Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
Online Challenges

Hidden Hinge


Entry ID #: 2503
Created: Wed, Jan 13, 2016 12:03 AM

Our team created a 3D printed hidden hinge for VEX robotics. We designed this hinge to make constructing hinges and swining mechanisms easier. Using normal VEX pieces, it would be very difficult to construct a hinge that doesn't pivot directly on an axle. The hidden hinge, however, does not pivot directly on an axle like a normal hinge. Another advantages is that hidden hinges are on the opposite side of the joint than a normal (house door) hinge. On a house door, the hinge is on the same side of the door that the door opens toward; whereas on the hidden hinge, the hinge is on the opposite side of the door.

This comes in handy in many situations. On our robot, we wanted to design a variable angle ramp. The ramp would be used to help aim the balls shot from out robot. The angle of the ramp would determine the of angle the ball's trajectory as it is shot out of our robot. The issue we had when designing this ramp was that with a standard door hinge, the hinge was blocking the ramps path. However, once we implemented a hidden hinge, the hinge no longer blocked the balls path.

The hidden hinge was completely designed with Autodesk Inventor. Each peice of the hinge was modeled separetly and then the parts were assembled in an assembly. In the assembly, joints and constraints were added to each peice, so that the hinge could be simulated in Inventor. Using this simulation tool, each link of the hidden hinge was modified until the desired hinge movement was attained.

Our team learned how to simulated all of the hinge pieces and test how they would work together using Autodesk Inventor. Learning how to simulate the peices before ever 3D printing them saved time and energy. In the future, using Autodesk Inventor will be usefull for designing more 3D printable parts. After learning to to simulate things using Inventor, our team can now save time (which is precious in competive robotics) by simulating robot functions before building them. 

A few of our team members will benifit greatly from learning 3D CAD modeling software. Some of them are going into mechanical engineering, so 3D CAD software is an essential tool. 3D CAD software also opens the door to 3D printing and fast prototying - both of which are necessary for a good mechanical engineer.

Links / Videos

This is a short video demonstration of our teams 3D printed VEX hidden hinge.

This is a video demonstration of our teams 3D printed VEX hidden hinge. This shows a close-up and easy to see view of the hinge while it actuates.

This is a CAD Rendering of the hidden hinge.

This is another CAD rendering of our teams hidden hinge. In this rendering, it shows how the VEX parts would be attached to the hinge.