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Unread 06-13-2018, 03:45 PM
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Re: Is it worth it to opt out of the KOP chassis for a low resource team?

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Originally Posted by pkrishna3082 View Post
The echo chamber here is ridiculous. If you think you can afford it, and make yourself familiar with the process (be it through an offseason build or meticulous CAD study) you can make a drivetrain just as quickly, albeit for a bit more cost.
The echo chamber is here because a lot of us have built both styles of drive trains. The faster, cheaper option is definitely the KOP drive. You can have it rolling on kickoff day if you dedicate some time and people to it. From my experience it takes at least a few meetings to get a WCD manufactured and assembled.

If $500 is really the budget then there's no question that you should stick to the KOP drive. Spend that money elsewhere.
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Unread 06-13-2018, 04:14 PM
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Re: Is it worth it to opt out of the KOP chassis for a low resource team?

In my experience, the KoP Chassis is controversial. On one hand, it is fast to make and reliable, which is good for the chassis, a more simple yet important part of the bot. On the other hand making your own chassis (i.e sheet metal) is a great experience, is a good learning experience, is more diverse, and can be cheaper.

On our team, drivetrain is something we put reasorces and time into, in order to perfect it.

Another way of looking at it as if you rather guarantee a reliable chassis in comp, or make it into a learning experience.
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Unread 06-13-2018, 04:42 PM
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Re: Is it worth it to opt out of the KOP chassis for a low resource team?

This thread has been a very interesting read. Our team had made the decision to try and develop our own chassis/gearbox this summer after watching the 2363 videos on building a drivetrain. Our calculations seemed to indicate that we could be build a drivetrain cheaper than the $450 voucher. We then planned on using the voucher to get additional parts so we could have two identical drivetrains for the season. We thought it would be a better use of resources and allow the opportunity for some of the newer students to practice manufacturing techniques in the off-season. We are now having some second thoughts after reading this thread.

Are there some hidden costs associated with building a tube in chassis design that we may not be aware of?
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Unread 06-13-2018, 05:32 PM
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Re: Is it worth it to opt out of the KOP chassis for a low resource team?

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Originally Posted by BCR-Jim View Post
Are there some hidden costs associated with building a tube in chassis design that we may not be aware of?

If your building your own DT to save money then you probably aren't doing it for the right reasons. IMO I don't think building a drive train is a particularly good learning tool, if your drivetrain is as easy to build as it should be then there really isn't much to learn.

Looking at your team's history it looks like you had a pretty amazing season. Ranking 2nd at both your regional events is pretty incredible as a rookie. I really like the elevator + rear dumper design too. It looks like you put a lot of thought into strategic design.

That's what makes it so surprising to me that you were unable to get out of quarters at both your events. Of course I don't know all the details but from watching your matches it doesn't look like your drive train was holding you back at all. What sticks out to me as a place you could improve is your intake.

While grabby intakes do work it's pretty obvious looking at the top teams that a wheeled intake was superior. A new intake could be a really good way to walk students through the process of prototyping, design, fabrication and iteration of a robot function. This could have a huge impact on your future results and better prepare your students for next season than building a custom drive train would.
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Unread 06-13-2018, 05:57 PM
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Re: Is it worth it to opt out of the KOP chassis for a low resource team?

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Originally Posted by pkrishna3082 View Post
For a first time, I don't think we could've done it without VersaChassis. You don't need precision manufacturing capabilities to accurately mill the holes for chain tension. Just get them close enough on a manual mill (might be able to even do it with a hole saw/drill press?) and use the cams to tension the chains optimally.
You definitely don't need a mill. Drill presses, or even cordless drills, with a hole saw can work wonders for any hole you're using a VersaBlock on.

Here's the process we follow for marking up our tubing for drilling.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6F42ITFyLEY
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Unread 06-13-2018, 06:13 PM
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Re: Is it worth it to opt out of the KOP chassis for a low resource team?

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Originally Posted by mman1506 View Post
If your building your own DT to save money then you probably aren't doing it for the right reasons. IMO I don't think building a drive train is a particularly good learning tool, if your drivetrain is as easy to build as it should be then there really isn't much to learn.

Looking at your team's history it looks like you had a pretty amazing season. Ranking 2nd at both your regional events is pretty incredible as a rookie. I really like the elevator + rear dumper design too. It looks like you put a lot of thought into strategic design.

That's what makes it so surprising to me that you were unable to get out of quarters at both your events. Of course I don't know all the details but from watching your matches it doesn't look like your drive train was holding you back at all. What sticks out to me as a place you could improve is your intake.

While grabby intakes do work it's pretty obvious looking at the top teams that a wheeled intake was superior. A new intake could be a really good way to walk students through the process of prototyping, design, fabrication and iteration of a robot function. This could have a huge impact on your future results and better prepare your students for next season than building a custom drive train would.
Thank you for the kind words about our season. We learned a lot. We would have loved to have been able to switch over to a roller intake, but we didn't have the budget to buy the extra motors/sensors/intake wheels to accomplish it. That is why we are looking to shave a couple hundred dollars off the cost of 2 drivetrains so we can have money available for parts.
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Unread 06-13-2018, 06:43 PM
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Re: Is it worth it to opt out of the KOP chassis for a low resource team?

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Originally Posted by BCR-Jim View Post
Are there some hidden costs associated with building a tube in chassis design that we may not be aware of?
  1. The opportunity cost. The time and effort put into designing, procuring the parts, building and refining/correcting the drive train could have been used to develop better scoring mechanisms.
  2. The delay in having a working drive train (or a second one) often means that the programmers have less time adn there is less practice time for the drivers.
  3. The risk that something doesn't go right and the drive train has a major weakness. Been there, done that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mman1506 View Post
If your building your own DT to save money then you probably aren't doing it for the right reasons. IMO I don't think building a drive train is a particularly good learning tool, if your drivetrain is as easy to build as it should be then there really isn't much to learn.

It is probably easier to keep the students interested in developing a better scoring mechanism.

The drive train has to work 100% reliably. If the students building it are very inexperienced, there is the chance that you end up with the situation 3) above.
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Unread 06-13-2018, 09:42 PM
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Re: Is it worth it to opt out of the KOP chassis for a low resource team?

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Originally Posted by Richard Wallace View Post
The kit chassis can be souped up.
+1. In 2015, we made the AM14U2 into a 4 wheel omni drive (attempted an H/slide drive but failed until post season). In 2016 we made the (pre-purchased) U2 into a 10 wheel tank like thing, and in 2017 we chopped the front third off the U3 and made it into a 4 wheel relatively wide skid steer. In 2018 we went pretty straight up, using the U3 frame and wheels and belts and U2 reduction gears, but no other mods. In each case, we still spent much less effort with our drivetrain than we did in 2012 and 2013, and were more happy with the drivetrain results. How happy are we with our mods? Our 2018 off-season robot is being built on our 2017 practice chassis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BCR-Jim View Post
Are there some hidden costs associated with building a tube in chassis design that we may not be aware of?
The big difference for us is confidence. Since 2015, we have spent almost all of our off-season and most of our build season effort on manipulator systems. The only time we spent significant time since then on the drive train was 2016, when the drive train WAS a manipulator when it came to our primary objective of damaging defenses. Even then, without the confidence of working with the same chassis as the previous year, we would likely not have been confident enough to build anything as good as we did.

Additionally, while I have seen many VF chassis with clamp-on gearboxes at competition, the idea of the drive train gears being THAT exposed gives me the heebie jeebies. If you go to the enclosed gearboxes, the costs appeared significantly higher than $400 when I did an analysis a few years ago.
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Unread 06-14-2018, 02:27 PM
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Re: Is it worth it to opt out of the KOP chassis for a low resource team?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BCR-Jim View Post
This thread has been a very interesting read. Our team had made the decision to try and develop our own chassis/gearbox this summer after watching the 2363 videos on building a drivetrain. Our calculations seemed to indicate that we could be build a drivetrain cheaper than the $450 voucher. We then planned on using the voucher to get additional parts so we could have two identical drivetrains for the season. We thought it would be a better use of resources and allow the opportunity for some of the newer students to practice manufacturing techniques in the off-season. We are now having some second thoughts after reading this thread.

Are there some hidden costs associated with building a tube in chassis design that we may not be aware of?
I will always suggest to a team that they use the KOP chassis (even though we don't), but I will never discourage a team from trying something new in the offseason. If you have any questions about out chassis, please don't hesitate to ask.
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Unread 06-14-2018, 02:47 PM
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Re: Is it worth it to opt out of the KOP chassis for a low resource team?

I've never really been fond of the KOP chassis and when I was with my high school team we did custom chassis. Last year with the rookie team 7214 we did a custom chassis and will do so going forward. Buying 2x1 from onlinemetals with promo codes really brought down the cost as well as like Steve Forbes said its all about finding the best bang for the buck. If you have the resources machine wise then design and build a copy of your previous robot with the chassis upgrade if its better in your eyes then move forward with it if you feel comfortable with it move forward with it. It all comes down to you and your team at the end of the day.
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Unread 06-14-2018, 02:48 PM
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Re: Is it worth it to opt out of the KOP chassis for a low resource team?

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Originally Posted by BCR-Jim View Post
This thread has been a very interesting read. Our team had made the decision to try and develop our own chassis/gearbox this summer after watching the 2363 videos on building a drivetrain. Our calculations seemed to indicate that we could be build a drivetrain cheaper than the $450 voucher. We then planned on using the voucher to get additional parts so we could have two identical drivetrains for the season. We thought it would be a better use of resources and allow the opportunity for some of the newer students to practice manufacturing techniques in the off-season. We are now having some second thoughts after reading this thread.

Are there some hidden costs associated with building a tube in chassis design that we may not be aware of?
This thread was specifically responding to the OP, who stated that their team has a budget of $500. This is severly limiting, hence our responces of sticking to the KOP.

Your team, however, has proven pretty competent already and seems to have things more put together.

If you can prototype and know what you're doing, go for it.
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Unread 06-14-2018, 03:36 PM
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Re: Is it worth it to opt out of the KOP chassis for a low resource team?

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Originally Posted by Akash Rastogi View Post
This thread was specifically responding to the OP, who stated that their team has a budget of $500. This is severly limiting, hence our responces of sticking to the KOP.

Your team, however, has proven pretty competent already and seems to have things more put together.

If you can prototype and know what you're doing, go for it.
Seconding Akash here - if you have the money to do it and it's the off-season, go crazy. Don't let any of us on Chief Delphi discourage you from trying stuff. We made a swerve drive last off-season. About 4 months of work and $1300+ later we had something running. It wasn't quick, easy or cheap but we learned a lot and used it this past season.

Gearboxes will be your most expensive item if you purchase or build them from scratch. Odds are you're going to drop $100 - $200 on a single gearbox depending on if it's single speed or a shifter. So already you've spent $200 - $400 on the gearboxes. The raw material for the frame is usually the least expensive line item - 2 x 1 aluminum isn't all that expensive. Factor in purchasing motors, wheels, belts or chain, bearings, fasteners, etc. and it all really does add up. Factor in the time to machine anything - gussets, drilling holes in your frame rails, etc. as well.

Time is honestly more valuable than money during build season so keep that in mind too. There's always more money floating around out there but I can't ever get a week of build season back.
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Unread 06-15-2018, 12:37 AM
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Re: Is it worth it to opt out of the KOP chassis for a low resource team?

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Originally Posted by FredK View Post
We are considering opting out of the KOP chassis and building our own WCD. We are aware of the potential advantages of both but are wanting advice on the financial disadvantages. Specifically, will we be able to get our money's worth with the voucher? If we are buying stuff from WCP and VEX for the chassis, will we be essentially forfeiting the voucher? What do other low resource teams buy with the voucher when they opt out?
For reference, we spend less than $500 (often way less) to build the robot typically.
Thanks
We opted out and will never go back. We used the voucher last year on some wheels, batteries, and the triple chargers.
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Unread 06-15-2018, 09:09 AM
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Re: Is it worth it to opt out of the KOP chassis for a low resource team?

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Originally Posted by ns3517 View Post
We opted out and will never go back. We used the voucher last year on some wheels, batteries, and the triple chargers.
This is not useful advice without due context about your team’s resources. Are you a similar budget category as the OP? If so, how did you manage to build this? If you’ve largely been using kit chasses before now, what predicated the switch, and why are you “never going back”— what benefits did you see?
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Unread 06-15-2018, 10:03 AM
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Re: Is it worth it to opt out of the KOP chassis for a low resource team?

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Originally Posted by cadandcookies View Post
This is not useful advice without due context about your team’s resources. Are you a similar budget category as the OP? If so, how did you manage to build this? If you’ve largely been using kit chasses before now, what predicated the switch, and why are you “never going back”— what benefits did you see?
I can answer for ns3517. Our resources are definitely not the same as OP and I would recommend the KOP chassis for teams in their situation. The years that we used the KOP chassis our robot budget was around $1,500. This year we spent over that much just on two drivetrains. It could be cheaper if we had a mill but if you're going all COTS it's going to be expensive.

Our reasons for switching:
-All of the benefits of WCD
-Since we usually modified the KOP chassis we would scrap it at the end of the season. With a COTS WCD we pretty much only need to buy new tubing and shafts.
-Easier to mount super structure to 2x1
-The KOP chassis sizes and ratios are more limited
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