Colin Bulthaup's 2.007 Portfolio

License to Design

Harbinger of Death (HOD)

Winner of the 1998 2.007 Design Competition


The Class

One of the most fabled classes at MIT is 2.007 (previously known as 2.70) Design & Manufacturing I. In this class the students conceive, design, and create a robot which then competes in a final contest at the end of the semester. The class uses the contest as an excuse for learning all about design and manufacturing.

When I took the class the contest was named Ballcano. The basic point of the contest was to collect balls and deposit them in holes on your side of the table. The balls were being spat out onto the table by an active conveyor system at the rate of roughly 5 balls a second. For more detailed information about the contest you can look at the rules here.


The first thing that I did during the class was think about strategy. I tried to outline every possible robot that could conceivably be built, and I then tried to come up with strategies that could defeat each of those robots. Although there were several people who built robots that I never would have even considered, in general I was able to come up with most of the viable strategies.

There were several realizations that I came to early on:

With these functional requirements in mind I began to doodle out possible design ideas.


Based on the realizations that I had come to earlier, I began to develop certain key strategies.

These ideas then began to take the shape of a Wall Crawler, a Diverting Arm, a Ball Sock, and Wedge (The Annoyance Bot).


Throughout the design process I had to pay extra special attention to the physics involved with my robot, particularly the Wall Crawler. The torquing moment around the Arm threatened to tear my joint apart, and the torquing moment which the weight of the robot exerted against the wall threatened to pull the Wall Crawler away from the wall and out of position.


After resolving many of the physics issues I was able to begin sketching the designs of the components using actual kit contents, (although I was forced to go back and forth between the design stage and the physics as my robot evolved.)

I made a colelction of isometric sketches for each of the modules that I wanted to build. In addition, I also built numerous cardboard models which helped me to visualize the correct positioning of the modules, (the Wall Crawler and the Arm in particular.)


After determining the correct orientation and positioning for each of the modules I began to create finalized blue prints for each of the parts that I was going to build.


In the pictures below you can see each of the modules that I built for the robot.


The robot performed exceptionally well during the contest. The Wall Crawler module was able to consistently score 15-25 points per round, and the Wedge module was able to succesfully disable each robot that I went up against. This combination of offensive and defensive strategies proved unstoppable.

See you in Brazil