Chain-Saver Cheat (or Trick)

Here is a little something I have tried to save my chains from breaking. On my Stack-It-Ball bot (see Other Contests), I use a rolling Pringles can to “capture” racquetballs. Sometimes, things jam up a bit and stop the Pringles can roller. When it stops, the motor breaks the chain.

My cheesy solution? I dismantled the motor clutch and with a Dremel grinding/cutting disk, cut of a chunk off the spring. After several tries, I now have a motor clutch that readily “pops” under moderate torques and saves the chain from breaking. This was a very quick fix since changing sproket sizes and motor speed would take too long.

Anyway, it was a noteworthy experiment, and may prove quite useful for sensitive torque applications.

One note is that the clutch design doesn’t lend itself well to light torque applications. The slip plates (and spring) appear to have been designed for 10 pound inches or so. Getting down to 2 or 3 pound inches took me a couple of tries. The spring now barely pushes on the slip plates. The consistency of when the clutch slips leaves something to be desired.


Hmm, interesting. This would solve a lot of the broken parts problems that occur, I’ll have to look into that and experiment with some of my vex clutches. Good thinking.

A great idea…

Sounds like IFI needs to offer a couple different “tention levels” of cluch. Maybe the Green for 10 pound inches or so, Red for 5 pound inches or so, and Blue for 2 pound inches or so.

I think that different spring rates is a great idea because sometimes you don’t need so much power and somepeople may not have the prgramming kit so limit switches are out of the question.Good Idea

yeah, thats sounds like a great idea. i have had trouble with the chain in the past, and that sounds like a great fix:)

they wont chang the color from green, if you hadn’t noticed the parts are color courdinated. green is motion, blue is power, red is sensors, yellow is transmitter, orange is programming, and gray is struncture. so by looking at just the color of a part you know what it does.

Good observation on the colors.

Maybe they could offer different spring strengths.


i agree, the clutches require way too much back torque to click.

I had noticed, The Inverntor’s Guide is color coordinated as well. I was thinking about Loc-tite at the moment…

So the Vex would have Very Light Green, Light Green , Medium Green and Dark Green to easily differentiate the Clutches.