VEX 90-degree C-channel Coupler by VRC Team 3674R
Entry ID #: 6241
Created: Mon, Jan 14, 2019 10:22 PM
When we started the construction of our robot this season, we struggled to make stable 90-degree joints on our chassis. We tried using the 90-degree gussets that VEX offers, but they were too big and did not give our chassis the stability we desired. This caused us to ask, “Why isn’t there a better way?”. While we eventually were able to get the stability we desired on our chassis through a series of bracing, it left us wishing for a better, more compact, and lighter solution.
After looking at the CAD Challenge for this year, a light bulb lit up and the idea for the "90-degree C-channel Coupler" was created. This new part uses the same principle as the standard VEX C-Channel Coupler but fits it to conform to a 90-degree joint between C-channels. We know that many teams have experienced the same type of problem that we encountered and have searched for a solution that offers the discreet convenience that the new "90-degree C-Channel Coupler" offers.
The design was made in Tinkercad. Our design team started out by measuring a c-channel and c-channel coupler to get the measurement constraints; this would ensure the part would fit inside of a 1 x 2 x 1 c-channel. Using the measurements gathered, we made the initial outline of the part. Using a CAD file of the c-channel, we made sure that the part fit inside of the standard 1 x 2 x 1 c-channel. Once the part was properly sized, we began to make the square holes featured in most VEX structure. This allowed screws to fit seamlessly through the part as well as smoothing out some of the rough edges. These squares are standard VEX size and are evenly spaced to conform to the holes in the center and perpendicular sides of a c-channel, much like the VEX c-channel coupler.
To summarize, the process of designing and creating this new part has helped us learn new 3D design skills and we are ecstatic about the final product. We collaborated with our computer science teachers, fellow competitors, and alumni of VEX to help critique our part. While the process of designing took several iterations and a LOT of frustration, we have learned the practicality of planning out designs in CAD to work out kinks and find issues we likely wouldn’t have seen until a design was actually constructed. This learning experience will help us in future design plans and we are already applying these skills to model other design ideas in Tinkercad. We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the creation of this part as well as AutoDesk for giving us the opportunity to create and add 3D design to our skill set.