SolidWorks demo materials:
Proposal for a Technical Assignment
It’s possible to breadboard an illustrative circuit in five minutes, but less possible for mechanical design examples, so the “quick exercise” model we used for circuits doesn’t work as well. My proposal for introducing mechanical design and fabrication is to incorporate it into a technical assignment which will just be evaluated on technical merit. The purpose of the assignment is to learn and demonstrate technical skills. But even this assignment should allow some free choices, and ideally, it would inspire ideas for more human-centric projects.
The minimum goal is to build upon the one-in-one-out theme by designing a single-axis controlled mechanism. Even a single actuated freedom can have complex behavior by using time effectively. In a conventional controls class, the feedback would normally be taken directly from the axis in order to control the velocity and position of the actuator. However, successful feedback control only requires that the property being sensed be a function of the system state. So for example, a motor could swing around a sonar sensor taking measurements of the local world geometry, and a controller could send currents to the motor which achieve some desired pointing goal such as aiming the sensor at the nearest object. In general, this is much harder than simply sensing a joint, but it paves the way for more interesting applications.
For an example of what can be possible with just a single motor (and possibly passive freedoms), search for “Acrobot” on line and you can find examples like this this acrobot demo or this one.
The performance of the device will be evaluated subjectively on the design and on how well it achieves the stated behavioral goal. If the performance can be quantified we can incorporate an objective measure.