Join the MetalCow Robotics team!


MetalCow Robotics, FIRST team 4213 was founded in December of 2011. From the start the team was partnered with 4-H in McLean County Illinois. The team started as a team of 11 that met in a barn on a local pumpkin farm. The first year culminated in the Rookie Inspiration Award. Over the next 3 years the team grew to a team of 17 wining a award for animation and earning top seeded alliance spots and a visit to the FIRST World championship. 2016 and 2017 brought a new year round location in a local shopping center and an increase to 24 members in 2016. The 2018 FIRST season brought yet another move to Riven Automotive.

FIRST is a world wide organization who’s mission is to promote science, technology, engineering, and leadership. FIRST offers programs for students elementary age to high school. MetalCow Robotics is part of the capstone program called FRC or First Robotics Competition. This program involves creating 120 pound robot in a six week time constraint that is used to compete in 3 day long competitions with other teams from around the world. Each challenge is complex allowing for teams to create a unique robot to accomplish the challenge.

4-H is a national organization for students 8 to 18 promoting personal development, skill building, teamwork and leadership. McLean County where MetalCow Robotics is based has the largest 4-H fair. Students are encouraged in skills such as cooking, art, sewing, agriculture, and technology.

As a student on MetalCow Robotics you will work side-by-side with industry professionals from local companies and businesses to design and build a 120 lb. robot in six weeks. We have activities and meet year round. However, the build-season starts in early January and goes to about mid-March.

Our mission is to promote science, technology, and engineering in the community while helping students gain real world skills they can use for the rest of their lives. MetalCow Robotics is a 4-H SPIN club that participates in FIRST Robotics Competitions. But, it is much more than robotics; it is a small business where members learn digital media, advertising, web design, public speaking, business skills, and leadership.

The team is made up of students ages 13 to 18 from the McLean county area. We manage the business of the team and create robots from the ground up. Our members come from all walks of life which provides a great opportunity to learn how to work together on a common goal. We have adult mentors from the community who volunteer their time and professional expertise to help develop the next generation of leaders.

Build and Manufacturing

The build team performs the manufacturing of the robot. They create and maintain the physical aspect of the robots. Students learn proper build safety, how to turn CAD plans into a physical object, electrical, and basic metal work skills. Students with an interest in mechanical design, electrical work or a passion for hands on creation would thrive in the immersive build experience offered by MetalCow Robotics and the FIRST program.

Computer Aided Design (CAD)

CAD or computer aided design utilizes state of the art programs like Solidworks to create a detailed robot schematic that incorporates the elements the whole team believes beneficial to the current game. They design a robot that will achieve the goals as seamlessly as possible and creates plans to give to the build team to turn into the actual robot. Students interested in architecture, design or mechanical design would benefit from learning these skills in a fun and safe environment.

Controls Systems and Code

Learn and use the Java programming language as well as electrical wiring and soldering to create the control system that brings life to the robot. Working as a team students will program the robot to run autonomously as well as create a system to be operated by a driver. They also have opportunities to create apps or build web sites. Students who enjoy coding, web design, have an interest in becoming a computer programer, or electical engineer would enjoy this aspect of the robotics team.

Buisness Administration

The business team works together to preform the administrative tasks and create the written, visual materials and branding for the team. They a responsible for award submissions, the website, managing the online presence for the team and create the printed material the team utilizes. Students with an interest in graphic design, marketing, business or finance would benefit from the hands on skills and experiences this section of the team provides. If you see yourself as an entrepreneur and hope to run a business of your own someday this is the role for you.