Entry ID #: 2536
Created: Wed, Jan 13, 2016 1:35 AM
Introduction Vex plates and channels include a series of square holes arranged into a grid so that other parts can be connected using screws and nuts. This allows for easy assembly of structures that are built using only right angles, such as the stand chassis for a Clawbot Robot. But what about structures that are not rectangular in nature? Sure, 45° angles can be made using angle gussets, but what about structures that require 30° or 60° angels? The Hex Plate enables the assembly of structures that were previously impossible. This is because the Hex Plate contains a series of hexagonal holes, arranged not into a grid, but rather into a honeycomb. This allows for any standard vex plate or channel to be attached at 30°, 60°, 120°, and 180° angles with the Hex Plate. The Hex Plate fundamentally changes the way parts are put together. No longer must designs conform to orthogonal measures, as the Hex Plate enables the construction of novel robots with structures of unique shape. The Hex Plate gives students the ability think outside the rectangular box and enter the world of unregulated, hexagonal design. Explanation of Potential Use The uses of this plate are unbounded. For example, a structurally sound 3-wheel holonomic drivetrain can be easily made, allowing for more conservative motor use as shown in the image of our hypothetical 3-wheeled pushbot. More complicated robots could involve novel intake pathways that start out open and narrow towards the end. One could even fashion a hexagonal base plate upon which virtually any structure could be built. Explanation of Design Process We made a hexagon whose apothem is that of a normal vex hole, allowing screws and nuts to fit through. We then extended a rectangular pattern to make a larger plate, which can be cut into virtually any needed shape, like the triangle piece used on our example pushbot. From this we extruded the space between the holes to make a standard sized sheet. Conclusion Although our Hex Plate is clean and simple in function, we learned a lot from designing this part. We learned how to extend patterns for the first time, as well as how to integrate polygons We will certainly use Inventor in the future, as some of our team members wish to pursue this skill prossionally, and the rest of us just do it for fun and for presenting our robotics ideas in our engineering notebook. In competitive as well as personal use, Inventor allows us to model our ideas in the best way possible. We believe presentations with CAD are the best way to communicate ideas because they are clearer than any picture or drawing could ever be. 3D design software will be essential to our progression into the professional world because all engineering requires documentation and CAD is a wonderful way of designing things.