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Unread 04-11-2018, 12:42 PM
TBKahouna TBKahouna is offline
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Teams that have dropped the Swerve Drive

Following the very interesting thread on those teams that use Swerve Drives on their robots and how they perform, I am left with these questions:
1) what Teams developed and used a Swerve Drive at one point in the team's life and ended up abandonning the idea?
2) why have those teams abandonned the Swerve Drive?
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Unread 04-11-2018, 12:49 PM
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Re: Teams that have dropped the Swerve Drive

Iirc, there are two Minnesota teams who tried swerve, had a ton of problems with it and decided not to do it again: 2220 in 2011 and 2169 in 2014.
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Unread 04-11-2018, 01:01 PM
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Re: Teams that have dropped the Swerve Drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by TBKahouna View Post
Following the very interesting thread on those teams that use Swerve Drives on their robots and how they perform, I am left with these questions:
1) what Teams developed and used a Swerve Drive at one point in the team's life and ended up abandonning the idea?
2) why have those teams abandonned the Swerve Drive?
We did it in 2016 (four wheel based on 221's design) and in 2017 (three wheel custom with globoid rotation gearboxes). The 2016 ones were plagued with both mechanical and software issues but the 2017 ones ran great for the most part. This year we decided to change it up and go tank, and I am personally very happy with that decision. It has made our auto much more consistent, the driver had an easier time getting used to controlling it, and movements feel much more precise because there's one less degree of freedom for its motion than a swerve. I don't think we're 100% against going back to swerve, but if we do go back it will probably be with more time invested into its development beforehand.
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Unread 04-11-2018, 01:10 PM
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Re: Teams that have dropped the Swerve Drive

As you can imagine, swerve drives are considerably more complex than the basic six wheel drop center used by many teams. The complexity is expressed in mechanical (more moving parts), electrical (more motors/controllers) and especially programming (orienting and varying speed on each wheel independently). It also requires more driver practice to get the most benefits from the added complexity.

Unless you want to spend your entire build and competition season tuning and learning to use your drive base, I would highly recommend that you build your first Swerve Drive as an off season project. I have been on a team that tried to do Swerve for the first time after kickoff and we spent more time trying to get mobile than trying to manipulate the game pieces. We went back to the classic 6 wheel drop center the next year in order to have more time to work on the scoring system(s).

Also, Swerve is not particularly cheap. If it does not offer a substantial benefit to your particular strategy, it may not be worth doing every year. I'm sure there will be some that would argue that Swerve is always worth the cost, but if your team has resource constraints (budget, programmers, builders) it may not be worth it (or affordable) to you.

It is always a good idea to understand your own teams resource limitations, whether it be money, tooling or people power and to work within those constraints. A practiced driver with a good robot can often outperform the 'perfect' robot with an inexperienced driver.
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Unread 04-11-2018, 01:10 PM
stuart2054 stuart2054 is offline
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Talking Re: Teams that have dropped the Swerve Drive

We used a swerve drive based on an older 2767 (Stryke Force) Design last year. We had good success with it but any swerve is expensive and complex. Programming intense as well. It is also not the a great power drive for defense, with the idea being a good driver can avoid a push contest but it does take a real good driver to master. Having said all that for 2018 we didn't choose to use swerve but I don't think anyone has ruled it out for other years and the games that may come.
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Unread 04-11-2018, 01:16 PM
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Re: Teams that have dropped the Swerve Drive

We did an off-season swerve a while back (I think it was during the first RoboRio Beta test, after we finished the Alpha test). Complicated, difficult, and ultimately the team decided it wasn't worth it for a competition robot. I'm sure we'll revisit it at some point in the future with a new group of kids, though!
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Unread 04-11-2018, 03:22 PM
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Re: Teams that have dropped the Swerve Drive

I'm currently working on a small swerve drive for the office in order to terrorize (and bring snacks to) my co-workers.

Swerve is hard, even with ultra-light-duty hobby stuff. Hopefully this Tough Ink 115 filament can handle the lateral stresses without much flexing, otherwise I'm dropping the pursuit for a kiwi drive.

Does this count?
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Unread 04-11-2018, 03:47 PM
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Re: Teams that have dropped the Swerve Drive

Unless you have a right resources, it seems like a multi year project before it is ready for a competition grade robot.
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Unread 04-11-2018, 03:59 PM
John Bottenberg John Bottenberg is offline
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Re: Teams that have dropped the Swerve Drive

67 had a 3-wheel swerve drive flopbot in 2005. They won the World Championship with that robot, but they've never done swerve since.

From what I can remember from my earlier years on 67, the chatter about this robot seemed to be about how difficult it was to get right. Swerve drives were in their early stages in those times, and though it's hard to imagine a world championship drivetrain leaving a bad taste in a team's mouth, I think that's exactly what happened. They've moved on to the familiar sheet metal skid-steer chassis since then, as it seems a lot easier for them to adapt to the game and produce quickly. Of course, I'd love to hear about this from someone who was actually on the team in 2005.
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Unread 04-11-2018, 04:20 PM
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Re: Teams that have dropped the Swerve Drive

Wildstang 111 ran swerve for many many years (most seasons from 2000 to 2010, IIRC). They ran 2 speed WCD in 2011 and ran some version of tank drive since then. I believe the original decision to change away was the desire for a shifting drivetrain and not wanting to shift their swerve.

Robonauts 118 ran swerve drive from mid-2000's through 2008, half-swerve in 2009 and then tank drive from 2010-present.

Hammond 71 ran swerve many years from mid-2000's through 2012. If my memory serves correctly, they lost the sponsorship of Beatty Engineering in 2013 which lead to simplifying their designs significantly.
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Unread 04-11-2018, 04:25 PM
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Re: Teams that have dropped the Swerve Drive

1717 used to make the best swerve drives, but they haven't made one since 2015.
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Unread 04-11-2018, 04:40 PM
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Re: Teams that have dropped the Swerve Drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by s_forbes View Post
1717 used to make the best swerve drives, but they haven't made one since 2015.
Not cool, man.
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Unread 04-11-2018, 04:46 PM
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Re: Teams that have dropped the Swerve Drive

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Originally Posted by s_forbes View Post
1717 used to make the best swerve drives, but they haven't made one since 2015.
RIP
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Unread 04-11-2018, 05:27 PM
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Re: Teams that have dropped the Swerve Drive

Pwnage moved on from swerve a couple of years ago, I think.
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Unread 04-11-2018, 05:38 PM
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Re: Teams that have dropped the Swerve Drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Bottenberg View Post
67 had a 3-wheel swerve drive flopbot in 2005. They won the World Championship with that robot, but they've never done swerve since...

...it's hard to imagine a world championship drivetrain leaving a bad taste in a team's mouth, I think that's exactly what happened...
148 Also had a world champion swerve drive that left a bad taste in their mouth.
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