Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
Online Challenges

Custom Pneumatic Tank Clip


Entry ID #: 4664
Created: Mon, Jan 8, 2018 7:56 PM

    Vex has always been an opportunity for our team to pursue our passion for robotics by presenting us with a challenge and then giving us the freedom to create a unique way of solving the challenge. Building a robot and finding and fixing glitches has taught us essential problem-solving skills. However, there are times when we can identify a problem and know how to fix it but do not have the correct piece because it does not exist. In one such situation, we wanted to use pneumatic tanks on the robot, but since there were no clips to attach it to the robot, we resorted to zip tying it onto the robot which was not very stable at all. This project provided us with a chance to finally design our own pneumatic tank clip.     The clip will be used to hold pneumatic tanks in a more secure, efficient way by including a circular case in which to fit the tanks snugly with two holes in the base wide enough for a bolt that would screw it onto any part of the robot.     When we began this challenge, none of us knew how to CAD using Fusion 360, so we used our knowledge of Solidworks to learn a new software. Those of us who had never CAD before had the opportunity to learn something new. To CAD our pneumatic tank clip, we first sketched out our design and measured the tank to get the dimensions in millimeters. To measure the diameter of the tank, we used a caliper. Then, using Fusion 360, we created a circle 41.46mm in diameter with an inner circle 39.96mm in diameter. After extruding it, we cut away the inner circle to have a circular extruded ring. Then we cut the top of the circle 11.427mm from the center of the circle so that there was an opening for the pneumatic tank to fit through but not too far from the top so that the circular case could still have a grip on it. To get this height, we marked how high we wanted the circular case to be, then used the caliper to measure the distance between the two points, which turned out to be 32.78mm diameter, 16.39mm radius. So then we measured 16.39mm from the center of the circle and made a line to the edge of the circle, which ended up being 11.427mm in height. This gave us the information we needed to cut the top of the circle. After that, we created two extruded rectangles 2.38x0.74mm on either side of the opening in the circle. These little flaps allowed for a larger margin of error and would thus be easier to insert the tank into the clip. Then we extruded a 26x13mm rectangle from the base to create a flat surface on which to mount the clip onto the robot. Two little circles 3mm in diameter, evenly spaced, were then cut into the rectangle through to the other side. These holes were made large enough for bolts to go through and screw onto the robot. Space was still needed for the head of the bolt to keep it from sticking out and preventing the pneumatic tank from fitting properly, so we cut another circle 8mm in diameter on the bottom curve of the clip above the two holes in the base. Finally, we made the clip black plastic, the same material and flexibility as a battery clip.     Through this project, we learned how to use Fusion 360 to CAD and create a Vex part to make it easier and more efficient to build a robot. 3D design software has opened up a new realm of possibilities for us. We no longer have to be limited by resources and money when we come up with a new design or idea whether for Vex or anything else; instead, we can just CAD our design and watch it become a reality. As a competitive robotics team, this software could help us by allowing us to CAD our prototypes beforehand to save time that would otherwise be spent taking apart pieces or prototypes. Our team is comprised of members who are interested in pursuing engineering or medical careers, among other things. 3D design software would allow us to CAD and test our engineering/medical equipment designs before actually designing it using real parts, thus saving time and resources.     Robotics has always been a way for us to cultivate our ideas. Now, because of this project, 3D design software will allow us to raise our imagination and creativity to new heights.  


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