In building mechanisms for completing the missions, each sub-team follow our building strategy. Our strategy is divided into three phases, brainstorming, prototyping, and finalizing. During brainstorming we first generate ideas for possible ways to accomplish our task. Once we have settled on an idea that we think will work we do more detailed planning of exactly how it will work. This may include sketching and making measurements, making a simple prototype out of cardboard, or making a cad file of the idea.
Once we have finished this, we move onto the second phase, prototyping. In this phase we build a rough prototype based on the sketch or CAD file we made earlier. The prototype is typically made out of wood, composite, or sheet metal as opposed to the kits used by other teams. After we have finished building the prototype, we test it to see if we need to scrap the design or just make some modifications to it. If we decided to abandon the prototype, we go back to the brainstorming phase armed with the knowledge of why our first prototype failed. Otherwise we continue to the final phase, finalizing.
In the finalizing phase, we take the results of our testing and use them to make improvements to the prototype. We use the CNC machine to create more precise pieces from CAD. After we have made these improvements, we retest the final robot to see how it helped. We also see if any more changes need to be made. Once we are satisfied that the mechanism works as intended, we look for ways to improve the mechanism and repeat this process.