Prototyping / Building efficiencies

My goal this year it to make my team more efficient at prototyping and building . To do this we are going through are shop and creating some new jigs / fixtures to are mill and other tools. Here is a list of some of things we are doing

  1. plate fixture for the mill
  2. Side tables with stop blocks for the chop saw
  3. Alignment plate for the mill

This got me wondering what other teams do to increase efficiencies. If you would not mind please share what has worked for your team

Yeah, I feel the same around our shop also… I’m really hoping to make one of these fixture plates for our new CNC before build season…

i am actually making a couple of those tonight for are mills and CNC. I will let you know hit goes and how painful it is. if it works out well we can share are CAD file

We don’t prototype with mills and lathes unless 100% needed. We prototype with hand tools, wood, and drills. It’s faster and gives us info quickly so we can then refine our tests with a better design.

Totally agree… and that is one significant area our team needs to improve on, which is true of a lot of teams out there, is building a prototype worth drawing conclusions from. And sometimes, that requires milling or CNC’ing some key components. I think that is a significant factor in what makes a great team stand apart from a good team. To have the experience and resources to make a really good prototype that leads to a great design which can then get iterated a half dozen times in the span of 6-8 weeks is priceless. Just another reason we watch the poofs, circuits, wranglers, simbots, OP, 'nauts, spartans, etc… with such awe.

In the past we have done most of are prototyping in wood however we struggle how with how far to take it with wood. To what level do you keep working in wood?

One thing I would advise making is depending what type of material you use for your robot, making a jig in case you need to lighten up your robot. We used primarily 2" width pieces on our robot in 2016, so 2" x 1/4" flat stock, 2" x 1" rectangle tubing, etc. so we created something we could clamp on and make perfectly center holes. It allowed us to maximize the amount of holes to reduce the amount necessary and effectively. We had some areas we wanted to remove more weight than others due to trying to lighten our arm and robot at the same time.

“unless 100% needed” happens at least once a year for me. There are some mechanisms you really do need precise information on geometry or some near-production quality feature.

Here are some jigs that we have used very successfully in the past. The first is steel metal plates with the mounting hole locations for the BB P60, and versa planetary gearboxes in all their configurations. These make it super easy to quickly mount these boxes to anything. Even plywood for prototyping. The second jig is a custom clamping box we made to make drilling cross ways through 80/20 extrusions super easy. It has a hardened steel insert that when installed allows a 1/4 inch bit in for clearance on 1/4 20 hardware, and when removed allows a larger bit for bolt head clearance so that the head of the bolt is flush with the surface of the 80/20.

I believe that 80/20 is one of the best prototyping materials there is. We have used it very successfully for quick building chassis, and prototyping fairly quick and easy yet precise shooter and claw mechanisms. it is great.

One can get pretty far with wood!

Yup, I’d say wood works pretty well.

I really like your ideas. I am going to make that BB D60 jig this weekend. Any chance you would care to share a drawing of that so i could reproduce it?

I just made are plate jig this week. We tried it out yesterday and was able to make gussets really fast and accurately

Pink Foam.

We use foam to get the dimensions and layout of things right. It’s inexpensive, easy to work with and light. It is not strong though…