Why did I join Pathways? Since I was small, I have always been curious about the way things work. I would often open up broken toys to understand how they functioned and how they were put together. The idea of complex mechanisms has always grabbed my attention. Perfectly interlocking gears and precisely machined objects have always been a point of interest for me. I felt like this particular pathway would expose me to the techniques, the design process, and the thinking that goes into making a project come to life.
The VEX elevator
The elevator project demonstrated our understanding of both simple machines and the Vex platform as well as our ability to work as a unified group. The elevator had to lift a cage across 3 floors/levels. Buttons would indicate at which level the cage should be lifted to LEDs were placed at each level to indicate on what level the elevator cage was located.
We started off by building the elevator cage. This was basically the moving room or floor of the elevator. Using the cage, we would be able to transport items in the cage to any of the three available floors.
The elevator frame established how many floors would be available. In our case, It would be three floors. All of the gear and pulley systems which would drive the cage up or down, were installed as part of the frame. The purpose of both the pulleys and the gears was to provide a mechanical advantage which would reduce the load on the driving motor.
Once both pieces were built, they were put together. The cage itself was built to fit as tightly as possible within the elevator frame without resulting in a jam. This resulted in a compact and material-friendly project that looked simple and functional.
The elevator's electrical wiring was much more complex than its physical structure. To control the elevator, a large amount of code was required to make the elevator function. This meant addressing the purpose of every button, LED, and controlling the main motor. Without the appropriate code, the elevator would be nothing more than a bunch of metal channels screwed together.
Once completed, we presented our project; as a group, to other pathway classes and grade levels. This meant giving a detailed description of our project and the building process. This included any problems which may have occurred and how we addressed them.