Sheet Metal Help

So I am a part of a rookie team and our funds are limited. For a design we have mapped out it came out to us needing about $500 worth of 1/4" sheet metal. This price isn’t in our budget and I was wondering if something along the lines of 1/8" is sturdy enough to withstand the forces of inertia and possibly hitting game pieces. Any help or insight is greatly appreciated!

Where are you putting these parts? We need more information.

Our drive train is made out of .1 and .08 bent aluminum…

It’s going to be on the outside of the bot for a gear catching sytstem.

How much does $500 worth of 1/4" sheet metal weigh? If you’re looking at steel I suspect you will be overweight.

Without knowing exactly what material you’re using, the application, and the design itself, it’s hard for us to know whether or not .25" thick sheet metal is too thick. Until then, I can suggest you also take a look at using polycarbonate and see if that’s a better option for you than sheet metal.

yeah, 1/8" plastic (the right type) will probably do what you want. $72 for a 3 foot by 4 foot sheet last week when we bought some, in town.

Without knowing the mechanism or your design, I can’t provide any more help than a generic statement.

I would say even 1/8" is too thick, but will likely work fine. 0.063" or 0.090" aluminum would be sufficient for almost any structure in FRC that I can think of. You can get down into the thinner gauge material for simple mechanisms such as the gear collector, depending on how you’re using it. If you want to prevent flexing, add bends to the sheet metal to stiffen it. If you need to mount a bearing, consider mounting a bearing block to the sheet metal.

If you went with bent polycarbonate, you could get a very thin piece as well.

1/4" sheet metal is WAY too thick & heavy. And how are you going to cut or bend it? Way overkill. Claculate a rough estimate of the weight, OK?

My team in 2005 made the same error, using 3/16" sheet for the robot frame. Even with a LOT of holes the bot came in at over 180 pounds :ahh:

Gearbox plates? Or are those justified complete overkill?

I don’t understand your question. Can you please clarify what you are referring to? If you interpreted gearbox as structure, that was not the structure I was referring to.

I see there may have been confusion between two sentences, so I reordered them in the original post.

Oh okay, that statement makes more sense now.

1/16" lexan(polycarbonate) is cheap compared to sheet metal, and is surprisingly rigid once bent(we used a metal break). If your trying to fashion something to hold Gears with, i highly suggest lexan.

1/16 Polycarb runs about $80 for a 4’x8’ sheet; 16g steel (~1/16") runs about $70 for a 4’x8’ sheet. So the cost is fairly comparable.

When it comes to performance, that depends on what you are attempting to achieve - especially at 1/16" thickness. In FRC applications, I would lean towards Polycarb. Cleaner, don’t have to worry about coating it, forgiving, and fairly malleable (steel performs better here).

Goodness! There is a weight limit of 120 pounds - please be aware of this!

1/4" steel is way too heavy. You will be able to do all that you want in FRC with 1/8" steel (aluminum is preferable).