Why is Sketching Important?

The process of engineering begins with an idea. The ability to communicate many technical ideas requires a translation from thoughts into pictures. A quick way to share an idea is through a technical sketch. Technical sketching is a tool used by engineers and inventors. If the idea turns out to be a good one, these first sketches are turned into detailed CAD drawings or solid models, which include measurements and other critical details. The initial sketches can be used to develop the first prototypes. The freehand sketch is the first step taken to turn an idea into reality.


[gview file=”http://fhs-robotics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/TechnicalSketchingWorksheets.pdf”]

Engineering Notebook Template

This is from Mr. Chesnais:


Title Page


Phoenix Talent Robotaneers

Team Members


Vex Challenge: Toss-Up


Table of Contents


Team Description

Why do we care about robotics?  Technology, Engineering, Science, Math & Design?

  • fun to learn on own without distractions of classroom
  • want to be an engineer- high paying job
  • way to be competitive
  • process and challenge of problem solving

Team Scoring Strategy


  • move as many small balls as possible into the scoring zone
    • how?
  • move as many competitor balls out of the scoring zone
    • how?
  • What won’t we do
    • we decided we didn’t have the time to design for other scoring strategies (hanging, balls into cylinders, move large balls) given our February 17 competition

Design features that will be needed to score

  • magazine ball loader
  • fast drive train
  • very maneuverable,  good steering
  • high center concerns

COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS for design features

PRIORITIZATION OF TASKS- value to team scoring/success vs team capacity to achieve

Describe our Design Process (explain how we go from idea to final product)

Brainstorm/Small Group Develop/Evaluate/Revise…..and repeat until satisfied

  • goals set
  • subsystem tasks assigned to small groups to develop independently
  • weekly large group meet to discuss  subsystems ideas and prototypes
  • merged subystems into robot to test as whole
  • test, note problems, break into solution groups and refine robot

Subsystems & Necessary abilities- phase 1.0


  • “U” shaped chassis for best front loading of small balls

Drive system

  • one motor for each wheel- direct drive
  • front wheels omni-directional for best steering/control

Ball handling

  • front loading wheels with flaps to draw balls in without needing to be exactly in front of it
  • hold and shoot out small balls accurately
  • track/magazine to hold 3 balls max (per rules)


  • only autonomous
  • lift arms, drive forward specific distance to tip large balls into scoring zone
  • switch quickly to driver mode

Lift mechanism

no lift mechanism for 1.0

Hanging mechanism

  • not within 1.0 timeframe

Electrical system

  • no strategy 1.0


  • no sensors used 1.0

Driver Evaluations (graph)

  • test designed to challenge drivers for speed, manipulation and tactics to determine best candidates for competition

Practice(s) Performance Analyses


  • maneuverability- turning was hindered by rubber front wheels
  • flap size on ball loader
  • high centering robot chassis on 2” bump
  • programming- perfecting autonomous, time vs. distance

Competition(s) Performance Analyses


  • S.Oregon District Competition 2.17.14
    • finished in the top 2 during preliminary rounds
    • noted high centering still occurring over bump
    • robot stalls when heavily loaded (too many motors on same fuse/side of cortex)
    • lifting ball loader to score in cylinders would be good
    • autonomous scoring was inconsistent (make arms better)

Supporting Documents

Early sketches

Math analyses : Power, Energy, Force, Friction, Torque, Mass, Gear ratios

CAD drawings


Online Challenges for 2014-2015 are posted

The details for 2015 Robotics and Education Foundation (RECF) Online Challenges are now available. Mixing successful ideas from the past four years with new challenges and interesting twists, we expect that this year will generate even more student excitement than last. The complete list of the 2015 challenges and links to details:

The Challenges open for submissions in September, so start working!