Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
Inspiring students, one robot at a time.

Chassis Rails Supports


Entry ID #: 2047
Created: Sat, Jan 9, 2016 12:26 AM

NYIT has been competing in the VEX U college division for the last 5 years with our accomplishments being largely aided by advancements in technology.  Amongst these major developments include improvements in computer-aided design technologies.  Using Autodesk Inventor, our team has designed many parts for the VEX competitions.  NYIT's career being a part of VEX has been a great experience for all of our students as well as our school. This past year we attended the 2014-2015 VEX World Competition held in Louisville, Kentucky.  We finished 16th in the world and earned the Build Award for our innovative CAD parts for both of our robots.  In  the VEX U Division we have to design two robots.  Last year, we designed multiple parts for both of our robots but were restricted to the use of two 3D parts total, both within the bounds of 3” x 3” x 3”.  This year, the new Game Rules allow for an unlimited number of 3D parts within 6” x 6” x 6”.  As a team, we decided to design and incorporate as many 3D parts for our robots this year to help increase the overall performance of the robots.  With new game rules and majority of the points based on a team’s field strategy, the bonus of 50 points if one of your robots can elevate the partner robot makes a significant difference in the winning or losing of a match. Our small robot must have the ability to be elevated.  With this being a key task, our small robot would need to have tall enough from the bottom of the wheel to the bottom of our chassis in order to clear the side edge of the ramp.  We attempted to secure the rails together with various VEX parts, but it was not conducive to a proper drivetrain. We then decided that a custom piece would be necessary, the best way to design the custom piece to hold our chassis rails together was via 3D design software.  The final product would be both strong and lightweight.  Our robot will be able to use these chassis braces which are stronger and simpler to use than metal, allow for a smooth climb up the ramp, and ensure that we remained within our 15” x 15” x 15” size restriction.  As our design is used in conjunction with VEX parts, it can be used for any game that uses ramps (Nothing But Net) or even bumps (Toss Up).  Our design could even be designed and sold through VEX if designed for VEX Robotics as a manufactured part.   While working on the chassis rails supports, from the initial standoff method to the 3D parts, we learned that even something as simple as connecting two pieces of metal together is a critical engineering process, especially when there are moving parts involved.  3D design software such as Inventor opens up a world of possibilities for structural designs.  This is especially useful for members of a competitive robotics team because the general parts available for use restrict the designs that we can use.  The incorporation of 3D parts helps overcome these limitations; functional creativity and imagination are the only limits.  We will continue to use Inventor not only for robotics competitions, but also for our individual and group design projects that we work on during the academic year and at home.  As our team is composed of mainly electrical and mechanical engineers, it is necessary for us to understand how to use CAD software for schematics and 3D design software for prototyping.  Having a working knowledge of both strengthen our skillset and make us more well-rounded engineers.

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