Engineering Class Take On Automata Project
March 9, 2018
The Automata Design Challenge is a challenge that was created in order to teach students how to design a mechanism that can replicate a specific motion. An automata is a machine that performs a function based on the different shapes and sizes of the cam, which is a rotating part of the mechanism.
The class is using a wooden box that each student box, a 3D Printer, and a follower. The class thus far has been building up to this project and the class has been learning the skills they need to build and automata. Now, during second semester, the class will be building it little by little.
The class uses a program called CAD which is computer aided design. They will be using it to design pieces of their automata and to test if their designs would mechanically function.
Teacher, Anne Mikos-Wynn, says, “The biggest thing I hope the girls take away from this project is the ability to problem solve. They will each have unique problems and they will have to work collaboratively to help each other. There are no step by step directions; each project is individualized to the student. Thinking outside of the box is a requirement.”
“We design a motion based on what linear movement we want our mechanism to make and we graph it on a polar graph. With that motion we use CAD to 3D print a cam which makes rotational movement into linear movement,” says Katherine Nitchals (‘18).
Emma Sewell (‘18) says, “We are building an automata which is an abstract machine that moves. We are building it in CAD and 3D printing each individual piece so we can make a physical automata. There are portions that we do with a group, but overall it is an individual project because all of us have our own automata.”