After a handful of years participating in FIRST Tech Challenge, we’ve run across some tools, materials and techniques that we find ourselves using all of the time – and really didn’t know we’d end up doing so until later. We’d like to share these discoveries via an on-going series of blog posts.
While nearly everyone uses a pile of zip ties in their robot to strain relieve wires, temporarily hold components together, or even as a part to an end effector, we didn’t realize how handy these components designed to provide anchor points for zip ties would be.
They come in two flavors – one is the self-adhesive form, which is around 1in square. These are easily available at your local hardware store or home center, often in bags of 100. Our team has found many uses for these, leveraging their ability to stick to just about any part of the robot:
We’ve also found these zip tie attachment points with a #6 screw hole useful for strain relieving wires on our linear slides where there aren’t a whole lot of places to feed a zip tie through some holes, you can get them from AndyMark at https://www.andymark.com/products/cable-tie-holders
Here’s one in use on the front of our lift for the team’s PowerPlay robot to keep the servo wire for the gripper from getting tangled up when the lift moves. Observant readers might also notice the self-adhesive style towards the rear, providing an anchor for the USB cable for the webcam on top of the robot: