMD soldering.

Benjamin Daniels
CIRC Member since 2013

February 28, 2015 at 6:45 pm | Reviews | No comment

Bot Brawl 2015


Illinois State University RedBird Arena, Normal, IL

The 2015 Bot Brawl will be held during the 5th annual Family Science Day in collaboration with:

Come see one of the United States’ longest-running robotic combat competitions, now in our 15th year! See the metallic carnage of the RC Combat Arena or the displays of brute strength in the Sumo Ring! Watch some of the fastest robots in Illinois fly around the line following track! Or see if the more intelligent autonomous robots can outsmart the labyrinth in the Maze Solver competition! Admission to the event is FREE and registration is NOW OPEN!

Click for Registration and Schedule Information!

February 10, 2015 at 11:57 pm | Bot Brawls | No comment

Monthly Meeting Recap 1/11/15

Robot Show & Tell

  • Mike Dvorsky displayed his ugly Christmas sweater and accessories.  The sweater was red with a black and white pattern and a pair of robots knitted into the front.  Mike added a strip of red and green LED’s covered with silver see-thru tape over the eyes, a wearable microcontroller, and some software to sweep the LED’s left and right.  He then modified a pair of sunglasses with a micro-Arduino, a battery, and a strip of RGB LED’s to mimic the robots on his sweater.  Mike and his son have also been busy on his 3D printer.  His son printed out a 5″x5″ logo for the band Twenty One Pilots.  The logo used multiple pieces printed in 1 of four different colors.  Each piece was fitted together like a puzzle.  The end effect had multiple colors weaved through the logo.  Mike has also been working with his 3D printer to develop enclosures for the various boards he is working with.  He developed a parametric model in OpenSCAD to vary the size, standoffs, and openings for any enclosure.
  • Peter Campbell passed around his new heat gun he got for Christmas.  He also demonstrated a countdown timer that he programmed in C#.  The countdown program counts down the number of days until the next CIRC meeting.  When it reaches 1 day remaining, it then counts down the hours, then the minutes.  The program pulls the dates for the next CIRC meeting from the website.
  • Brian Oleson unboxed his new Hakko digital soldering station which he received for Christmas.  He also informed the group about the upcoming Robot Revolution exhibit being developed by the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.  He also previewed his winter project of building a RC plane from scratch using the plans and web series Maker Hanger by Make Magazine.


  • Next Monthly Meeting will be held on February 8th.  The Location is to be determined.
  • CIRC will be participating in Engineering Day at the Peoria Riverfront Museum on February 22nd.

See more from the January meeting

January 17, 2015 at 6:13 pm | Monthly Meeting Recaps | No comment

New Meeting Location

Please be advised that our monthly meeting location has changed.
We are now meeting at:

306 Erie Ave.
Morton, IL 61550

January 7, 2015 at 1:02 pm | Uncategorized | No comment

Monthly Meeting Recap – 4/13/14


April 13, 2014 at 4:46 pm | Monthly Meeting Recaps | No comment

Bot Brawl 2014 Schedule

Back to BotBrawl 2014 Competition Page…

Start Stop Event Duration (hr:min)
8:00 AM 10:00 AM Final Setup 2:00
10:00 AM 10:00 AM Combat Check-In Deadline 0:00
10:00 AM 10:10 AM Driver’s Meeting 0:10
10:10 AM 12:00 PM Combat Competition – 1st Round 1:50
11:00 AM 11:00 AM Start of Family Science Day 0:00
12:00 PM 12:00 PM Sumo Check-In Deadline 0:00
12:00 PM 12:05 PM Reconfigure for Sumo 0:05
12:05 PM 12:30 PM Sumo 0:25
12:30 PM 12:40 PM Checkers on a Sumo Ring 0:10
12:40 PM 12:45 PM Checkers on a Sumo Ring & Sumo Awards 0:05
12:45 PM 12:50 PM Reconfigure for Combat 0:05
12:50 PM 1:20 PM Lunch Break 0:30
1:20 PM 2:55 PM Combat Competition – Final Round 1:35
2:55 PM 3:00 PM Combat Awards 0:05
3:00 PM 3:00 PM Line Following & Maze Check-In Deadline 0:00
3:00 PM 3:20 PM Line Following 0:20
3:20 PM 3:30 PM Line Maze 0:10
3:30 PM 3:35 PM Line Following & Maze Awards 0:05
3:35 PM 3:55 PM Combat Rumbles 0:20
3:55 PM 4:00 PM End of Family Science Day 0:00
3:55 PM 4:55 PM Clean-Up 1:00

March 21, 2014 at 9:30 am | Uncategorized | No comment

Monthly Meeting Recap – 3/9/14


March 9, 2014 at 7:30 am | Monthly Meeting Recaps | No comment

Peoria Riverfront Museum Engineering Day – 2/16/14

CIRC will once again be participating in the Peoria Riverfront Museum Engineering Day event! Come demonstrate your projects at the CIRC table or just bring your family and friends to check out all of the exciting displays. Admission to the museum will be FREE during this event! For a good summary of what to expect, check out our event article from the 2013 event. If you’re planning to help with our club’s display, setup starts at 11:00AM and they recommend you park in the lower level parking garage. All event volunteers can get their parking validated.


February 15, 2014 at 9:10 am | Announcements | No comment

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