Hello VEX community, I’m a builder for one of the top teams in California and I would like to share a discovery my team made. We found that using loctite on polycarbonate has numerous benefits and can provide a significant competitive advantage. This advantage helped my team a lot at the recent Mall of America signature event so we would like to share it to everyone. We’ll start by describing what loctite and polycarb are.
Loctite (sometimes also referred to as thread lock) is an adhesive/chemical used in a variety of applications. It can prevent vibration loosening, prevent leaks, protect threaded components from corrosion and increase the reliability of mechanical fasteners. You may have seen screws with loctite on them as they are easily identified by the small patch of red or blue on it. Loctite can also be found in its liquid form in small tubes (preferred for polycarb). Loctite is most commonly used to increase the grip a screw has one something, like a motor or a nut. However, less common but advantageous uses of loctite also exist. Loctite works very well for various applications on polycarbonate.
Loctite 209728 Heavy Duty Threadlocker, 0.2 oz, Blue 242, Single Thread Locking Adhesive, 0.2 Fl. Oz (Pack of 1)
Polycarb (also called polycarbonate) is a nonshattering plastic that is legal for use in VEX with a limitation of a 12x24 sheet. It is very popular with most teams as it is very customizable and also provides a surface that has a lower friction with a lot of game elements, so it is very commonly used in intakes such as trays in tower takeover and intakes in spin up. It is also very commonly used for pieces that need exact measurements such as gussets for x-drives.
1/16" Clear Polycarbonate Sheet 12" x 24" x 0.0625" for VEX Robotics Plastic Sheets - Robosource.net
A lot of teams commonly machine their polycarb so they can get precise sizes with machines such as laser cutters. These leave a lot of burn marks; however, they can be thoroughly and effectively cleaned with loctite applied on the burn marks. Loctite also helps strengthen polycarb due to some various chemical reactions. This is very useful for situations where the loctite is under a lot of stress such as applications where you want to use as little material as possible but want to have it structurally secure.
Thank you all for reading this, I hope this helps your team in future competitions!