Updated 5-4-15
NMSU-Grants Robotics & Automation/Electronics Technology Department
 
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Motorized piston that was printed on our 3D printer
Used to operate student-designed robot attachments.

3D-printed tray for small parts
(beads, nuts & bolts, etc.)
Fall 2015 course offering:
ELT265 Special Topics: Robotics I
First 8-week session, Monday through Thursday from 10:30 to 11:50 in room 50.
(See below for Robotics II, second 8-week session.)
Instructor: Bruce McDowell
Course registration number (CRN): 52236
This course teaches skills appropriate for entry-level positions at companies utilizing automated equipment. It also provides a foundation for continued study in the field of electronics &/or mechanical technology. No prerequisites are required. The course may be taken either as a credit course or as a community education course (no transcripts, etc., required). The robotics courses are also appropriate for those wanting an interesting hobby.

The main components of the course are as follows:
  • Basic electronics.
  • Mechanical devices.
  • Computer programming as related to the control of mechatronic systems.
  • Mechatronics incorporates mechanical and electronics technology.
  • 3D modeling software and 3D printing.

Hobby robots, such as the Arduino Robot, provide a good base from which to explore the technologies present in mechatronic systems. In themselves, hobby robots provide good examples of the technologies present in the automated equipment of today's companies.

The Robotics I course is not only about hobby robots. It is also about designing mechanisms to be attached to the robots. Such mechanisms are used to enable the robots to do such things as draw chalk patterns on concrete, cut off dandelion stalks in a lawn, automatically follow technicians around while carrying things they might need, and just about anything else you can imagine.

In this course, design of add-on mechanisms involves the application of several disciplines, such as computer programming, electronics, mechanics, and 3D printing. You'll get a good feel as to what it would be like to work as a technician or engineer in the area of automation.

Before the advent of 3D printing, creation of any but the simplest mechanisms was limited to industry, where sufficient funds were available to pay for the necessary machining. Now, 3D printing enables prototypes to be created cheaply and quickly. In this course, you'll be able to undertake prototyping projects that would have been impractical before.

3D modeling software is used to design objects to be 3D printed in this course. Exposure to such software develops your 3D visualization skills and the ability to think in flexible ways. 
Fall 2015 course offering:
ELT265 Special Topics: 3D Printing
Section 1: Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7:15 pm, CRN 52237
Section 2: Fridays from 10:30 to 11:50 am, CRN 52329
Instructor: Bruce McDowell
This course is intended for the layperson wishing to use 3D printing as a hobby in itself or as an adjunct to existing hobbies, such as jewelry-making, toy-making, and radio-controlled airplanes. It is also appropriate for engineering students wishing to construct models, automotive students needing to replace parts no longer available, etc. The course may either be taken as a credit course or as a community education course (transcripts, etc., not required). Unlimited repetition of the course is allowed, and provides for continued skill development.

No prior knowledge is necessary. Instruction is highly individualized and each student proceeds at his/her own pace.

A 3D printer uses a file created by 3D modeling software to make objects out of various materials. Our 3D printers make objects out of plastic, and future plans include the capability of creating objects out of aluminum and silver (through a process similar to lost-wax casting, but with plastic instead of wax).

Our 3D printers are filament printers. A filament printer is basically a computer-controlled glue gun that squirts a thin filament of molten plastic instead of glue. Once a layer of plastic is deposited on the build plate, the build plate moves down and another layer is deposited. The process is repeated over and over again to create the finished object.

Operation of a 3D printer can be learned in two or three hours. The real focus of this course is the use of 3D modeling software. Currently Google SketchUp is the software used.

Beginning projects typically include creation of the objects listed below. (You may take home all objects you’ve printed in the course.) :
Paperclip box.
Cylindrical Q-tip box.
A lanyard to hold a pen and pencil around one's neck.
A tray for holding scratch paper that has been cut up from computer printouts, etc.


Here are examples of possible intermediate and advanced projects:
Custom beads for necklaces.
Decorative gift boxes.
Christmas ornaments.
Items to be incorporated in various craft projects.
Toys.
Parts to replace ones that have been broken or that are no longer available.
Gears and other mechanical parts.
Items you would normally buy at the store, such as measuring cups, hair ornaments, soap dishes, cat dishes, toothbrush holders, etc.
Fall 2015 course offering:
ELT 265 Special Topics: Robotics II
Second 8-week session, Monday through Thursday from 10:30 to 11:50 in room 50.
Instructor: Bruce McDowell (bruce@mounttaylor.com, 505-240-4521).
Course registration number: 51433

This course builds upon the skills acquired in the Robotics I course. The projects in Robotics I are largely guided by learning-material provided by the instructor. Robotics II is more about coming up with your own ideas and implementing them. In addition, you'll receive continued instruction in the areas of electronics, mechanical design, programming, and 3D modeling and printing.


Other Web Sites

"My NMSU" Web Site NMSU-Grants Web Site 
Severe Weather?
To find out if classes have been canceled because of snow, etc., go to Channel 4's Web site and click their school closings link.



Web Sites for Past Courses

General electronics Web links