Cool Robot Parts

In the spirit of the Artsy Robot Photos thread, let’s start a thread of cool custom robot parts. They can be cool because of elegant engineering, artistic design, fancy machining, etc. Photo quality or artistry doesn’t matter, just the coolness of your parts. If it isn’t obvious, try to include a short description of the part so we know what we’re looking at.


I’ll start with some of my favorites. From our 2019 robot:

The carriage side plate from our elevator.

The top and bottom of our leadscrew climber legs

Our driven climber leg. As you can see the tube was a bit over-pocketed

And from 2020:

Custom-machined stainless steel flywheel

Fixed and mobile turret plates, respectively

Our turret and shooter assembly, showing off the “Asteria plate”


I love our 2019 robot’s climb.
(screenshotted from our robot reveal video from 2019)

The hatch mechanism was pretty cool as well compared to the elevators that some teams used.

It was slightly changed after our first competition, I believe. The bottom wheel of the hatch that was touching the ground was taken off or something.

Edit: Forgot to add. but our team tried a little bit of soft robotics experimentation as well! It unfortunately wasn’t suitable for competition and thus we opted for something more normal during comp, but here’s some info: innovation
The website is currently being updated with it rolling sometime within the next few weeks, so A) it’ll look MUCH nicer than it is right now, and B) the URL might be no longer valid.


Can I post other team’s cool parts?


If we can do other team’s work then I really like the belt mechanism from 118’s 2008 robot.


Our coolest is probably our 2019 suction pad. It’s 1/4" plate pocketed to 0.05" thick. It was mostly done to put our Omio to test but we did notice some flexing with our 1/8" pad.


This one also made for a nice gamepiece


I absolutely love this sheet metal part.
It’s from a subsystem that eventually didn’t make it to our final 2019 robot.


We had a telescoping climber this year and this was at the bottom of the innermost tube.

We also had a 7" ID 1/4 wall aluminum tube in the middle of the robot (I don’t have any good photos).


The mast:

This served as the structure for our 2015 lift. It was also useful in 2016 when we were testing out vision:

edit: cc @Golfer4646 @BetaHelix since you designed it


Our mechanical lead with the tilt gearls
It’s great to have wonderful sponsors like Waterjet Cutting of Indiana and Colors inc.


Come, now, and walk the path of despair with me


Since we mistakenly purchased some wrong stock this year, we decided to machine this ridiculous part out of it (for mounting a tube):

My favorite feature of the part is the face it makes :open_mouth:
Neat gearbox cover we printed:

Cool pocket pattern on our shooter side plates:


Wasn’t that just the face the machinist made?


i guess any robot part with a logo cnc’d in is cool… so here’s one


Cool, but for a different reason. These went out to a few teams at IRI:


love this thread.

3d printed CTRE Mag encoder mount that integrates the front half of the housing into the mount itself. Adapted from @Justin_Foss’s idea here

Same c-c, different reduction/chain pitches, no tensioners. Let 5012 package our intake power and wrist motors further back on the carriage and use the same pivot point. IIRC, the 25 chain was a little looser than spec, and the 35 was close to spec, if not a little tighter.

dye rotor boot from 5012’s demo bot. dye rotors are dope as heck.

brushless hub pulleys. bonus: tiny single acting cylinder.

pneumatic “series-elastic” actuator.

bonus: parts from my combat robotics shenanigans

custom GT2 pulley using SDS’s tooth subtraction method to manufacture with a bigger endmill.

using modifier meshes to add strength in certain places on a 3D print.

TPU wheels with O-ring treads


You dont wanna know long 6 of these took to laser image


In 2019 we needed a plate that had a hole for a shaft and 2 mounting holes so we told a student, “do what you want with it, as long as it has these 3 holes”. He made a Batarang! It was freehanded on a bandsaw and a belt sander.


2005, when a mentor had waterjet access and acres of really nicely finished 1/8" aluminum:

2005 off-season, when we added some showboating. (It was better at whipping up a lather than actually making bubbles, but shhhhhh)

2016: The whole entire drivetrain. Custom 1x3 tubes machined in the USC machine shop, custom top pan water jetted in another lab on campus, 221’s magic 17T sprockets hidden inside, and 88" of frame perimeter fury that was just delightful to chuck around the defenses.

And an in-progress underside view; we were very serious about not getting caught on defenses or stuck sideways.

That robot also ran a custom-waterjetted gear profile with slots where pneumatic cylinders could lock the arm into positions. I don’t have a good picture of it up close, but I do have this picture that hints at how thicccc it was and shows the slots.

2017: After alliance selection at a disastrous Tippecanoe, 5402 spent much of the afternoon removing the back panel where the gear pocket we could never figure out was supposed to go. With a bit of Sharpie design work and a better understanding of the problem, the father of our operator (who herself drag raced as a hobby) hit his machine shop and set to work. 48 hours later, this appeared in the shop:

Custom sheetmetal chute, custom bent wings that flopped out in autonomous (with the aid of some fishing line tied to the shooter wheel), two cradles on a linkage that flipped the gear out actively with the help of a PG27 motor that was lying around. I was in awe of this thing, and I wish I could’ve seen how much further we could go with all those resources brought to bear.