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!



Inset Nylock and Screw Spacer

This is a version of the white nylon spacer that has a recessed compartment for a locking nut that is benificial for many difderent screw join as it allows spacing to be reduced as well as is easier to work around in tight spaces.

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20 Degree Rotational Build Platform


The purpose of this piece is to create a new building platform for robot parts. This can create new angles to build for a possible arm, lift or any other attachment the team thinks up. since most vex attachment points are stuck at 90 degree intervals, we made it much tighter for more precise building.


This part consists of 2 pieces, a top piece that will attach to whatever you want, and a bottom piece that can attach to any surface 5 screw holes wide. The total height of the 2 pieces is 1 inch. Here we decided to make it a little bit bigger to...

Cable-to-motor Securer (Rockway Middle School...


We created this part in order to try to solve an issue that we are constantly having which is that our cables sometimes come off the motors and there really is no simple way to fix the issue with the pieces provided by vex. This new part is to be used by putting a cable through it, going all the way to where the connection from cable to motor actually is and by pressure, making it hold on to the motor. Whenever you are building a robot you can just use this piece to secure all your cables, it is also good to add that because of the slim design it pretty much fits into every and...

Spacer With Spring


Have you ever had trouble using the right amount of spacers? Making sure there’s enough tension? Have you ever dropped them and they were never to be found again? Well we have a solution for you! Introducing a spring-spacer, which can make it be any size you need.

Our team 499 has a bad habit of losing spacers, and they tend to end up disappearing and falling on the floor, never to be found again. Our team is always in need of more spacers, and we wanted a solution against staking multiple spacers on a single axle. When we had to replace a part, the spacers would all fall...

The Lift


  Have you ever wanted your robot to be taller? Or wanted it to be able to reach the tallest tower? Well our team’s custom part the “Lift” would make your robot capable of doing those things. The Lift will lift your robot slightly off the ground or make it tilt. This will allow the robot to become slightly taller. How it works is, the Smaller piece with the gear teeth will go inside the bigger piece which is the base. A motor has to have a gear connected in. The gear grips on to the teeth on the smaller piece. The motor will rotate and the inside piece (smaller...

Vex IQ Dual Speed Gearbox System



This year we participated in the Vex IQ Squared Away challenge where robots have to travel across the field to collect cubes and score points. For our robot to be successful we realized it will not only need speed for the journey but also sufficient torque to lift cubes for transport.


We made several attempts to design a perfect gear ratio giving us sufficient speed and torque but found that there were no perfect ratios since with gearing systems we are always sacrificing one to achieve the other. We really need a system that...

Stand Off Cross Braces


5509E Stand Off Cross Braces

The idea for this new part came along when we were assembling the cross bracing for the back of the tray on our traybot. Having a stable and lightweight structure is really important. Normally, you will see teams do a crossing of existing standoffs and have to add additional spacing on one of the standoffs and then put zip ties on the actual crossing to keep them from spreading and weakening the bracing. We said "why isn't there a part like this already made?" that would make it not take up so much room and solid at the joint. Our...


VEX Nameplate Holder


Final Report Note

The Final Report is in the "Make It Real CAD Final Report.pdf" file in the files section.

3D Printing Note

The 3D printed Nameplate Holder my team used was printed as two seperate pieces on a Stratasys UPrint with soluble support material. This support materials was dissolved away in an acid bath to get the final print.

Rendered Plates Note

The CAD files used to render images of the blue plates, red plates, 1x1 connector pins, and 1/2" hex screws were taken from the...

Adjustable Chain Tensioner


The part my team created is the Adjustable Chain Tensioner. We designed this part to help solve an issue that we have seen at multiple tournaments this year. That problem is chains popping off of sprockets due to a lack of tension in the chain. This problem even happened to us at our most recent tournament and it's what inspired us to design this part. Our part's purpose is to help increase the tension of a sprocket design. This is done by increasing the distance between the two sprockets, which increases the tension of the chain, making it less likely to pop off in a...


Team 7316X  

     For the “Make It Real CAD Engineering Challenge” my team decided to design an O-Channel for use in VEX robotics. An O-Channel deforms much less than the current VEX C-Channel, and would open up a new world of opportunities for applications that require a lot of resistance to loads.

    Current solutions include a technique known as “boxing” where two (2) C-Channels are slotted & screwed together, and while it works, the holes do not line up perfectly, making it nearly...