For the Love of Engineering – How FRC Robot Team 971 Drives the Future

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Engineers.  We need them to solve problems and create the products we use every day.   20 years ago Dean Kamen established FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) to show every student how learning about science, technology and solving problems is fun, rewarding, a proven path to successful careers and a bright future our society.

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With thousands of students involved in FIRST, there is a love for engineering that drives our future.  SolidWorks is an official sponsor of FIRST robot teams this year and provides SolidWorks software to hundreds of teams as part of our Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) sponsorship program.

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FRC Robot Team 971 Spartan Robotics  mentor, Wyn sent us a thank you note and I had to share their recent success and drive with the SolidWorks Community.  Since 2007, the team has designed their entire robot in SolidWorks.  In 2013, they sent SolidWorks file to their manufacturing sponsors Group Manufacturing Services, Inc. , Creative Manufacturing Solutions, ScreenTech, Inc. , MJB Precision Manufacturing, Inc.

It is this tight combination with manufacturing and their engineering mentors that drives FRC Team 971 to work all through the year, sharpening their SolidWorks skills and learning how to use new equipment such as a turret punch, press break and notcher.

I asked Wyn, How do the students learn SolidWorks?

Wyn said “In the past, we have had some in house classes where we teach students the basics but this past season have primarily been having our new students work through the SolidWorks tutorials during our meeting times.  The tutorials we use are the parts, assembly, and sheet metal lessons.  If they have any questions, more experienced students and mentors help them.  When they have worked through the tutorials they are often given simple parts to draw up.

When we are designing the robot, sometimes the more experienced members start parts and have less experienced members finish them and other times we pair experienced students with newer members to work together, with the newer members driving the software.  We try to get students to learn as much as possible before the season starts but sometimes the best motivator is trial by fire.  Our students have used their SolidWorks experience at summer jobs and when they go to college.  Since we can make more parts in house, starting this season we have been getting students to use SolidWorks more extensively to design parts for prototyping.”

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Spartan Robotics First team started in 2002.  This year, they finally got their own space – a beautiful shop, ready to take on the next challenge, the 2014 FRC game Aerial Assist.

Thank you for sharing your story with the SolidWorks community.  Marie




Marie Planchard

Marie Planchard

Senior Director, Early Engagement, 3DEXPERIENCE Works at Dassault Systemes
Marie Planchard is an education and engineering advocate. As Senior Director of Education & Early Engagement, SOLIDWORKS, she is responsible for global development of content and social outreach for the 3DEXPERIENCE Works products across all levels of learning including educational institutions, Fab Labs, and entrepreneurship.
Marie Planchard