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This page is archived material from a previous course. Please check for updated material.

    Technical Info

    Latest updates

    • June 2  – Added links to small geared DC motors from Solarbotics.

    Omax Waterjet Cutter


    Laser Cutter

    • Short video showing the machine
    • Some info about it. It is the Versa Laser VLS 4.60
    • Here is a list of materials that can be cut.



    • Video about how to make a knurled meccano shaft

    Powder Coating

    • Video showing the powder coating setup



    • SolidWorks 2010 academic version is available for use in Hebb 42 for the duration of Phys 253.
    • There are many software tutorials for SolidWorks, including tutorial videos, which might be useful guidance.
    • Interested in making gears and animating them? Check this out.
    • Note that newer versions of Solidworks exist (version 2010), but the educational license acquired by the UBC department lags behind by 1 year.   SolidWorks is notoriously difficult when it comes to backwards compatibility, so be aware of which version of the program you are using.
    Other tips on using Solidworks »

    • Designing Sheet Metal Parts (from in-class lecture, June 1/2010)
      • Solid Works Environment
    • Menus offered by Solid Works
    • Standard:   COMMAND MANAGER
    • Menus can be added / removed as needed
    • Recommended menus to set up for phys253:
      • SKETCH
      • FEATURES
    • How to change menus:
      • Click on ‘new’ then ‘part’
      • Right-click on an empty section of the title bar
      • Pick and Activate all menus you want to add
      • ( To remove unwanted menus, you can simply drag that item to the center of the screen and use the ‘close’ button. )
      • Menus are independently customized for parts, assemblies and drawings (if needed)  Meaning, you set your choice of menus for working on assemblies after opening an assembly file.
    • Sheets vs. Solids
      • Both are extrusions of two-dimensional shapes to become 3D bodies
      • They can look exactly the same, but the CAD models behave differently
      • Important:  Bends can be added only when parts are extruded using the ‘base flange/tab’ button from the ‘sheet metal’ menu
      • Most commonly used basic bend functions are ‘edge flange’ and ‘sketched bend’
      • Main Advantages:
      • When creating ‘sheet’ type parts, added bends can be toggled on or off with the ‘flatten’ button
    • Saving option as DXF file is available
      • Export Options:
      • Finalized designs are exported and machined using the OMAX waterjet cutter.
      • OMAX machine can not read Solid Works files
      • File type needed:  DXF (=Drawing Exchange Format)Advantages:
      • Sheet metal  ‘part’  files can be saved  directly as DXF files
      • Parts do not have to be flattened, or be converted in a 2D drawing
      • How to:  Click on ‘save as’ and then use the pull down ‘save as type’  menu to pick  DXF


    Stock Materials

    • Chassis for robots are generally made from 24 gauge steel sheet metal. ( 24 gauge = 0.60mm = 0.0239” thickness)
    • Different thicknesses are available but should not be used, if possible. Try to use structural features for stiffness instead.
    • Different sheet metal materials: Only in special cases, aluminum and other materials are available.
    • Delrin (a type of plastic) is available as sheet stock 1/4” (6.35mm) to make custom sleeve bearings – check out the sample at the front
    • Steel rod 4mm is available to make custom length shafts (fits meccano size gears and adapters)



    Geared Barber Coleman motor (FYQF 63310-9)  (at 12V)

    • no-load speed:   470 rpm      max torque:  28 oz-in  (20 N-cm)
    • no-load  current:  0.1A      stall current:  1.3 A

    Un-geared Barber Coleman motor (FYQM 63100-51)  (at 12V):

    • no-load speed:   2300 rpm        max torque:  5.2 oz-in  (3.7 N-cm)
    • no-load  current:  0.13A       stall current:  2.75 A

    Princess Auto Double-shaft motor (at 12V):

    • no-load speed:   3700 rpm       max torque:  8.0 oz-in  (5.6  N-cm)
    • no-load  current:  0.24 A      stall current:  2.2 A

    Futaba Servo Motor (S3003) (motor + built-in encoder)  (at 5V)

    • max torque:    44 oz-in torque  (31 N-cm)
    • max speed:    0.23sec/60 degrees at no load

    Solarbotics geared DC motors

    • GM8  –  Gear Motor 8 – 143:1 Offset Shaft. (rated for maximum 6V)
      • no-load speed:   78 RPM   (at 6V)         max torque:    44.4 oz-in   (at 6V)
      • no-load current:   0.052 A     (at 6V)     stall current:   700 mA (at 6V)

    Incoming Servo Motors from Hobby King (ordered early June, should arrive by ~June 25th)



    • We do have powerful new Nickel Metal Hydride battery packs as well as Lead-Acid (gel type) batteries from earlier years.

    Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)                                                                                           Lead-Gel

    14.4 V / 2700 mAh                                                                                                12 V / 1200 mAh


    • The NiMH pack is extremely powerful and can deliver currents of 40 Amps and more. If shorted, they will explode.
    • The Lead-Gel block battery can deliver currents of more than 20 Amps, which is still plenty to do all kinds of damage



    • NiMH batteries are now equipped with 10 A fuses:

    • Blown fuse  vs.  new fuse:


    Lab Prototype Boards

    Note that physical layout may differ slightly from board to board.



    (1) Power Input – comes from the benchtop power supply with a proprietary connector.   Supplies +15V/-15V/+5V/ground to the board.


    (2) BNC inputs –  use cables with BNC connectors to connect the board to oscilloscopes, function generators, or other lab equipment.  Note that the shield of all equipment connected through the BNC is connected to ground on the board – this may intentionally (or unintentionally) be used to ground all of the equipment on your benchtop.


    (3) Potentiometer – the three pins just beside the board connect to the potentiometer of the knob.  Check the rating of the potentiometer to see the resistance (most boards are 10 kohms)


    4) BCD LED Display – a 2-digit LED display, programmed through Binary Coded Decimal.  A 5V signal provided to each pin displays the value on the LED.  You can see the datasheet on the BCD driver, the DM9368N.


    (5) Solderless breadboard. Note that the power buses on these and ~90% of the solderless breadboards you see will have a discontinuity in them, and will require short jumpers to connect the left-side and right-side of the board.  Scroll through about half-way through this online tutorial to read up on the reasoning for the break:  Sparkfun Tutorial – Beginning Embedded Electronics.

    (6)  four SPDT switches – These four slide switches are Single Pole Double Throw (read here for further information on different switch configurations and terminology).  The centre  pin is the common pin, and will connect to either the top pin or bottom pin.


    (7) two debounced switches –   Both of these switches produce clean debounced pulses when the button is pressed.  Each button produces both an active-high and an active-low signal.   Note that any mechanical switch actually produces noise, which can be suppressed either by debouncing in hardware or debouncing in software (with increasing levels of complexity).


    (8) power pins – all of these pins can be used to connect to the power buses on the solderless breadboard.   Note that all of these pins connect to one antoher through the board – if you have problems where an unknown part of a circuit is shorting the board, you can disconnect power to each of the buses to localize the short to a specific part of the circuit.


    (9) 9-pin DSUB connector.  You can connect the prototype board to devices using a 9-pin DSUB connector, most commonly found on older serial port devices communicating through RS-232.


    (10)  LED Indicators – use up to 8 LEDs on your board.   The LEDs are powered by the ULN2803A darlington transistor array, and turns on LEDs with a 5V signal is supplied to the pins.



    Useful Links