Let's Make Robots!

Big Boy Erector Set

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8020 extrusions are fantastic for many things, I've had experience with it in FIRST Robotics for several years. I signed up on their website, and a few days later I got their catalog in the mail! The thing is HUGE! It's about 3 inches thick!

What my team and I have learned is to use it on the final design only where its advantages can be, well, taken advantage of, as it is rather heavy compared to other aluminum options. Also, the price may be restrictive to some for larger projects, but their "garage sale" on ebay can help there. Other than that though, wow.

The ability to loosen a bolt, scoot a part half an inch, and tighten it back down is unmatched for prototyping.  The flipside of that is the finished product can also scoot if unchecked for too long, unless further meaasures are taken, such as drilling and bolting though the extrusion. 

Linear motion is another field where the extrusions excel. The slider assemblies they sell are like butter on a hot skillet, when aligned properly.  My team once made a forklift-esque robot that went from starting at just under 5 feet tall to 9 or 10 feet, I forget exactly. The weakpoint in that system was the 3D printed worm gear box, but I digress.

For low stress areas I recommend the quickframe series. Cut to length, bevel the flanges if needed, and hammer in the corner connectors. The smooth sides and flanges for mouting panels made our controls box look pretty sexy one year.