The Challenge: Using sound engineering principles and analysis, design and manufacture a vehicle to carry balls from an upper platform and deposit them in bins located on a lower platform.
Technical Approach: I began by developing a strategy to transport balls, avoid entrapment by my opponent, and to eventually foil my opponents attempts at scoring. After several weeks I settled on a two-pronged approach: a fixed arm would quickly reach out to ensnare balls and launch them at the bins several platforms below. Immediately after scoring, a small vehicle would race out to block my opponent; this vehicle would also have a limited scoring capability in case the arm was unsuccessful.
Selected Design Features: Several aspects of the vehicle have been optimized to increase its survivability when jumping down ramps. The wheels are nestled between aluminum forks, providing three times the loading capacity of an equivalent cantilevered design. Dynamic loading on the wheels after a jump is minimized by mounting the heavy battery and control box on a sprung platform. Finally, an articulated frame kinematically constrains the machine with the ground, ensuring that the rear wheels can always deliver power (even when splayed across two ramps.)
|The contest table.||The finished vehicle.|
|Articulated body ensures that the vehicle is exactly constrained with all four wheels on the ground. This means that the rear wheels can always deliver power.||One of the four CNC machined wheels supporting the vehicle. This part was fabricated on an OMAX waterjet machining center and a CNC lathe. The data driving the tools was supplied by the solid model.|
|The many pieces of my machine.||The vehicle pre-Krylon.|
|An overlapping root 2 design system was employed for the side profile of the vehicle.||A close-up of a one-way flap. This two-piece assembly consists of a waterjet-cut body press-fit into an aluminum bushing.|