Need Some Distance Learning Ideas for COVID-19?

Here’s a short list of some of the things that you could do in CIM class with your kiddos while trying out distance learning. All will require a computer (That’s what the C in “CIM” stands for!) and some will require software downloaded… but feel free to change them around to fit your needs!

Research Project: Assign students to build a brochure, via google docs to make a brochure on a manufacturing process. Have them find a link to an interesting video on a process, watch it, and then add it to their brochure. Go HERE for the activity with a downloadable template. Go HERE for some exemplars.

Here’s an example of one of the brochures made with the template

Robotics Programming: Just got off the phone with Intellitek, and they said to go HERE to download the PLTW version of the software, and you have the free trial version. Even better is that if you give your students the key from your school district, they can unlock the full version at home. This is legit, and Intelitek said I could share this method via phone support. It will only work with this version! Wait! It gets better! Go HERE to get video tutorials for a lot of the Robocell projects!

Fusion Basics: Students can do some 3D modeling using fusion if they sign up in the autodesk student community. All of my students already have an account, then they log into their 360 account and use Fusion 360 in their browser! Kinda slow, so if you can download it, even better! The post HERE has downloadable worksheets and electronic hand ins for you and the students and a full set of videos to accompany them.

Advanced 3D modeling: Use your favorite software (Inventor/Fusion 360 was used for this activity) to complete these advanced models. The post HERE has downloadable worksheets and electronic hand ins for you and the students so that you can evaluate them from afar.

This would be another activity that you might be able to use as a distance learning project during the COVID-19 outbreak as well.

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Tutorial:Types of Robots & End Effectors

Special thanks to ExploreGate for their series of two minute videos on robot types and gripper types. See their whole channel here.

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Project Idea: USB Powered LED Sign

All files for this project are attached in a zip file at the link below. These files include:
  • All inventor part files: tweak to your heart’s content
  • DWG Files to check tolerances
  • STL  files for a 3D Printer
  • Laser files for the cover & Sign
  • Various pictures to help with assembly
reddownloadUSB LED Sign Project CnJ


IntroductionSign night

After doing an expensive LED light up sign project last year (with a grant) with my CIM students, I was looking for a low cost alternative. In comes Scott Tobias, new CIM master teacher from Maryland. Thanks Scott for the great idea! You can make these signs for less than $3.00 apiece, depending on what you make the base out of. We 3D printed them at UK with an Affinia printer, as they were prototypes, but they could easily be CNC’d from Wax, Wood, or Renshape.

Parts List

The resistors are $0.05, the cable about $1.50 per end (cut the cable in half to make two!) and the LED’s about $0.50 each. That means the guts are only about $2.00 each!  Great deal, and your students will love how the LED’s fade through all the colors of the rainbow, and you will love how it does it automatically, because it is built into the chip!  NO PROGRAMMING or COSTLY MICROCONTROLLERS. Thanks AdaFruit! Video of how it works HERE.


  1. Build the base. CNC or 3D print. Try to make sure that the LED comes in contact with the acrylic sign. Please see the enclosed Inventor Section view file for the dimensions and constraints. Also be sure to leave room in the base for all of the electronics.
  2. Design and build the sign. The more angles the better, as it will show off the light. Be sure to take into account the tolerance fit between the slot and the plastic. MEASURE the acrylic. It is NEVER really 0.125″!
  3. When engraving the sign, the deeper the engraving, the better it looks. Invert the text and print on the back!
  4. Assemble the parts. Sign into base, wire through side, Hot glue the led into slot,  THEN solder!
  5. Solder the cathode, short leg of LED, to the 68Ω resistor.
  6. Solder the resistor to the BLACK wire of the USB cable.
  7. Solder the RED wire to the other side of the LED. Do NOT solder the green or white wires; do not even strip them!
  8. When soldering, you could use heat shrink tube to prevent short circuits.
  9. Insert the cover into the base. We cut the cover out of  the same acrylic we made the sign out of, and just made it 0.005″ bigger in Inventor, and pressed it in. The hole in the bottom is there to pry it out if necessary.
led sign bubbles
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I can’t seem to get EdgeCAM or your Flow Arm to work, or any of the other CIM Software for that matter. What should I do?


Well, don’t cry; that doesn’t work. I’ve tried it. Screaming and yelling does not seem to work either. So here’s an idea:

Download the following Chris and Jim coloring pages!  That’s right! PDF coloring pages of yours truly! Download and make as many copies as you want, and have your kids color them in with crayons or markers or colored pencils; the options are endless!

Just click on the pictures below to download us! Don’t say we didn’t give you anything for Christmas!

This is a picture of me at CalPoly while mountain biking at Puddingstone reservoir! Chris_teaser

This is a picture of Jim when he came out to Cazenovia last Spring to do the Lynx Robotics update!

Any more questions?      
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What vocabulary is necessary to be successful in CIM, wether as a student or teacher; in the classroom or at CTI?


Great question, as many studies have shown that a strength in vocabulary leads to success in ALL areas, and this includes CIM and manufacturing education.

Black_DownloadClick HERE to get the list as a PDf download.

Below is a list to get started. Inventor
Assembly file .iam Part file .ipt Design 2D Sketch Mode Finish Sketch
Create (Component in Place) Part / Model Mode Line Constraints
Work Origin Plane XY Feature 2-Point Rectangle Coincident Constraint
New 2D Sketch Extrude Join and Cut 3 Point Arc Equal Constraint
Work Plane Loft Center Point Circle Tangent Constraint
Return (Finish Part) Fillet 3D Construction Line Slice Graphics
Offset (Loop & No Loop) Derive Part
Fillet 2D
Design Mode Offset Manufacture Mode % Step Over
Auto Stock Line Post Cut Increment
CPL/PRZ Text ToolStore Boundary
Create CPL Transform/Translate Roughing Operation Lead Radius
Select CPL Distance / Measure Speed (Spindle) Use Current Tool
Feature Finder Feed Rate Profiling Operation
Boss (Island) Plunge Feed Rate Surface Operation
Pocket Climb Hole Operation
Hole Conventional Slot Cycle
Profile Loop (Feature Finder) Optimized Parallel Lace
Mill Feature (Feature Finder) Clearance Constant Cusp
Hole (Feature Finder) Depth Z Level Finishing
Geometry from Loops Level Cycle Time
Preparatory Code (G) Miscellaneous Code (M) Speed Rate Origin / PRZ / CPL
G90 Absolute M02 End Program Feed Rate Datum
G91 Relative / Incremental M03 Spindle On (Needs S) Plunge Rate Modal
G00 Rapid Traverse M05 Spindle Off Block Plunge
G01 Straight Line Interpol M06 Tool Change Address Character Retract
G02 Cir Interpolation CW M30 Program End and Reset Parameter Safe Position / Clearance
G03 Cir Interpolation CCW M08/M09 Accessory 1 on/off Word Jig
G04 Dwell (Needs F) M10/M11 Accessory 2 on/off X Axis Fixture
G05 Pause Y Axis Numerical Control (NC)
G20 Inch Mode F = Feed Rate or Time Z Axis Pneumatic Vise
G21 Millimeter Mode Chip Load / Tool Feed XY and IJ and R Machinist Vise
Comment Cutting Speed-Surface ft/min Ball Screw Strap and Step Clamp
Acme Screw
Tool Center Point (TCP) Tool Cutter Compensation Tool Height Offset
CNC Motion
Home Setup Library Verify Setting Operator Control
Verify Setup Tool Wizard Stock/Vise Single Step
Run / Cycle Start / Simulate Select Tool Feed Override End Mill
Pause Set Position Speed Override Ball End Mill
Stop Run Setting Jog Control Bull End Mill
Estimate Run Time Arc Centers Incremental Step Jog Taper End Mill
Jog Control Go to Position Continuous Jog Non-Center Cutting
Work Space Send Tool to Corner Soft Limits Center Cutting
 Robot C
Open Sample Program Digital Sensor Natural Language Compile
Pseudo Code Touch Sensor Task main Debugger
Pragma Quadrature Encoder If-Else Loops Firmware (Master / RobotC)
Motors and Sensors Setup Sonar / Ultrasonic While Loops Platform Type
Motor Analog Sensor Variables
Motor 269 Potentiometer Functions
Motor 393 Light Sensor / Photo Cell Void
Flashlight / LED Line Follower / Infrared Open and Closed Loop
Motor Controller LED Normally Open
Servo DigitalPort Normally Closed
MotorPort Until Feedback
Motor Backlash Wait
ER4U Axis Control Program Flow Inputs and Outputs
Peripheral Open Gripper Wait If Input
Feeder Close Gripper Jump Turn on Output
PLM1000 Go Linear Remark Turn off Output
Controller Setup Go Circular Set Variable to Computation Joints Movement
If Jump XYZ Movement
Record Position Work Envelope Label
Teach Position Payload Follow Me Camera
Roll Reset Workcell Servo Motor Run Single Line
Pitch Dialog Bars Stepper Motor
Get Position Home Encoder
Send Robot to Object Degrees of Freedom
Elements of Power
Ampere Power Watt
Electrical Current (I) Revolutions per Min (RPM) Work
Force Servo Motor
Horsepower (HP) Stepper Motor
Hydraulic Torque
Joule Velocity
Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI) Viscosity
Pneumatic Voltage (V)
Flowbotics Studio
Handshaking Calibration Joint Movement
End Effector Work Envelope AL5D XYZ Movement
Input Servo Motor Record Spare Servo
Output Payload Pause Accuracy
Optoisolator Schematic Copy Reliability
Relay Loop Delete Repeatability
Resistor Step Global Speed
Breadboard Sequence SSC-32
AGV ASRS Automation CAD
CAM CIM Dependent Variable Independent Variable
JIT Kaizen Six Sigma Variable
Fixed Cost Value-Added Non-Value Added (NVA) Overhead
Profit Raw Material Variable Cost Durability
Design Flaw Quality Control Ethics / Morality Defective
FDM Stereolithography Laser Sintering 3D Printing
LOM Prototype Subtractive Process Additive Process
Post Processing Build Time Exhaustible Resource Renewable Resource
Inventory Control PLC Microcontroller FMS
Process Design Chart Workcell
Flow Process Chart
Operation Delay Transportation Storage

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Jim Hanson

Chris Hurd