Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
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Axle Support

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Entry ID #: 8695
Created: Mon, Dec 7, 2020 5:07 PM


The idea of the part, known as “Axle Support,” came from a dilemma of team 751A’s competition of the last year. There was a long axle going through the width of their bot that bent under the stress from the weight of the motors and gears attached to it. This 1 inch by 0.5 inch part, composed of a bracket on the back of a metal spacer shaped chamber, is meant to reinforce axles bending or malforming under the pressure of gears and motors attached to it.

The use of this part is simple and effective. The bracket on the back of the metal chamber would be screwed into and mounted onto existing pieces of metal on a VEX robot. The axle currently in use on the robot, would be inserted through the metal chamber held up by the tightly secured bracket. This would allow the axle more stability and reinforcement at the section the “Axle Support” is applied in order to prevent bendage of the piece and preserve functionality of the axle. In terms of application to a VEX robot, the piece would be screwed into a piece of metal, near an axle under pressure or susceptible to bending, and the axle would be thread through it. This would not majorly change the bot’s design as a whole, while simultaneously reinforcing the integrity of axles already on the bot that is either weak, at risk of bending, or needs further support. It would have fit team 751A’s VEX robot design from last year’s competition because there was a large metal piece near the bending axle they had. Applying the “Axle Support”  to that metal and allowing the axle to pass through it would have been a simple one piece change to their design that would increase the efficiency of their lifting mechanism associated with the axle, as the axle would no longer be bent and would allow for more proper rotation of the part by the motor and gears already in use. 

To design the “Axle Support” piece, team 751A of Bonita Vista High School utilized version 2.0.9313 of Autodesk’s Fusion 360 CAD software. The 3D design software CAD was utilized to form both the 1 inch long and 0.5 inch wide steel chamber for the axle to slide through, as well as the 0.5 inch wide bracket pieces that are connected to the chamber and attach to standard metal VEX pieces. The chamber was formed through the manipulation of 4.6 millimeter and 8 millimeter spacers which were aligned together to have a total length equal to the specified length required to create the single metal chamber. When properly aligned, the spacers replicated the shape, length and functionality of the one piece steel chamber the team set to design. The Fusion 360 CAD software was also utilized to create the brackets through modification of existing parts. A cylinder rod pivot was the base for this part of the design. Team 751A’s members removed the centerpiece of the cylinder pivot rod, including the metal protruding out from it. What was left was the general shape of the brackets needed, which were then slightly reshaped and resized according to the calculated measurements preplanned by the team. The two pieces were created separately in different files. Once complete they were moved into the same file and combined in the proper format to finalize the piece. Using the modify tool and its join option, team 751A combined the chamber and brackets together to create the “Axle Support” pieces as one whole.

Throughout the process, team 751A’s members learned a multitude of lessons about the VEX robotics design process and Autodesk’s Fusion 360 3D design program known as CAD. They found that the use of a part comes from the nature of its components and their contribution to the part as a whole, knowledge gained from having to manipulate previously existing parts then merging the newfound ones together in order to create a final product. They realized, based on the amount of ideas addressed during the part brainstorm in which each part concept solved its own unique problem, that the arrival of numerous logistical issues during robot construction is a natural part of the VEX robotics design process. The team also discovered that although there are many challenges that come with VEX robot design and many approaches and solutions to such hardships. This conclusion was drawn as they ruled out selection of certain part ideas for submission, based on the notion that there were solutions to problems the parts addressed that could be solved using currently existing VEX parts. In terms of the CAD software, team 751A looks forward to working with Fusion 360 in the future because of the functions available via CAD for part manipulation, that are not available in person, which helped speed up the design process and the troubleshooting aspects of it. The 3D design software is essentially an expansion of the team’s problem solving toolset that they found useful to both test new ideas, experiment with designs and address current problems, fostering a more creative and innovative learning environment. Team 751A plans to continue the use of Autodesk’s 3D design software in order to take advantage of the new opportunities and options to innovate and engineer that were not previously known to, but now are of great assistance to Bonita Vista High School’s robotics program.

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