Were the new rack gears announced?

Looking on the gear page I noticed there is a new version of the rack gear. Was this announced or did I miss it?

http://www.vexrobotics.com/media/catalog/product/cache/11/image/5e06319eda06f020e43594a9c230972d/2/7/276-4782_rev1.jpg

Looks like just a running change to the part. No announcement, it’s not even on the “what’s new” tab. Probably a cost savings to remove the threaded inserts.

I think they are more useful now, as you can use normal 8-32 screws, and they are wider.

Won’t they strip after a number of uses?

It looks as though you can stick a lock nut or something into the end and you only need to thread into the plastic for the middle two holes.

The nut pockets are molded in. You never tap into the plastic. You only put a nut in. It’s a through hole.

Also it looks double wide? Product page suggests it’s for high strength gears now.

All good, long overdue changes really.

The only real complaints i have with these are that there are no forced positions for the racks- the threaded inserts forced the rack into place pretty well for a somewhat easier alignment that wouldn’t slip as easy.
The other issue i have is that these are harder to shorten and harder to change on the fly. If there is a lock nut in those cavities, you’ll have to hold it in place somehow.

The 2 central holes, which are probably self tapping like on the linear slides, have a square extension, which looks to be for the purpose of alignment.

Also, the idea of the nut cavity is that the nut is in it snugly and can’t turn, so you won’t need any tools to tighten or loosen it. You do bring up a good point about cutting them, but I’m not sure how many people do that.

In general though I think this is a good change, it’s probably cheaper to manufacture and better to use.

I don’t even think the central holes are meant to be used. They are probably purely alignment features, and the only reason they have a hole is for moldability reasons.

Drop in nut pockets for #8 screws are a much better choice than helicoils for #6 screws. You can use a Nylock nut and you can change it out if anything gets weird about it. The pocket is sized so that the nut cannot turn once inserted, so nothing needs to hold the nut at all.

Oops, didn’t see those inserts!
Right, but if the nut is locked in, what happens when you strip the screw?

You can take a Dremel and cut a flathead screwdriver sized slot and then remove it via screwdriver. This could get a little tricky depending upon how the rack is attached to other parts (linear slide is the tough part to extricate it from) Then throw out that now useless screw.

But it may not just be when you strip a screw. I have not seen the insides of these yet so I can’t say for sure how the seat for the locknut is molded. It could also be due to the inability to get a wrench into the side of the plastic part to hold that locknut still.

So as you build your rack, you are now putting piece number two in the rack. One end is butted against another rack gear piece. How does the nut stay in place? Will the locknut twirl about in the cavity as it is butted up against another rack gear right next to it? That may make it difficult to attach or detach. I sure hope those plastic ends are nicely molded for the nylocks.

You can do the same thing you would with a normal screw. Dremel a slit in the head to use a flat head screwdriver, drill out the screw, use a screw removal bit, etc.

True, though my main concern is during a competition. Eh, doesn’t really matter. Always find a way. I’m just hoping the plastic won’t wear easily.