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

VRC Classroom Battery Charging Station (Single and Multiple)


Entry ID #: 6568
Created: Tue, Jan 15, 2019 11:23 AM

Over the past few years, our robotics team has grown to include over 30 students and 5 robot builds. This number of robots requires us to maintain more than a dozen charged batteries for a competition. We’ve tried several different designs for creating battery charging stations, including one made from VEX parts, and another made from an old toolbox. None of those designs worked well for us, so we decided to make our own from scratch. Our prototypes include a battery station for a single battery, as well as for multiple batteries. We got our inspiration from the old battery charging stations that VEX used to sell but no longer carries. We designed this prototype to minimize thermal dissipation and material usage, while maximizing battery density.   This charging station can be used in our classroom, or adapted to become a portable charging station for competition usage. We created this design using TinkerCAD. While we do have access to Autodesk products like Inventor and Fusion360, we used TinkerCAD to create this design because there was a wide variety of tutorials online to help us learn.   We began by using calipers to measure a VEX 7.2v 3000mAh battery, and drew that in TinkerCAD. Next we created a rectangle around it, and began removing material to make it more efficient and look better. Our final design includes a pathway beneath the unit to conceal all the wires.   This project taught us how to efficiently use material to design a prototype for real world application. We also learned about material durability when we compared different amounts of infill and tested their strength. We also learned the importance of allowing for some tolerance when designing products for the real world, since not all batteries will be the same; some batteries have tape on them, some might be loose, etc. We also learned how to keep the batteries from overheating by putting an air vent in the part, and maximizing airflow over the battery’s surface area.   In the future, we plan to print versions of this charging station that can hold 6 or more batteries at once. We must be careful that we don’t put too much stress on the PLA in the 3D printer. We used a MakerBot Replicator Z18 3D Printer with PLA filament to print these parts.