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

C-Rail

2

trvrsalom
Entry ID #: 2524
Created: Wed, Jan 13, 2016 1:11 AM


Our VEX CAD Challenge submission is a reimagined angle gusset. In the past, one of our teams, 254E, has encountered time-consuming and unnecessary issues when trying to connect VEX parts in perpendicular arrangements . We would attempt to solve such issues by using the VEX standard angle gussets, but they would easily bend and were not reliable for supporting heavier weights or handle the stress of shock and vibrations, as characterized by our team’s own linear puncher which has considerable recoil. We planned to use an ugly assortment of rails and angle gussets to strengthen our linear puncher’s connection to our drive base to make it  sturdy and reliable; however, we ended up making an unappealing design that strayed far from our original intentions in our pre-CADed robot. We hope to remedy this situation, by designing a specific gusset, a C-Rail that is far more stable, stronger, and reliable than the current options. Rather than a gusset which only connects with C-Channels in single rows of 3-holes, the C-Rail is a piece which easily slips around a three-faced C-channel (or any 2 hole wide VEX pieces) and connects to another VEX piece easily, providing maximum stability and strength. The beauty and advantage of using our piece over other substitute is that our C-Rail connector slips around a C-Channel. This is far better because C-channels are stronger than the L-channels & rails and more suitable for more strenuous designs. This piece will also easily accommodate any robot’s design. Rather than switching out a C-channel with a Rail when perpendicular support is needed, this piece easily slips around the C-Channel and allows the Roboticist to slip in some solid screws and solve any issues with ease. The advantage of this design compared to screwing one C-channel to another C-channel is that the weight is supported directly on top of the other C-Channel rather than some 3/32 screws being the only thing keeping the weight on top of the C-channel up. Using our experience from CADding out different designs of possible VEX robots and ideas, we made this piece with relative ease. We extruded the boss of a sketched out C-channel to encompass a regular C-channel and then created another extrusion on the bottom to make the perpendicular connection. Once we had the solid metal piece, we cut out the slots for the screws. Using the good old fashioned ruler, we made our piece accurate in every measurement to the nearest ten thousandth to make our piece even more accurate. We made this piece with two hole long slots rather than two separate holes for each face, because we felt that would contradict the purpose of the part. The intention of this design is to provide any robot design the maximum versatility and ease of engineering. The slots allow the user to align screws in any space in the slot if the design calls for that, but if they ever need a standard perpendicular connection, they can use this for absolute strength and support. Using the CAD, we were able to quickly 3D print the design, and make any changes necessary, allowing us to achieve a level of iteration that would have never been possible before. In conclusion, our part will ease the life of VEX Roboticists worldwide, including our own. As a team which continues the standard of excellence at Team 254 robotics, we knew this piece would help our robots. This project opened our eyes to the boundless advantages to CADding. All too often, students on VEX teams will come up with a design they want to implement, but have difficulty articulating their idea to the other members of their team. Having a 3D visual of the design created using CAD software solves this issue, and also allows every teammate to have a better understanding of even the most complex robots. Additionally, having a blueprint of the robot beforehand will allow the many errors and obstacles faced in robotics engineering to be found and prevented ahead of time in the CAD model. Learning CAD also helps to cultivate the STEM aspect of VEX, as the ability to CAD will prepare any high school student for futures in Scientific or Engineering careers, as I plan to do in the field of Mechanical engineering - a future I wish to pursue because of my exposure to it through robotics. In this field, every step and project would have to fully planned out and defined before any construction can begin, lest money be wasted ending with my job termination. Accessible CAD software can change VEX for the better if more teams utilize this software in their design process, which will help students grow as engineers into the careers they wish to pursue.    

Files

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Links / Videos

Download the .stp file for the C-Rail.