Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
Online Challenges

Make It Real CAD Engineering Challenge Sponsored by Autodesk ®

Have you ever wanted a particular component for your robot that was not included in the kit of parts? Do you want to design and make something unique that sets you apart from your peers? Then the “Make It Real CAD Engineering Challenge” is for you! Autodesk is sponsoring this challenge and giving you a chance to focus your passion for CAD and apply your skills to solve a real world design issue.

In this challenge, you will use the same Autodesk 3D design software used by professionals to conceptualize and model a new part for a robot that improves its functionality or overcomes an existing problem. The new part must be designed to fit an existing robot, and may consist of multiple pieces that form one part design. The robot may be a competition robot (VEX, FIRST, BEST, PLTW, SkillsUSA, TSA, etc.) or another robot that performs an interesting task. To make it even more exciting, you will also have the option to compete for a “bonus prize” by 3D printing your custom part! Note that your 3D printed part from this online challenge may be used in the VEX U competition, but not in VRC or VIQC.

To help you succeed, access to Autodesk software is available at no charge to students. In the Make It Real CAD Engineering Challenge, you must use either Autodesk® Fusion 360™, Autodesk® Inventor®, or Tinkercad™ to model your custom robot part. Whether you’ve used the software before or are brand new to CAD, the Autodesk Design Academy provides lessons and video tutorials for all skill levels.

To get started, carefully read the complete challenge requirements on this page. Then visit the Autodesk Design Academy challenge page to download software, watch tutorials and learn how to create custom parts. When you’re ready, return to this page to submit your entry.

The future is yours to design, and we can’t wait to see how you change the world!


Bent Beam

Have you ever wanted an angle beam that didn't need corner connectors to change the direction of two other beams? We have. That's why we designed the Bent Beam!

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360 degree Hinge

This is a 360 degree hinge designed specifically help the building process of a ramp. This will let it have more range of motion and create more accessablitity for the user.

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Makers Mill


Makers Mill


Over the past decade, 3D printing has gone from being an exclusive system – limited by patents, prices, and steep learning curves – to being a tool for making and learning – accessible to students, hobbyist, and professional – and quickly advancing due to support from open-source designs, huge online communities, and access to powerful computer aided design (CAD) software such as Autodesk® Inventor™, Autodesk® Fusion 360™, and Tinkercad™. Nevertheless, 3D...

Quick Swap Motor Housing

Quick Swap Motor Housing

By Zac Serocki of Team 8481X



Using Autodesk Fusion 360, I found an innovative design solution for quick swapping motors in the event you need to quickly replace a motor.  During a tournament, if a motor fails and needs to be replaced between matches sometimes the motor mounting screws are not easily accessible and may require removing other components to be removed to access the motor mounting screws.  There may not be enough time...


SlotLock Variety Pack

SlotLock Variety Pack

CAD, Report, and 3D Printing: Alan Onuma

Robot Integration: Jonathon Bower

Video: Kelly Zhou


Currently there are no VEX products that give teams a simple way to lock any fold-out mechanisms. Instead, teams must use bulky multi-part systems, using many rubber bands to retain their parts in place. The SlotLock Variety Pack provides a clean and elegant way for teams to lock their fold-out mechanisms at either a 180, 135, or 90 degree...

Square Standoff Connector


We have a problem that we cannot connect axles to pins or standoffs. We designed our connector to have a circular hole to hold pins and standoffs, but on the other side a square hole for axles. We can put it on our claw to hold our safety bar in place. That is not our main idea, but it would work. We could also use it on our wheels, to add more control to our driving. We used Tinkercad to design our custom part. We had to measure a 1x1 connector pin, which was very hard because of the size of the pin. We also had to measure a standoff connector and a plastic shaft. After we had the...

VEXIQ Hydraulics - Rotary Vane Pump

The goal of this project was to create a part that could create a linear motion, while providing a large amount of stability and force.  I decided to choose this issue because in the past, my team and I have found that creating a lift that requires a linear motion is very challenging. We tried a chain lift, we tried rack and pinion designs, but none seemed to work reliably. I decided that one way to solve this problem might be to use a hydraulics system that used a rotary vane pump.
This part could be used in a variety of robot applications, such as creating a...

Slip Gear

We created our part because in the VEX IQ world there is no way to release the manipulator/lift from the motors to allow it to open/close quickly without taking up valuable button space. Our part could be used to slam down a lift to turn a cube over or to quickly close a manipulator if you want to slowly release a cube or ball. We used Fusion 360 version 2.0.6613 to create our part. At first we were having trouble because we could not load in the VEX IQ gear model. We attempted making our own gear, but could not find accurate measurements of the vex gears. Another...

Plastic Sliding Mechanism


Hi, we are 2323S, for this challenge we decided to make a sliding mechanism. For Tower Takeover we have a tray bot and we wanted an expandable tray but didn't know how to do it, hence the inspiration behind this peice.  

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