At the Sandusky Robot Games students entered a competition in which they must construct a robot capable of tossing a 40" inflatable ball over a set height. While they had many challenges in constructing such a device, they did make use of a 3D printer to manufacture certain necessary unique parts. The video shows the robot in action, successfully throwing the ball.
This event demonstrates a likely scenario of the near future: While we cannot print whole functioning objects, we can 3D print parts. And those parts can be combined with others that were made using other techniques to form complete objects. So, it seems that it's going to be a lot of "assembly" for now, and we'll have to leave the "Star Trek" for later.
Throwing an inflatable ball over a 6-foot-6-inch overpass has taken on a new meaning for EHOVE students.
For the second year in a row, students enrolled in EHOVE's College Tech Prep Engineering program entered the "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Overdrive" robotics competition.
The nationwide contest requires the teams to build a robot that grabs and throws a 40-inch inflatable ball over a specific height while circling a track.
The College Engineering Tech Prep class, a partnership between EHOVE Career Center and BGSU Firelands, has been working with local engineers and Plum Brook Operational Support Group to apply their knowledge of mechanical design, robotics and physics to the project.
The timeline to build the fastest, most efficient ball launching robot?
Six short weeks.
"Students have had nothing else on the brain but this robot," instructor Jim McIntyre said. "They come into school with ideas about how to fix a problem we've encountered, and they are relentless in their pursuit of improvement. It's exciting to see their enthusiasm, and it's contagious. This contest has a lot of appeal in making engineering cool."
Register photo/ABIGAIL BOBROW EHOVE college tech prep engineering students Tony Renwand, senior, left, and Jonathan Dangelo adjust parts on the robot that they, along with 19 other students, created to compete in a nationwide contest.
McIntyre, his fellow instructor Steve Spriggs and the 21-member Mavericks team are up against 37,500 high school students.
EHOVE team members are:
- Bellevue -- Brad Feuerstein, Adam Rectanus, Paul Renwand, Eric Smith
- Edison -- Paul Bansek, Zachary Leber, Brett Thayer;
- Huron -- Anthony Miller, John Reuter
- New London -- Dustin Asmus, Jordan Bracken, Justin Jackson
- Norwalk -- Christopher Dahm, Jessica Heydinger, Tyler Miller, Kyle Mowry
- Perkins -- Justin Myers
- South Central -- Jonathan Dangelo, Cory Williams
- Western Reserve -- Steve Ortman
- Vermilion -- Rachel Smith
Costs can be up to $6,000 for an entry fee, which provides the team with a kit of parts including 12-volt motors, a controller, various electronic parts, a pneumatic system, a frame, wheels and mechanical components; $3,500 for additional parts; and a $5,000 entry fee for the FIRST Championship.
"It is expensive, but I believe in its educational value," McIntyre said. "I see it as a chance for business and industry to give back and foster our workforce of the future."
He said Sierra Lobo and representative Alex Yeckley have been generous to the group, as have several other local small businesses that donated between $25 and $1,000.
The team faces its first championship event in March at Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center Arena.
"Your robot has to score the most points to win," senior Paul Bansek said. "The best part of this is the communication. Everyone has to talk and be able to communicate with no problems."
Standard machine shop equipment, along with CNC (computer numerical controlled) machines, engineering software and a 3D printer were used to build the robot.
"Everyone has the same task," Bellevue junior Adam Rectanus said. "The game's the same, but teams can take whatever approach they want to."
Students joked around about naming the robot, but McIntyre would take no part of it.
"It's not my job to name it," he said. "You guys have worked on it; the student should do it."
Minor complications included trying to get the robot to release the ball and trying to get the ball not to roll off of the robot's arms.
"We could duct tape it if we wanted," McIntyre said. "But I don't think that would be very professional."
Following weeks of hard work, students fired the robot up to see what it could do. After a few attempts to get the ball over, the group let out delighted laughs and congratulated each other as the ball glided over its mark.
"It's all about teamwork. It's not a one-person thing," South Central junior Cory Williams said. "It takes everyone to get it."