2012 Desert Cities FIRST LEGO League Senior Solutions Qualifying Tournament

Yesterday, I had an incredible day!

In addition to building this year’s tournament trophies, SMaRT Education asked me to emcee their 2012 Desert Cities FIRST LEGO League Senior Solutions Qualifying Tournament at the Palm Springs Air Museum. And what a fantastic day it was.

I was able to experience the tournament from a perspective that, until yesterday, I’ve had very limited involvement: the ROBOT COMPETITION FLOOR! I was tasked with keeping the audience excited while calling out the play-by-play for the FLL teams. What made the day even more exciting was being there to see so many of my former students putting their hard work and design skills to the test by engineering robots that would earn as many points as possible in the three, 2:30 rounds. The day was theirs, and I’m honored to have shared the experience with them.

But wait, there’s more!

Imagine my added joy when, during the closing ceremony, I watched most of those teams I had an impact on receive one of the twelve hand-crafted LEGO trophies I’ve been building over the past three weeks! Plus, every team that had a member who was in my summer camp or after school program are now advancing to this December’s Southern California regional championship tournament at LEGOLAND!

Here’s the promised images of the trophies followed by links to tournament coverage.




Trophies by Suboken

Here’s a PDF of the building instructions for the robot trophy. I used LEGO Digital Designer to create the PDF. However, LDD has some limitations in regards to unconventional uses of LEGO pieces. Hopefully the images from the blog illustrate how the whole thing comes together. If not, send me a message and I’ll try to fill in the missing steps. Calista and I ordered all of the pieces for building the trophies from Bricklink.com.


LEGO Trophies: Year Two

MOC – My Own Creation. a term used by LEGO building enthusiasts referring to an original LEGO model or design built without official LEGO instructions.

Last year, SMaRT Education invited me to build custom designed LEGO trophies for their FLL regional qualifying tournament. The FLL season’s theme was centered around food safety, and SMaRT Ed’s executive director, Liberty Naud, suggested the trophies also incorporate a strong food related look.

Board members from SMaRT searched high and low for LEGO food creations and came upon some fantastic looking cupcake MOCs. The builds were created by a LEGO artist named edubl31216. No instructions were available at the time, and the tournament was approaching fast. After studying edubl31216 images, I reversed engineered similar cupcake designs which won the approval of SMaRT’s board of directors. 12 trophies were built to honor the teams achievements at the tournament.

“The Sweetest Trophies EVER!”

Here we are a year later, and SMaRT Ed has again asked me to build this year’s trophies. But, rather than hunt for an already available design, I jumped at the chance to build my own creation. The theme for this year’s FLL season is entitled Senior Solutions and the official artwork from FLL uses a retro 1950’s look. The idea of a jukebox or 50’s diner aesthetic was discussed early on. But there are some really amazing looking LEGO jukeboxes already created, and a diner theme might come across as being more related to last year’s food theme.

So I began building variations of vintage toy robots. The teams are using LEGO Mindstorms NXT robots to run on the game board, and the senior citizens they are interviewing for their projects would recognize the retro look of the old metal wind-up toys, so this seemed like a great way to appeal to both, if not all generations.

I’m now waiting for the last few bricklink.com orders to arrive so that I can finish the trophies. As soon as they are done, I’ll share some images for everyone to see how they turned out.
Update with image:

Yes, as much as it pains me, I’m required to glue the LEGO trophies together!