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!


Robosus | Suspension System


This instrument is designed as a solution to motion restirictions and vibration problems of robots. As well as providing independent motion to front and rear wheels, it also seperates the main frame from the wheels. This practice ensures more convenient mobility and keeps the main frame steady. It is possible to interlock two or more robots and create a more complex transportation system which can be run by a single motor.


After finalizing my drafts, I used solid modelling, assemble, animation, motion study and motion link...

Angled Brace


Videos and Images of CAD drawings of an angled brace used to sucure shafts on the flywheel devise on our robot.  The brace would have evenly spaced holes used to use screws and shafts to hold the flywheel system in place with out needing to bend or cut a part.

This allows the part to be conveniently placed on any part of the robot to hold items at an angle.

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Compound Gear


The part that the Vex team 2177D Brain Bots has created is a High Speed/Torque Preset Compound Gear. The purpose of this was to have an easy gear to insert into a line of gears so that you don’t have to match up individual gears. This could be used in place of two gears, with others of it’s kind, when you need a wheel or other part to be fast or strong. We used Autodesk Inventor to create the part, and we used the CAD downloadable parts as a starting point. We then modified the parts and put them together. We took away from this project a better understanding of Autodesk. We...

Motor Heat Sink


For this challenge, we have decided to design a heat sink for our motors. Heat sinks work by transferring some of the heat generated by a device into a coolant in motion, such as air or water. For our design, this would include replacing the green plastic backing of our motors with metal (likely aluminum or copper) and adding vertical fins to the back. Because of the high thermal conductivity of aluminum and copper, some of the heat generated by the motor’s operation would be transferred to the metal backing. The vertical fins connected to this backing allow for a large...

License Plate Holder


The license plate holder we made gives teams the ability to easily switch out their plates between matches. The snap-in design saves teams alot of time and helps out especially when teams have back to back matches.

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VEX Universal Gusset

3946A Sun Devils

1.0 Introduction

The VEX Universal Gusset is a comprehensive mounting solution designed for new and well experienced teams alike. It provides space efficient and rigid mounting solutions for out-of-the box ideas, where implementation is limited by 90, and 45 degree structure. The VEX Universal Gusset can be implemented as a significant structural member, where as 1 by bars are only applicable for non rigid solutions. Our product solves this problem by providing mounting freedom in two rotational degrees and was designed utilizing assemblies and parametric 3D...

The T-Peg


For our CAD piece I wanted something simple but useful. When thinking of ideas it came to me, the T-Peg. The T-Peg is simply a normal VEX peg that can connect to three pieces at a time. I made this piece because our VEX team always runs into the problem of connecting three pieces together for our robot. I used Fusion 360 to first create the model and saved it as an STL. Then I 3D printed it to make the T-Peg. From doing this I learned that your measurements have to be spot on if you want the 3D printed object to come out correctly. Now knowing how to use Fusion 360 it would help...

Pneumatic Mounting Bracket


CAD Design Final Report

Grant Kobes, VRC Team 8926   Combined IQ


I have served as the lead design engineer and builder for my Vex Robotics Competition team, 8926, Combined IQ, for the past two years.  Our team has utilized Vex pneumatics since the  2015 South Carolina State Championship.  On our Skyrise robot, the pneumatics powered a two-speed transmission that ran our linear slide lift mechanism.  Since Worlds, we have purchased a second pneumatics kit and have...


New Bearing Block


New bearing block design for the CAD challenge.

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Multi-Axle Shaft Collar


This part was created to fix one major problem that our team runs into a lot; not having a long enough axle. This piece combines two shaft collars with a recreated shaft coupler in order to hold two axles together. It can be used to extend multiple small axles to fit a required distance that your available axles cannot reach. We used AutoDesk Inventor to create this part. It was created as a new part then assembled with the current shaft collar screws. We learned that AutoDesk Inventor differs from other CAD softwares but we plan to use it more in the future because the VEX...

Easy Removal Attachment Point for VRC License...


As a High School (9th grade) Engineering-Design student, and a highly involved VEX Robotics Competition team member (Team 81Y – VEXMEN: Cypher), I felt I could take the challenge of creating the next VEX part.

My search for a problem was quite short after accepting the Challenge mentally on the 7th of
January. I remember seeing the CAD Challenge at VEX Worlds in 2015, but never thought I would be
able to compete with my horrible CAD skills at the time. Due to my time as a 9th-grade engineeringdesign
student, I have easily mastered the basics of part...


Extended 45-degree gusset


An extended version of the 45-degree gusset allowing two connection points when attaching a c-channel at a 45-degree angle in the middle of another channel.


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Vex Transmission Clutch


The part I created is a transmission clutch and is made up of three components, a high strength gear adapter insert, a sliding clutch collar, and a shifting lever. The purpose of these components is to allow for the changing of gear ratios in a compact and reliable way. Changing gear ratios allows a design to adapt the output rotational force from a motor to suit the situation. An application example would be a drive chassis, where a high speed gear would allow a robot to traverse a field quickly, and a low gear would allow for precise movements, and extra torque for pushing. Previously,...

Big "L"


This piece is a much needed addition to the VEX IQ part options. This "L" shaped piece allows you to connect two pieces turning it into one whole piece. This avoids the need for lots of connectors when building bases, intakes or anything that requires a 90 degree angle. It will allow for more stability and strength in the robot.

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Team 7700B Ring Gear


Our team designed a ring gear for vex robotics. Vex is currently lacking a ring gear for planetary gearboxes, so we made just that. Our design is based off of the inversion of a vex 84-Tooth gear. We designed our part in Autodesk Inventor over the course of our design. It can fit a 12-Tooth gear as the sun gear and 36-Tooth gears as the planets. It also can fit a 60-Tooth gear as the sun gear and 12-Tooth gears as the planets. It features 12 screw holes for easy mounting that are sunken below the ring of the gear for inline screwing. During this challenge we learned about the...

Integrated GearBox Module


Design Report – Integrated Gearbox Module

                An important part of any VEX robot is creating gear systems to transfer motor power to other devices, or to change the amount of torque and speed your motor can produce. The problem is that VEX only sells large external gears. This creates a number of problems when creating a gearing system for a robot. The large external gears mean gear systems are large and bulky, and they take up a lot of space on the robot, are complex to build and...


Metal 12-tooth High Strength Gear/Shaft Collar...


A High Strength 12-tooth gear with a threaded hole and set screw to ensure placement of the piece is secure on the shaft and ensures the placement of the shaft is secure on the robot.

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Trapped Roller Clutch



We have created The Trapped Roller Clutch for use in VEX Robotics. Currently in VEX, there is a product called the Winch and Pulley Kit. The Winch and Pulley kit is bundled with a ratchet. The main problem with the ratchet is that it was never designed for applications it is now being used for. There is too much friction when used in high RPM conditions and high torque applications and it is also very...


Make It Real CAD Engineering Challenge, Sponsored...


This part allows teams to build ENTIRE robots that are lighter, more precise, and remain
just as rigid as before; all without cutting. 

Please see attached PDF file of report and appendicies. 


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Motor mount/Delrin bearing


I am the builder on the team and have come across certain problems mounting the motors onto our robot. Sometimes, the screws come loose and need to be tightened and it's almost impossible to to access them without taking everything apart. My idea: flip the screws around and bring them to the outside. You already need a delrin bearing as well and this would be functional as that. On the underside, two of the five parts are thinner than the rest to allow the motor screws to go into the motor. The shaft would come out of the one next to those, leaving two holes on the outermost parts...

Motor Output Combiner


        Often a mechanism will require more than a single motor to be powered. Combining these motors requires gears, but gearing multiple motors together can take up a lot of space. This decreases the overall efficiency of the robot. This device converts the input of four motors into a central drive shaft, allowing the increase of torque without the expense of as much space. The conservation of size allows for more functions to be performed within the size constraint, leaving more room for a gearbox. This part can be used nearly anywhere when combining...

Hidden Hinge


Our team created a 3D printed hidden hinge for VEX robotics. We designed this hinge to make constructing hinges and swining mechanisms easier. Using normal VEX pieces, it would be very difficult to construct a hinge that doesn't pivot directly on an axle. The hidden hinge, however, does not pivot directly on an axle like a normal hinge. Another advantages is that hidden hinges are on the opposite side of the joint than a normal (house door) hinge. On a house door, the hinge is on the same side of the door that the door opens toward; whereas on the hidden hinge,...

Slip Gear Set


These Slip Gears allow easy connection and disconnection between the slip gear system and a corresponding part system. This set includes slip gears of different sizes and different teeth-space ratios.

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Our VEX CAD Challenge submission is a reimagined angle gusset. In the past, one of our teams, 254E, has encountered time-consuming and unnecessary issues when trying to connect VEX parts in perpendicular arrangements . We would attempt to solve such issues by using the VEX standard angle gussets, but they would easily bend and were not reliable for supporting heavier weights or handle the stress of shock and vibrations, as characterized by our team’s...

VEX Shaft Compact Ratchet


Introducing the compact VEX Shaft Compatible Ratchet! This design was inspired by our team's ratcheting firing mechanism created for the current VRC challenge, and is a compact, efficient, and practically universal ratchet that can be applied to an almost unlimited number of designs. With one more part in the VEX box of gadgets and tricks, the possibilites just became that much more infinite.

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Bearing Flat Plus 596C


This is the Bearing Flat Plus idea that we had as a team. The Files attached include a word document that shows the Bearing Flat Plus and all of its features. As well as the final render from Inventor for the product.

Our report is in a file link below.

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Hex Plate



Vex plates and channels include a series of square holes arranged into a grid so that other parts can be connected using screws and nuts. This allows for easy assembly of structures that are built using only right angles, such as the stand chassis for a Clawbot Robot. But what about structures that are not rectangular in nature? Sure, 45° angles can be made using angle gussets, but what about structures that require 30° or 60° angels?

    The Hex Plate enables the assembly of structures that were previously...


Clutching at Straws

Niamh C

Due to the inefficiencies of the orginal VEX clutch, we have designed a new part to accomodate the need to engage and disengage motors. This will allow us to build gear boxes, trigger mechanisms, and other systems where flexibility is required. 

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