We are considering getting our robot anodized this year, but are curious about when we need to have our robot finished. At what point during the 6-weeks does your team get your robot anodized? We actually have a company located near our school who has volunteered to do it for us for free, so payment/shipping our parts off to a company is not an issue. Is setting a goal to have the robot finished by week 5 so we can have it anodized unrealistic?
We will get it anodized/powdercoated when there are no more engineering challenges to tackle.
Brushed/Clean aluminum with laser cut acrylic for flair can look pretty good without sacrificing time to send out parts. We’d have to be at the point where we were making 2 “final” bots and sending one out before I’d consider it. As it stands, we build at least 2 working robots a year, and this year are going for 4… and we still won’t be powdercoating or anodizing.
I don’t have a useful input… I just wanted to say nice avatar
While I can’t talk specifically about anodizing, I can talk about how powder coating worked for 'Snow Problem in 3 days (I know it was in house, but the principle is likely similar if you have a sponsor who is willing to go along with you) and for 2220 (when we powder coated our frame).
Basically, we sent things to get powder coated as they arrived at their final state, and we had enough parts to fill up the oven.
I would ask your sponsor if they have any issues taking a couple of “loads” of parts, and how large they would prefer those loads to be. Wait until you have enough finished parts to send off, and then do that.
This has the advantage of avoiding a full disassembly of the robot in your last week or two of build. It also means you will have at least part of your robot (probably the drive train) definitely anodized, which is nice.
The disadvantage is that your sponsor may (or may not) prefer to have multiple loads.
I would also make sure you know what the turnaround for them is going to be like. If you drop it off in the morning, will it be ready by the meeting, or are you looking at waiting a few days for them to fit it in?
Communicate with your sponsor to figure out what works for them and work around that. They’re donating to you, after all.
For us, this means never - we can always improve the bot.
Last year we powder coated. We partially assembled the drivetrain frame and sent that along with the rest of our finished parts to a friend of the team who had his own powder coating setup for snowmobile parts. I believe we had it done four or five days before bag, maybe as much as a week. Got it all done in a weekend.
If I’m not mistaken, I think my team gets the metal anodized before we assemble the final robot. I can’t remember what time I started seeing it around he on last year, so I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure we had all of ours anodized beforehand.
Also- we still weld our Chassis lol. The uncolored spots we just fill in with sharpie
Our team is anodizing the robot this year for the first time. We have the drivebase design mostly figured out at this point and have our practice drivetrain driving already so we plan on getting the anodizing done at the end of week 2 then doing another batch around the end of week 4 with all of the subsystem parts
We anodized for the first time last year, we just anodized everything we had and some extra stock as well. if we had to cut it we cut it and dealt with it by using a marker to mark up the edges.
As we had to replace parts we used anodized parts, but if we didn’t have any we just dealt with it. Battle wounds we would say.
One warning, if you are welding do your welding prior to anodizing, if not you will need to sand off the anodized layer before welding or you will not be able to weld in that area. Corners are especially hard.
Thankfully we have a sponsor that is open 24 hours a day and we can drop material off anytime and they will get it back to us in 24-36 hours depending on how long or how much we drop off.
To add to this: from experience - just don’t anodize before welding a piece. Some of my scariest experiences in the booth came from welding pieces that were anodized - even though we had removed the anodized layer near the weld site.
My high school team -IIRC- put the robot mostly together to make sure everything was the way it should be* and then sent the parts off to be anodized. This was typically somewhere around week 5.
*this helps prevent that pesky welding problem
Make two of everything, build one while the other gets paint, then build the other based on what you’ve learned from the first. It’s a great system, and makes the most of otherwise “dead” time for those parts.