IED Unit 9
Automata Introduction
Welcome to Unit 9

Mechanical engineers have the job of designing mechanical systems and machines. Throughout this course we have covered the individual skills that are needed to design a working machine, and in this unit we’ll put it all together.  Designing and building a functioning automata will require attention to some key details:

  • Parametric constraints & the design of cams
  • Modeling cams and their motion in Autodesk
  • Building the entire automata assembly in Autodesk
  • Building the entire automata assembly in the makerspace

By combining the design and modeling strategies we’ve covered in this course we can design, develop, and build a functioning automata. This unit will have three main parts:

  1. STEP 1: Learn about parametric constraints in Autodesk and how they can create more robust sketches and models.
  2. STEP 2: Follow the engineering design process to design and model a functioning automata in Autodesk.
  3. STEP 3: Turn your 3D model into a functioning machine in the makerspace.

When you’re done with this unit, you will have gone through the entire engineering design process to create a functioning machine.  The automata you’ll build can take on any form you’d like, and when it’s all finished you’ll have made your own machine!


Part 1: Design & Model

Engineering Design Process Overview

Some parts we build in Autodesk are simple and do not need fancy parameters.  Often, however, we want the ability to scale certain aspects of a part or we want to build in mathematical ratios between different dimensions or angles.  In this case, we want to be able to use parametric constraints. In this first part of the unit, we’ll learn how parametric constraints can be created in Autodesk and how to use them to change the shape of some cams.


 Watch the presentation on parametric constraints and take a full page of careful notes

 Watch the Pear Cam video and follow the process to make your own parametric pear cam

 Watch the Snail Cam video and follow the process to make your own parametric snail cam

 Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your notes and your two cams

Pear Cam Tutorial

Hex Cam Tutorial

Snail Cam Tutorial

Part 2: Build It!

College Research

Your next job is the most complex.  We now need to design our automata and make a 3D model in Autodesk. To start, we’ll brainstorm different automata solutions and do some brief research. Once you’ve chosen a final design, you’ll create a concept sketch in your engineering notebook.  Then you’ll work in Autodesk to create the different parts of the automata and complete the assembly. When the assembly is fully constructed you’ll be able to see the machine move in the computer with the cams and following rods moving appropriately.


 Watch the overview of the Automata design challenge and take a page of notes

 Research and brainstorm possible automata, then create a concept sketch in your engineering notebook of what you want to build

 Build the parts for your automata in Autodesk and assemble them by following the Automata Assembly tutorial

 Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your documentation and Autodesk assembly

IED Unit 9 Map
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