Inventor to reality

So we’re 2 days into our week one regionals. We’ve used the robot, (hopefully) gotten it working, and basically tested/used all mechanisms. So where am I going with this? Here’s where. Looking at the robot today I realized an amazing fact: we did it. We just emulated a proffesional engineering system, using CAD to create a working mechanical device for a purpose. We just started from ground up, and using CAD, designed, tested, and fabricated omponents ON A WORKING MACHINE. What we’re doing here is not just a milestone, it’s a milestone going into a life skill.

So what are all your thoughts? Was the use of Inventor helpful (as it was for us)? Was it a worthwhile step to take? Have you seen your drawings take shape?

As a team, I would say that CAD was very influential to the design of the robot this year, assisting with the design process for both the drive train side plates and all components of the shooter.
However, personally, CAD was the single best decision I have made on MORT. I joined the AutoDesk design team this year (from end effectors) on a whim really, and I would say that the skills I learned this year are probably some of the most important that I’ll take out of the FIRST program.
In addition, I know that I’ll take them with me when I go back to end effectors next year.

That is pretty awesome. I wish our team had more of an initiative to use CAD in their design. Unluckily we only have 1 other person who will go near the program. However we find that whenever we do present our ideas they are listened to much more than anoyone elses because we actually show them, not draw a chalkboard representation. A team like yours that can really utilize the power of tools like that is bound to do well, and probably have a lot oftime left over.

Inventor to reality? Is that how its supposed to work? I think we’ve been doing it wrong, we go from reality to Inventor.

As a team we do mostly hand sketching and designing because for us doing it in Inventor first just eats too much time. Most of the time our Inventor models (if any) are done as someones outside project after the robots done.

I can just imagine what would happen if somebody at the company I work for showed up at a major design review and showed a pencil and paper sketch of a new system. Not only would the customer laugh us out of the room, but the idiot who pulled that would be fired or at least found a very special “special assignment”. So yes you really should be moving from Inventor to reality.

But that leaves out the pencil sketching stage. Inventor or any CAD system can be cumbersome to use in meetings. Any Mechanical worth their salt can walk up to a white board or whip out pencil and paper and do a rough sketch. These sketches can be either flat views or isometrics. You should be able to do both as required. If you can’t then I suggest you take a drafting class or at least an art class that includes perspective drawing and learn how. Start with pencil and paper sketches before you CAD.

This stage is for a gross feasibility and to get the idea fixed in your mind. Then you go out and sketch it up in Inventor. You move from undetailed rough models to finer and finer models. For example when designing a robot frame I’ll typically represent the drive train with a large “keep out zone” that accounts for the chain path, gearboxes, and wheels. Our spiral ball holder was a big cylinder, etc. If you are just trying to figure out what goes where you don’t necessarily need a lot of fine detail.

Once you start to get a sense of the relations of things then you start figuring out how big they should be, whether you need shaft collars and other fine details. Figuring out these details is where CAD excells. I should also point out that CAD used properly gives you the ability to iterate a design two or three times before you start building hardware. Every iteration should improve your design. It also gives you a real good idea what you part should look like and where you should put the holes. The better idea you have what you are building, the faster and more accurately you can build it. Rarely will we have to redo a part that is fabricated correctly in the first place if we CADed it before building it. Not having to redo things two or three times to get them to fit is a great timesaver.

This method does require some discipline. It is easy to go out and just build something. The hard part is figuring out how to build the RIGHT thing.

Enough said. Oh yeah happy Birthday Chris. Yes inventor to reality is a big part of 1251’s design process everything we do is in inventor first we could easily recreate this years robot with the drawings we have.

haha thats the definition of my team. Just people doing TERRIBLE drawings on a blackboard thats falling apart. I try to spread the use of CAD but nobody really realizes its potential i guess. Weve done pretty well so far in the two years weve participated. I tell them they can do even better, but no one except for one other uses it and instead i plan to fire them all when they bribe me to work at my company.