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Unread 11-18-2017, 10:04 AM
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Material to stock up on before build season?

Rookie team 6802 checking in here. As we prepare for build season we would like to stock up on a few essentials that we will be likely to use to build our robot.

What are some materials (nuts, bolts, bearings, shafts, aluminum, lexan, etc) that veteran teams find themselves using frequently?

Any input would be appreciated!
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Unread 11-18-2017, 10:36 AM
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Re: Material to stock up on before build season?

All of those things you listed. We use a lot of aluminum sheet and tubing.
But unless you have a lot of storage space finding a local sponsor company is just as important.

We have received metal donations from Industrial Matal Supply for the last couple of years. Check your area for someplace like that, ask if they will donate "scrap" or "remnants" to a local school. Their scraps are usually 4' to 8' long sections of perfectly good metal.

Oh, and zip ties. Lots of zip ties.
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Unread 11-18-2017, 10:57 AM
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Re: Material to stock up on before build season?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brandn03 View Post
Rookie team 6802 checking in here. As we prepare for build season we would like to stock up on a few essentials that we will be likely to use to build our robot.

What are some materials (nuts, bolts, bearings, shafts, aluminum, lexan, etc) that veteran teams find themselves using frequently?

Any input would be appreciated!
If I had to order most of my stuff before Kickoff?

(Full disclosure, I just recently wrapped up a year and a half at AndyMark. I'm back to being a happy customer now, but yeah.)

Aluminum square tube, about 1/16" wall, 1x1 and a little 1x2. AndyMark and Vex each have their own approaches to this (AndyMark has plain 1x2 and Peanut Extrusion, while Vex has their VersaFrame), and they each have pros and cons. (Peanut ends can be mounted to easily using 1/4-20 thread forming screws, VersaFrame is prepunched at regular intervals.)

Aluminum angle, probably some 1/16" and some 1/8" thickness, mostly 1" on each side but a stick or two of 2" (and that would be the 1/8" stuff). You can use this as gussets to tie together aluminum tubes, mount bumpers, do oddball bracketry, so on so forth.

On the angle: Much of what you use for gussets here could be replaced by 1/16" to 1/8" flat sheet that you got routed/waterjetted/lasered to your desired shape, and it'll usually look better for it. But you're a rookie team asking this question in November, so I'm going for broad accessibility here. (And you'll want some angle no matter what.)

On the aluminum in general: Reach out to local metal suppliers in your area. You may not get it free, but you may get it cheaper than you can get it retail from AM or Vex (and no shipping charge). I'm not super-obsessed with thicknesses most of the time--if I was looking for 0.060" but can get a bunch of 0.090" donated, I'm probably going to use the 0.090". That said, know you're generally going to save more weight making things out of thinner material than pocketing the heck out of thicker material.

-------------------------

Shafts:

I'm an AndyMark guy, I like Churro for light-duty stuff--especially as you can sink a 1/4-20 thread-forming screw in the end and capture the end of the shaft with just a big washer. I might get some regular hex shaft, but just a couple feet until I saw the game. 1/2" hex, unless there's a strong overriding reason.

-------------------------

Nuts/Bolts:

If I had to pick only one size, I'd probably go 10-32. Some regular nuts, and then locknuts once things start getting finalized on stuff that should not come apart regularly. I'd also look at some 3/16" rivets (and a riveter and clecos to make using them easier).

And some 3/8" bolts, to be axles for bearings.

-------------------------

Bearings:

I'd probably only start with 1.125" OD, 3/8" ID round and 1/2" hex bearings. There's a fair chance you'll need more or others later, but for prototyping with shafts that's a solid start. I wouldn't spend my cash on a blind guess.

-------------------------

Lexan (polycarbonate):

Something around 1/8" sheet is great for a lot of applications, from prototypes to bending up brackets that flex a bit. Some really thin stuff, like 0.030", is great for sponsor panels and tighter radii bends (especially when supported well). Perforated is nice for electronics and other things that get zip-tied to, non-perforated is nice when you want a polished look.

Lots of folks have started using more polycarbonate shapes, like round and rectangular tube, in the parts designed to take a whack like intakes that span a wide distance or extend past bumpers. It's a good look, you just have to be cognizant of the flex on things like chain runs.
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Unread 11-18-2017, 11:27 AM
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Re: Material to stock up on before build season?

Rev extrusion if you use that stuff, that ALWAYS goes out of stock.
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Unread 11-18-2017, 11:38 AM
brandn03 brandn03 is offline
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Re: Material to stock up on before build season?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfred View Post
If I had to order most of my stuff before Kickoff?

(Full disclosure, I just recently wrapped up a year and a half at AndyMark. I'm back to being a happy customer now, but yeah.)

Aluminum square tube, about 1/16" wall, 1x1 and a little 1x2. AndyMark and Vex each have their own approaches to this (AndyMark has plain 1x2 and Peanut Extrusion, while Vex has their VersaFrame), and they each have pros and cons. (Peanut ends can be mounted to easily using 1/4-20 thread forming screws, VersaFrame is prepunched at regular intervals.)

Aluminum angle, probably some 1/16" and some 1/8" thickness, mostly 1" on each side but a stick or two of 2" (and that would be the 1/8" stuff). You can use this as gussets to tie together aluminum tubes, mount bumpers, do oddball bracketry, so on so forth.

On the angle: Much of what you use for gussets here could be replaced by 1/16" to 1/8" flat sheet that you got routed/waterjetted/lasered to your desired shape, and it'll usually look better for it. But you're a rookie team asking this question in November, so I'm going for broad accessibility here. (And you'll want some angle no matter what.)

On the aluminum in general: Reach out to local metal suppliers in your area. You may not get it free, but you may get it cheaper than you can get it retail from AM or Vex (and no shipping charge). I'm not super-obsessed with thicknesses most of the time--if I was looking for 0.060" but can get a bunch of 0.090" donated, I'm probably going to use the 0.090". That said, know you're generally going to save more weight making things out of thinner material than pocketing the heck out of thicker material.

-------------------------

Shafts:

I'm an AndyMark guy, I like Churro for light-duty stuff--especially as you can sink a 1/4-20 thread-forming screw in the end and capture the end of the shaft with just a big washer. I might get some regular hex shaft, but just a couple feet until I saw the game. 1/2" hex, unless there's a strong overriding reason.

-------------------------

Nuts/Bolts:

If I had to pick only one size, I'd probably go 10-32. Some regular nuts, and then locknuts once things start getting finalized on stuff that should not come apart regularly. I'd also look at some 3/16" rivets (and a riveter and clecos to make using them easier).

And some 3/8" bolts, to be axles for bearings.

-------------------------

Bearings:

I'd probably only start with 1.125" OD, 3/8" ID round and 1/2" hex bearings. There's a fair chance you'll need more or others later, but for prototyping with shafts that's a solid start. I wouldn't spend my cash on a blind guess.

-------------------------

Lexan (polycarbonate):

Something around 1/8" sheet is great for a lot of applications, from prototypes to bending up brackets that flex a bit. Some really thin stuff, like 0.030", is great for sponsor panels and tighter radii bends (especially when supported well). Perforated is nice for electronics and other things that get zip-tied to, non-perforated is nice when you want a polished look.

Lots of folks have started using more polycarbonate shapes, like round and rectangular tube, in the parts designed to take a whack like intakes that span a wide distance or extend past bumpers. It's a good look, you just have to be cognizant of the flex on things like chain runs.
Wow! Thanks for the detailed response. We don't HAVE buy everything prior to kickoff, but I would like a have some stuff in stock for quick prototyping and such. Plus I don't want to be stuck in build season waiting for supplies to arrive.
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Unread 11-18-2017, 11:40 AM
brandn03 brandn03 is offline
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Re: Material to stock up on before build season?

Quote:
Originally Posted by messer5740 View Post
Rev extrusion if you use that stuff, that ALWAYS goes out of stock.
Good call! We used a lot of the 15mm rev extrusion in our FTC days.
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Unread 11-18-2017, 04:19 PM
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Re: Material to stock up on before build season?

Consider shipping time/cost. Now's the time to order stuff from Aliexpress and to take advantage of free shipping offers from domestic suppliers. Once you get into build season, the normal vendors tend to get a bit backed up, and (with a 6-week build season) you're tempted to spring for the overnight (and expensive) shipping. If you get stuff now, then you don't have to worry about that.
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Unread 11-18-2017, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brandn03 View Post
Wow! Thanks for the detailed response. We don't HAVE buy everything prior to kickoff, but I would like a have some stuff in stock for quick prototyping and such. Plus I don't want to be stuck in build season waiting for supplies to arrive.
For prototyping I highly recommend the VEX Pro Versaframe line of products. You can look at their website for the full range of products. Their clamping gearboxes, versablocks and 2x1 are nice to prototype with.
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Unread 11-18-2017, 06:04 PM
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Re: Material to stock up on before build season?

Pick a standard Cap Head Fastener (suggest 10-32) stock up in bulk of different lengths from 3/8 to 2 inches and lots of lock nuts. Multiple 3/8 wrenches and 5/32 hex keys. Also many #7 drills for clearance holes. Lack of fasteners will stop work in a hurry.

Rivets - 3/16 with 1/2 length (~1/4" grip) are good to keep on hand. Either #11 or 10 drill. Use Aluminum Rivets as they're strong enough, and much easier to replace than Steel.

Hex Shaft in 7075 AL. R8(1.125 OD) hex bearings. If your machining is limited, lots of 1/2" hex collars.

Most game mechanisms require some motor drive. A few 36 or 30 Tooth HTD (hex ID) pulleys in stock is very handy.

Assuming your using the kit of parts drivetrain, remaining structure to put together and bottom pan. Lots of good information to search on that.

Multi compartment compartment organizers, totes, toolbox. You need to keep thing organized to be effective.
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Unread 11-18-2017, 08:39 PM
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Re: Material to stock up on before build season?

Electrical supplies like a few rolls of assorted gauge zip wire (namely like 12 and 14ga), your preferred choice of connectors (like Anderson PowerPoles), and a couple of zip tie pads for routing wires.
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Unread 11-20-2017, 12:20 AM
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Re: Material to stock up on before build season?

What kind of motors and gearboxes does everyone use, and recommend to have on stock once build season begins?
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Unread 11-20-2017, 12:23 AM
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Re: Material to stock up on before build season?

Quote:
Originally Posted by backflippingcat View Post
What kind of motors and gearboxes does everyone use, and recommend to have on stock once build season begins?
Consistently we've been using minicims/Cims for drive (swerve/WCD) and 775pros for every other mechanism. Estimated 4-5 minicims and 11-12 775pros per robot.

We normally stock up on 775pros ~30-40 before season starts and then buy all the other motors at various times. We do this so we can push GT2/32dp pinions on the motors.
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Unread 11-20-2017, 12:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backflippingcat View Post
What kind of motors and gearboxes does everyone use, and recommend to have on stock once build season begins?
The WCP WCD gearboxes are nice. Also it's great to have some Versaplanetaries with 775 pros for prototyping. 775 pro pulleys and Pinions might also be nice to have.
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Unread 11-20-2017, 01:15 AM
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Re: Material to stock up on before build season?

Quote:
Originally Posted by backflippingcat View Post
What kind of motors and gearboxes does everyone use, and recommend to have on stock once build season begins?
For high-power items, we've been using CIMs or miniCIMs with a TB-mini for everything since 2014. In 2015, we even specifically used the same gear ratio for our lift as our drive train (with an additional chain reduction) to reduce the number of different spare parts we would need. For lower power, we've used the AndyMark PG gearmotors and window motors and last year added the NeveRest60. In short, we've used the stuff from the KoPs except for the throttle motors.

We also have a variety of sprockets and chain (both #25 and #35) and sheaves and belt in case we want additional reduction or redirection of forces. We've shifted from predominately chain to predominately belt as time has passed; you can just mount belt with exact C-C distances and go all season, where chain really calls for some sort of adjustable tensioning or other constraint (such as being inside rectangular tube).

Of course, as SenorZ noted, it is best if you can identify a LOCAL supplier of some or all of these parts, and let them stock it, especially if you have a mentor who can stop in between build sessions to pick up a few items. I consider a pre-season assessment of local suppliers a must-do; learn who stocks what so you can reduce driving around.
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Unread 11-20-2017, 03:02 AM
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Re: Material to stock up on before build season?

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Originally Posted by Jchau View Post
The WCP WCD gearboxes are nice. Also it's great to have some Versaplanetaries with 775 pros for prototyping. 775 pro pulleys and Pinions might also be nice to have.
+1 to VPs. I don't think a rookie team will be able to fool around much with custom 775 solutions though.
The WCP WCD dogshifters (apart from the flipped-CIM) use snowman-shaped holes that stop me from recommending them to anyone. The new EVO shifters from Andymark are good, as well as the flipped-CIM gearbox from WCP.
10-32 screws are great, 8-32 if you want to use more Vex stuff. Vex has a good ecosystem of parts that integrate really well with each other.
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