Our team uses the Engineering Design Process as it relates to the FIRST Build Season. We do exercises in preseason and plan build season around the Engineering Design process. Here is a summary of the Design Process as it relates to Engineering and FIRST.
1. Identify the need or problem
- The Kickoff Event provides a description of the game
- Each team then needs to identify what their strategy will be to play the game
2. Identify the Criteria and Constraints
- Function Requirements
- The robot must be able to score baskets
- Design constraints
- Robot must be no bigger than 28 X 38 in base
3. Specification Ranking
- Determine what is the most important
- Use a weighted objective table
4. Brainstorm Design Concepts
- Draw and talk about ideas with in groups
- Remember, there are no bad ideas!
5. Construct a prototype*
- Model the selected solution(s) in two and three dimensions
- Many teams prototype designs in wood or other simple materials to see if concepts work.
- Have fun with this part!
6. Slect an Approach
- Which worked the best?
- If deciding with a large group, a weighted objective table is great for this as well!
7. Detailed Design
- CAD Everything!
- Think about the small stuff too!
- This is a big part because you don't want to get through the designs and into building only to find that parts do not work together
8. Manufacturing & Implementation
- This is the part where everything comes together
- Your robot gets built
- Your plan implemented
9. Analyze the Results
- Compare to your expectation, did it live up to what you thought it would be?
- Did your robot drive as fast as you thought it would, did it score as many hoops as you had thought it would?
10. Refine the Design
- Detirmine what was wrong
- Go back and fix it!
- Don't be aftaid to start over when you can
- Don't get stuck in a rut with your ideas!
Although in the typical Engineering Design Process a solution is usually selected and then prototyped, if the manpower and material is available, and if there is a a very short amount of time for rework, Steps 4 & 5 can be switched. Most FIRST teams will actually do several prototypes in parallel in order to select the best robot design.*
Here is a link to a whitepaper on the Engineering Design Process for Robotics and also to our team's Engineering Design Process Presentation