Students Success Using Graphite™

Cœur d’Alene High School’s FIRST Robotics Competition Team 3145, used Ashlar-Vellum Graphite precision CAD software to design and build their award winning robot for this year’s competition.

Better known as The TeraViks, the team of 19 students (including 11 seniors, 2 juniors and 6 freshmen) worked together, mentoring each other as they designed, fabricated and demonstrated their 118 pound robot for the annual competition. With just six weeks from concept to competition, the students quickly designed, built and refined an entry that missed first place by just one Frisbee goal and took home the Xerox Creativity Award for their Pacific Northwest region.

This year’s challenge, called “Ultimate Ascent” had two primary tasks. The first was scoring points by shooting Frisbees at various goals. Listen as Senior Matthew Induni describes the shooter arm designed to precisely fire as well as help defend against other teams’ Frisbees. The second task was climbing a 90 inch tower in three levels at 30, 60 and 90 inches. Senior Sean Palmer describes the climbing mechanism using a claw and a pair of hooks on pneumatic cylinders to scale the pyramid.

Team coach, Brian Induni and co-captain, Matthew Induni talked about the advantage of using Graphite to get their ideas down quickly to see if things would fit together, and how other modeling programs, such as SolidWork or Inventor, made this difficult to do.

Graphite’s easy learning curve was of extreme importance to the team. Senior, Garrett MacDonald, told us:

We have six weeks to build our product start to finish from concept to product. The main thing with CAD programs that we’ve had trouble with in the past is just learning how to use them and actually get it from design to product. So Graphite was super useful this year, just being able to throw the lines down and building the parts. So that was great.

Adult mentor, Marty Mueller offered not only his time, but his shop to the students to machine the parts and build the robot. He told us:

The work flow in my shop where the kids build parts is pretty streamlined to go directly from appropriate pieces of the Graphite file that we’ve built, exported as either .dwg or .dxf into my CAM program. And the kids were responsible for doing all of that on all of the parts that they built. In the space of an hour I could teach them enough about Graphite to be fully functional.

These 19 enthusiastic students not only developed engineering and marketing skills, but also learned about beam deflection, statics and strength of materials, troubleshooting and public speaking. Like freshman Josh Wheeler, who wired most of the robot, these students used their passion for design and fabrication to create an award winning solution.

Story update

As of April 19th, the team competed in Spokan, WA, again making it to the finals and winning the the GM Industrial Design Award. They have now drawn a wildcard spot at the Championship in St. Louis, MO. More to come as the story unfolds.

Learn More

See more designs by the TeraViks among those in these Galleries:

FIRST Robotics Team 3145 TeraViks Facebook page.