A MECHANICAL lesson in ``gracious professionalism'' is being learned in the backyard shed at Evandale.
Metal Minds is one of Tasmania's only hopes of attaining a national robotics title in For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology's Tech Challenge at Sydney's Macquarie University.
About $3000 for a FIRST robotics kit, travel expenses and accommodation has been raised by the crew ahead of this weekend's challenge.
Teams from across Australia will be paired up by random draw to work together to achieving a series of tasks - automated and manually-controlled - such as transporting a block, raising a flag and a mechanised chin-up.
The pressure is on for the group, with members still programming their final design ahead of Saturday and Sunday's challenge.
While the team may not be giving too many of its secrets away, it has been able to spy the progress of others, according to member Harry Heathcote, 15.
``Some of the teams have posted videos of their robots up on Youtube, but we haven't done that,'' Harry said.
``We didn't do much planning on paper, a lot of it has been trying different things to see if they worked or not . . . we started with the block lifting mechanism and worked from there.''
Father and mentor Job Heathcote said points would be deducted for teams showing a lack of sportsmanship, or over-competitiveness.
``It's about team building and co-operation,'' Mr Heathcote said.
``Teams that have been paired up in one challenge may end up competing against each other in the next stage - they call it gracious professionalism.''
For more information about the competition, go to www.firstaustralia.org