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PLTW Engineering Student Designs Product for Robotics Company

By Chris Hurd

Brady Flannery, a student in Cazenovia High School’s Project Lead The Way (PLTW) program, recently came up with an idea to make the factory system problem in his Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) class easier. The Lynxmotion robots used in the course were not designed to attach perfectly with the VEX equipment that the class was interfacing it with, and so he set to the drawing board to come up with a solution, outside of class in his free time and during lunches.

As his teacher, I gave him the design constraints to make it a simple solution that was inexpensive and easy to implement. I basically gave him the tools, machines, and materials to be successful, taught him how to use the machines safely, and then stepped back to see what happened.

What happened next was something really amazing to watch. Brady took the design process he learned in Introduction to Engineering Design (IED) and implemented it in this CIM class by applying it to this project.

“I used a dial caliper to measure all of the dimensions to create a part to fit the base of the robot and its power switches,” Brady said. “I then drew several different sketches in my engineering notebook to create a design that was as compact and as practical as possible.”

Brady took his sketches, turned them into a 3-D model using Autodesk Inventor, exported them as a DXF file, imported them into a BrightStar Laser Engraver, and cut out his solution on a piece of acrylic.

You can read the complete story of Brady’s Robotics Project HERE

Condensed version reprinted by permission of PLTW

About the Author:

Chris Hurd teaches PLTW Engineering at Cazenovia High School in Cazenovia, New York.

About PLTW:

Project Lead The Way is a nonprofit organization that provides transformative learning experiences for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. Through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, students learn problem-solving strategies, critical and creative thinking, and how to communicate and collaborate. PLTW is shaping the innovators, creators, and designers of today and tomorrow.