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Unread 05-14-2018, 05:57 PM
Nicholas Liu Nicholas Liu is offline
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Robot Base for Post-FRC Development

Hey CD,

I'm looking for a robot chassis to continue development in areas like pure pursuit and potentially working with a 360 degree lidar and a stereo camera. Something reliable that has wheels and encoders will work; however, it would be ideal if it had an IMU and expandability to add other sensors later. I have a Jetson I'll use as the processor.

I'm looking for a kit that emulates the MIT RACECAR or Turtlebot but at a reasonable price (<$200). Does anyone have any recommendations or previous experiences?

Last edited by Nicholas Liu : 05-14-2018 at 09:03 PM.
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Unread 05-14-2018, 06:01 PM
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Re: Robot Base for Post-FRC Development

You can get a traxxas rustler for $150 and build the rest up yourself.
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Unread 05-14-2018, 06:20 PM
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Re: Robot Base for Post-FRC Development

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamHeard View Post
You can get a traxxas rustler for $150 and build the rest up yourself.
I've owned a Rustler and found them to be pretty bombproof. But if OP is mounting a bunch of things to one, I might suggest the Slash for a hair under $200. Both share a reasonable amount of DNA, but the Slash has a bit more real estate on the main chassis plate, and having the wheels and tires tuck into the body more is good for protecting the operating environment. Neither is a wrong answer, though.

The Traxxas Bandit is a Rustler with a few buggy-specific tweaks. Probably won't see it cheaper than a Rustler or Slash since stadium and short-course trucks are more popular racing classes, but it's worth a search.

The Traxxas Stampede is also related to the Rustler, but has a really narrow and high main chassis plate so it can do the monster truck look. Probably the least-suited of anything in this post for what you want, but if you got it for a song it might be useful.

Edit to add: All of these are available in a lot of bundles and variants--some are 4WD instead of 2WD, some are brushless instead of brushed, some have a battery included, some are smaller-scale versions of the same racing class, so on so forth. For your purposes, get the cheapest 1/10 scale version of whatever you settle on unless you are planning to race it somewhere.

Also, none of these come with encoders at the wheels. You'd need your own setup for that, though all also have enough sidewall on the tires that you can probably come up with some marks to get something.
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Unread 05-18-2018, 11:16 PM
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Re: Robot Base for Post-FRC Development

If you are using a Traxxas RC car with brushless motors you could use a Vedder ESC which has odometry and can be controlled over a USB port. This will allow you to avoid expensive encoders.
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Unread 05-19-2018, 09:33 AM
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Re: Robot Base for Post-FRC Development

Actobotics sells some fairly cheap base kits:

The scout is $170. It includes motors, but does not include electronics. I believe the motors do not have encoders, but Servocity does sell a version of that same motor with an encoder for about $20 more per motor. I'm sure you could call them and request upgraded motors.

https://www.servocity.com/scout

This base has bolt holes that are compatible with the Actobotics construction system so it would make it very easy to build a superstructure to support the OPs equipment.

Depending on the scope of the project they sell a bunch of interesting simple chassis or some fairly complex chassis with more space for components.

One of our FTC teams switched to the Actobotics building system a couple years ago and have found it to be a really well designed system. They have a bunch of specialty COTS parts to be able to create really unique mechanisms. They have mounting plates that are compatible with standard servos, motors, etc that make it really easy to assemble. The parts are not as cheap as Tetrix, but they fit together a lot more precisely and solidly.

Our club has also built a bunch of very simple holonomic drive robots using some of our older FTC electronics that we don't use any more, 4 motors mounted diagonally on the 4 corners of a square board with direct drive Tetrix omni-wheels. We use these for outreach based on a game we saw at worlds in 2016 that another FTC team, the Lazybots, had developed for outreach. We copied the Lazybotts plans for their robots which are posted on their website:

http://www.lazybotts.com/krazy-kubes.html

Click on the 'more info' link at the bottom of the page to go to their google drive where they have the plans and construction instructions for their robots. Obviously, you could make these as large as you wanted by just making the square plate larger. These robots are way under $200 and provide a very versatile platform if you have a flat, indoor space that you are using for your project.
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Unread 05-19-2018, 09:48 AM
mman1506 mman1506 is offline
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Re: Robot Base for Post-FRC Development

The car included in the MIT racecar kit is a Traxxas Slash 4x4 and the ESC is just a VESC.
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