Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
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Advanced Angle Gussets


Entry ID #: 2261
Created: Tue, Jan 12, 2016 2:28 PM

This is my sixth year competing in Vex robotics and ever since my rookie year, I have wanted a larger variety of angle gussets. My fellow club members and teammates share this opinion. After years of frustration wondering when someone would make a part allowing me to better stabilize and connect angled joints, I realized I was someone and I could do something about it. This led to the creation of the Advanced Angle Gusset set that I have submitted for the challenge. I cannot wait until next year when I graduate from the high school division and move into Vex U so I can actually use the 3-D printed part in my design. This series, the Advanced Angle Gussets, is meant to increase the variety of angle gussets available. Currently, Vex has a forty five degree angle gusset and a ninety degree gusset set. Unlike the forty five degree gusset set, the ninety degree gusset set has both a flat gusset and a corner piece. The corner pieces are very useful and increases the structural stability of the joint tremendously. On multiple occasions, a similar part for forty five degree angles would have been very useful. In 2011’s game, roundup, we made a holonomic octagon base. With only the forty five degree angle gussets and no corner pieces, the base was flimsy and often bent and deformed mid match. If we had these brackets, the base would have been much easier to build. This year, other teams in my club are building similar octagon bases and most of them are having difficulty keeping their base from flexing while also keeping them lightweight. The Advanced Gusset Series contains a variety of new parts that increase the flexibility of the Vex robotics design system. This set includes forty five degree corner brackets in various lengths. The corner brackets come in three sizes. The first size is the standard two hole size that resembles the pre-existing ninety degree corner brackets. The second size is five holes long and fits perfectly in the wider c-channels. This part is designed to give more rigidity to the common holonomic octagon base design. The most innovative aspect of this system is the third size: the gusset channels. These channels are long continuous gussets that can either be used hole to connect long pieces together or cut to custom lengths to fit seamlessly into a specific design. This gives new flexibility and rigidity to complex angle designs. The entire set is designed to be made out of Aluminum 5052 H32. This is the same alloy the other corner brackets and the Vex Aluminum c-channels are made from. This part would not be difficult to manufacture. It is simply a stamped sheet of aluminum bent to 45 degrees. It is how most of the prexsisting parts are already created. It is also the same thickness as the aluminum used in the ninety degree gussets and corner brackets and uses the same shape of slotted holes. This helps make the part easy to manufacture with the currently exsisting equiptment and materials.  To complete this online challange, I used my Engineering Design process. First I defined the problem (Octogon bases are hard to renforce). I then set constraints like material thickness, and fitting with other pieces. After that, I brainstormed possible solutions and selected the best idea (the new gussets). After that, I created a virtual Prototype in Inventor to solidify the design. I used Autodesk to test the virtual model against my constraints. To do this, I created the assembly drawings to test the fit and cohesiveness. I then created the prototype with a 3-D printer and tested the fit again. Finnally, I thought of how I would manufacture the part and what design modificiations it needs. This process is basically the design process we use in my team.  I created this part in Autodesk Inventor. I have been using this 3-D modeling software since freshman year of high school. This part was extremely easy to create. I wanted the part to fit seamlessly with existing parts so it would be useful. I looked at the dimensions of pre existing parts and modeled the new part from scratch. I used dimenstions from prexsisting parts and gussets to guide my design. I drew one set of holes and pattered them to give the longer piecies more holes than the shorter ones.  It was a fairly easy part to make. Although it took hours to find the idea for the part, it took less than an hour to make the individual parts. The overall assembly to show its use however was a bit timeconsuming. To make assembly easier, I created imates on the parts so screws and metal can easily be attatched to the CAD image.  I love using Autodesk Inventor to model new ideas and assemblies. I have difficulty hand drawing three dimensional concept sketches so explaining ideas to my team was very difficult before I learned Inventor. Now, I can create crisp virtual models to aid in explaining my ideas and everyone can understand them. Inventor is vital to my team’s design process because it allows us to clearly express our ideas and designs. It also helps us save time and plan ahead. From the models, we can discern exsactly what parts we will need, what order they need to be assembled in, and where each piece goes. Knowing these things before we start building is very benificial because we have a clear, established design to build upon.  I use Inventor inside and outside the classroom. I attend a STEM Magnet school and take multiple engineering classes. I often use the Inventor skills I learned in Vex to help complete my school work. I will continue to use Inventor in my future college years and beyond. I will be pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering next year, when I head off to college. Inventor will always be a part of my personal design process and the skills I have learned through vex will remain with me forever.  


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