Thermal expansion and its impact on designs

Does anyone take thermal expansion into account when designing their robot?
For instance, do any of you ever purposefully make the wheel spacing a bit janky to account for heat accumulation around the wheel and the thermal expansion that it may cause?

I had this discussion with my teammate the other day, and I wanted to hear your opinion on this.

No, not for thermal expansion.

I’ve seen teams add metal to the outside of a motor to act as a heat sink to keep them from over heating.

And for what it’s worth, in the Cortex days, we used USB extensions to get the VEXnet key high above and away from being inside the robot. But that was the limit of doing “janky” designs around heat and radio radiation.


No because thermal expansion in terms of VRC bots (where the tolerances are very large) is so minimal that it doesn’t matter. And Building a bot with correct spacing and low friction is worth your time rather than worrying about thermal expansion. Also in terms of heat the main factors that cause it are high friction and spacing that is too tight (there should always be a tiny amount of play so things don’t bind up) and we try to have about a washers thickness of gap in our spacing so things run smoothly.


how come? the layer of plastic on the motor acts as an insulator, so no heat sink would really do anything unless it was legal to remove the casing i think

Having any sort of heatsink outside is better than nothing. The plastic is like a really bad thermal interface material.

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