Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Inside Infrared: Bumpers

We are going to start our Inside Infrared series with something that seems pretty easy, our bumpers. Teams have been iterating bumper designs for a long time.

Here are our bumpers for this season. The blue set is 19.5lbs and the red set is 18lbs. Each bumper is made from a 10ft piece of 1x6 which is really 3/4" x 5.5" solid wood. This is much cheaper and easier for us to use since we don't have a table saw. 

For our fabric we used 1000D Cordura that we purchased from eBay for about $10 a yard. We bought 4 yards of each red and blue and will have bumpers for at least 3 seasons from that purchase. 

To mount our bumpers we used a sheet metal supporting structure that is inspired by 148's 2011 robot, Raptor. The bumper support goes around the entire robot and it most be put on over the top of the robot. Here is the drawing of what we had laser cut for our mount.

To actually latch our bumpers on to our frame we use butterfly latches that are commonly used on road cases. We found these during the off season and retro fitted them on to our 2013 robot for our off season events. These are great for bumpers since they allow for tool less install and remove of each set. We also purchased these from eBay, they are about $2.50 each and we use 4 on each bumper set. Make sure to the get the ones that include the springs they make securing the bumpers much easier.

They attached to the robot in these slots that we put into our front and back frame rails.

Along the bottom of the bumpers we attached 1" x 1/8" angle aluminum that secures the bottom edge of the bumpers and also seats them securely against our frame.

For the past several years we have just painted on our numbers. We end up having to touch them up through out the season but they are easily visible from the stands and last a whole event. We custom make stencils our of manila folders that use our branded font.

We didn't have many bumper problems at Dallas. There were a few matches that we had to pry up on corner of our bumpers because they slipped down past our frame but that wasn't a very big problem, they would only drop about an 1/8" which still keeps us within the bumper zone.

- Spectrum

"In many ways, it's the things that are not there that we are most proud of." - Jonathan Ive, iPad designer, on all the features that are missing from the iPad.

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