Rapid Prototyping: Encoder Mounts

Yesterday, our engineers had an encoder mounting problem. They wanted to mount their sensor on the inside of their cart’s wheel but there wasn’t an obvious place to mount it. Brian, our machinist, had done an amazing thing. By just looking at the sensor and cart, he designed a bracket for the encoder in a span of half an hour!  

The prototype he made was a bracket and two metal plates with small springs in between them. Why are the springs important? They allow the mount to move up and down with the moving brake drum when it spins. This way the encoder can stay in constant contact with the drum, even when it hits its high and low spots, and not damage itself, such as getting bent if it was stationary. This proof of concept prototype was temporary but allowed us to collect the data we needed to go to the next step in our project. Our future production version will probably integrate into the axle or wheel hub, but this quick and dirty prototype got us going for now.

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