How has Engineering influenced our design?
When the students were first introduced to VEX robotics, they were very excited and very quickly unpacked all the components and began experimenting. They began by assembling the protobot but very quickly realised that the design was very limited and this instantly sparked ideas and discussion around engineering principles.
They investigated how a robot designed to pick up large objects would work by breaking the problem down into three main areas – Chassis, Grab and Lift. All seemingly fairly simple at first but rapidly growing in complexity when power to weight ratios, lever lengths and the available power of the motors are taken into consideration.
The students found it useful to build each element separately using Engineering principles such as four bar lifts, pivots and triangular structure; worm gearing, compound gearing and linear lifts; direct drive, clutch mechanisims and shaped chassis.
The kit was very versatile and allowed the students the ability to rapidly prototype a physical part and to see how effective their ideas would be. This was the re-enforced by calculating the loads and speed of motors and the subsequent effect on the moving part. The physical size of objects and their weights soon became a discussion point amongst the group.
Once they were familiar with the mechanics of the VEX platform, they were empowered to create imaginative designs, happy in the knowledge that whatever the designed could be modelled in reality and perpetually re-designed and reworked as improvements and evolution took place.
– Mr S.Higham, Engineering Dept.