E&R Unit 1: Mr. BlockMan

Introduction to Autodesk, Sketching, and the Makerspace


This unit will give us an introduction to how to use Autodesk, different kinds of sketching used in engineering, and how to use the tools in our Makerspace safely to build a simple model.  A BlockPerson is:

  • A simple model of a person using rectangular blocks
  • A model made in the computer, drawn in your notebook, and built in the Makerspace

Your Ms. BlockWoman or Mr. BlockMan will be special because you get to make it however you want, and when you’re finished you’ll have two models of different sizes that should be proportionally the same.  As you build your models, you’ll go through three major steps:

  1. Use Autodesk to build a computer model of a person (Ms. BlockWoman or Mr. BlockMan) out of rectangular prisms & 3D Print your model
  2. Use Autodesk diagrams, isometric, multiview, and perspective sketching to draw your model into your notebook
  3. Learn how to safely use the tools in our Makerspace, and use them to create a wooden version of your Ms. BlockWoman or Mr. BlockMan

When you’re done, you’ll have two physical models and multiple diagrams of your model!


(20 pts)  About 3 days

The whole process starts by learning some Autodesk.  You’ll watch a few introductory videos about how to make basic shapes in Autodesk, and then start building different objects.  Your final object will be of your Ms. BlockWoman or Mr. BlockMan! After your design is complete, we’ll export the .STL file and get it printed on our 3D printer!


(20 pts)  About 3 days

For this part, you’ll look into how to use Autodesk to create computer-generated and annotated diagrams of your object.  You’ll then also learn the basics of isometric, multiview, and perspective sketching and create sketches in your engineering notebook.


(30 pts)  About 3 days

Finally, you’ll learn the basics about safety in our Makerspace, and then get into the lab and spend some time building and decorating your Ms. BlockWoman and Mr. BlockMan.  As you get started you’ll need to pass some important safety quizzes, but then you get to build a model that matches the 3D print and your Autodesk mock-up.

Part 1: Autodesk

Using Autodesk to build a 3D model

Know what to look for in Autodesk

The first part of our design process will happen in a program called Autodesk Inventor.  Autodesk Inventor is a program like Google Sketchup that you can use to make 3D models.  As you get more and more practice with it, you’ll be able to make some very impressive models or custom pieces for your robots.  Once you’ve designed your 3D part in Autodesk, we will then use our 3D printers to print a model of it that we can continue to use in the rest of the project.

As you work, the key to success with Autodesk is PATIENCE.


Review the three “Getting Started with Autodesk” videos below, and take some careful notes in your Engineering Notebook.  Autodesk is a confusing program at times, so some careful notes will make all the difference!

Make a few models in Autodesk using rectangular prisms to practice how to use the program.

 Build your Ms. BlockWoman or Mr. BlockMan in Autodesk by following the assignment guide.  Remember that whatever you make in Autodesk you’ll later need to build in the Makerspace.

Have Mr. Benshoof approve your Ms. BlockWoman or Mr. BlockMan, then export the .STL and 3D print your model!

Getting started and how to make a rectangular prism in Autodesk

Making multi-block models

Exporting the .STL for the 3D printer

What’s Due In Part 1: Autodesk

  • Watch Autodesk videos & take notes
  • Make 3 practice solids in Autodesk
  • Build Ms. BlockWoman/Mr. BlockMan in Autodesk
  • Have Mr. Benshoof approve your model
  • Export .STL file and 3D print!

Here’s what’s due in Part 1: Wiring

  1. Watch the 3 Autodesk videos and take notes in your engineering notebook
  2. Practice building solids in Autodesk so you get used to the interface and how to make blocks.  Save at least 3 simple solids as Autodesk Parts (.ipt)
  3. Build your Ms. BlockWoman/Mr. BlockMan in Autodesk using rectangular solids.
  4. Have Mr. Benshoof approve your computer model
  5.  Export the .STL file and get it 3D printed!

Part 2: Sketching

Creating diagrams and sketches

Example Autodesk diagram for a BlockPerson

A big part of engineering and the communication of ideas is to have really good diagrams and sketches of your work.  In this second part, you will create a total of 4 depictions of your Ms. BlockWoman/Mr. BlockMan design.  The first will be made in Autodesk, and the other three will be drawn by hand using three sketching techniques: isometric, multiview, and perspective.

Each of your drawings and sketches should be done carefully and include labels!


 Watch the video on making an Autodesk diagram.  Then use Autodesk to create a diagram of your model using multiple perspectives.  Be sure to add dimension labels!  Print this, fold it, and tape it into your engineering notebook.

 Watch the video on isometric sketching.  Use a ruler and some isometric graph paper to carefully sketch your model.  Be sure to add some labels.  Make a few attempts at the sketch, choose the best one, and cut-and-tape it into your engineering notebook.

 Watch the video on multiview sketching.  Use a ruler and draw a multiview sketch of your model directly into your engineering notebook.  Your drawing should be careful and precise, and should include at least 3 views of the model.

 Watch the video on perspective sketching.  Use a ruler and draw a 1 point linear perspective drawing of your model directly into your engineering notebook.  Your drawing should be careful, and might take a few practice attempts on scratch paper.  

 Have Mr. Benshoof approve all four of your diagrams & drawings before moving on!

Autodesk diagrams

Isometric sketching

Multiview sketching

Perspective sketching

What’s Due In Part 2: Sketching

  • Autodesk Diagram
  • Isometric Sketch
  • Multiview Sketch
  • Perspective Sketch
  • Benshoof’s Checkoff

Here’s what’s due in Part 2: Sketching

  1. Watch the “Autodesk diagrams” video and create your diagram
  2. Watch the “Isometric Sketching” video and create your sketch
  3.  Watch the “Multiview Sketching video and create your sketch
  4. Watch the “Perspective Sketching” video and create your sketch
  5. Have Mr. Benshoof check off your four diagrams & sketches

Part 3: Makerspace

Building a wooden model in our Makerspace

Making Your Model

We will spend a lot of time this year building prototypes and models in our Makerspace.  We have a lot of great tools for working with many different materials, and you’ll get the chance to learn how to use them all over the course of the year.  For this part of our project, we’ll focus on the wood-working tools (saws, drills, hand tools).  You’ll start by learning some safety information and taking safety quizzes, then you’ll go ahead and build a wooden model of your Ms. BlockWoman/Mr. BlockMan.

REMEMBER:  You must pass all safety quizzes before using any tools in the Makerspace!  No exceptions!


 Watch the safety videos for (1) Handtools, (2) Saws, (3) Drills, and (4) Sanders.  Take notes in your notebook as suggested, and ask questions about safe use.

 Take the safety quizzes for each group of tools.  You must get 100% on each quiz in order to be approved to use the Makerspace.

 Watch the “Making Your Model” video and then make a plan for how you are going to build your Ms. BlockWoman/Mr. BlockMan.  What wood will you need?  How big will it be?  What tools will you use?  How will you connect everything?

 Build your model in the MakerSpace!

 If you have extra time, decorate your Ms. BlockWoman/Mr. BlockMan with paint or other details!

Hand Tool Safety & Quiz

Saw Safety & Quiz

Drill Safety & Quiz

Sander Safety & Quiz

What’s Due In Part 3: Makerspace

  • Watch Safety Videos
  • Pass Safety Quizzes With 100%
  • Make a Building Plan
  • Build & Decorate

Here’s what’s due in Part 3: Build It!

  1.  Watch all 4 safety videos and write the necessary information in your engineering notebook
  2.  Take and pass all 4 safety quizzes with 100% (retakes allowed as needed)
  3.  Watch the “Making Your Model” video and write a plan for what/how you’re going to build
  4. Build & decorate your model!

Double Check: Unit Expectations

Check what you need to have completed by the unit deadline

The purpose of this unit is to give you a chance to work in Autodesk, use the 3D printer, learn how engineers sketch their ideas, learn safety procedures for our Makerspace, and get some experience with our tools.  There’s a lot to get done, and you’ll need to stay on-task to be finished by the deadline!  By the unit deadline, you should have completed and be able to submit the following items:

Engineering Notebook:

(Part 1) Autodesk Video notes

(Part 2) Sketching Notes, diagrams, and sketches

(Part 3) Safety Notes

(Part 3) Plan for building your model

Building & Making:

(Part 1) At least three simple Autodesk practice models

(Part 1) Your Autodesk Ms. BlockWoman/Mr. BlockMan

(Part 1) Your 3D Printed Model

(Part 2) Your diagrams & sketches (in your notebook)

(Part 3) Your wooden model

Checkpoints & Quizzes:

(Part 1) Benshoof’s approval of your Autodesk model

(Part 2) Benshoof’s check-off of your diagrams/sketches

(Part 3) 100% on each safety quiz