Hey panthers, sorry for the sudden disappearance on the blog, but things got pretty hectic towards the end of the semester. Taking eighteen credits, being in a musical, helping at church and still having a social life was pretty insane, but worth every experience.
One of the subjects I’ve been meaning to write about was the freshman design project I did for my Introduction to Mechanical Engineering class. The class was divided into different groups and assigned the task of creating fully autonomous fighting derby robots. This experience was one of the most stressful and educational experiences I have ever gone through.
I was chosen to be Team Captain of my group and so it was my responsibility to lead my two other teammates to plan, design, budget, build, test, and present our robot. The project was structured like a real life engineering job in order to teach us what skills we would have to apply and what obstacles we would have to overcome. There was a preliminary Project Design Report (PDR) where each team would present our robot ideas, share the progress made and get feedback on how to better the project, and our reports. Then at the end of the project a final report had to be written up that explained the process of building and designing our robot and how it would perform.
My favorite part of the project was the process of building the actual robot. Our team decided to call it Spike, for it multitude of spikes on the sides and how it sort of looked like it had a collar and a tail. The overall building process took about two weeks of spending a lot of hours in the Machine Shop. I used the Lathe, the band saw, a multitude of drills and drill bits, and a lot of steel and aluminum. Designing the actual robot on the computer was really fun as well. I used the program Pro-Engineering to model the entire body and hardware of the robot on the computer down to the exact measurements that were used in the building process.
Spike performed pretty well overall. During the seeding rounds, there was no flaw in our robot’s programming and hardware. That night an email from Dr. Larochelle naming the eight email finalists and Spike was one of them! Unfortunately, the day of final rounds Spike decided to not use his epic fighting battle skills and we were the first team to be eliminated. I was upset but it was still pretty great to have gotten eighth place out of twenty four.
This following video is a compilation of photos and videos of the building process and some of our performance. Hope you enjoy! Leave a comment and let me know if you have had any robot building experiences! Until next time panthers.