2017-2018 season: Relic Recovery
PTC Creo –
We design our entire robot in PTC Creo before we start building. This saves us a lot of time, materials, and therefore money by allowing us to know exactly what we need to buy and manufacture.
We use silicone to make custom parts, including parts of our vacuum pump, our wheels, and our suction cups. We use silicone molding so that we can customize our suction cup, and make new ones as iterations get improved. We made our wheels with a combination of silicone molding, and 3D printing. This allowed us to make wheels of the correct size, to work with our drive system. We’ve experimented with multiple durometers of silicone to see what worked best for the task we were trying to complete with the part we were molding.
3-D Printing –
The process of 3D printing allows us to quickly sketch up a part, print it, and try it out. This is an inexpensive and fast way to iterate our design. Many of our 3D printed parts have highly complex angles and shapes that we wouldn’t be able to purchase or manufacture without our 3D printer. The precision of these parts allows them to be adapted perfectly to the needs of the game. It is very easy to create an identical copy of a 3D printed part if it breaks or for creating a duplicate robot. This ease of duplication eliminates slight unintentional mechanical changes that cause the new part to behave differently than its template. Our robot contains many 3D printed parts that we have custom made to suit our needs. This season we have also utilized our 3D printing expertise to benefit our community with outreach. We designed and installed custom 3D printed fasteners for three new orchards at Minuteman National Park in order to protect the trees from deer and goats.
Herringbone Gear –
We use a custom 3D printed herringbone gear to control the rotation of our glyph pickup mechanism. We learned about herringbone gears from Chris Alosio at our visit to Robai. We use this gear because herringbone gears minimize backlash without putting axial thrust on the bearing.
Center Drive –
We’re proud that we designed our drive system ourselves. We decided upon a center drive system because of the agility that it provides and its effectiveness on a crowded field.
Vacuum Pump –
We’ve been interested in vacuum pickup systems for a long time as we’ve seen them on visits to robotics companies, and we’re excited to finally implement one on our robot. We developed our own pump in Creo using 3D printed parts and our silicone molding skills. It was quite difficult to make the parts fit together and strong enough with 3D printing technology.