Conveyor Belt Links

I have the conveyor belt links, but i never use them because it is so hard to get the pieces to slide on the track. is there an easy, effective way to get these conveyor pieces on the special track? it takes me about 5 minutes to get one on, the entire thing is rubber and it just grabs the track. any ideas would be appreciated.

Hmm. I have never really had any problems with this.

I’ve been trying to do this too! It’s impossible! Seriously! Maybe you could use grease and then crazy glue it on so it doesn’t slip. Other than that… oh wait! Heat up the plastic thingies and put the rubber in the freezer! I’ll try that!

Yeah, they don’t go in easily, but the bright side is that they don’t come out easily either. I sat down and loaded them up while watching a movie. At the end, my fingers were aching, but I’d finished them all.

I bet it would help if you used soapy water, and then rinsed them off afterwards.

  • Dean

okay, thanks. i thought i might be missing something ( i miss the obvious sometimes). so i guess i’d be better off just using zip ties instead of the links, unless i really have to.

when i first got that kit, i just put all of the conveyor links into those track pieces, but i did not have any problem getting them in. your problem is that you cannot grip it tight enough, so i would suggest using pliers, and pulling them through the slots. that is key, trying to push them in is not going to do anything, they have to be pulled through.

I have problems putting them together too!

I asked IFI why it was so hard to put the rubber fins in the links and they said it was to make sure that the fins didn’t come out while you are using them. They suggested using pliers too, but I was afraid the pliers would mark up the rubber fins.

Since then, I have been able to put quite a few of the fins into the links. Maybe using soapy water like Quazar suggested might be worth trying.

There’s a special method to inserting them. It is difficult to describe, but basically, you must ‘angle’ them in.

Well, I tried freezing the rubber parts a few days ago, but that didn’t work. I just heated up some water in the microwave for about 15 seconds and put the plastic parts in the water. I waited about 20 seconds, and then I put them together by pulling them through. It wasn’t super easy, but it was much easier. And they’re still stayin’ on tight.

I’m glad that you were able to get your Conveyor Belt Links put together. I think that you will find them very useful.

I finally got all of mine put together a while back and it wasn’t as hard as it seemed when I first tried. I have used them on several protoypes for Elevation and now Clean Sweep and they work great! It has been well worth the effort to put them together.

I saw many robots at the VEX World Championship in Dallas that used them and I have been thinking about buying a second set.

Disclaimer: I have not seen, handled, or tried to work with the parts in question.

That said, I offer the following:

  1. One odd behavior of some rubber goods is that they contract, rather than expand, when heated. This is, for example, why fan belts in automobiles can squeal (indicating loose fit) when cold, but become quiet after heating in operation. It may be that warming both the parts will help, in terms of size. It may also help in terms of flexibility. Without knowing the specific materials, however, it’s not possible to set the appropriate limits. If you get them too hot, you’re likely to get permanent deformation.

  2. If you’re looking to grip parts, but are concerned about marking them with pliers, here’re several tips:
    a) larger contact area reduces pressure (remember that pressure = force/area)
    b) pliers with smooth jaws have fewer high-contact-pressure points
    c) pliers that don’t have edges in contact with the item being gripped are less likely to mark. If you can use pliers that have jaws wider than what you’re gripping, you can eliminate two of the three edges.
    d) If you’re looking to throw money at this sort of problem, there are soft-jaw pliers available. A Google search for “soft pliers” produces several leads. I found, in the first few entries, prices ranging from $10 (for a pair sold for beading and jewelry making) to >$100 (for a pair designed for gripping plumbing components with delicate finishes).
    e) If you’re *not *looking to throw money at this sort of problem, you can “soften” the jaws of pliers you already have, by slipping a piece of soft tubing over each jaw. I suggest trying a few different materials until you find one that meets your needs. (You can pad pliers with electrical tape, foam tape, adhesive bandages, and the like, but they tend to leave an annoying gummy residue.)
    f) If you keep this problem in mind while observing your environment, you may well find other suitable tools, Old-fashioned clothes pins, for example, come to mind as being configured for gripping, having rounded edges intended to protect the objects being gripped, and being made of a softer material (wood) than are pliers.