Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
Online Challenges

Rubber Band Tensioner


Entry ID #: 4675
Created: Mon, Jan 8, 2018 9:31 PM

            After having done VEX for about 5 years, one major issue has always stood out – the need to replace rubber bands on robots. Rubber bands, by nature, are meant to be temporary – because of their construction, they have a propensity to stretch out over use and time, lessening their tensioning abilities. Often times, this leads to having to switch out rubber bands often, possibly even several times over the course of a single competition. On top of that, getting the right tension is generally quite difficult. Since legal rubber bands come in only certain sizes, team are forced to fold and twist rubber bands, further increasing tensioning difficulty. By creating a rubber band tensioner, I hope to solve this issue. The method of tensioning is simple and intuitive – place a screw through the center hole, place the rubber bands on it, and put a nut on the other side and tighten. This mechanism keeps the rubber band(s) in place. Next, using VEX Nyloc nuts, place 4 into the cutouts on the bottom of the tensioner, and screw it in to a piece of metal. When you want to tighten the rubber bands, simply rotate the tensioner to the right, and screw in to the next set of nuts. Voila! It’s that simple to retention your rubber bands!             I first learned how to CAD in in Autodesk Inventor, and from there I have moved on to Solidworks (as that is what my team currently uses). For this project, however, I chose to use Autodesk Fusion 360 as my software. Since I was unfamiliar with Fusion, I started out playing  around with my ideas in Solidworks. Eventually, I decided, it was time to start designing the actual part (in Fusion 360, of course). For a while now, I have heard great things about this new software, and have always wanted to try it out. As soon as I got in to Fusion, I was able to figure out almost all of the features – many of the tools and options are quite similar to Solidworks, and those that aren’t are relatively intuitive to use. For example, my part contained several important features, ranging from extrudes, revolves, and cuts all the way to chamfers and mirrors. All of these options were relatively easy to find, and simple to use. After learning my way around, I dove in to design my first ever Fusion part, and even went on to 3D print it too!             In my opinion, CAD is extremely important – it allows you to fully plan out parts and assemblies before you actually build them in real life. This allows for precise part ordering, speedy building, and protection from most integration issues. My team has been using CAD to plan out our robots for years (and plan to do it for years to come), and we have found it to be an extremely effective way of producing the robot we want in an efficient and non-wasteful manner. Not only that, but in professional industry, CAD is almost always used to plan out products; getting a jump start on CAD and being able to learn it now is a huge jump start for college and potential jobs in the future, making those who learn it better candidates for engineering and design positions. Personally, I would like to pursue CAD as much as I can right now, to get this jump start and be prepared for the future. Overall, this project has really seemed to explain the importance of CAD to me through the idea of being able to “make something real”– the process of going from conception to design to real life is truly amazing, and has further encouraged me to continue pursuing CAD in the future. Whether it be working on robot CADs for my team or other personal design/3D print projects, I’m really excited for what the future holds.  Note: Unfortunately, RobotEvents would not let me upload my Autodesk Fusion 360 .f3d part file (the file would show as uploaded, but then would not appear in the list of uploaded files. I have uploaded my STL file succesfully, however) 

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