CFPA National Challenge

2022 Pick n Place Challenge

The Pick n Place Challenge is a hands-on activity that the Canadian Fluid Power Association has developed to bring fluids technology alive! The CFPA is offering a kit that middle school students, working in teams of two, can use to build a fluid-powered lifter device in their classroom.  In addition to exposing students to fluids concepts such as Pascal’s Law, building the device will also show the students how to build a rugged and reliable structure.

What will participating schools receive?

  • One lifter kit for each two students in the participating class and one for the teacher
  • One rotating platform kit for the teacher
  • PDF assembly instructions for both the lifter and rotating platform kits
  • Fundamentals of Fluid Power document

How does Pick n Place Challenge work?

The teacher will assemble their lifter and rotating platform some time prior to their students so that they fully understand the assembly process and can learn where hints will be helpful to the students.

In a regular class, the students will be given the lifter kits and walked through the assembly process. Assembly of the lifter by the students can usually be accomplished in two typical class periods.

After the students have built the lifters, the teacher will use the rotating platform to show students how horizontal linear motion can be translated to rotary motion and demonstrate the difference between pneumatic and hydraulic operation.

We are hoping the teacher will use content from The Fundamentals of Fluid Power document to reinforce Pascal’s Law, the concepts of viscosity, fluid density and inertia, point out the two types of fluid power (hydraulics and pneumatics), and show the students where fluid power is used in the real world. The section Advantages of Fluid Power is quite advanced but may be of interest to some students.

Providing keen students with an extra challenge

Students who want to design their own fluid power device can, either individually or working in teams, enter our competition for the design of a fluid-power actuated gripper using materials like those used for the lifter. Participating students will document their design process in a Design Portfolio that will include either hand-drawn or computer-generated drawings. The Design Portfolio will be evaluated using a published rubric by a national panel of judges and the winner and runner up will be awarded Best Buy gift certificates of $300 and $200, respectively.

The resources that teachers and students will need for the Classroom Lifter Activity and the Grabber Challenge are found here.

For more information on the Pick n Place Challenge, please contact us at


Resources for Classroom Lifter Activity and Grabber Challenge

Notes for Teachers for Pick n Place Challenge

Lifter assembly instructions

Rotating platform assembly instructions

Fluid Power Fundamentals

Grabber scenario

Design portfolio checklist

Design portfolio template

Design portfolio rubric short version

Design portfolio rubric detailed version

Iso-ortho views illustrated

Grabber Challenge Judges’ Scoresheet

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