Problems With Cad on your team?

i dont know if i should make a new thread for this but

For those teams who have attempted or have used Cad or a Cad team to make or make part of your robot during bulding season…

What issues have come up, technical , Logistical, Or organizational , please mention any and all no matter how small

BTw im Co-Teaching a Inventor Class…:eek: so i wanna know ahead of time .


Thanks in Advance

Where this thread Came from

Note: Mentor Mode is kicking in… :slight_smile:

OK, the first and obvious problem in making your robot in CAD and then building it on a FIRST team is time.

Time is your enemy.

In the real world of engineering, a product goes through many revisions and changes throughout it’s design stage. (Not to mention the time to design the actual product) On our FIRST team, design work has gotten faster every year and this past year (237’s 6th year) the design was chosen by the end of Day 3 or 4 from Kickoff (Maybe sooner)

While I was working as a Draftsman, I was working on one project (an assembly from premade parts and some custom ones and half the size of our robot) for about a year.

This “simple” project had many revisions, and engineering changes.

While in the world of FIRST you don’t need to submit the robot to electrical and mechanical standardized testing, you still need some time to wire it up and also drive it.

6 weeks in the long run, is not that much time for design and CAD time…

When we make the robot in CAD first and then build it, we usually just do a simple layout of the robot, or maybe just the chassis for all the drive-train mounting. We like to have a rolling chassis by the Friday after Kickoff (only 5 days of serious designing and building)

If you do the whole robot in CAD you just run out of fabrication time.

*There are some exceptions to this rule obviously. If you have a team of about 5 CAD draftspersons Mentors, you can crank out prints in no time.

Mostly on FIRST teams though, it is a build and learn process. While I could crank out CAD prints when working with the team, it is more important in the long run to teach as you are building.

In the end, I usually teach CAD as we are making the robot and although the process is slow, the actual robot is more important to finish than a 3D model, or a 2d print of one.
(Unless you plan on submitting a Autodesk award entry - A whole other topic)

For 179 cad is always used, but very hard to work into part of the mentor education process during build. Some of the problems we have are computer access at the school, and being able to transfer files back and forth from school and home/work through the school firewall. Since the design process usually takes a few days of non stop work, you can’t be at the school all the time, and you can’t transfer the files in and out through the school firewall. We need a way to host files that we could get at from anywhere, including through the school firewall. But I’m not sure how we can do that as the administrators are kind of like OZ out there somewhere. CD burning is a pain and can be risky as data might get corrupted or lost/overwritten and finding a burner is a crap shoot at school. I’m glad I saw this thread cuz now I’m going to ask the students to pull this off. Unfortunately the firewall has hindered us in many ways, keeping us from models on line and we can’t use Chiefdelphi there either - as it’s a chat forum. I know they mean well, but in our circumstances, they stop our progress too much.
This year we’re trying to get the students to use CAD prior to kickoff so they get more exposure to it. But in the previous years, our meeting nights are short and the design process is usually happening at peoples homes shortly after kickoff. Last year I spent 24hours straight modeling our design so we could get the parts made at the water jet the next day. That was fun!
I’m leaning towards teaching them AutoCAD since it’s still more of an industry standard. Though Inventor has more capability I just think it’s probably more useful to give them experience with something they’re more likely to use in a typical workplace - since AutoCAD is so much more adaptable. I know Autodesk doesn’t want to hear that, but in my experience it’s true.

i have a solution, why not spend team funds into buying a set of Team Jumpdrives, Data sticks, USB Hard Drives,… whatever u like to call them, i have one and it easily lets me work on my stuff anywhere. 128 is good enough for any cad project. for those who want more tho 256 is sometimes worth the jump but not for CAD. anyways buy 5 for your cad team and let them borrow them and take them where ever they need to go, they tend not to need drivers so u can take them anywhere and exchage them between members as needed. its still one ofthe most convient ways to sharing files. with out firewalls or network connections

here in Cali a 128 drive can run u from 20- 40 bucks so with maybe a lil more than 100 bucks your problem maybe solved


Using CAD can eat up a lot time. Typically, we use drawings (and some CAD) to get a (fairly) accurate schematic of our robot. After that, the Inventor and Mechanical teams work concurrently on the robot. The Inventor team spends their time modeling the robot in 3D and making sure there are no problems with measurements, etc. The mechanical team uses the drawings and whatever is done in Inventor up to that point to build the robot. We’re usually able to crank out both a good inventor submission and good robot in 6 weeks by using this method.

If you’re going to use CAD, make sure you learn it before the season starts! Best of luck!

The problem is that you need to make sure that when they arent in use by people who need to save drawings, they’re all in one central location so that the team can access the drawings for any parts they need without initiating a massive search for the itty bitty flash drive which may or may not be where it’s supposed to

Thats a good idea spaceosc, and cory has my point. If I make a change to a file that Tytus needs, he and I will need to remember to copy the files both ways every time. It’s just best that the file be accessable from one location. But that still is a good alternative I forgot about. I’ve wanted one of those things anyway.

Just to comment on the multiple versions of files topic…

I know this is probably impossible considering your firewall situation, but our team purchased a cheap $500 Dell server that serves a central repository for all of inventor and CAD files. We used Active Directory to setup accounts for everyone. We setup a small LAN consisting of the server and whoever has a laptop. With AD you can login to the network and access all of your files no matter which computer you may be using.

We also used the server to net render our 3D animation across many laptops. With servers being so cheap, it may be worth it for your team to invest in one. The key to efficiency is good organization.

Good luck!

YA thats the problem with autocad the >2004 files arent compatable with the <2002 files

<WOW! My 1000Th POST!>

Maybe this goes without saying, but the problems I have experienced regarding CAD and FIRST teams has little to do with the CAD software itself. Rather, students using the software, while they may be proficient in the software interface itself, still often lack design sensibility. Knowledge of common manufacturing practices and standards is just as important as the ability to develop an assembly in Inventor, if not more.

If you have the time to devote to the task, I don’t see time as being too worrisome a constraint. I have, in the past, designed entire robots in CAD by myself and done so within a week’s time. More people working in tandem with a good understanding of project management, the software, and standards of design and manufacture should be able to do this with little difficulty.