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...