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Unread 01-01-2004, 05:30 PM
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Re: Picking Out Roller Chain

Of course #25 chain will break, and so will #35 if it sees a high enough load. All I am saying is that you should have a good reason to make something stronger. Let's not just make declarations on this forum that one should never use #25 chain!

I have seen many teams start drilling holes all over the place because they are over weight. In the meantime, they have gears that are 1/2 inch thick that weigh a pound a piece and #35 chain driving wheels that have such low traction that there is no way they could ever load the chains or the gears enough to justify such overkill.

If you simply do not have time to do the math and can spare the weight, then fine, over design it. Or, if you have done the math and have determined that #25 will not work for your application, then by all means, use something stronger. But don't ask everyone else to just give up and play it safe - they also need to determine if it is an issue for their application.

You can be extra safe or you can be competative - its your choice.

Raul
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Unread 01-01-2004, 06:18 PM
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Re: Picking Out Roller Chain

I agree that every team MUST assess their own needs and design. I am sorry if it sounded like we have the only answer. This year we will change because of last year but the previous years we had no problem. Weight is each teams biggest challege. Every team could go overweight without blinking. Good teams plan ahead and assess needs before building and finding they are 15 Lb over-weight. It is much easier to add to a robot design than remove to make weight.

Good catch Raul, I don't mean to push thoughts as fact. Thanks
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Unread 01-01-2004, 06:48 PM
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Re: Picking Out Roller Chain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raul
Let's not just make declarations on this forum that one should never use #25 chain!

You can be extra safe or you can be competative - its your choice.
Rar! I love that firey "extra safe or competitive" statement. Haha.

First, I agree it's bad to declare to NEVER use #25 chain, it has a lot of good applications. (Fortunately, I don't really Raul was quoting me, since I merely adviced to not use it on the last leg of a drive train.)

Second, I'm really glad that Raul did "bite" and say something. You're on a team that's used #25 with great success for a while now.

Something to consider, though I may be incorrect, Wildstang has typically been using #25 on crab drive style systems, which has typically used short chain lengths interacting with only one wheel per length of chain.

In addition, 111 has been designing (very awesome) strategically fast and defensive robots, not the "fierce, head-on, pushing on the carpet with 2.5 coefficent of friction for 2 minutes" sort. 111 has designs that I would to consider to carry atypically smaller loads on chain. It is a much different situation than a tank drive style system which may have one continous length of chain for two wheels per side at 6 feet per loop. As has been said in similar threads, proper tensioning and load calculations are critical to use #25 chain, as well at continuous "stretch management".

Here's some reworded suggestions:
  • If you're coming on these forums because you're unsure about whether to use #25 or #35 chain, and unsure about doing calculations to determine the loads for your applications, I sincerely suggest you you don't give yourself unneccessary headache- it's a few pounds to sleep better at night, go #35.
  • If you've been around for a few years and are thinking of going down to #25 to save weight, use short lengths and do careful calculations on load.
  • If you've had #25 fail on you, work on improving your load handingly methods, or just realize that #35 can be your friend.
  • If you've been around for several years, you're probably not looking for advice, so contribute some like Raul did.
More cents...

Matt
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Last edited by Matt Adams : 01-01-2004 at 06:53 PM.
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Unread 01-01-2004, 07:45 PM
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Re: Picking Out Roller Chain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raul
You can be extra safe or you can be competative - its your choice.
Okay Raul... now I'll bite...
I agree with EVERYTHING you said, except this above statement.

In my experience (not nearly as extensive as yours ) in this competition "extra safe" IS competative. To argue that the choice is limited to one or the other seems dangerous.

I would urge everyone in this competition, especially rookies to "play it safe" and not to walk on the razor's edge when designing their robot. It's the same as with drivetrain speeds... "Sure, you might want to be an extra foot/sec faster but what good is it going to do you when (the planets misallign and) you pop your breaker?"

Sure, 1/4" chain weighs less, but the phrase is "better safe than sorry". I would advise most teams to "spend the weight where it matters".
You can have the most elegant mechanism in the world, but it's no good when your drive is dead, and it's doing semi-circles across the field. I've seen this happen to the BEST of teams, and I'll tell ya... probably 80% of the time it's a #25 chain which blew off it's sprocket.

It's not usually a loading issue, so much as a misallignment issue. As mentioned above, #35 is MUCH (MUCH!) more forgiving when it comes to allignment.

So yes... I agree with Raul...
Analyze everything, have numbers to back up all your decisions, and don't just "Take someone's word on it".

But... also ask yourself if one extra factor of safety would be in your best interest...

Safer IS better.

John

PS - Raul, if you haven't had any #25 problems... then all I have to say is: "I sure wish I could build em like Stang does!" (I guess I say that anyways... such beautiful robots...)
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Unread 01-02-2004, 11:20 PM
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#25 can work, but #35 much more forgiving...

I know that #25 can work. We used in many many years with no problems that we didn't cause ourselves.

But... we had to spend a lot of time thinking about how to make the chain work right for us. We put designed in robust tension systems. We paid close attention to alignment of sprockets. Etc.

Last year, we went to #35 chain because frankly, we were not confident that we had the ability to make it work for us given our level of resources last year.

Based on what I saw, in the future, I will use #35 chain in almost every case over #25.

#35 chain is SO much easier to work with. From alignement, to tension, to abusive loads, #35 will let you get away with many more sins before it damns you to hell.

So... ...that is where I come down at least.

Joe J.
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Unread 01-03-2004, 12:01 AM
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#25 Chain is THE way to go

Now many of us may have our opinion, but remember - everyone has an opinion. Out of all the individuals that have responded to this question, Raul and Joe J. are by far the most reputable of individuals - no disrespect is meant by this comment, but lets remember the machines/marvels that these two men have created during the past 5-7 years.

I tend to side with Raul on this issue. Team 302 has always used #25 chain - even for drive train. Last year, we pushed some mega forces through that chain and we only suffered one problem. We had two small sprockets (for our jackshaft of the drill motors) that had chain wrapped too tightly around them. The machine still ran beautifully, but at the end of each regional we found that there was a slightly seized up link. This was our mistake, not the chain's.

I always am one to play it safe and triple check everything, but #35 is unnecessary unless you are really pushing some mega mega force through that chain. A good example was the guy (above) that said he had problems with #25 with six motor drive.

I know that Raul last year pushed some EXTREME amount of force through that chain on his wedges/wings. In fact, he geared down each chiaphua to approx. 40 rpm's and (like he said) he used #25 chain with no problems. Using #25 is not cutting any corners, but just simply saving some weight.
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Unread 01-03-2004, 03:56 PM
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Re: Picking Out Roller Chain

Great exchange guys!

Steve, I understand.

Matt, your reworded suggestions are very appropriate. I agree that we have not often designed our bot to be a bulldozer. In 2002 we did use #35 chain for our mini tank. And guess what, it broke in a freak event when a broken part from another robot wedged itself in our chain. It was geared down enough to tear it self apart.

John V., I agree safer is better. Reliablilty is certainly a top priority; especially if you want to survive the playoffs. But extra safe (as in excessively safe) is not. Your team must continue to learn how to "get closer to the competitve edge of the cliff without falling over."

Joe, you already know what I am talking about. Your advice and experiences are very much appreciated.

These are just my opinions based on my experiences. But I, as everyone else, still have much to learn. So, I would hope that everyone continues to offer their opposing opinions and experiences.

One last thing - for #25 chain, my experience has indicated that the simple black carbon steel chain stretches less than the shiny stainless steel type.

Raul
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Unread 01-03-2004, 04:46 PM
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Re: Picking Out Roller Chain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raul
Great exchange guys!

John V., I agree safer is better. Reliablilty is certainly a top priority; especially if you want to survive the playoffs. But extra safe (as in excessively safe) is not. Your team must continue to learn how to "get closer to the competitve edge of the cliff without falling over."
Raul, I agree with that 100%.
I guess the important distinction to make is between "safe" and "excessively safe".

Although it's never fun to toe the line, and fall over the edge...

John

Last edited by JVN : 01-03-2004 at 04:54 PM.
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Unread 01-03-2004, 05:37 PM
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Re: Picking Out Roller Chain

John,

You mentioned in the shifting/engaging gears perpendicular thread that 469 was blowing 1/4 chain quite a bite at the end.

If I may offer some clarification, we ran with them in the playoff at the championship and it is true that they had to fix their drive after every match they ran (that's why we were forced to run every match in the playoffs). But from what I remember, the problem they were having was not due to the 1/4" chain breaking, but rather from it derailing from their idler sprocket.
Raul
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Unread 01-03-2004, 07:30 PM
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Re: Picking Out Roller Chain

Quote:
FIRST outlawed metal cleats in 2003, so I can see why you are thinking about putting rubber cleats on the attachment chain. We actually tried doing this in 2003, with urethane cleats. We aligned our wheels, kept the chain unbelievalby tight, and we STILL threw our chain off. The urethane does no allow for turning as well as metal cleats do, since they were wider and stuck to the carpet better than metal.
What size ANSI chain did you use? Im guessing now from reading it that size 40 chain will be overkill. Also does anyone know the approximate weight by foot of this stuff? Would using double pitch 40 size chain sacrifice any reliability? Im guessing no because the chain is really big to begin with and the fact that the stats on mcmaster's website don't showa a significant differnce.
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Last edited by Adam Y. : 01-03-2004 at 07:32 PM.
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Unread 01-03-2004, 10:22 PM
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Re: Picking Out Roller Chain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raul
John,

You mentioned in the shifting/engaging gears perpendicular thread that 469 was blowing 1/4 chain quite a bite at the end.

If I may offer some clarification, we ran with them in the playoff at the championship and it is true that they had to fix their drive after every match they ran (that's why we were forced to run every match in the playoffs). But from what I remember, the problem they were having was not due to the 1/4" chain breaking, but rather from it derailing from their idler sprocket.
Raul
Raul,
Thanks for the clarification.
I never actually saw this in person, but I talked to Gail at IRI and she mentioned it then.


I know that unless I'm having DIRE weight problems, I'll probably use #35 for drive, simply because I like how forgiving it is, should a misallignment occur.
Depends on how much I want to toe the line...

This has certainly been an educational exchange...
Good luck to Stang in 2004 (and all those other points from your list too ).
John
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Unread 01-04-2004, 10:39 AM
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Re: Picking Out Roller Chain

Quote:
Originally Posted by JVN
Raul,
Thanks for the clarification.
I never actually saw this in person, but I talked to Gail at IRI and she mentioned it then.


I know that unless I'm having DIRE weight problems, I'll probably use #35 for drive, simply because I like how forgiving it is, should a misallignment occur.
Depends on how much I want to toe the line...

This has certainly been an educational exchange...
Good luck to Stang in 2004 (and all those other points from your list too ).
John
I can second this. Artur Ostrowski is the lead engineer and the brain behind the brawn for team #469. I work with Art. He is possibly the best engineer I know both in terms of theoretical engineering understanding and in just plain engineering "feel."

Bottom line: Art tells me that he plans on using #35 chain in any future drive train.

Again, this is not to say that those who use #25 chain are silly or wrong or whatever. Rather, this is just to emphasize that there are a lot of things to balance in ANY decision on a robot design and that a few of us have weighted the various sides of the chain size debate and decided that #35 is the best choice for us.

As always, your mileage may vary...

Joe J.

Last edited by Joe Johnson : 01-04-2004 at 10:42 AM.
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Unread 01-16-2004, 04:40 PM
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Re: Preseason Rant: Don't Go with #25 Chain in the last leg of your drive train!

I'm curious - It doesn't look like anyone here has mentiond who MANUFACTURES the chain that they use.

Just because a chain meets ANSI spec, does not mean they are created equal. The life expectancy of a #25 chain (or any size chain for that matter) will vary greatly depending on who made it. I suspect that this argument might quickly be shown to be apples vs. oranges if the manufacturer were included in the statements.

Team x:
"We've been using Cubic Zirconium Brand #25 chain for years and we've never broken one yet."

Team y:
"You must be wrong, our Muchocheapo #25 chains break every round!"

The problem with anecdotal evidence is that you never seem to get the whole anecdote.
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Unread 01-16-2004, 09:41 PM
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Re: Preseason Rant: Don't Go with #25 Chain in the last leg of your drive train!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lea DeFoote
I'm curious - It doesn't look like anyone here has mentiond who MANUFACTURES the chain that they use.

Just because a chain meets ANSI spec, does not mean they are created equal. The life expectancy of a #25 chain (or any size chain for that matter) will vary greatly depending on who made it. I suspect that this argument might quickly be shown to be apples vs. oranges if the manufacturer were included in the statements.

Team x:
"We've been using Cubic Zirconium Brand #25 chain for years and we've never broken one yet."

Team y:
"You must be wrong, our Muchocheapo #25 chains break every round!"

The problem with anecdotal evidence is that you never seem to get the whole anecdote.
There aren't a whole lot of roller chain manufacturers out there.
If it meets ANSI standards, it meets ANSI standards (at a minimum). Of course some are better then others. Some brands / quality levels will also last longer then others, but I don't think FIRST robots run enough to see any of those effects. I may be wrong. I think most of the break/no break differences are coming from engineering and control rather then chain quality.

Greg
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Unread 01-17-2004, 05:07 PM
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Re: Picking Out Roller Chain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Y.
Can someone tell me what the calculations are for determining the choice for roller chain? I am guessing the terms you use are the maximum working load and average tensile strength but how do you calculate what that is going to be in the robot.
I figure that basically any steel chain equal to or larger than #25 will withstand anything I can make the robot do to it. And then I make my selection based on which pitch size has the most convienant sprocket sizes and bores, etc.

And based on what parts we already have and don't need to buy: i.e. sprockets from last years robots will be in this year's robots. maybe some chain (with lots of new lubericant), definatly some big sprockets that never got used lat year. that kinda thing.

edit: our chain and sprockets are from McMaster Carr. Sprockets are carbon steel, chain is steel of some sort.

Never brok one, but we did slip them off sprockets. But that was our fault for a poorly designed drive train.
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