Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
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The Secure Optical Encoder


Entry ID #: 5517
Created: Wed, Jan 10, 2018 12:22 PM

By: 1575D Problem: One recurrent issue in our building has been the placement of our Optical Shaft Encoders, these sensors are key to knowing distances and angles, but the lack of support often causes there to be an excess in friction or inaccurate values. By just being supported by an axle and one screw the encoder loosens very easily and can often shift to a position that isn’t optimal for the system as a whole, this is where a simple but effective device is needed in order to tighten down the system but without a whole redesign of the encoder itself.    Design: The purpose of this design is to be able to mount a VEX Optical Encoder onto a rotating system so that an axle may pass through the encoder without the risk of unnecessary force being applied onto the axle and causing grinding and friction on the axle in the system. This design is highly feasible and can solve plenty of headaches as well as any issues mounting an encoder off of one hole in order to fit space constraints. Mounting: This design is meant to be easily applicable to any design: just slide the encoder case out of the main body and replace it with the newly designed mounting piece. These pieces can be interchangeable so that any mounting specifications can be reached. The Secured Optical Encoder provides a smart and simple solution to the dilemma of finding enough space for the mounting of the encoder, and also keeping the axle in the system safe from friction and grinding.   Execution: As well as easy mounting potential, there is an availability for simplistic usage. By adding this where needed there will be an increase in rigidity of the encoder while at the same time leading to more accurate sensor inputs. When there is less room for the encoder to shift around, this is because of the triangle made from the three screw mounting points. The most structurally secure shape holding the axle where it should be. Just a simple click and replacement of the encoder case will lead to a betterment of the sensor as a whole, no need for a whole system redesign.   Findings: Through Autodesk Inventor 2017, we were able to CAD the Secured Optical Encoder, by utilizing sketches and extrusions, to have a 3D visual example of the part to display it as a possible solution to teams everywhere that may be having similar issues. Autodesk Inventor 2017 has allowed us to create the part, and it would be a useful tool for other purposes as well, such as 3D printing custom VEX parts if we join VEX U, or in professional careers such as designing subsystems of an aircraft, then assembling each subsystem into a fully finished model of an aircraft. As a competitive robotics team, we are able to use Autodesk Inventor 2017 to create a 3D visual model of our robot so we can plan out what our design looks like before we begin building. We have learned a lot while developing this product, such as important manufacturing techniques of leaving space so that the screws and axle can actually align to not cause friction inside of the part, as well as going through and implementing the design process into the development of the Secured Optical Encoder. We started by brainstorming problems that were troublesome to deal with in VEX, or were limiting factors in the overall design. Space constraints with bearing blocks was the most recurrent and vexing issue, and from there we developed potential solutions to fix this issue, then decided on our most efficient solution and later developed it in Autodesk Inventor 2017.  


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