The Loony Squad was founded in March of 2022 by Jameson of team 10355, Project Peacock. Originally, he worked under the name The Loony Squad as a solo designer. His first project as The Loony Squad was Phoebe, a Skystone robot. Later that month, Jameson and Jules, also of 10355, formed a CAD team together under the name. The pair had already been working together in design for several years on Project Peacock, but wanted to expand their horizons and capabilities even further. Jameson and Jules' first joint project bearing The Loony Squad logo was HERA, a Ring-It-Up! robot. Phoebe was officially rendered and released immediately following HERA's debut.
Veer from team 16379 became the third member after seeing posts about HERA and inquiring about joining. After Veer joined the team, the three decided to open applications to anyone in the national FTC Discord. Jameson interviewed several candidates and decided to invite Alex of 16750, Jamie of 20760, and Akshay of 7172 to be members of the team. To get familiar with working together, the team decided to design a robot before the LOGICoyote CAD Challenge (LCC) In May. This robot was made for the 2013-2014 VEX game, Toss Up. While this robot was never finished, it got the team off the ground and prepared them for their first competition.
Following the warmup robot, the team registered for the 2022 LOGICoyote CAD Challenge, hosted by team 16537. Jameson had placed third as a solo competitor in 2021, but the competition was shaping up to be much more competitive for its second season. The Loony Squad blew the competition out of the water and came in first place with their robot, Apashe. This victory put The Loony Squad on the map and its notoriety grew.
You can read Apashe's award-winning press release here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/11e8iUqjJzr9QGat5HA_mLQx92noCzC-FyES3iCiTvbg/edit#slide=id.p
Back at it Again
In July 2022, the members of the LS competed against each other in the Valor CAD Challenge, hosted by team 6800. Team 5 took 1st place and team 987 came in third. The reason for the split was Jameson and Jules needed to prepare their team for CRI, so they didn't have time to commit to the main team. Regardless, both teams ended up doing very well, and the green and purple color scheme of The Loony Squad became even more recognizable.
Here is team 987's press release: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1b2QKCkQvUuXIbAh-LO2j-u_gAfDJi8dyk9dgI-xXKio/edit?usp=sharing
2022-2023: FIRST Power Play
For the remainder of the summer, the Squad worked on various small projects and chassis designs, keeping up their skills. When the 2022-23 season started, they took some time off to work with their respective teams to develop their competition robots. They kept in touch and helped each other design their team robots, but no major projects were underway during the first few weeks of the season. However, it wasn't long before talk began about building the ultimate Power Play robot to bring to MTI and CRI.
In November 2022, the team was at a stale point with no active projects. To spice things up, Jameson decided to recruit some programmers to help diversify the team. He interviewed Aarsh of 12869 and Mason of 16379 and welcomed both onto the team. Their first project was LoonyLab, a 3D robot simulator with direct Onshape integration. This project is still in development, so stay tuned! The programmers also served as consultants to the design team to ensure that everything designed would be possible to program and run. These new members inspired lots of conversation about new projects, including this website! The team also ramped up their social media presence, creating their Twitter and Instagram accounts and posting their work to share with the community.
Open Source Ventures
Shortly after recruiting these new members, the team decided to embark on a new set of projects with the goal of passing their skills along to the community. These open source projects would cover the basics of FTC robot design, and give teams a starting point to advance their own skills. Here are a few of them:
These open source designs grew wildly popular, with the Loony Claw gaining over 320 users in 6 months and LoonyOdo over 25 users. These designs connected the Loony Squad with the broader FTC community and made it know outside of the CAD competition sphere.
More New Members
In January 2023, the Loony Squad recruited Hunter from team 16236 as a new designer. The next month, they recruited Isaac from 14473. Hunter and Isaac quickly integrated into the team and began working on projects. During this time, the team had to let go of Aarsh due to continued issues. With Hunter and Isaac, the team was up to 8 members from 6 teams, larger than it hadd ever been before.
First IRL Robot
In February 2023, team 10355, Project Peacock, advanced to Worlds as the WAC in Oklahoma. This is Jameson and Jules' team, and they decided they wanted to build a new robot for the World Championship. The two began the project on their own and then brought it to the Loony Squad to flesh it out. The result is Britney, the very first Loony Squad robot to be built and run in competition. It will debut at the Houston World Championship in April 2023.
This robot is completely optimized to be the fastest passthrough robot built for Power Play. It features a 10.1:1 mecanum drivetrain, countersprung bare motor lift, and a unique geared passthrough arm with a custom Loony Claw on the end. Its 14x14 wheelbase gives it stability, and its Misumi SAR + Linear rail lift is smooth and light. Everything about it from the waterjet aluminum plates to the Markforged parts throughout screams Loony Squad.