A STEP in the Right Direction


Armed with a fistful of STEP files from the Servo City Web site, it’s now time to begin the design phase of my entry in the #AHA competition. As you may recall, you can build an exact copy of the Servo City Web site with HTTrack. Once you’ve created this offline mirror “catalog,” you will find all of the STEP CAD files for the entire #Actobotics product line residing inside the local home (www.servocity.com) directory. Or, you can individually download each STEP file from its relevant product page. How you use these STEP files is the secret to a great robot design.

I prefer to use 123D Design by Autodesk (http://www.123dapp.com/) for all of my 3D modeling. Sporting an austere bare-bones user interface, 123D Design allows you to insert STEP files directly into your 3D CAD file. After inserting these files, you can freely manipulate every Actobotics component into your desired robot configuration. Likewise, when the design is complete you can manually build a “bill of materials” for all of the required parts. Be forewarned; because these STEP files are “inserted” into your file, you will need to keep a list of the components that you used. For example, the attached screen capture from 123D Design illustrates the Actobotics products that I will need for my leaf grinder’s chassis.

Luckily, I made a digital design prior to ordering my parts. I discovered that the 18″ Aluminum Channel (#585462) was too big for the chassis and switched it to 15-inch pieces (#585458). Similarly, the 3″ Aluminum Channel (#585442) cross piece was too short and I substituted a 4.5-inch piece (#585444). With these slight design modifications complete, I am able to finish the design for my chassis and move onto the other sub-assemblies for my project.


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