Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
Online Challenges

Make It Real CAD Engineering Challenge, Sponsored by Autodesk ®


First Prize in overall challenge (Worlds Qualification), and Top Winner for VEX U category:

  • Team EFR Engineering Freaks from Toa Baja, Puerto Rico with “The VEX Two-Speed Transmission”

Second Prize in overall challenge, and Top Winner for VRC High School category:

  • Team 86868 THE RESISTANCE from Santa Clara, CA with “The Standoff Slide Truck”

Third Prize in overall challenge, and Top Winner for VRC Middle School category:

  • Team 9364D Iron Eagles from Brentwood, TN with “VEX License Plate Holster”

Winner of Bonus Prize (quadcopter) in the “Make” category

  • Team AURA Auckland University Robotics from Auckland, New Zealand with “AURA: Motor Attachment Blocks”

Congratulations everyone!!! Your entries these season were absolutely amazing, and you should be very proud of your work. We hope to see ALL of you entering again next season, and wish you the very best of luck and skill!

Don’t forget: All participants with eligible entries will be rewarded with a certificate for your portfolio and membership points in the Autodesk Education Expert Network, which allows you to showcase your work with industry professionals, among other benefits.


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™ or Autodesk® Inventor® 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!



The VEX Two-Speed Transmission



As time passes, the Vex Robotics Competition has gotten even more competitive. Do you need to collect scoring objects faster than your opponent? Do you need to push your opponent out of the way to score in your goal?

To dominate the field, a new weapon must be used: The Two-Speed Transmission. Using the Two-Speed Transmission, the output shaft can shift to the speed and torque that suits your needs in a competition...

VEX Electromagnet



     4423C  4423D 

     4502G  4502H                                     ...
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Add-on Shift Gear



The Add-on Shift Gears were designed as an alternative to traditional methods that teams have used to create multi speed gear trains. It seems to be common practice for teams to chamfer the edge of gears that are used to shift. These gear additions would allow teams to shift without the need to modify gears.


How the part would be used

The Add-on Shift Gear would be used by one on each gear and two on the gear fixed to the shaft. The other gears on the same shaft as the shifting gear would use the...

Amperage / Voltage Meter



What is it?

This year for the Make It Real CAD Engineering Challenge our team, Freezing Code, designed an amperage and voltage meter. The purpose of this part is to be able to monitor the voltage of the battery, and more importantly the current draw of a connected motor. This would help teams diagnose problems with drawing more amperage than the motor, cortex, or power expander can handle. This would help teams balance...

Make it Real CAD Engineering Challenge: Team 7110F




     This hook part was essential to our robot at one of its features consisted of hanging from the hanging pole and achieving a high hang. Before this part was designed our team used 4 90 degree gussets which were bent in to fit into the hole this solution was creative but also wasted perfectly good gussets and was heavy as we needed many standoffs to make it rigid enough to support the weight of the robot. The designed hook was made of plastic and was one piece which makes it simpler to install and much, much,...

Adjustable Slipgear


The purpose of my gear is to provide a part with the functionality of a slipgear (i.e. a gear use with an incomplete set of teeth causing it to no longer turn or be manipulated by another gear using its teeth ). This issue is that students craft such a slipgear by shaving off teeth on vex EDR gears but ruin the gear for any other purpose for any other function or other robot. With my design, you can remove and replace teeth on the gear to find the exact number of teeth needed and in turn ruin no gears.  


For example, many robots in this season’s VEX...

Linear Motion Gear Attachment


Our team came up with a simple solution to a missing type of VEX piece. We wanted to make a powered linear motion that wasn't as slow as and bulky as the pneumatics system. We created a simple yoke like gear attachment that would be used to convert the rotary motion of the gears to linear piston-like motion.

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Creation of a Locking VEX Pillow Block to Serve...


Team 4001E modified the existing VEX pillow block with a 1/8th in. square shaft insert. This allows the pillow block to lock onto a shaft whereas the existing pillow block allows a shaft to spin freely. The modified pillow block can then be used to make a customizable hinge by connecting a normal pillow block on one plate to our modified pillow block on an adjacent plate with a 1/8th in. shaft.

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90 Degree Coupler


2017 Make It Real CAD Engineering Challenge Report

Why This Part Was Created

For this year’s online challenge Make It Real CAD Engineering, our team decided to create a piece that would be simple and efficient, a 90-degree c-channel coupler. We created this part because it is simple yet effective and can be used in multiple ways. The issue we are solving is that when you try to combine two c-channels to form a 90-degree angle there is a gap in between the c-channels when they connect. Every part that counters our part throws off...


The Standoff Slide Truck


The Standoff Slide Truck



The standoff slide truck is a simple, compact, and lightweight method to create linear mechanisms. Especially for passive linear mechanisms where linear slide rails are commonly used, the low profile standoff slide truck provides a significantly lighter alternative for linear motion.

How the Part Would be Used

A standoff sits in the hexagonal channel and moves back and forth...

Talking the Torque


We have designed a Continuously Variable Transmittor unit that can alternate between a 1:4 and 4:1 gear ratio, with every possible ratio in between. This unit means we can achieve a maximum torque ratio, but allows us to smoothly and quickly change to a high speed ratio, without the need for extra motors. 

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Hanging mechanism


In this project was realized a piece in 3D which aims to achieve the objective High Hanging.
Designer Arturo Aguilar Santes 

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Rotating Ratchet CAD Design


Made using Autodesk Inventor Professional 2016 -- Student Version .

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Laser sight


We have designed a way of sighting up where the robot is pointing at the start of a match, this helps in setting up the robot for autonomous at the start of a match. The design is a laser marker, which eventually develloped into a twin beam marker so a precise locaiton on the field could be marked.

Entry by Jonathan Reading of 6023S

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Hudson Bearing


One of the greatest problems faced by the prevalent design of Starstruck, the clawbot, is the fact the robot is extremely prone to tipping. This can be combatted through clever building and placement of weight so as to manipulate the robot’s center of gravity, but such a robot will often require incredibly precise and careful driving, which is another problem a driver must consider while trying to score as fast as possible. Another way to prevent tipping is an anti-tip mechanism, but these will often drag on the ground, adding friction to the drive. In a year where robots are...

The Lock by 4073G VexJets


This is a lock built to keep fold- out pieces of a robot or one-way functions of a robot stable and locked. It was built using Autodesk Inventor 2015 and 3D printed for testing,which was successful.

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AURA: Motor Attachment Blocks


AURA's entry to the Make It Real CAD Engineering Challenge: Motor Attachment Blocks.

AURA decided to use Autodesk Inventor Professional 2017 to tackle one of the most basic but frustrating issues talked about by teams when building VEX robots – attaching motors such that they can be easily removed without the hassle of dismantling other parts just to reach the motor.

Please read the report for full information about our design, why we created these, and how.

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VEX License Plate Holster


Team 9364D - Brentwood Academy (Brentwood, TN)



The Challenge

One of the challenges that many teams have struggled with is attaching and changing license plates quickly and efficiency. My dad has been running inspection at a few of our tournaments and noticed that teams were frequently misplacing their plates, showing up at inspection with plates unattached, or unsure of how to attach plates to their robots. My Brentwood Academy...