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STONY POINT HS -- ROUND ROCK ISD

Design Problem Marble Sorter


Project 3.3.1 VEX and RobotC

[Put your name here]
[Pick the date]





TABLE OF CONTENTS
Design Brief ................................................................................................................................................................................................ 2
Brainstorming Ideas ............................................................................................................................................................................... 3
Decision Matrix ......................................................................................................................................................................................... 4
Pictures ........................................................................................................................................................................................................ 5
RobotC Code .............................................................................................................................................................................................. 6
Discussion Questions ............................................................................................................................................................................. 7
Reflections .................................................................................................................................................................................................. 8
Recommendation Page .......................................................................................................................................................................... 9


DESIGN BRIEF
Client Company:
National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)
Target Consumer:
Society
Problem Statement:
The National Recreation Park Association (NRPA) has
enlisted my teams help in finding a solution to a growing
problem in their parks. They have several different recycling
bins placed around the park, as well as a sorting facility, but
they need a machine to sort the recyclable materials.


Design Statement:
Design, create, and test a machine that can successfully and
reliably sort recyclable materials .






Constraints:
1. Separation process must be fully automated.

2. Must successfully separate commingled recyclable
materials into individual holding bins.

3. Recyclable materials include 3 different in. material
spheres totaling 15. Examples could include steel, aluminum,
wood, opaque plastic, and clear plastic.

4. Must be efficient 2 minute max for completion of sorting
process.






BRAINSTORMING IDEAS
[Provide at least four of your teams brainstorming ideas for the design solution. This should include
brainstorming sketches or electronic 3D models of your ideas. Each sketch should be signed, dated, and
should include labels and descriptions for communication.]
DECISION MATRIX
[Evaluate the four solution ideas using a decision matrix. Determine the best solution to the problem.]

PICTURES
[Final Design Solution: Create a detailed pictorial sketch or use 3D modeling software to
document the best solution, based upon your teams decision matrix. Your sketch or 3D model
should include a rationale for the design selected as the final design solution. Each sketch
should be signed, dated, and should include labels and descriptions for communication.
Design Modifications: If you change your final design solution, document the modifications.
Explain the reason for the modifications and describe how the new design solution will solve
the problem (refer to Design Modifications Chart).
Final Design: This section will include information pertinent to the design solution in the form of images
(e.g., photographs of final solution, photographs of testing solution, orthographic and isometric drawings,
assembly, schematics, exploded views, written programs, flow charts, calculations, and data tables). ]
ROBOTC CODE
[Cut and paste copy of code. Be sure that you have properly DOCUMENTED ALL YOUR CODE FOR FULL
CREDIT]

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. What was the most challenging aspect of this design problem?
There were many challenging parts of the design problem. The first was trying to figure out an alternative
design after the initial one failed to perform. Our original idea of a trapdoor suspended by rubber bands
proved to be much too strong to allow the steel balls through, and we had to remove it, altering the entire
system. Another issue was calibrating the motor and the Quad Encoder to stop at exactly 180 degrees,
instead of falling short or overshooting as the battery wore down. Another prominent issue was the fact
that the light sensor couldnt distinguish the wooden ball form the plastic ones, so that left us with only
three marbles. The biggest problem we faced, however, and the one that ultimately caused our design to
fail, was the fact that the light sensor values were unpredictable, and kept changing as the machine was
used. This made the sensors fail to distinguish between the balls at the time of the final test. A possible
solution would be to utilize a more reliable light sensor, in order to ensure that the marbles can be
predictably sorted.
2. What are some creative changes that you would make to the design solution if you
could start over?
If I could start over on this project, I would definitely make some changes in how I built it. First off, I would
have made the hopper more of a tunnel, so that the marbles wouldnt get stuck on top of each other.
Secondly, I would use a more reliable method of letting one marble out at a time, such as a wheel. I would
not have wasted my time with the rubber band design, and if I had the resources, I could have used a sort of
water tank that sifts off marbles that float, such as the wooden one, as a possible method of sorting. There
wouldnt be much other than those things I would change to improve the function, but I could definitely
have made the whole design more compact, and a lot less ugly.




REFLECTIONS
[In previous test runs, our design successfully sorted three materials of varying weight and opacity in
under two minutes, but failed to do so on the actual presentation. Our team would most likely create a
more reliable, and effective means of sorting the materials that did not rely on such a precise instrument
such as the light sensor. As stated before, previous tests fulfilled the design statement, but the actual trial
run yielded limited results, as only the steel marbles were accurately sorted. I learned that, in most cases,
bigger, more complex, and more exact is almost never better, and if there is a chance that something could
go wrong, it will go wrong at the worst possible moment.

RECOMMENDATION PAGE
I believe that teachers should, if possible, provide students with more reliable light sensors, because in
almost every case the light sensors failed to work properly. A better light sensor would not only make it
easier to program, but would also eliminate the need to have entirely new values for each run of the sorter.
I would recommend this to students next year doing this project, The simpler the design, the better. The
more precise and complex the design has to be, the more is able to go wrong at the worst time. We learned
this the hard way as our most complex parts always gave out when it came time to test them.