After starting Day 2 with a fun Star Wars Kahoot, students learned about the tools that they will later need to complete the custom modifications for their sumo bots. They rotated through four stations: the 3d printer, the laser cutter, soldering irons, and computers for a Vex programming introduction. They were shown the entire process – from designing models to importing files and fabricating parts – and got to take home engraved laser cut “robots”, 3D printed octopi and dice, and soldered circuits.
Before the students began designing their own custom parts to be made with the tools, they needed a foundational understanding of computer-aided design (CAD). Through Onshape tutorials and support from student instructors, they learned how to make sketches, set constraints, and extrude their drawings.
Student learning CAD
While Day 1 focused on tele-op control, where students drove their robots with controllers, Day 3 began with an introduction to autonomous code. Students learned about self-driving cars, looking at the parallels between autonomous machines in industry and the ones that they would be designing. Using color and distance sensors from the Vex kits, the students wrote their own autonomous algorithms to locate and push other robots out of the ring while staying in themselves.
Although many teams implemented successful autonomous code (some even incorporating elements of randomness), the team “Okay” was declared the winner of the second competition.
Students writing autonomous programs for their sumo bots
With a basic understanding of CAD and their code done, students were ready to start modifying the physical structure of their robots. Using custom 3D printed grommets and interfaces designed by Reuben Lewis, one of Team 5419’s CAD leads, students started designing laser cut parts to be later attached to their Vex parts.
A student begins designing a defensive mechanism with CAD while another modifies the robot with Vex parts
On Day 4, along with continuing the iterative design process, students will be able to see their CAD inventions come to life on the 3D printer and laser cutter.