It’s no secret that we bring a lot of things to the RoboSub competition every year. The sheer mass of stuff equates to practically our entire lab. Shipping everything across the country is no easy feat, especially during the summer months.

Packing the lab requires careful assessment of team needs and shipping requirements. Be it LiPo batteries, tools, or ground shipping for the robot, we have a lot of planning cut out for us every summer. What often gets neglected is bringing that whole lab back to Duke. Often, it simply gets dumped by the shipping company back in the lab. And this year was no exception. In fact, combined with an already disorderly lab, it resulted in conditions where you’d have to climb over boxes and tables to simply reach the other side of the room!

Cleaning up the lab alone seemed like an ambitious undertaking. However, I decided it would be the best opportunity to restructure the lab as a whole.

You wouldn’t believe the amount of stuff that this club has accumulated over the years. Not just RoboSub parts and tools, but so many things from other projects. Notable finds include a projector and screen, an old 3D printer, video game controllers, a model plane, and so much more. Much has been disposed of, thrown away, or repurposed. Old power supplies, monitors, tables, organizers, toolboxes, the list goes on. This way, the lab can better fit the stuff we actually need. The miter saw, drill press, and other extra tools were donated to Duke Engineering.

Projector screen. I decided I would set it up. When did we get this? You can also see the tables slowly making progress.

As part of our reorganizing, we added a new table (meaning we’d have three – one per subteam), and bought a lab PC for simulations, CV training, and Solidworks. We also simply just have a place for everything now. It helps us work more efficiently when we are not looking for things all of the time.

Not all members were aware of the cleaning. The reactions of some of the members were funny, with even some proclaiming that they had never seen the room so clean, or didn’t know parts of the room even existed!

I took the liberty to log my time cleaning. Turns out that during the week-long process, I spent more than 40 hours. But, it was so worth it.

I’ll end this blog with this one note. During the cleaning, I found something left by two of our former presidents. It is still there, and I challenge those who come after me to find it. Perhaps I’ll someday leave one of my own…