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

Vex Ball Bearing with High Strength Axle Compatibility


Entry ID #: 6067
Created: Mon, Jan 14, 2019 4:30 PM

  The part I created was a ball bearing to high strength axle adapter to decrease the amount of friction on subsystems and allow for more precise subsystems on robots. This idea came to me because I noticed that in shooting games, such as the current one, a common design teams resort to is a flywheel. A flywheel is a wheel (or multiple) spinning at a very high RPM to accelerate the ball and ‘launch’ it. To optimize flywheels the goal is to create a system that is as frictionless as possible especially on the higher RPM stages which was my goal to make easier. A ball bearing would allow teams to not only reduce friction in the flywheels they build, but also increase the strength of the overall system because the tolerances provided by a ball bearing.   The ball bearing adapters I created could also be used on a drive train to allow wheels to be cantilevered, which is currently very hard to achieve with the bearings vex provides. This is because the current vex bearings act more like a bushing in the sense that they do not spin and are just a circular cut-out, this creates lots of play and friction, especially on a cantilevered system. A ball bearing would fix this because it can withstand a much higher load and maintain its low level of friction along with its stability. Implementing this into the competitive robotics scene would allow lighter and faster robots to be made, increasing the variance and competitiveness of the teams. This design also fits right in with the new V5 product line since the motors have high strength axle holes built into them.   To create this part I used Autodesk Fusion 360 version 2.0.5119. I created this project by first downloading the STEP file for a normal vex bearing off the Vex Robotics website. Based off that part I began to sketch over it and figured out how big of a bearing I would be able to fit and still have the edge holes work, this turned out to be an 18mm OD ball bearing. Next I made the cad of that bearing based off correct size bearings I found on amazon so I could fit the rest of the part around them. The last thing I did was add the high strength insert into the middle of the bearing to allow it to adapt to the current set of vex parts.   This project taught me some new rendering techniques and ways to do lighting, which is something that I had not previously played with a lot. It also showed me some of the reasonings why vex maybe hasn’t done something like this, mainly the price and spacing into some robot designs would be the cost of making and using these but I still believe that it would make a massive difference in the competitive scene. Ive been using CAD software for over 6 years now and frequently 3D print things for around my house so I plan to keep using 3D modeling software. I believe CAD in invaluable on a Vex team since it allows you to mess around with possible ideas and really tune in spacing of subsystems without touching a physical part. It overall speeds up the process of making a robot and often results in a better system that needs less real world tuning. In my future I hope to keep using CAD software for a career in mechanical engineering to make larger scale parts outside of vex.

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