As my club operates during the school year, we’re gearing up for the new season. I’d like to cram a few questions onto one post. First, what methods do you all employ to achieve rather good build quality, and where do I go to learn proficiency in CAD? Also, what are some excellent resources to learn C code and other related languages to a rate of proficiency as well? Kind thanks in advance.
Dakota Bayer put together a very good Inventor tutorial series. I rounded them up into a playlist linked here. I always recommend them to anyone who asks me how to Inventor. I learned from this series without any prior knowledge about Inventor. His tutorials used Inventor 2012, but Inventor 2013/2014/2015 have had any major enough UI overhauls to make the videos outdated.
To try and answer your last question, which programming environment are you using? I know a few online C tutorials, but depending on which programming environment you’re using, it’d probably be worthwhile to find some tutorials tailored specifically to what you use.
To improve build quality I’d say definitely design things out prior to building. This is proven to work and is what I am doing. You don’t have to make everything in computer, but don’t start building unless you know exactly what to do.
When it comes to programming, my experience is that learning concepts comes before memorizing codes. You can learn a few basic structures like if statements from using other’s codes or watching videos. Every line you learn you will use in the future in some way, so VEX programming is really easy to pick up. It is not hard to learn programming; it just takes a little bit thinking and patience.
The New Boston has some good c tutorials. Some of these tutorials won’t apply though, because they deal with accessing the computer. But the basics are good.
Here’s another great resource for robotc.
“Never love your robot design”
I really like to go by this saying, as no matter how good your design is and how much you like it, there is always some way to make it better.
Another important thing would be to use a tape measure. As silly and obvious as it sounds, if you measure things instead of just screwing them together it can make your robot a ton better built, especially making sure things are square and line up.
Firstly try to always use a spanner, an allen wrench is never enough to tighten a nut in my experience (if you use an allen wrench and don’t strip the screw, it isn’t tight enough). I learnt this the hard way after many, many pieces falling off my robots.
Secondly, don’t be the “I was going to redo that later” team If you are doing something, do it right or doing it so badly you would be ashamed for anyone else to see it (forcing yourself to actually redo it). So many times robots could be much better because teams still use their prototype rather than building something properly.
Thirdly, try not to cantilever anything important, it generally doesn’t work out very well unless its not under much load.
And most importantly TIME, a good robot will be a time vacuum (well, for me anyway) things will break, things will need improving, it is never done, as Kevin said you can always make something on it better.
Good luck for Skyrise
I’ll expand on this, Always take the time to cut any material your cutting with the proper tools, Jack and others scoff at me sometimes because I have used mills and lathes in the past simply because I like very precise holes or cuts, these are not requirements but cutting metal with a tin snips I do not consider a “proper tool” the ultimate finish of your robot will reflect the time you put into it, and or the machining techniques used in manufacturing the pieces.
Things like using the proper kind of bandsaw or honing your skills on one to make very nice cuts are good things to know, also make sure your using the right blade when making cuts. This goes for both plastics and metals, but remember different materials react differently to different kinds of machining and can sometimes can or cannot be forgiving in terms of holding a tolerance.
Also, make sure you debur everything I can’t name how many teams I find before inspections that I have to send back because of a bad bur on their robot.