Simple waterjet cut bearing blocks

When building or customizing robots, motorcycles, go-karts, electric vehicles, converyor belt systems, or just about anything that moves, you will eventually run into the problem of having to tie all of the motion components together into a single system. If off the shelf components don’t meet your needs, you can waterjet cut custom frames, motor mounts, and bearing blocks.

Let me show you an example from my fighting robot “Jaws”. I needed a bearing block which would give maximum support to the wheels, but would occupy a minimum amount of space and weight. The solution I came up up with was a ¾ inch thick 6061 aluminum bearing block with a bronze bushing inserted into it. Using a bronze bushing kept the size down compared to using ball bearings.

After the bearing blocks were waterjet cut, I drilled holes in the edge of the bearing blocks in order to base mount to mount them. The bearing blocks rest on their cut edge and are held in place with bolts and nuts. Below you can see a rendering of the part, and a photo showing it installed inside the robot.

Rendering of the 3/4 inch thick aluminum bearing block from Jaws.

Rendering of the 3/4 inch thick aluminum bearing block from Jaws.

The bearing block  installed inside Jaws.

The bearing block installed inside Jaws.

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