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.

As a result of this challenge, you may just uncover the path to your destined career! You can sharpen or learn new skills, show off your talent, and build a portfolio that will give you an edge over peers when applying to universities or jobs. This is especially important as employers today are looking to hire new graduates with demonstrated experience and skills.

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™ Ultimate or Autodesk® Inventor® Professional 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. You can learn more about parametric, direct, and free form modeling on the Autodesk Design Academy web page created just for this challenge.

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!


Split Gear/Sprocket Modules


Make It Real CAD Engineering Challenge

Freezing Code 9282

Final Report

        When testing different gear/sprocket ratios or replacing gears/sprockets, the mechanisms location inside a complex robot has the possibility of causing an extremely time consuming swap. Even if the mechanism is not deep inside of the robot, you must take everything else off of the axle that would prevent the sought after part from sliding off. We designed this gear to solve these...

Versatile Cortex Mount


VEX Cortex Mount

So far throughout the career of our VEX EDR team, we’ve encountered a few common peeves that have set us back. The most prominent of these peeves have been mounting out cortex, and we’ve struggled with every robot to attach and find a place to mount our cortex that was accessible and efficient. With our new cortex mount, it brings to light a simple and effective way to switch, mount, and access the cortex on any robot.

The mount consists of 3 simple and quick parts. 2 mounting sliders, and one mounting bracket board. The 2...

Ratchet Gear for Flywheel


        This part is a ratchet gear for a flywheel, similar to a bike hub. For this year's VRC game, flywheels are a popular design to launch balls into the net. However, this design comes with an inherent flaw. When the flywheel is stopped, the enormous kinetic energy and momentum of the flywheel remain. This can damage the gearing, as flywheels are geared for speed, so the energy in the flywheel is geared for torque from the output axle to the input. There are a few ways around this. The flywheel could be run continuously, or could be slowed down...

Vex Robotics Modular Wire Management System


Vex Robotics Modular Wire Management (MWM) System

              I propose a two parts system to help with wire management.  This part helps solve the issue of untidy wires. This is important in keeping the robot design clean and manageable. It also helps programmers make sure that wires and sensors are connected to the right ports.  These parts help to achieve this by providing an easy way to trace wires and cleanly stack and remove individual wires.  They are an improvement over zip...


Trash can lift


As a team in the FIRST robotics competition we must build a specialized robot every year. The Autodesk Inventor software is an invaluable asset to do so, without it we would not be able to effectively compete. Mainly we use the software to design something that is then manufactured in the shop, however for parts that need to be very precise, or would otherwise be difficult to produce this way, we have begun to 3D print. Winning this would greatly increase our capacity to do so, and increase our ability to create complex parts in the 2016 build season. In the 2015 season for instance we...


Traction Wheel


Have you ever thought to yourself, “Wow I wish that the generic VEX wheels had more traction”, well do we have the solution for you! This new wheel is specifically designed for picking up and shooting the foam balls for the VEX “Nothing but Net” competition. This will give you the maximum amount of traction to shoot the balls farther. They can also be used as an intake to pick up the balls. These wheels have a depth of .5 inches and a diameter of 2.6 inches.

This part was made using the Autodesk inventor software. It was designed by using an assortment of...

CAD Design Entry: UART Power Expander


Introduction: I created this part because from my experience there's not that much fun in the non-functional decorations category for some sort of "technology based things" like using a vex speaker and having to program it to say a tune. Also this could strike people in many ways other people have not before and all in all we could have some more unique/ cool looking robots out there "Make your mark". I am improving the functionality of the creativity/ aesthetics part of the robot building process. This is in no means way going to be...

Swivel Wheel Bracket


Team 4442X of Navigator Robotics, from Island Pacific Academy, developed a swivel wheel bracket with the ability to house a two-inch wheel or a four-inch wheel – omnidirectional and rubber – with holes at four different heights for axle insertion. The team used Autodesk Inventor Professional (CAD software) to draw the part, and subsequently printed the product using the MakerBot Replicator 5th Generation, to test the part on a simple base. The part was designed to lower the turning radius of a robot and increase maneuverability while still maintaining motor...

The Screw Bearing


This is the Screw Bearing. It simplifies many complicated trusses which  are normally made using many other parts.

Engineering Notebook Work to decide on part to choose: Here

The Problem: Long axles have no way to be supported easily and without clutter, and angled trusses are difficult to make without destroying parts needed elsewhere on the robot.

          The screw bearing was...

Inline planetary gearbox


Inline planetary gear box

This Gearbox is something I have developed to give the engineers of VEX a new way to use one piece to have multiple functions. I have created this to let the user be able to utilize this as a single piece on multiple parts. There are three drive shaft spots available to be utilize and has three different ways to move the gear box. It can be rotated as a whole with the inside and outside of the whole gear box moving in one direction, it could be rotated in opposite direction, you can keep the outer part of the gearbox still with...

New Conveyor belt inserts


New Types of conveyor belt inserts

I have also created a new type of Conveyor Belt insert. Thanks to the nothing but net competition new types of feeds were made using Conveyor Belt inserts. I created two new curved flaps that are stiff. One is more of a bowl scoop while the other is a half scoop. These two new inserts will lead to better feeds and other new innovations through its curve. It lets the engineer take a fixed Conveyor belt insert with not as much flex giving many feeds more power. These inserts will become a new useful addition to the chain...

7.2v Battery Clamp


The Battery Clamp

I have created the new solution using AutoCad in conjunction with using the 3D printer for the 7.2v battery that makes competition day easier on the driver. This Battery clamp uses a simple two piece flap to open and close on the battery making it easier on the driver and engineer to switch the battery and get ready for the next completion and it is easily attachable to any Robot. This will tightly hold the battery giving it the security during the competition. It is a convenient piece because it gives many options to place the clamp. It...

Alternative Ratchet


Alternative Ratchet

    What I created here was a new type of part that functions as a small ratchet gear on a fly wheel. This can also be used as many pieces as it is just a fixed piece that has a slope. This comes down to the engineers use and is also one object that can play the utility role and go unnoticed but be important to the robot and engineer in the long run. This will enhance the vex robots just slightly but leads to a new alternative to ratchet gears but this object can lead to new ramps or new designs if used correctly.

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Ratchet and Pawl Shaft (or axel) Add-on System


Knights Robotics’ robot design for the VEX Nothing But Net Challenge consists of a single flywheel, a popular design among competitors this year, that rotates at a high speed to propel balls toward the high goal. A problem that emerges with this flywheel design is that pressure is abruptly applied to the gears and motors when the motors are turned off. When the motors stop moving, the angular momentum at which the wheel keeps spinning generates a huge amount of friction on the gears, causing a constant strain which may even rip the internal gears off the motors. This...

Springing into Action


When designing our robot, we were in situations that we needed energy stored.  However rubber bands do not have the capability to store energy in the fashion that we sought.  We discussed and believed a spring would solve many of our problems.  However VEX does not provide such a spring. I designed this coiled spring so that it can be attached to VEX part using screws.  This spring can have many applications, including but not limited to lifting, shooting, suspension, and robot expansion.

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Horizontal/C-channel 393 motor mount


          My inspiration for this part is the frustration my teammates and I have had with the current motor mounting configuration. Our frustration is a result of a hard time removing motors once they are built into a robot, this because the motors mounting screws are on the same side as the axle port. In a many of our designs the motors have been very to tighten or even impossible, which needless to say is frustrating. I realize that this design has many benefits, which is why my part is just an option for motors allowing for more compact and accessible motors,...


New Components Creation for VEX IQ


We design three new componets about corner connection for VEX IQ in this challenge.


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New Components Creation for VEX


There are 3 new components are created in this challenge. The details is described in New Components Creation for VEX EDR Word file.

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VEX High Strength Shaft Add On Kit


VEX High Strength Shaft Add On Kit


We believe our team has designed and manufactured something extremely useful that sets us apart from anyone in the VEX community for this first “Make It Real CAD Engineering Challenge.”

We have designed a range of components that can be used for the VEX High Strength Shaft to improve its performance and functionality on a VEX competition robot.

VEX High Strength Shaft Adapter 

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Simplified Motor Gear Check / Anti-breaking pins


A new motor case is introduced that is clear, which allows for teams to check the internal gear ratios without having to open the motor casing, which saves time and lessens the chance of screws getting stripped from constant opening and closing for the purpose of checking the ratios.  

In addition to the clear casing, the motor wire has been removed and the pins are inside the motor casing.  This prevents the pins from accidentaly snapping off, which if the pins snap off, it then renders the motor unusable.  In order to use the new motors, teams would simply use...

Motor Pin Protector


Don’t you guys hate it when those darn motor pins always break under connections. The motor pin protector solve all of your problems. This part successfully protects the pins from any damage saving you dollars and motors. The part is simply used by attaching it to the end of the pins on a motor controller.


To create our part we used Autodesk inventor to create our idea for the part. Autodesk Inventor helped us develop our idea with the ease of using physical models. We were able to create prototypes...

1028A's Simple Voltmeter


We created the voltmeter in order to always know our battery voltage. Battery voltage is extremely important in this year’s challenge, as it affects how far the robot can shoot a ball across the field. For many teams, paying fifty dollars for a poorly-lit and inefficient LED that requires programming is unrealistic or undesired. The voltmeter we designed is far more affordable and user-friendly.


The voltmeter fits into the complete robot design because it is simple and efficient. Instead of wasting time trying to correctly measure...


Make it Real CAD Engineering Challenge


The design used for this challenge is a derivative of the VEX Hinge piece. The issue with the original piece was that there was no way to make the hinge rigid. This became problematic when the piece was used to hinge heavier pieces or components. The newly designed piece is different because it is made up of two pieces and a friction screw. The friction screw holding the two pieces together fix the issue that the hinge piece had. It would allow for the designer to build the component and keep it rigid at the designated angle. This would allow for better positioning and a more rigid...

Make it Real CAD Engineering Challenge


Make it Real CAD Engineering Challenge


The design of the part is derived from a standard vex hinge. The problem with the VEX hinge is that the VEX hinge was designed with a near frictionless rotation. Although this is not necessarily a problem since the part was designed to do that, the frictionless rotation does not allow the part to hold a specific angle to mount pieces on. For many of our applications during competition we require a part that can hold a specific angle. For example during some competitions, our design requires a cage to be created to hold the...

Make it Real CAD Engineering Challenge


The design used for this challenge is a derivative of the VEX Hinge piece. The issue with the original piece was that there was no way to make the hinge rigid. This became problematic when the piece was used to hinge heavier pieces or components. The newly designed piece is different because it is made up of two pieces and a friction screw. The friction screw holding the two pieces together fix the issue that the hinge piece had. It would allow for the designer to build the component and keep it rigid at the designated angle. This would allow for better positioning and a more rigid...


Double Sided Rotating Battery Clip


This is a double sided rotated battery clip that will allow ease with batteries.  

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Advanced Angle Gussets


This is my sixth year competing in Vex robotics and ever since my rookie year, I have wanted a larger variety of angle gussets. My fellow club members and teammates share this opinion. After years of frustration wondering when someone would make a part allowing me to better stabilize and connect angled joints, I realized I was someone and I could do something about it. This led to the creation of the Advanced Angle Gusset set that I have submitted for the challenge. I cannot wait until next year when I graduate from the high school division and move into Vex U so I can actually use the 3-D...