Presentation at PTC

Apr 15, 2012   //   by sam   //   Blogs, Outreach & Media, Robot & Team  //  No Comments

As a first year user of PTC’s CAD design software, our team experienced the CAD revolution. Our robot this year was designed all in CAD, contrary to last years robot which went through many physical iterations. We went to PTC this past Friday to discuss how we have used Creo, the pros and cons to using CAD, and how PTC could make it easier for FTC teams to start using Creo. Here are some of the things that we brought to PTC:
Pro’s of using CAD:
You don’t have to re-cut anything. Really. If something doesn’t fit in the CAD design, then you just have to edit the part. If a piece is to short, just make it longer. It’s really magical. Only buy the parts you need. Is your team on a budget? FTC parts are pretty expensive, and if your mechanical engineer says he needs three whole tread-packs and only uses two, the team just wasted a hundred dollars. CAD lets you create a parts list for your robot so that you never need to spend to much money on parts.
Time is saved. Yah, you might not think so, but our team has saved so much time by designing our robot in CAD.

Team 4466 with PTC

For example, our CAD designer took four days to design
and build a ball collector in CAD. It took us about a week and a half to have the ball collector built and tested. Because he had tested the sizing in CAD the ball collector fit on the robot perfectly and collected balls perfectly. A week and a half and we already had one full piece done. Without CAD, it would have taken many physical iterations until we got the sizing correct and the collector working.
Everyone can see your ideas. Drawing is really hard, I know that no one on our robotics team can draw, so having Creo let’s the hardware engineers show each other their ideas. Plus, you can test the motion of the robot to make sure that nothing is getting stuck. You can’t do that with a drawing.

Con’s of using CAD
You need a powerful computer. We’ve spent over four thousand dollars on two powerful laptops to run Creo. Although this is a very expensive upfront cost, we are pretty sure that we’ve saved enough time and stress to pay back that cost four times over. [UPDATE] The newest release of Creo has an added feature that doesn’t require high-powered computers.
It takes time to learn. Our CAD engineer spent weeks learning Creo using the online tutorials. Luckily he was motivated enough to even learn it through the summer. Though, don’t all good skills take time to learn? [UPDATE] PTC is working on getting PTC-You for all FTC teams. This will give teams access to all of PTC’s tutorials which will make learning Creo much easier and less time consuming.

As you can see, from our experience, CAD has turned out pretty well. For us, the Pro’s outweigh the Con’s, and we are very happy that we have jumped into the Creo waters. We hope that you will too.

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