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!


VEX IQ Hinge

Our team during the early design process were looking at creating a robot with a "pincher" element on the arm which could grab cubes. We thought if we could have a part which could function in a similar way to a hinge that could be very make that process of grabbing the cube much easier. 

We think a hinge piece would improve functionality by creating a method of moving 2 VEX pieces in an angular fashion that could be controlled. The issue we are trying to solve is to pick up a cube.

The new part is used by attaching the 2 clip 2x5 beam to a fixed surface...

Shaft Collar Remover


CAD Challenge – Team 2014F, Sandpiper Hexperts


Our team has competed in VEX robotics for five years and has found that securing gears and axles in place using a rubber shaft collar is fundamental in building a robot. The problem is that rubber shaft collars are difficult to remove, or move, and we cannot count the number of times that we have injured fingers trying to remove them, not to mention the wasted time. We designed the Shaft Collar Remover to solve this issue, so that shaft collars can...

2X3 U Piece


Sometimes, you’ll be building a robot, but then you run into an issue. You have two bars that need to go through the same spot, but they can’t intersect. The solution? The 2X3 U piece. Used for all your intersecting needs.

If you have two bars on their sides and have them going in two different directions, but they intersect, you can use the 2X3 U piece to make one bar go over the other.

 I used a complex array of hole pieces in tinkercad to carve the shape into the piece that I...

Piston Attachment for Motor

This part was created because of our robot’s claw design needing a straight movement forward and backward to allow it to close properly. This part simplifies the confusion of creating linear motion using a motor.

This part would be connected to a motor via the attached axle and connection holes, then as the motor spins, the connection point moves in a way that restricts it from moving side to side.

This part was created in Inventor 2020 by creating each individual piece in separate .ipt part files which were later put together in an assembly file.


Snap-In License Plate Holder



I created the Snap-In License Plate Holder because my team wanted to more efficiently switch out license plates between matches and be able to keep all 4 plates together on the robot. The new part allows us to quickly switch between colors and we no longer have to carry the spare plates between matches.



The Snap-In License Plate Holder was designed using Autodesk Inventor Professional 2017, 64-Bit Edition, Build: 142, Release: 2017 RTM....

Lead Screw Hook


The Lead Screw Hook is a unique part that introduces a cool new mechanism to the VEX IQ Program. A couple of months back, my team and I ran into a problem where it was necessary to use linear motion, but the already existing rack gears would not fit our design. So we started sketching up some ideas on how to create this new part. We wanted to substitute the rack gears with something that’s more reliable, sturdy, and compact. After getting a general idea of what we wanted to do, we started looking around our houses for things that use linear motion. We studied drawers, door...

Wheel Based Rail System

Our entry for the Make It Real CAD Engineering Challenge is the Wheel Based Rail System, which was designed to replace the low friction rail system provided in the VEX catalog.

Our entry contains 4 images, 1 animation, 3 separate datasheets, and a PDF of the essay.

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30 ,45 ,60 , 90 and the 125 C Channel Couplers


The “30 , 45 ,60 , 90  and the 125 degree  C Channel Couplers” are designed to connect C channels at different angles. Transitioning from VEX IQ to VEX EDR, I learned that there weren’t any simple and/or efficient ways of connecting pieces at different angles. As of right now, VEX EDR has a C channel coupler that allows you to connect two C channels at 180 degrees, in other words “extending a C Channel”. My goal is to improve the C channel connections at any part of the robot. For this reason, I created the different angle C channel...