Advanced Engineering Technology (Robotics) - CTE Online Model

by CTE Online Admin

The Robotics Course is designed to be a capstone applications course for engineering students. It will build upon prior skills learned such as applied math & physical science techniques, CAD & CAM skills and other engineering fundamentals. New competencies will include basic programming techniques and applications including sensor feedback loops and control system design. Additionally, design of mechanical systems powered by DC motors, pneumatics and elastic potential energy will be integrated. Some specific topics covered will be : mechanism design for manipulators and mobile robots, 3D graphic simulation, control design, actuators and sensors, wireless networking, task modeling, human-machine interface, and embedded software. Upon completion of the course students will be able to solve electro-mechanical design problems with both human controlled and autonomous solutions.

About the Team: This structure of this course and the materials contained within it were created by a team of educators from across the state with support from the CTE Online curriculum leadership team and detailed coordination provided by the Course Specialist Chris Schlesselman.

From CALPADS: Advanced Engineering Technology (Capstone)

This capstone course further builds upon the Engineering and Architecture introduction course, multiple pathway concentrator courses, and is the final course taken which prepares students to work and pursue further education in multiple career pathways. This career technical education capstone course provides content, skill development and leadership training which prepare students for the world of work and to pursue further education such as industry certifications and a postsecondary degree.

Program Information
Course Certification Elements
California English Common Core Standards (11)
California Math Common Core Standards (1)
California's 2008 CTE Standards (76)
California Academic Content Standards (1)
Competencies / Outcomes
  • analyze engineering design problems
  • calculate engineering specifications
  • communicate technical information
  • confer with engineering, technical or manufacturing personnel
  • coordinate engineering project activities
  • coordinate production materials, activities or processes
  • establish production schedule
  • estimate materials or labor requirements
  • evaluate engineering data
  • evaluate equipment for compliance with standards
  • evaluate manufacturing or processing systems
  • examine engineering documents for completeness or accuracy
  • explain complex mathematical information
  • follow manufacturing methods or techniques
  • perform safety inspections in industrial, manufacturing or repair setting
  • perform statistical modeling
  • read blueprints
  • read production layouts
  • read technical drawings
  • resolve engineering or science problems
  • understand engineering data or reports
  • use cost benefit analysis techniques
  • use drafting or mechanical drawing techniques
  • use long or short term production planning techniques
  • use mathematical or statistical methods to identify or analyze problems
  • use quality assurance techniques
  • use technical information in manufacturing or industrial activities
  • use technical regulations for engineering problems
  • use total quality management practices

Students entering the Engineering II Course will have:

  • Completed the Intro. to Industrial Technology Course
  • Completed the Engineering I Course
  • Successfully passed the CAHSEE
  • Be on track for high school graduation

Unit 1: The Engineering Design Process

In this unit, students will be introduced to the Design Process. The Engineering Design Process will be a key unit that will be used as a driving force for subsequent units. Students will be exposed to the circular flow and nature of feedback in the process. Through the identification of individual steps, students will use this process as a means to identify engineering problems related to robotics and how they can work out a variety of solutions before zeroing in on a final solution. In groups, students will identify a specific problem and develop a solution that will be presented to the class for critique.

6 - 10 Days

Unit 2: Robotics Applications Today

In this unit, students will be introduced to Robotics Applications in today's environment. Understanding what constitutes a "robot" in today's terms will help students gain a greater appreciation of the complex nature of robotics. By breaking down the separate systems within a robot students will be able to differentiate between embedded systems, computers, machines and mechanisms. Once this is done they will be able to explore the wider applications of robots and their anatomy in those applications. Students will work independently to understand the separate systems in a robot and work in groups to identify those systems in specific environments to be presented to the class.

5 Days

Unit 3: Structures and Stress Analysis Using Computers

In this unit students will gain the skills necessary to appropriately choose materials, thicknesses, and dimensions of structures to be used in the creation of robotic parts for a variety of robotic applications and will demonstrate this skill set with the completion of a project to assess appropriate build guidelines for autonomous quadrocopter landing legs. The skills derived from this unit will not only prepare students to create better designed robots for competitions, but will also prepare students for industry as the popularity of robotic unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), only continues to increase and their durability becomes increasingly more important. A student who can engineer them well to last the stresses of regular use will be in high demand for years to come.

3 weeks

Unit 4: Layout Sketches and Motion Studies Using CAD

In this unit, students will develop an understanding for the importance of sketches. Sketches are used to get the basic idea of something out of the brain and into the world so that other people can start to understand it. Layout sketchs in CAD elaborate on that basic concept and allow the designer to manipulate variables to gain greater understanding of the system as a whole. This unit assumes that students will have access to and basic understanding of Engineering 3D Modeling Software (i.e. Solidworks, Inventor). Once they have gained the basic understanding of how to create the various motions using the software, students will then learn about how to analyze and interpret the data they obtain from the changes they make.

5 Days

Unit 5: Gear Ratios, Power Transmission, Mechanical Advantage

In this unit, students will be introduced to methods for gearbox selection and design. Using gear reduction for torque multiplication allows for a mechanical advantage. Determining the correct amount of gear reduction and desired output shaft speed is critical for any mechanical or automated machine. Often the mechanical needs of a machine call for a power transmission solution that may not be available or cost more that the project allows. The design of a prototype gearbox using SolidWorks and CNC machining is included in this section. This lesson is more about exploration of concepts related to gearbox engineering than an end all method.

4 weeks

Unit 6: Cup Grabbing Robotic Arm

The cup grabbing robotic arm is an advanced high school level project designed for students to showcase multiple engineering and manufacturing skill sets. For some programs, this may serve as a capstone project or senior showcase in the first year that this project is used.

The students will receive a design challenge to build a functioning robotic arm to pick up red drink cups. This project incorporates the use of CAD/CAM and CNC technology. The use of gearboxes and electric motors will be very important part of this project. The electronics portion of the arm is not covered in this unit and can be addressed in a variety of ways, including the final unit of this course as well as through some of the microcontrollers used in the robotics roundtable project from unit 6.

Once the arm is mechanically complete, this project is the beginning of building a robot. once the arm has electronics and programmable functions, many robotic concepts can be taught. These other concepts can include machine vision and autonomous function.

**In later years this robotics arm can become the starting point for a third level course on electronics, programming and the manufacturing process. The content of this course is very open ended for the instructor to custom tailor the course to the student ability and shop equipment availability. A potential end goal could include taking the final design and producing a classroom set of arms that could allow for programming and electronics training for future classes of students. Consider this project as a way to help build a program and save funds.

7 weeks

Unit 7: Robot Drivetrain

In this unit students will learn the fundamentals of a FIRST robotics drivetrain. Selecting the correct drive system can be challenging considering that every year the challenge changes and many very good drivetrains have already been designed by experienced teams. The decision needs to be made beween learning how to select the style of robot drive with parts available for sale on the Internet or by manufacturing custom made parts. Students will assemble a kit of parts (KOP) robot base from a FIRST KOP suplier. Teams with more advanced manufacturing capacities can take this project and expand it from a basic KOP system to a custom drive system. This lesson is designed for rookie teams or those consideing entering the FIRST Robotics Competition.

4 - 7 weeks

Unit 8: Circuits for Robotics

In this unit students be re-introduced to circuit fundamentals acquired in lower level courses and add to them understanding of additional components and concepts of power needs of common robotic elements including microcontrollers, motors, servos, solenoid valves, sensors, fuses, relays, & Power converters. Students will be designing and making a robotic circuit similar to what will be used in later projects. The skills involved in this unit would be transferrable to the workforce as an electrical engineer in a variety of applications and specifically in the fields of autonomous drone building.

3 weeks

Unit 9: Build, Program and Test - The Robotics System Roundtable

Students will be introduced to various robotics systems as they perform simple tasks on each of 4 common kit platforms (Vex, Lego NXT, Parallax, Arduino). Experiencing each of the platforms first hand will allow students to see the common elements across platforms and differences between them. This introductory project will allow students to quickly grasp many of the primary elements involved in robotics and start to build a framework for later projects that will delve deeper into the skills involved in successful robot building.

Resource Book:

Robotics with the Boe-Bot" version 2.2, by Parallax, Copyright 2004

3 weeks

Unit 10: Introduction to Robotic System Programming

In this unit, students will be introduced to concepts of building, programming and testing robotic systems. Students will build a basic program in LabView that can be used in the next 2 units to operate a FIRST Robotics Competition robot. Although the unit is designed to be a basic introduction to programming a robot, resources for further learning are provided. Students must have completed the prior units of this course and as such, will know how programming relates to the function of a robot as well as have a good grasp as to how to maipulate a program to achieve a desired outcome for a robot.

4 weeks

Unit 11: Build, Program and Test Robotic Systems - Control Systems Test Bench

In this unit students will be using the knowledge they acquired in prior units to build a test bench to test their LabVIEW programs. This will require that they assemble all electrically-powered components needed on a fully functional FRC robot. With the test bench they can troubleshoot their robot projects from the prior unit to ensure they will work properly when they are then assembled on the robot in unit 12.

4 weeks

Unit 12: Final Project - Fully Integrated and FRC Legal Robot

In this culminating unit, students will be putting together all that they have learned from the prior 11 units to build and test a fully functional, FRC-legal robot complete with the cup-grabbing robotic arm that they built in unit 6. It is important to note here that this unit is not intended to go through preparing students to make all of the various design choices that can be made when fully designing an FRC robot. Those techniques were covered in units five through seven.

The intent of this unit is to allow students to have the experience of assembling a working FRC robot. Teachers should look at this unit as a good preparation for rookie teams that will be entering into their first FRC competition. After students have completed this unit they will be prepared for making their own design choices for a specific game or task.

The unit starts with assembling all of the components virtually using CAD software then moves on to creating dimensioned drawings for any parts that need to be customized, assembling all components, wiring everything together & finally testing & troubleshooting.

For the purposes of continuity of this unit, will be using SolidWorks however any CAD software package will do as long as it is capable of creating solid-modeled assemblies. It is assumed that students will have had prior training using CAD however I have provided links to tutorials about SolidWorks assemblies to help if needed. A brief outline of the activities of this unit:

  • Creating the assembly game plan
  • Creating CAD subassemblies
  • Creating CAD large assembly
  • Checking for interference, part sizing, and other problems.
  • Creating dimensioned drawings for any parts that need to be fabricated
  • Building the frame
  • Building and mounting the gearboxes
  • Mounting the wheels and other drivetrain components
  • Mounting the arm
  • Mounting control system components
  • Wiring everything together
  • Functionality tests

Since this is the culminating unit for the entire course, this project incorporates a bit of all of the skills learned throughout the course. A global view of the skills students will employee in this unit are as follows:

  • Employing the engineering design process from beginning to end in order to solve a specific engineering challenge with constraints
  • Using sound applied math and science techniques while problem solving
  • Adhering to industry standard engineering communication techniques
  • Developing project management skills
  • Enhancing modern design techniques which employ CAD & computer programming
4 weeks