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Started by Ed B, January 26, 2017, 10:29:00 AM

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Ed B

We need to be moving way faster! Students should do enough work in cad to be ready to build, and then start fabricating. There is a lot to do.

Students should be creating a strategy for the steps needed for fabricating parts and subsystems. Cad is supposed to help you learn enough to do this, but not slow you down with too much detail.

People need to be asking for help much more often. Things that seem simple can mess you up badly, like how to install a motor and put a pulley or sprocket on it. There are standard ways to do these things that most of you don't know about yet. Mentors are here to walk you through these things.

Action required of students in the mechanical hardware area:

  • Ask for help! I do not expect anybody on our team to be a seasoned designer or machinist. Compared to people I know, I am not either, but I have been doing this a long time. I can save you some heartache or at least share the blame if something goes wrong.
  • If you are working on something that is new to you, please review your detailed plans with me. This includes things like.

    • how to make a given structure, how to attach two things together
    • how to mount a motor/gearbox
    • how to set up chains and belts 
    • how to use a machine you have little or no experience with
    • how to make a given cut or accurately drill a given hole
  • As you translate a CAD model into reality, make a plan for the steps involved.  I want to see those steps and have you explain them to me.  Many times, making cuts in the wrong order results in making the later cuts way more difficult. The same goes for holes that need to be drilled in specific locations. A key example is holes for bearings that support motors and shafts that create a chain or belt drive.  The distance between these needs to be determined by the pulleys, belts, sprockets and chains that make up the system, and this is better done in the real world than in CAD.
  • When you show two physical components being attached together in your CAD model, either put in the details of how they are attached or have a method in mind.  The CAD model might show two pieces of metal just glued together with Solidworks mates, but in the real world, you have to use fasteners, usually bolts, or adhesives, and there needs to be room for that. Also, the design needs to reflect stuff we actually have, like aluminum angles, flat aluminum or plastic, spacers, etc.  If your design needs a complicated shape that is hard to make, you should try to figure out another way. If your design requires attaching two things together and they only overlap by a tiny bit, then it might not be practically possible to build. Again, I am here to help.
  • Ask for help!