• Syllabus

    Robotic Design


    Bloomsburg Area High School

    Instructor: Kirk Marshall


    Course Overview:


    Battlebots IQ  is an engineering contest  used as a catalyst to teach design as a deterministic process. Participating students and teachers develop a multiplicity of  engineering skills and knowledge and are energized by passion and creativity.


    Hard work has it's own rewards. Pointing out personal achievement and referencing experience and success will get the attention of college admissions officers. BattleBots IQ, The High School Challenge is a program of studies that offers many avenues for achievement. We want you to take advantage of this program, we want you to succeed.


    BattleBots IQ The High School Challenge is decidedly non linear, and it's not a lock step procedure. In fact it is quite common to find that most students do not finish, or even attempt to do all the units outlined in the curriculum. Participating students make choices about the range and depth to which they will involve themselves in various activities. The BattleBots IQ curriculum is a buffet feast of  opportunities to learn and to do. Battlebots IQ is for kids and teachers with an appetite for learning……Go on fill your plate, take as much as you can!


    Course Outline:


    1.)    BattleBots IQ

    Why The High School Challenge?


    SCANS Skills

    Communication Skills

    Deterministic Methodology

    Creative/Engineering Process

    Setting up the Journal

         The Journal can contain:

    1.)    All class handouts/notes and worksheets

    2.)    An Engineering diary of  ideas, sketches and calculations

    3.)    Pictures and CAD dwgs.

    4.)    FRDPARRC tables



    Algebraic Applications

          Review of basic Algebra

           Area and volume of regular   


    Competitive Physics

           Examples of science 

           providing a competitive edge


    2D and 3D modeling

    Writing Specifications

    Making Web Pages

    Avenue of Achievement



    Occam's Razor/KISS/MISS






    2.)    BattleBots IQ

    Getting ready, registration, and rules


    Shop Safety/Rules of  tools

    Description of the Game

    The rules of  engagement

    Building the High School Team

    Budgets and schedules

    Registration and Participation

    Introduction to the kit

    Catalogs, using and keeping purchasing records


    Sponsorship, the agony and the ecstasy.

    Establishing the Safety Culture

    Project Management and Milestones

    GANTT Charts

         Create one for your class

         In Time students will produce

         their own.


    Good Engineers 1-6

    Bad Engineers


    In School/After School/both

          Decide on how to do this     

          example use the kits in school

          and build the bot after school




    3.)    BattleBots IQ

    Solid Models and Working Drawings

    The Interface

    Drawing in 2 D

    Dimensions and locations

    3D and the z Axis

    Precision Measurement

    Making the virtual kit

    3D position and assembly

    Constructing virtual modules and components


    4.)    BattleBots IQ

    Design is a passion and a  process



    Passion makes things happen Question/learn constantly

    Unleash creativity through good Design is a process 1-8, 1-35,1-36

    Design Problems I and II.

    Use the "Lens" of the mind/fisheye and telescopic. 1-3

    Know your supplies

    Think Hard/Work Hard

    Analysis and Instinct 1-14

    Organization and time tables

     on the BB  

        web page

    Ethics and morals


    Things don't work if: 1-5

    Deterministic Design 1-9, 1-10

    Manage Risk 1-11,1-12

    FRDPARRC Table 1-16 to 1-36

    The electro- mechanical breadboarding kit


    5.)    BattleBots IQ

    Creating the Idea of a Battlebot


    Thought Processes 2-2 thru 2-4

    Keeping the Journal


          Playing with stuff 2-6

          Sketching/modeling 2-7/ 2-9

          Talk is cheap/build

          something!  mb


               Bench Level exp.2-10/2/14

               Bench Level Proto 2-15/

               Identify Risky Ideas 2-16


    Deciding on a Course of Action

    How do we reach Consensus?


    1.)    Salesmanship. The best Idea does not always get built.

    2.)    Democracy. Present, debate and choose.

    3.)    Synthesis, works like Democracy but after presentation and debate there is room to consolidate ideas/strategies.

    4.)    Dictatorship…obvious method of resolution.

    5.)    Whatever you choose…


    It's still about, doing it, not talking about it, Bench level E's and P's. and of course you resolve differences one at a time…starting with. Strategy, Concepts, modules and Components…..


            Motion diagrams 2-18

                Moving through the

                playing field

            Sketching 2-20/2-21

          Mock Battles 2-22

                Win the crowd Maximus

           Offensive/Defensive strategy


           Solid Models 2-24/2-25


    Review The Tapes and analyze the Competition

    Pick some top Robots and make some assumptions about:

    1.)    Their strategy

    2.)    Some FR's

    3.)    Some DP's they established

    4.)    Some Concepts they developed

    5.)    Some Modules they used

    6.)    The effectiveness of their Components

    7.)    How would  you beat them?

    8.)    What is this game about?

    9.)    What is your strategy?


            The Rules/web pages

            Patent Searches 2-29

            Machine Tool books

            The way things work

            Catalogs/Mfg. Literature


            Descriptions 2-30/2-33

            FRDPARRC tables 2-34


             Analysis & Physics 2-35

             Appropriate analysis 2-37

             Time and motion 2-43

             Friction this mb

             Motor  and battery mb

             HP and me  mb

     Evolving and Selecting Ideas

             Systems approach 2-48

             Strategies to Concepts 2-49

             Teamwork 2-50

             Individual Thought 2-51

             FRDPARRC Topic Sheet


             Rohrbach's 635 method


             Group Brainstorming 2-54

             Design Comparison Tables   


             Idea creation through

             Systematic Playing and     

             Thinking 2-56




    6.)    BattleBots IQ

    Fundamental Principles of  Machine Design


    Occam's Razor 3-2

    KISS/MISS  3-1

    Saint-Venant's Principal

          Bearings 3-4

          Structures 3-5

          Beams  3-6

    Abbe's Principle 3-7

          Locating Components 


          Cascading Errors 3-9

    Maxwells Reciprocity ? 3-10/3-11

    Reciprocity/Critical Thinking 3-12

    Self Principles 3-13

    Stability 3-14

    Superposition 3-15


    The Golden Rectangle 3-16

    Parallel Axis theorm  3-17


    Accuracy, Repeatability Resolution 3-20/3-23




    Sensitive Directions 3-24


    Reference Features 3-25


    Structural Loops 3-26

    Supporting the load


    Free Body Diagrams 3-27

    Matching constraints to loads

    Centers of Action 3-28/3-32

           Center of Mass 3-29

           Center of Stiffness 3-30

           Center of Friction 3-31

           Robust Design 3-32


    Exact Constraint Design 3-33


    Elastic Averaging 3-34


    Conclusion 3-36 YEAH!










    7.) BattleBots IQ

         Linkages, forces and constraining motions


    History 4-2


    Definitions 4-3


    Degree of Freedom 4-4


    Single Degree Joints 4-6

         Revolute 4-6

         Prismatic 4-6

         Helical 4-6


    Multiple Degree Freedom 4-7

          Cylindrical 4-7

           Spherical 4-7

           Planar 4-7


    Bio Hazard as an Example of lifts


    Creating linkages with the breadboarding kit



    Multiple Degree of Freedom Joints  4-8

             Link Against a plane 4-8

             Pin in Slot 4-8

             Second Order Pin Joint 4-8


    Links  4-9

             Binary Link 4-9

              Ternary Link 4-9

              Quaternary Link 4-9


    Instant Centers 4-10


    Simple Machines   mb



                Wheel and Axle

                Inclined Plane

                Screw Threads and





    3 bar linkages 4-13/4-15

              Making links with erectors


    4 bar linkages 4-16/4-30

              Making links with erectors


    5 bar linkages 4-31/4-32

              4 bar linkages with a piston

               attached to push.


    Extending linkages 4-33

              Scissors 4-34/4-35

              Telescoping  4-37

              Folding Booms 4-38

              Spatial Linkages and polar

              axis arms. 4-39


    Walkers 4-40/4-41


    Flexural Linkages and linkages. 4-42


    Conclusions Linkages 4-49


    8.) BattleBots IQ

          Hand Power and Machine Tool Processes and Safety


    Band Saws/Circular Saws/Abrasive Saws



    The Lathe, Mother of all tools


    Vertical Milling Machine








    TMAW/GMAW/or TIG and MIG


    9.) BattleBots IQ

         Power Transmission. Elements and Concepts


    Transmissions 5-2

          Defined per machine

          Definition 5-2


          Ratios and efficiencies

          Gears/Chains and Belts

          Designing using pitch


          Robust means Transmissions 

          don't break when the motors

         are  stalled.


    Pulleys 5-8

          Mechanical Advantage





    Fastening Systems

    Rivets, Tape, Adhesives, Nuts Bolts and Screws. Misc.

    Belts and Cables

          Linear motion conversion


          Cables can cascade to extend

           towers and compound forces.


           Belts Cables and crawler

           Tracks 5-19

           Rotary motion 5-20/5-21

           Center distances 5-22

           Tensioning 5-24

           Winches 5-26/5-28

           Wheels 5-29/5-35

               Jason Dante Bardis on the


           Cams 5-36

            Shafts  5-37/5-46

           Couplings 5-47/549

                Linear motion

                Rotary Motion

             Conclusions Cables

             Belts and wheels 5-51

             Robust design 5-50



    Screw Threads

          As simple Machines


          Screw Types and uses.

          Materials and ratings

          Impacting the weight budget


    Gears 6-15 6-44

           Gear theory/availability

           Gear sizes and pitch

           Designing transmissions

           Building Transmissions 

           Using purchased gears.

           Boston Gear Gearology



    Sprockets and Chains

             Sprocket theory and


             Sprocket design

             Chain/Sprocket systems and


             Center Center distances



    10.) BattleBots IQ

         Electricity and Motors

    Basic Electricity/Electronics

    1.     Charges

    2.     EMF

    3.     Resistance

    4.     Voltage

    5.     Current

    6.     PIRE



    1.     Circuits, volts and amps

    2.     Power, Watts/energy

    3.     Amp Hours and discharge


    DC Fixed Magnet Motors

    1.    Magnet basics

    2.     Electromagnets

    3.     Motor theory and        construction

    Motor Specifications

    1.     RPM

    2.     Torque

    3.     Internal resistance

    4.     Stall torque

    5.     Power

    6.     The relationship between speed and torque

    7.     Efficiency: Power in, power out.

    Related Physical Science

    1.      Simple Machines

    2.      Mechanical Advantage

    3.      Energy

    4.      Forces/motion/energy

    5.      Work

    6.      Power

    7.      Rotating mass

    8.      Friction





    11.) BattleBots IQ


    Force and Pressure

       Kinetic Theory of gases

       Boyle, the pressure cop.


    Volume and Flow Rates


    Transmitting forces over time and space

         Pneumatic Advantages

              Linear actuator

              Large concentrated forces


          Pneumatic Disadvantages


               Impacts dollar and weight



    Playing with pneumatics

          Pneumatics can bite you so be



          Using Syringes and gauges

          Sources for components and  



    12.) BattleBots IQ

            IFR Robot Control system

    IFR Robotics Manual

       When all else fails, read the




    Basic and the Basic Stamp


    Inputs/Outputs feedback and control

         Example code and uses in

         your BattleBot



    13.) BattleBots IQ

            The Artistry of being a BattleBots IQ Team Purchasing Agent

    Know Your Budget

         The Engineers will always

         want more, make them justify 

         every request.

    Study The Catalogs

         Techno literacy saves

          time/money and gets you free 


    Keep a Ledger

    Record purchases by:

    Date/Supplier/Contact Person Name/ Address/ Phone/Fax/E-mail/ Product Number and Model/ Dollar Cost and Extensions/Weight/ Supplier Satisfaction Index/



    14.) BattleBots IQ

            Marketing  Your Team

    Be A Promoter

         Use Slocum's Design Process

         to "Engineer" cash flow!


          Your putting a warrior

           Billboard on TV…realize the


    Build a Boosters Club

    A BattleBots IQ Team is just as valid as a football team. Expect parity, involve your community, it's their team on TV too!


    Graphics Rule

    Desktop Publishing Software

    Get the Word Out and Share the Experience:

    Team Shirts

    Web Pages






    Course Software:


    MasterCAM 8

    AutoCAD LT 2002


    Rhino 2.0

    FlexiSign 6.5

    CorelDraw 10

    Adobe Photoshop 6

    Print Artist

    Microsoft Office XT

    FrontPage 98

    3D StudioMAX


    Specialized Equipment:


    Techno-Isel   21” x  29” CNC router

    Phoenix  HQL-EZ  CNC wood lathe  6”  x  36”

    Micro-scribe 3D digitizer

    Kodak DC 220 digital camera

    Vinyl Express 24” vinyl cutter

    HP 360C  24” color inkjet printer






    1.     Completion of assigned projects is a fundamental requirement.

    2.     Projects will be evaluated on specific criteria.

    3.     Effort the student demonstrates in making their project, considering past effort, and other circumstances.

    4.     Students will include this work in the end of the year exhibit / final.

    5.     Tests/quizzes will be given at the end of certain activities and lessons.