Simple machines "Think, Do, Test"

Challenge #1, The Pendelum

"Think" - Today we were given a model pendulum to build. The original design as shown in the picture behind slid when used, and the wheel wasn't strong enough to knock down anything. We (me and Nate) thought that getting a larger, more stable base would help; We also thought it would need more momentum.

"Do" - After deciding on how we were going to add the base, we worked together to add larger bases and a rubber brake. Even after that it still wasn't strong enough to take down the blocks, so we increased the length of the pillars and the arm so it would have more momentum.

"Test" - Our final form of the pendulum was a complete success, without fault and knocked down the blocks every time. The only reason why this was possible is because of the stable base and the longer arm that we added to the machine.

Challenge #2, The Pulley

Criteria - We must create a pulley system / elevator that can lift / transport 3 blocks 3 inches high


"Think" - We want to make a crane-like system with a pulleys and a crank in the back to lift up a elevator in the front carrying the 3 blocks. The string will pull from the crank over the two pillars and to the box. The end pillar is a 2 by 20 piece so it'll lift it higher than it needs to.

"Do" - We built a base with 3 pairs of arms to carry the rope. We also built an elevator that securely carries the 3 boxes. We built the crank, but it was a complete bust. After we built the whole thing the only problem we had was the crank. We had to modify it several times until we were satisfied.

"Test" - After the mods to the crank were done, everything ran well. The elevator worked in the end and the test was a success.

Challenge #3, The Catapult


"Think" - We need to finish up our work for challenge 2, taking a video. We're taking a video in spark video to put it in our page. The only difference with this video is that we have a ruler in it to measure how high the blocks.


Criteria - Make a lever system capable of catapulting a designated object at least 1 foot.

"Think" - It needs a long arm and a tall pillar to launch it far enough. We are thinking of putting 2 20 by 2s for the long end of the arm and another beam connected. At the end of that we'll add a crate to hold the object. At the other end of the arm we'll add a shorter arm piece with a tire at the end. It'll all be swinging on a pivot with a base.

"Do" - We made the prototype, and it was a bust. We couldn't launch it without having it fa ll over. We flipped it upside down and it actually stayed stable and it almost got far enough. So we added a few modifications to the arm and it worked without fault.

"Test"- Our 3rd design worked perfectly. It launched the block over a foot and it met all critera. This lever system was a big success!

Challenge #4 , The High Rise
Competition rules

Objective - To accumulate the most points in 3 attempts of the High Rise Challenge by stacking the same color blocks

Criteria - Robots must fit into the 30 by 30 box to be eligible to compete. Each member of the team must record at least one attempt in the challenge.

  • Specific rules:
  • All robots must start with the back of the robot facing the bact of the competition field
  • Blocks must be completely in the scoring zone to be counted
  • Only the colored stacks will be scored
  • Scoring:
  • Any color blocking the scoring zone = 1pt.
  • Stacks of like colors = 1st block 10pts.
  • 2nd block = 20pts.
  • 3rd block = 30pts.
Think, do, test

"Think" 1/25/17 - Today I hope Nate and I will be able to get an idea and start working on an idea from the internet or some idea. I have 2 ideas in mind, a crate lift and a regular lift, so I really hope to get something done today.

"Do" - We added to our drive base a large 4 bar lift that has 2 motors attached. We added a claw but it's not quite attatched yet.

"Think" - Today we want to make a separate tower so it's a lot more stable. I also want to slow down the speed of the lift and the claw so it'll be easier to control. We might even add another arm for the separate tower.

"Do" - We finished making a fully functional arm and works well, but it was too big. The arm stuck out of the box. We took apart the arm and shortened it. We also added another tower on the other side, but after that we ran out of time.

"Think" - We need to finish up our original arm and make our other one. After that we hope we can add the claw and brace it. It should be functional by the end of class if we're productive.

"Do" - We made a separate tower and arm. It's not yet functional but it's close to it. We still need to add the claw to both the arms. We can only hope it fits in the box.

"Think" - We need to finish the arm and attach the claw. We have to make sure that it'll fit in the box this time or else we'll have to shorten the arms again, or make a different claw system. I hope that we have time to do this or else we'll run out of time. Coach also added a timer to the field, so we can test our robot out.

"Do" - We just finished making the entire robot, finally. We retrofitted it to have it be in the boundaries. One problem, though. It's not strong enough.

"Think" - We need to really get working now to get that motor strong enough to lift those blocks. We may need to replace the claw or the arms itself. Maybe even the entire lift system.

"Do" - we completely took off the front part of our machine, and repleced the lift system. We added a gear ratio to the motor so hopfully we'll be able to lift blocks easier. We also added cage in the back to hold blocks.

"Think" - We want to reduce the size of the cage because the claw can't reach back that far. We also need to add flaps to the side of the front so it'll push the blocks around but keep them in containment at the same time. Lastly I think we should make our tower more stable for our motors.

"Do" - We did everything we wanted to do today, shortened the cage, added stable arms to slide blocks, and we strengthened up the tower. To shorten the cage, we added a rubber band around the middle of the cage. For the arms we attatched it was 2 2 by 8 strips sandwiched between 2 corner pieces. Lastly the tower was strengthened up by adding several strips connected to the front 2 blocks.

"Think" - We successfully built a functioning lift and crate in the back, and the weight proportion is good. The only problem we now have is our claw, it's not strong enough. We're thinking of going back to the books and replacing it with the textbook version.

"Do" - We completely redid the claw, and everything is functional. All of it is straight out of the book, and it works so much better. We have completely finished our robot and it works better than expected. The only problem is practice, we haven't really tested this robot.

"Think" - Competition day. It's strange how we took a whole week trying to revise one kind of claw system, then in 2 days totally replace it. It seems like I'm the better driver so far, but me and Nate have only practiced a few times since we finished the robot. I'm a little nervous because of that, but I think it'll work out.

"Do" - I. Completely. Failed. I only got 12 points by stacking a single block and carried 2 other blocks. The controller stuck and glitched and I couldn't really do what I wanted.

"Think" - Second competition day, Nate's driving. We haven't made any modifications from yesterday, but we changed out the controller. Hopefully it won't stick again.

"Do" - Nate did well. He stacked 2 blocks on each other for a good 30 points. He had some problems with the controller but not as much as me.

"Think" - Last competition day, Nate's driving again. He had a good success yesterday and I hope he can recreate that. I asked him to change up our plan a little and try to stack 4 blocks instead of spreading it out.

"Do" - Nate failed... harder than I did. He stacked 2 blocks but knocked it down. We finished with a total of 53 points, right behind the 3rd place of 54 points.

  • Well, we didn't do as well as I hoped or even thought. But I'm satisfied.
  • In the competition, Nate earned 41 points in 2 rounds, with me earning 12 points in 1.
  • We finished in 4th with a total of 53 points.
  • It sucks that we had to rebuild the robot. If we started with our last design we would be able finish have so much more practice.

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