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

Ball and Socket Latch


Entry ID #: 2912
Created: Thu, Dec 22, 2016 1:08 PM

The part I created is called a ball and socket latch. I began concepts of this idea in my engineering notebook after struggling for many days on a mechanism to lock our claw inside of the 18x18x18 inch size requirements for robots in the VEX robotics competition. The ball and socket latch is designed so that you can attach each of the two pieces, the ball and the socket, to two separate faces and pop them into each other to hold them together. Under a medium amount of pressure, the two would separate and become independent of one another until they are connected back to each other again.  I used Autodesk Inventor Professional 2015 to create this part. I began with the base of the socket. I created a 1 inch by 1 inch rectangle and then extruded that 3/10 of an inch to create a platform for the socket to attach to. From there, I created a work plane off the surface of the rectangle to sketch a semi-circle with a radius of 1/4 of an inch. I then  revolved the semi-circle 360 degrees around it's own axis to make a sphere. From this point, I already had the outline of what I wanted to  create and proceeded to utilize a large amount of subtraction beginning with the socket itself. Next, I added a work plane on the top of the sphere and created 4  rectangles equidistant from the center to extrude downwards; this makes slits that allow the socket to expand to allow the ball inside. Final to the sphere, I shelled the inside in order to allow the ball to connect inside to form the joint. For the final steps of the socket, I created 2 0.25 inch circle sketches on the rectangle and extruded them downwards to form holes for the screw. For the last step, I simply added threads for the screw to twist into for grip. After creating the socket, I began making it's counterpart, the ball. The ball was much more simple to create as the most complicated part was figuring out the sizing of the sphere with the thickness of the socket. Like before with the socket, I began with the rectangular base. I created a sketch of a 1 inch by 1 inch rectangle and extruded it by 3/10 of an inch. Next, I made a sketch of a circle on the surface of the rectangle and extruded it 3/4 of an inch outwards creating a cylinder. On top of the cylinder, I created a sketch of a semi-circle with a radius of 1/4 of an inch and then revolved it 360 degrees around it's own axis to complete the piece. In total, the cylinder to the tip of the sphere is 1 inch long. This distance is calculated as neither to long, as to get in the way, nor too short, to prevent usage of the joint.    I have been using Autodesk Inventor for 3 years now. I began in 2014 when I began my school's engineering pathway and the first year I began in VEX Robotics. Since then, I have learned how insanely useful CAD software is. Every year in VEX Robotics we create the first draft of our robot in Inventor before building. Using many of Inventor's tools, we are able to build a parts list for our robot, an assembly using new parts we find, exploded views to assist with accuracy and precision in our building, and simulation for our parts in the animation editor. I have been, and continue to use CAD software extensively to create and prototype our team's robots for the VEX robotics competition. Utilizing this software is one of the most helpful ways to ensure your robot is going to accomplish exactly what you need it to in the VEX robotics competition. Without CAD software, we could go through many versions of the same design before realizing it wont come together how we want, or spend hours on a part of our robot just to find we placed something in the wrong spot and have to take half of it apart to fix it. Autodesk Inventor is absolutely essential to any robotics team that hopes to have status as a world class robotics program.  In my future, I plan to go to college for a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I know from research, that any job in mechanical engineering will require extensive skill in CAD software. Practicing use with CAD software will allow me to build a foundation to build upon in college so I can prepare myself to be very valuable and skilled with CAD so I will be able to make a difference in the world.


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