Every year, when manufacturing the robot many tools are used! These tools vary widely in appearance and application. Here are just a few of the tools the ISU Lunabotics clubs uses and a brief explanation about them.
- Injection molder: This part is pretty straight forward; plastic pellets are first taken and melted into a liquid plastic called molten plastic. An aluminum mold is injected full of the molten plastic. The plastic is then allowed to cool making a newly formed plastic component we can then use on the robot. While this process is expensive, as it requires making a custom mold, the pieces produced are more durable than those parts which have been 3D printed. We use this process to produce our track drive teeth. Go to this link for more information http://imgur.com/a/fS4bn
- Multimeter: Many components of our robot use electricity. Electrical components have many properties including resistance, voltage, inductance, and current. A multimeter is used to measure these properties. This is important to know in order to ensure that power is properly distributed throughout the robot. Different components require different amounts of current and voltage. A multimeter lets us see what components are actually getting and make corrections as needed.
- Solidworks: Solidworks is our most used tool. Solidworks is not a hand tool or a shop tool, but a program used to create computer aided design components better known as CAD. It is useful to create a CAD version component because it is cheaper than making the part. This allows us to save money and time as we try out different designs and ensure that the parts will fit together. Also, once the part has been made in CAD we can define its materials thickness and many other important factors. Using this information we can plan the best way to manufacture the part decreasing the chance of defects and making our robot as successful as it can be with the smallest amount of required resources.