A Belt-Splicing Jig

Dave Richards

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Drum roll please. Direct from the shop of Richards Over-Engineering, Ltd.


This is a jig I made out of scraps to splice the ends of some sort of synthetic rubber belt material. The belt will be used to pick up and transport balls to a launcher on the robot being built for the First Robotics competition. There are only two splices to make and I expect it's overkill but the splices need to be flat and the belt straight. The orange stuff is a short piece of the belt. there's a long fence to use for aligning the belt and a couple of toggle clamps with pads to hold the belt in place.


In use the ends of the belt will overlap by about 3/4 in the gap. The ends will be heated by a heat gun and then the Belt Masher® will side in under the belt...




... and the top masher will be clamped in place. The washers are the same thickness as the belt so theoretically the splice will be the same thickness as the rest of the belt. Might need to do a little trimming along the edges with a sharp knife but that should be easy enough.

You might be surprised to know that I didn't even open SketchUp for this. I just made it up as I went along. :D
 

Dave Richards

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Nope. No SketchUp. I wasn't sure what I was making until it was starting to come together. If it works I might have to model it for documentation.

Thanks.
 

Dave Richards

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I thought about a scarf joint at first, Jim, but the belt is only about 1/16 in. thick and it's too soft to do anything like sand it or even cut it with a knife. The testing we did on Saturday showed that softening it with a heat gut and mashing it together makes a good dependable weld.
 

Dave Richards

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No. I was expecting it would be but when it cools, the material is as flexible as it was before. The intent is to use the masher to make the splice the same thickness as the rest of the belt to avoid a stiffer area due to thickness. I expect squeeze out on the sides but that would get trimmed away.
 

Ryan Mooney

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I expect squeeze out on the sides but that would get trimmed away.
If you can find a rotary cutter using that with a guide would be just the thing for trimming the sides. I wouldn't use the "good" one from the sewing room (at least not if I thought I was going to get caught doing so..) and use a cutting mat underneath.
 

Dave Richards

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Could suggestions Ryan. I'll check out the team's sewing kit to see if they have one. Otherwise a new blade in autility knife handle is the fall back.
 

Ryan Mooney

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Those of us married to quilters know better than to mess with their kit. Just warning you...:oops:
:rofl: To true!

I've been buying up my own supply at yard sales for a while now for my leather working projects. They do making cutting a straight line a snap and the smaller ones are excellent for curves.

On the plus side I've also figured out how to sharpen the blades fairly well (at least the bigger ones) as long as they're just dull and not badly nicked or bent so that does get me a bit of leeway.
 
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