Entry ID #: 5904
Created: Sat, Jan 12, 2019 6:23 PM
In late summer of 2018, I began my first iteration robot for the VEX IQ Next Level Challenge. I made a list of parts that I needed. I thought that I remembered seeing a cable anchor for VEX IQ, but I couldn’t find it on the VEX IQ website. When my mom called to place the order, we asked VEX Support if there was such a part, and they said there was a cable anchor for EDR, but not IQ.
As my team worked through the iterations of our robot, the cables were a constant problem. The robot’s arm needed to be long in order to pick up the bonus hubs from the pegs. We needed to use a long smart cable to reach the motors, but the extra cable length was a big problem. We tried several creative ways to keep the cable out of the way, including, wrapping the cable around the beams, securing it with 1x beams and standoffs, and putting the cables behind the license plates. These quick fixes worked, but the messy appearance bothered me because I like things neat and orderly.
At tournament matches this season, I’ve observed these unfortunate situations involving smart cables:
- a cable hanging under the robot caused a high hang to be scored as a low hang
- 2 robots became entangled
- a cable caught on a beam and kept a robot arm from reaching the bonus hub
As soon as I read about the 2019 Make It Real CAD Engineering Challenge, I knew what part I would like to design – a cable anchor for VEX IQ smart cables. I had many design ideas in mind for several weeks, but was hesitant to begin designing in Tinkercad because I had never used Tinkercad. I did some measuring (with a ruler) and began making the design. I was pleasantly surprised with how fun and user friendly Tinkercad 4.4 is.
These are the steps I used to design the anchor cable:
1. selected a 12.4 x 13 x 2mm box
2. placed a 6 x 12.4 x 2mm round roof on each side of the box
3. placed a 12.4 x 12.4 x 6mm tube
4. erased ½ of the tube with a box hole
5. placed 1 x 3 x 6mm box on ends of ½ tube
6. grouped ½ tube and box together and placed flush with each round roof
5. placed 2, 1 x 10 x 3mm boxes flush with the solid box
6. placed 2, 6.2 x 6.2 x 5mm cylinder
7. placed 4.2 x 4.2 x 6mm cylinder hole in the center of each 6.2 x 6.2mm cylinder
8. placed 7 x 16.5 x 3mm box hole in center of first box
10. placed 1.5 x 12.4 x 4.2mm box and 1 x 12.4 x 5mm box on either side of the box hole
11. grouped everything together
(I used Tinkercad 4.4)
After I finished designing the cable anchor, my dad found a place to get it 3D printed. I tested the 3D printed part and it needed some slight adjustments. The pin holes were too small. Also, it was hard to fit the smart cable into the cable anchor. I was introduced to a tool that I had never heard of before – a micrometer. I remeasured the 3D printed part with the micrometer and made adjustments in the CAD file. When the cable anchor was printed again, it was PERFECT! I tested it on my robot and it worked great. I also discovered that the anchors could be stacked to secure two smart cables.
This has been a fun challenge. I enjoyed learning how to design in Tinkercad – something that I had never done before. My excitement reached a new level when the cable anchor was 3D printed. It was rewarding to see the part in real life! The fact that is it useful and solves the issue of unsecured smart cables is great!
I learned how to use a micrometer and the value of precision measurements in designing parts. I will use this skill next year, when I alter parts in VEX EDR.
I will use 3D design software in VEX EDR to design a prototype robot for the 2019–2020 competition game.