We hosted a virtual Engineering Review Night and invited our engineering mentors. During the meeting, we explained our robot’s designs through CAD and asked for their input and suggestions.
On the Zoom meeting we presented and explained each of the subsystems of our robot to the engineers. We also showed videos and images of the prototypes we have made so far and described how they were tested with the outcomes.
After presenting our robot to the engineers we asked them what suggestions or comments they had. One of our major concerns was the structural integrity of the odometry pod pivot points so it was suggested that we look into flexures. They are layered sheet metal components that are flexible in one direction and extremely rigid in the other. The engineers also told us that we could calculate the moment of inertia of our supports and determine what changes will make our drivetrain stronger. It was recommended that we calculate our robot’s center of gravity by placing the weights of parts on an x, y graph and using the moment of inertia and torque calculations. Mark, one of the engineers we invited from Minnesota Measuring Engineers, even offered to look at our calculations after we did them to make sure they were accurate. The engineers strongly suggested we do a risk analysis to identify where we were struggling and focus on those issues. We are implementing it to make our work more efficient. Finally, Mark recommended we check out a book called Fundamentals of Machine Component Design. It is an engineering textbook used in college, and it covers many of the topics and challenges we are dealing with right now. During the engineering review night, we received a lot of helpful feedback from the engineers and we will definitely continue to reach out to them.