Design Awards

My team was awarded the GM Industrial Design Award at the NJ regional. Thank you judges! We would like to come up with ways to better market our drivetrain to the judges than simply showing them what it looks like and how it works. I am working on a full 3d cad of it but would like to do something more so that we might have a shot at a design award at nationals. Any ideas?

I think one of the best ways would be to document the build process. Show pictures to the judges of the prototypes that your team went through before you were able to finalize your award winning design.

You could create a poster or a flow chart to show the design process at it’s various stages. In the past, our team discussed using the idea to show the judges why we decided to use hockey sticks for our arm in '07 and '08. We could have shown them some strength to weight ratios that we discussed and ultimately explain why we went with the sticks as opposed to wood, aluminum ETC.

Make sure the members of your team can all talk to the judges about your design because you never know which team ember the judges will end up talking too. And bring your trophy with yout o Atlanta and put it in your pit. If a judge comes by invite them over to talk to your team, you don’t always have to wait for them to come to you. Be polite, be excited and you will do fine.

Hope this helps. Congrats on your award and good luck at Championship!

Thanks for the info. The part that won the award is really cool. We have two of the drive wheels mounted perpendicular to the normal drive train (which isn’t anything unique) and they are mounted on a pneumatically deployed platform. this platform contains a tough-box that has a planetary to a globe motor. the platform is hinged on one side. when deployed the bot drives perpendicular to normal motion (great for ball pickup along the walls and for escaping from robots). The tough-box is milled with our team number on all sides and the gears are milled (dropping .5 lb.). Luckily we have a fully functional replica of this component to show them. We are very excited about it!

Did the replica go into your with holding allowance? And congratz on the award.:smiley:

No it did not go into the holding allowance. It is purely a show piece and will only be used for demonstration. We didnt bring much in the way of spare parts anyway.

Another tip is to have something you can hand to the judges. They are reviewing many teams and robots and having something in their hands gives them something to look at later when trying to make decisions.

With that in mind, keep it precise and succinct, because they have many teams to look at and carry around a huge handout from each team would be tough.

Team 1742 won the GM award in the OKC Regional.
Thank you everyone


From a judge’s and mechanical engineer’s perspective, I can give you a few pointers. Make certain you or a fellow student are the ones that talk to the judges about your design - not a mentor or teacher. If more than one person knows about the design or you share the conversation without interrupting the better. Why is it different?- why does it work? Where is the innovation? Reread the criteria for the award. Make certain you can cover all areas of the description.

Documenting your concept, revisions and final version is always good too. This is true for any of the awards. For example, it is hard for a judge to give credit when a team says they have a business plan - but their is no business plan in the pit to review.

Watch for judges; they have a logo on their shirt and usually walk around in pairs - we have alot of teams to talk to in a very short amount of time. Dont have judges wait, introduce yourselves, be polite, shake hands.

The design and quality awards do review how well the robot is performing in competition. So if your robot is doing well be certain to present this fact to the judges with data that is memorable.

You should understand that judges are everywhere - not just in the pits asking questions. A good design engineer always shows gracious professionalism - with the team, in the pits, on the field, even in line getting a soda.

Good luck to you. Marie

Also having a succint list of the attributes is a good idea. We sometimes get nervous and forget the details. Having a sheet of paper with an Iso-view or exploded view of your drivetrain (even a picture will work fine). then have a series of bullet points or key points with arrows pointing to them:

Basic Function
why this is better.
Give examples of how this feature helped you in competition.
removed 0.5 pounds here.
Clever use of material here.

Also, many judges will accidentally give away what awards they are looking for most. If the judge keeps asking about communitee outreach and team recognition throughout the community, they are probably not as concerned about your drivetrain.

Consider these little interviews like any other. Get their attention from the start. Engage them (you shouldn’t be doing all the talking). Know all the points you want to make (ideally in a logical procession). Thank them for their time and consideration, and let them know that you understand just how tough their job is.

1640 won the Rockwell Automation Innovation in Control Award at the Chesapeake Regional for our 7th wheel drive train. Thanks everyone!

  1. Thoroughly review both the award description and any material you can find on winners (specifically this season, but also in general). For instance, Rockwell is about all mechanical, software, electrical, etc features that lend themselves to the control of the robot, not just programming as the phrase “control system” might indicate. (At least, it did for me.)

  2. Listen to the judges. If they come for follow-up questions and the first word out of their mouth is “control”, try to tailor you discussion to that.

  3. Have documentation. We have a tri-fold design display, design highlight handouts, and a 3" thick design book. We also have CAD drawings and mock-ups of various features (some actual spares and some purposeful models, which, by the way, don’t count in the withholding allowance). You don’t need all of this, and really only the tri-fold helped significantly for Rockwell. Consider your options and know your limits.

  4. You all know it, but let the students do the talking. Mentors can prod if something gets left out, but stand back slightly.

  5. Make lists for yourself. Thoroughly review the features you want to highlight, both for the initial judges pass and for any follow-ups for specific awards. Your personal lists should be thorough, but you can keep your handouts concise. They just need reminders; students do the elaboration in person.

  6. Practice. Think about what you’re going to say. This’ll help you relax as well as organize.

  7. Relax! Judges are great people and they’re here because they enjoy talking to you. Though, I say this in retrospect knowing that I talked rather quickly and nervously through my presentation/discussion. So if you do find yourself talking a little too fast, no worries. It may not impact the judging, but it is a lot more comfortable!

  8. Never say never. We’re a fifth-year team, maybe a 12 regular people and maybe $4,000 in the bank. None of us thought we could ever win a real regional award. (Watch the webcast, the announcer jokes at our utter and total shock.) So I say this in all honesty, anyone can do it.

As to the actual design, our drive train simulator and some possible white papers, etc will be up shortly.