Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
Online Challenges

41998C - Mineral Sorter


Entry ID #: 8371
Created: Fri, Dec 4, 2020 9:50 AM


This is my team’s entry for the “Make It Real” CAD Engineering Challenge. This part, the “Mineral Sorter” is designed to solve a problem for the FIRST Tech Challenge 2018-19 competition, called Rover Ruckus. In this challenge, teams would pick up minerals, called gold and silver (2-inch yellow cube and 2.75-inch diameter white Wiffleball respectively), which were mixed together in a “crater” and robots job is to sort them into the “lander” which had mineral specific deposit boxes 30 inches off the ground. This presented an exciting challenge that the entire robot had to pick up, lift, and sort the minerals into the specific zones on the lander. The most common way teams solved the challenge of sorting was to have the driver pick up only one type of mineral. The main problem with this is it increases cycle times significantly as the driver of the robot needs to pick up minerals of a specific size. However, my solution, the Mineral Sorter is an extremely simple and unique way of solving this problem. The main goals of the Mineral Sorter are to be extremely uncomplicated, reliable, and elegant. The Mineral Sorter does not require any servos, color sensors, or motors to work, this makes it incredibly reliable and deadly simple. With this design, the robot does not need to be picky about what specific minerals it picks up in the crater, just grab the closest ones and dump in the Lander. In addition, it helps the driver focus on the multitude of other complications during the match that they need to worry about.


The Mineral Sorter 3d prints in one large piece and requires no supports (small amount of bridging) so it can be printed on any 3d printer with a build area of 170mm³ in any plastic (ABS, PLA, PETG, etc). The Mineral Sorter explanation can be seen in the images provided: named “Part Explanation” 1-4. How the Mineral Sorter works in the context of the entire robot can also be seen in the images provided: named “Mineral Sorter explanation” 1-4. 
If you don't know, the text that says "We luv u Oppy" pays homage to the upcoming 2 year anniversary of the Opportunity rover's last message to Earth.


I used the student version of 2019 Inventor to make the Mineral Sorter and the many other parts seen on the robot. This was a great learning experience for me because it is the first robot I have done using Inventor. I learned how to make individual parts and how to put them into an entire assembly to make an entire robot! I plan to continue to use CAD software (like Inventor) to design competition robots and also make parts for projects at home. CAD is especially useful for robotics for several reasons, but the main advantage is the ability to experiment with multiple designs and materials, in addition to being able to get every detail perfect and create a more cutting-edge robot to compete with. CAD will definitely help me in my future career in mechanical engineering, where it is considerably more important to use CAD tools than in just high school robotics.

Links / Videos

This is the explanation of the Rover Ruckus challenge which the Mineral Sorter was designed to solve a problem for. Do yourself a favor and skip the intro, the game explanation starts at 2:24 :)

This is a turntable render of the Mineral Sorter.