Latex Tubing vs. Rubberbands

I am wondering what other peoples opinions on latex tubing and rubber bands are for the application of holding an arm in position.

I have heard that rubber bands stretch out a lot faster than latex tubing, but I have had the problem where latex snaps during match.

How long does each last if heavily used? Does latex tubing have the power of rubber bands?

Latex tubing works fine if you get the right amount of tension (most tension at bottom position). Also make sure that the tubing does not cut sharp corners. The one disadvantage is that if the latex DOES snap it is possible that all of the latex will be lost on one side instead of only one rubber band if you are using those instead. Really personal preference, don’t see too much difference.

An advantage to rubberbands tho is that in some applications, it is much easier to use and each band will have the same tension, whereas each ‘run’ of the elastic may be subject to varying tension due to human error.

However, elastic allows users to tie 2 ends that are far apart (since they come in 5’ lengths), while the legal #32 rubberbands only have a 3" length.

Thus I woudl say it really depends on your application.

Thanks for the responses. I guess the tubing and rubber bands are very similar.

I had a problem last year were if the tubing was not change out every 3 weeks it would start to ‘‘dry rot’’ sort of. I am not sure if dry rot is the correct term to be used, I think the tubing was just stretched out. But anyways, after 3 weeks of usage it would start to slightly tear and eventually snap. Has anyone else had this problem (over using tubing)?

Also, if anyone has used rubber bands as a lift assist please answer the following question: Do rubber bands need maintenance (replaced often)?

Our team has used latex tubing on several robots, as long as the robot ‘arm’ or part can be stored with the latex tubing relaxed it lasts a long time (1-2 months last year). I used rubber bands on some of my prototype work and found they lost strength pretty fast. They don’t stretch as much either it seems.

Cheers Kb

My team has used both. Perhaps we stretch our elastic a lot less, but our’s lasted from about December all the way to Worlds for roundup. We finally found the elastic snapped after unpacking the robot upon it’s return to Washington. So I guess it depends how much you stretch it.

Rubber bands, like the above post mentioned, seem to lose their tension a lot quicker than elastic.

Yeah, Kennenth is right about our Round Up robot, but it really depends on how much you stretch them. We’ve already broken one set of elastics on our Gateway robot in ~3 weeks.

Whenever I’ve used latex tubing, it develops small fractures and will break with continued use. I’ve never had that problem with rubber bands, and rubber bands are a lot cheaper to replace than latex tubing.
If you need more stretch than the ~12" that the rubber bands can offer, you can always tie two rubber bands together.
In Round Up, my team used about 30 rubber bands on the robot, and only 4 or so ever broke.
As long as you store rubber bands in the relaxed position, they should not stretch out permanently.

I would choose latex over rubber bands any day. Mostly because I need some HIGH tension, and rubber bands don’t do well under a lot of pressure. Plus, one strip of latex tubing almost NEVER breaks, and can produce a lot more tension than 3 rubber bands.

Both have there own unique usages.

For rubber bands.
Personaly I have only used rubber bands in robotics and they work great for what we are using them for and what we have used them for.
The good thing about rubber bands is that if something is to tight when you are using the rubber bands, you just have to take some off.
Same if you need more lift. With rubber bands you don’t get as much reachage as latex tubbing.

For Latex tubbing.
I have not worked with it all that much, but from reading about it, I would say it has its pro/cons.
I think one of the main “helps” it gives you is the ability for the tubbing to not ware out as much. Unlike rubber bands, latex tubing does not
ware out as fast. A problem that you might run into using latex tubbing is to much, or to less lift. It is harder to use tubbing when you
are placing it to get just the right tension. Also, with tubbing, you get a lot more length.

So in conclusion, they are both great pieces to use, but they have there unique usages.

I would have to disagree about the durability of latex tubing. If it rubs with metal just a few times, it becomes frayed and extremely weak. Rubber bands can take much more abuse. Latex tubing does stretch more, but you can get the same stretch by adding more rubber bands.

Exactly the opposite of my experience. I guess when it comes to elastic energy storage systems your mileage (km/liter) may vary.

i have used both and for the most part they are similar except in the worse case when it breaks rubber bands one or two break and the rest can still give tension and they are signifanctly easier to replace like my team bought like a pack of like 1000 and just changed them out every few weeks it cost like 5 bucks vs expensive rubber tubbing

Hmm… I have seen very different replies on this topic. I think I might just have to try both out and see which one works better.

I have to agree with dontworryaboutit though because I have had a similiar experiece, but I guess Ill just make it not touch metal then?

at our last tournament I helped a team by adding some rubberbands to their chasis bot to help push the balls…within like 3-5 matches they started to snap…just saying

How many did you add, and what was the tension on it (some similar example)? Also, how old were the rubber bands? That could possibly have an effect on it.

If you stretch rubber bands with a lot of force (>10 inches or so), they will snap quite readily upon contact with sharp surfaces. We haven’t had that problem because we avoid stretching them a lot (we just use more rubber bands at a shorter distance). To hold the ends, we either put them over standoffs or attach them to metal with zip ties to avoid cutting into the rubber.
Latex tubing may have been a better solution for a few of the things we’ve tried, but rubber bands have sufficed with some “creative” (some people would call it sketchy) implementation.