So here’s the deal: I absolutely LOVE building robots. Build season is a little slice of heaven for me. Thankfully, the Killer Bees provide a great routine for the robot-loving chick in me. On a typical day, I…

  • 7:30 Go to class 
  • Pretend I’m listening and surf Chief Delphi
  • Learn some useful stuff, like Pre-Calc, CAD, and Physics
  • Talk about secret KB design things with my friends
  • Eat lunch! (Veggies are a MUST during build season. Salad for lunch makes pizza, pasta, and meatballs for dinner more appealing.)
  • Blow off some steam in Training for the Female Athlete
  • Run home, change into shop jeans, grab my favorite pair of safety glasses, and consume as much yummy food as possible
  • Drive Mafalda (my old-lady car) to Chrysler Tech Center (she’s usually filled with fellow KBs and blasting feel-good country music)
  • 4:30 Eat more food at robots and get our tasks/goals for the day from Jim

However, working in the shop is always a unique experience from day to day. Recently, I’ve been (SPOILER) working on a prototype for our robot.While we’re transitioning from the design to the fabrication stage, I really try to help get younger kids up to speed and brush up my own shop skills with prototyping. Throughout the process, I’ve come up with some hardly groundbreaking, but very helpful tips on how to prototype accurately, efficiently, and successfully.

Make sure prototypes are constructed with a concept of what needs to be accomplished in mind. While doing so, it’ll be helpful to build prototypes out of a material that is easy to change from trial to trial. Consider all variables, no matter how small, and only change one at a time! (Prototyping is just a trip back to seventh grade science classes: a key example of the scientific method) Make sure to record what was changed, what materials were used, important dimensions, and what the end results were. Keep in mind that the prototype concept will eventually have to develop into the overall robot package, so be sure to communicate weight, length, depth, and other necessities to other build groups to avoid a major headache when production fabrication begins.

These are just a few ideas to keep in mind. As far as the girl-in-the-shop thing goes, I’ve had lots of run-ins with grease while working with gooey, 35-pitch chain recently. Needless to say, Issac (one of our fabulous mentors) lets me know when I’m rocking the pseudo-war paint from  getting the hair out of my face and accidentally rubbing chain grease all over. He laughs and points me towards the scrubby, orange shop towels which are my new go-to for “cleansing and exfoliating my sawdust and grease filled pores”.

Funny KB fact of the day: our women’s restroom doesn’t have grit soap (soap with sand in it to get the shop-gunk off), so the girls and I proudly  holler in to the men’s restroom, mention that we really don’t want to see any “stingers,” and take over the sinks that DO have the grit soap.

So: Rinse, Lather, Repeat!

Happy Building!]

Leave a reply