Laser Cut Mechanisms

A mechanism enables you to transform the rotation of a motor into another type of motion. In this series of lessons, you will use laser cut parts to explore mechanisms involving cranks, cams, and cables. PDF files are provided for each lesson. You will need to cut these files from cardboard using a laser cutter. The lessons will guide you through assembling these parts to make sturdy, modular mechanisms.

In each lesson, you will build a different mechanism and explore how you can use and modify it. Then you can customize each mechanism to create a Hummingbird robot! After you complete the lessons, try combining mechanisms to make even more unique robots!

A list of supplies is given in each lesson, but all require a hot glue, masking tape, and cardboard.

Mechanisms: Cranks

Mechanisms: Crank with Pistons

Mechanisms: Linkages

Mechanisms: Winches

Mechanisms: Cams

Mechanisms: Cable-Driven Robots

These lessons emphasize the creation of mathematical models to represent physical objects, aligning them with the emphasis on mathematical modeling found in the Common Core math standards at the high school level. Individual lessons also address algebra and geometry standards; these standards are noted in the relevant lessons. In addition, all lessons incorporate the seven science and engineering practices that underly the Next Generation Science Standards.