Mini Challenges

  • Top 
    Purpose:  This lab was designed to investigate what keeps a top standing. This lab will test three types of tops to see which will stay standing the best.
  • Miner Rescue Cage
    Purpose:  Building a strong structure will be important to any robot you build. This lab will demonstrate some good building practices and give you experience building good structures of various shapes.
  • Differential 
    Purpose:  When two wheels are turned around a corner, they cover different distances and hence rotate at different speeds. If the two wheels are unconnected and are not being used to drive the robot this doesn’t cause a problem. However, if they are connected, then the two wheels need to be driven by the a single motor at those different speeds. This is the situation where the differential should be used, because it can drive the two wheels depending on how fast they need to go.
    In order to investigate this property, you will construct two different sets of wheels. One set of wheels are linked by a straight link and the other set of wheels are linked by a differential. By turning these wheels around corners we can observe why a differential is useful in a robot using a steering drive system.
  • Electronic Tape Measure
    Purpose:  A rotation sensor detects how often it is turned in either the clockwise or counter clockwise direction in units of 1/16 of a rotation. The rotation sensor can be used in a robot to help keep track of the robot’s state.  This simple example will connect a wheel to the rotation sensor so that the length of an object can be measured by rolling the wheel along the object.
  • Windmill 
    Purpose:  Motors and generators work on very similar principles. The two devices are similar enough that one device can be used as the other. This lab explores that property using the Lego motors as both motors and generators.

  • Rack and Pinion
    Purpose:  The rack and pinion gear combination is a commonly used system for translating rotational motion to linear motion. One of the most important uses for the rack and pinion system is in a steering system. In this lab you will build a simple rack and pinion steering system to learn the basics of how the system works.

  • Mini Chopper
    Purpose:  Often times when constructing something, you will need to change the direction that a rotating axle points.  One way to do this is by using bevel gears or crown gears. This lab explores the use of both of these types of gears.
  • Zip File of all Labs (PDF and Word versions)