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MIT student blogger Snively '11

2.670 Wrapup by Snively '11

I'm done!

As I mentioned here, I’m taking a class called 2.670 during IAP this year. 2.670 is the class that almost every Mechanical Engineering sophomore takes during their IAP since it leads into 2.007, one of the most famous robotics classes at MIT.

Last time I only had pictures of some parts and a toolbox, but now that I’ve finished building my robot I figured I should let you know how things went.

Let’s talk about some of the tools we used first. We used band saws

to cut some aluminum brackets. We used mills

to drill holes in some polystyrene brackets, and we used lathes

to turn and tap a plug for the end of our bottle. A tool we didn’t use, but look really fancy is a pipe bender.

In addition to using heavy machinery, there was a lot of “station work” where students would wander around to various tables to assemble various parts. There was the riveting table, the caster wheel table, the shoulder bolt table, etc. For much of the two weeks, the lab looked a lot like this:

There was also some wiring and coding going on, which justifies the giant table full of random wires, USB->Serial adapters, and 7-segment displays.

After two weeks of assembling and coding (and a little painting) I ended up with . . .

I like to call it a spastic spider bot, even though he only has two legs. I call him spastic because even if you tell him to go straight, he’ll still kind of go wherever he wants. The proof is in the video, I guess, so I present to you what a spastic spider bot looks like when he’s supposed to go straight, turn right, turn left, and then repeat. That’s right, theoretically there’s order to what you’re about to see.

So now I’m done. I have a pistol competition at West Point in a couple of days (this one) and I plan on trying to clean my room/get organized before term starts. Also, Toy Design starts soon and I’m really excited for that! I’m filming this year (have I mentioned that?) and get to visit Hasbro!

Ok, one last thing. Somebody (I don’t remember who) asked about laptops for MechE. I have a different answer now than I’ve had in the past.

If you buy a new laptop now from almost any manufacturer, it’s going to come pre-installed with Vista. SolidWorks DOES NOT run on Vista. No, I don’t care if it’s the Vista version of SolidWorks, it doesn’t work. I’ve tried it on a computer more than capable of running it, I’ve talked to the CAD guys at Hasbro, and I’ve talked with other people. If you’re going to be MechE and run SolidWorks (which you’ll have to) then you NEED Windows XP. Thus, your options are:

1) Buy a Vista laptop and then swap out Vista for XP (MIT will give you a free copy of Windows XP).
2) Buy a Mac and use BootCamp to dual boot with XP (this is what I’m doing, it’s working great)
3) Do whatever you want and use lab computers to run SolidWorks (not ideal)
4) Complain that SolidWorks should run on Linux and then write some crazy code to make it work (also not advised/necessarily possible).

Hope that helps! Happy January!

44 responses to “2.670 Wrapup”

  1. Michelle says:

    4) Complain that SolidWorks should run on Linux and then right some crazy code to make it work (also not advised/necessarily possible).

    There’s a 5th option – you can run a virtual machine with XP on it. This is a shameless plug for the company I work at, but also a good alternative. Huzzah!

    Also, Vista is one of the worst OS’s out there, regardless of MechE stuff. It’s best to avoid it altogether and revert to good ol’ XP. I use XP x64 and I’m very happy.

  2. anonymous says:

    Hey Snively,

    “4) Complain that SolidWorks should run on Linux and then right some crazy code to make it work (also not advised/necessarily possible).”

    You mean ‘write’, right? wink

  3. akhila says:

    Your spastic spider bot does seem to be a very self dependant robot and you did a really goo job. Congrats and good luck for your shooting competetion.

  4. Anonymous says:

    6th (and best) option:

    Dual boot Vista and XP (dear god don’t get a mac)

  5. Cam says:

    Other options:
    a) Suck it up and run Solidworks in Vista (I do it, have been for about a year… then again, I haven’t updated my 2007-2008 copy to the 2008-2009 one yet, so maybe this option doesn’t work)

    b) Suck it up and run Solidworks in Linux (with a VM, sure, but it’s better than running it in OS X or Vista. I’ve had virtualbox recommended to me for this purpose by somebody who does it successfully)

    Speaking of sucking (yes this whole thing was one giant to medium-size lead-in pun), Snively, your robot might be better if it blew tongue laugh Use the solenoid to uncap the bottle and then watch things really get spastic. (Not saying your robot sucks, of course, just saying… it doesn’t blow. Literally.)

  6. Cam says:

    Oh, I guess my option b) was commenter Michelle’s option. I was just pointing out that you can use VMs in Linux, too, because you mentioned them only in the context of Macs.

  7. Michelle says:


    I didn’t specify which OS to run the VM from for exactly that reason :D

  8. Harrison says:

    What are you talking about? Before I downgraded to XP I ran SolidWorks on Vista and it worked a bit better/looked nicer than it does on XP. I agree though that XP is a much more stable and friendly OS and I recommend that Windows users run it if possible.

  9. Yan says:

    Is that the Pappalardo lab? It brings back the DME memories.

  10. LEquita says:

    Oh muh gawd i am ghetto…

    How you had bilt dat robot?

    Readin yo blogs maks me fuhl ghetto cuz I don’t bild robots. I can barely even read.



  11. Cam says:

    Yep, that’s pappalardo.

  12. Matt A. says:

    So does anyone know anything about any kind of software for ChemE and it’s OS requirements??? I’m on a Mac now.

  13. MIT '12 says:

    vista vista vista; it’s a robust OS. I don’t understand the bad rap it’s getting. I’ve been running everything from solidworks to fallout and it works. It’s light years more user friendly and ergonomic than XP… if your machine can run it (i.e was made after 2004) use vista.

  14. Snively says:

    The summer before school starts there will be an application to be a blogger. You will have to submit your current blog and write a few essays. Then the admissions staff goes through and tries to pick a diverse group of bloggers.

    @Kam ’13
    Those are the electronics for moving the piece on the mill around. It just looks like it’s attached to the trash can.

    16 is pretty big here, it’s got a following. As for SolidWorks, I can see how you would, but I don’t know for sure. They may focus more on some specialized aero/astro software. I know MatLab is a biggie, but that’s not actually modeling so I couldn’t say for sure. I can ask around though.

  15. anonymous says:

    I love you liitle spastic robot!
    It’s so cute!

  16. Aditya says:

    Those guys working together = scary.

  17. another 12 says:

    HELP- I can’t breathe I can’t find the MIT patern in today’s screen background I can’t stand it after 15 months of breathing fresh art designs almost daily – where is it? The MIT ?

  18. Aditya says:

    Oh, BTW, is blogging only open to EA students?

  19. Ashwin says:

    Nice spastic spider bot =)
    Why spider though?

  20. Steph says:

    “Ok, one last thing. Somebody (I don’t remember who) asked about laptops for MechE. I have a different answer now than I’ve had in the past.”

    Thanks for answering my question, Snively. I thought about the Boot Camp option for Mac. Decisions…decisions.

  21. Snively says:

    @Another 12

    It’s right here

  22. Anonymous says:

    Ok can anyona tell me how can one become a blogger at MIT

  23. Angelina says:

    Ok can anyona tell me how can one become a blogger at MIT

  24. Angelina says:

    Thanks for that Snively.I don’t wanna trouble you, but how can we know about the application for blogging ?

  25. Rebeca '13? says:

    Your bot is kind of adorable ^__^

    Also, I have a question. I’ve been wondering for a while about laser tag at MIT. Are there any clubs or teams devoted to it? Also, are there any really good arenas nearby? I figured you’d be the person to ask since you do pistol, which is kind of like laser tag except not really.

    I’d really appreciate it if you can report back about MIT’s laser tag status!

  26. Kam '13 says:


    What’s that double wire hooked up on the side of the big bin (2nd photo)? Or maybe it’s just a visual effect?

  27. Sudhanshu says:

    What do you think about course 16? How famous is it at MIT?
    Does it require SolidWorks as well?

  28. Anonymous says:

    Solidworks (SP4 2007) works perfectly fine on vista. Your just a noob.

  29. Mak says:

    Hi there…………..

    I am international applicant and I wanted to know
    approx. in which month will MIT declare its results for regular applicants…………..

    help me guys……….

    waiting for reply……….

  30. DOS says:

    that was AWESOME!!!

  31. abc says:

    @ Mak

    Regular applicants find out at the end of March/beginning of April. It should be the same for international students.

    Good luck!

  32. raforther says:

    Snively, can you tell me more about MIT and the XP giveaway program? I am currently using a Vista machine but I miss the stability that XP provided.

  33. Sudhanshu says:

    @ Angelina
    As far as I know, MIT sends the application for blogging by post to admitted students, along with the other admission documents. One of it’s requirements is having your own blog.

  34. Anonymous says:

    So, did you ever settle with Star Simpson on Electrofuzzles?

  35. Anonymous says:

    It doesn’t run on Linux?

  36. Pistol competition!!!11one!

    …Can non-U.S citizens join that? I was pretty wicked with an M-16 during my military service raspberry

  37. FYI, I just missed the line describing the pistol competition last time I read through your post XD

  38. angelina says:

    Thanks for the piece of info sudhanshu.

  39. Anonymous says:

    DONT try to run SolidWorks on a virtual machine in OS X. It’s fine if all you need to do is make simple, single part files, but if you even attempt to open an assembly file you’re screwed. I have the 2.8 GHz 4 GB memory MacBook Pro and I’ve tried using SolidWorks in Parallels. Long story short: fail. It can be a quick fix, but is in no way a solution to the problem.

    Suck it up a dual boot with XP, it works great!

  40. marcus says:

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  41. marcus says:

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