I’ve seen a lot of people talk about build quality like some mysterious concept. I think a discussion of build quality could really help some newer teams avoid some mistakes and give more experienced teams a quick reference and reminder.
What is good build quality to you? What makes a robot better built than the rest? Tips and tricks?
Compiled list of everything I’ve seen so far.
Accurate spacing on axles - tight to reduce slop, not to tight to avoid extra friction
Pieces of metal line up - keep everything square, avoid slightly bending metal
Bearings, Bearings, Bearings!
Using screws as axles wherever possible - drastically reduces slop and increases joint strength.
Nylock nuts. Especially on bearings and gear attachments - reduces impact of vibration
Loctite blue everywhere - prevents screws from backing out from vibration
Use two bearings on axles - reduce slop
get the nice setscrews and use Loctite in shaft collars - stronger hold, won’t loosen as easily.
Yeah we just had a very large order come in, which included the clamping shaft collars. I must say they are much better, and I highly recommend buying some for anyone who doesn’t have any. The only disadvantage is their size, they can’t fit in compact spaces.
I bought one set of those when they came out just to try. Every single one broke on the first use. Split right down the middle where the screw sits. Not sure if I did something wrong but it they just don’t tighten.
Oh well. I’m fine using upgraded metal shaft collars.
Cantilevering is when you attach a beam (or c-channel) between two other c-channels to form a supportive triangle that will prevent the angle between the two beams from changing or bending. From my experience, a lift without cantilevers will almost always bend in the direction of the linkages, which is why you should place the cantilever on the side of the tower that the linkages are on. This is an image of my old robot from October. We have a standoff as a cantilever in front of the tower connecting the drive and the tower which prevented the tower from bending. In hindsight, it would’ve been more effective if we had cantilevered them at a 45 degree angle but it still provides a lot of support