As part of my core PhD coursework to earn a minor in Robotics, I was required to take a course called Applied Robotics (ROB 421/521). This course was basically “build a robot that can play a given board game in less than ten weeks” and a few lectures on the fundamentals of building a robot. And every year this course is offered, the game changes to avoid robots being handed down from year to year. I was lucky to take the course the year the game was Jenga… The class was split up in to teams of 3 or 4 and generally, you would have a specialist in each of the following disciplines: Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science.
Initially, it was super intimidating as I did not know what kind of role I would assume on my team since I am a studying bioengineer, but eventually, I found that I was particularly comfortable with designing so I ended up diving into drawing concepts of robots. Thus, I assumed the role of “Mechanical Engineer” and designed the mechanical components of the robot including the 5 DOF manipulator arm and mobile base. Solidworks is the ideal software for 3D CAD but I ended up using Autodesk Fusion 360. The final 3D CAD I developed for my team’s robot is shown below.
Follow this link for all the information on my team’s robot and the progress we made throughout the ten weeks.