Really…Is There Anything Cooler Than Kids Building Robots?

As one of the founding family members of CNC Software (also sometimes better known by our CAD/CAM software product — Mastercam) our fledgling early years are still fresh in my mind. I’m astounded how far we’ve come in 34 years, thanks to our hundreds of thousands of customers, our worldwide reseller network and our employees. It’s been an exciting path to be on and I feel privileged to have met so many terrific people on this journey. That’s what this new blog series is all about, sharing some of the noteworthy people I meet and places I see along the pathway – from Tokyo to Melbourne to a stroll through our office halls.

The young people entering manufacturing and engineering are particularly inspiring to me. On a recent trip out to the northwest, I spent time with long-time Mastercam partner Steve Kidd. Steve has deep roots in the manufacturing community and has sponsored the First Robotics Competition in Seattle for many years. This year I had the pleasure of meeting several members of his team.

In the First Robotics Competition, after the new challenge is released in the beginning of January, there is a 6-week build season in which the build team and other committees meet 2–4 times a week to design, build, and program a new robot to meet the challenge. Read more about the competition here.

As a company we have the honor of sponsoring the First Robotics Competition by providing the teams with free access to Mastercam until the end of the competition in April. About 150 teams are already taking advantage of the software and the education platform for it – Mastercam University – so far.

It was great meeting the high school aged students on the team and watching their creations in action. The night I was there, both Luke Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks and Steve Kidd presented generous donation checks.

Closer to home in eastern Connecticut my brother, Mark (co-founder of CNC Software), is involved with a First Robotics team called RAGE Robotics. RAGE robotics was started in the fall of 1994, and is composed of high school students from Tolland, Rockville, Manchester, and East Hartford; area engineers; parents; teachers; and other volunteers. Originally based in East Hartford, the team is now housed at Tolland High School and meets throughout the school year on Thursday nights from 7:00 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. in room 79 if anyone local or visiting would like to stop in and check out the kids and robots in action!