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Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

By: lamk
New: 08-24-2014 08:25 PM
Updated: 08-24-2014 09:53 PM
Total downloads: 1899 times


Since VexPro does not have a step by step guide to building the VersaChassis. Our team has made this guide for our new team members and the rest of the FRC community.

Step by Step guide to building a belt drive 3CIM ball shifter 6 wheels WCD chassis. Includes design tips and parts list.
Bring to you by Team 4719

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  • pdf WCD Step by Step Guide

    WCDStepbyStepGuide.pdf

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    uploaded: 08-24-2014 09:53 PM
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    filesize: 13.16MB
    downloads: 1897



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09-01-2014 05:37 PM

safiq10


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

I am going to start this thread cause I can't believe this... We have been planning on making a WCD drive for the upcoming season but had no clue on how to do it. This just simplified and explained the proccess to us amazingly. Wow great job. If any other teams are planning on making a WCD drive and were stumped like us check this out might give you a few ideas on how to start.



10-03-2014 11:55 PM

ryanh


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Very good job on this Ken. Thanks for letting me know about this paper. It was nice meeting you tonight.



10-04-2014 01:00 AM

Mike Marandola


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Thanks. This is really useful. Does anyone have any experience using the 2 CIM ballshifters with the Versachassis?



10-04-2014 07:36 AM

tr6scott


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Very Nice write up. Thanks for sharing.



10-04-2014 10:38 AM

R.C.


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Marandola View Post
Thanks. This is really useful. Does anyone have any experience using the 2 CIM ballshifters with the Versachassis?
You can do it if you make your own mounting hardware (adaptor plate similar to the 3 CIM ball shifter).



10-04-2014 11:01 AM

AdamHeard


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by R.C. View Post
You can do it if you make your own mounting hardware (adaptor plate similar to the 3 CIM ball shifter).
You can also just not put the 3rd cim in the 3 cim ones.



10-04-2014 11:09 AM

thatprogrammer


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Thanks! My team already knew the basics of a WCD, but didn't know things like spacer sizes and other minor details. This has really made it easy to start making a WCD.


Question: Any reason you chose not to use a CNC to cut the holes for wheels at exact c-c distance?



10-04-2014 11:15 AM

KamalRC


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by thatprogrammer View Post


Question: Any reason you chose not to use a CNC to cut the holes for wheels at exact c-c distance?
They made it so that every team would have the resources to make it, not every team has access to a CNC. If your team has those resources, that would only help to make the process faster.



10-04-2014 11:21 AM

thatprogrammer


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by KamalRC View Post
They made it so that every team would have the resources to make it, not every team has access to a CNC. If your team has those resources, that would only help to make the process faster.
Sorry, I don't think I was very clear in my last post. I apologize for not communicating myself well.

My question was more along the lines of "why didn't you mention the possibility of using a CNC to make the c-c distance exact for teams that have access to one?" My question was there just in case a team had a CNC, but didn't really know that you could take advantage of c-c distance, and remove the need of a tensioner.

One again, apologies for not clearly asking my question.



10-04-2014 10:02 PM

FrankJ


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Marandola View Post
Thanks. This is really useful. Does anyone have any experience using the 2 CIM ballshifters with the Versachassis?
We use the 2 cim ball shifters. It was mounted on the top channel. It drives the center wheel with a 15mm belt. The outboard wheels are driven by the center wheel with 7mm belts.



10-05-2014 08:24 PM

lamk


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by thatprogrammer View Post
Sorry, I don't think I was very clear in my last post. I apologize for not communicating myself well.

My question was more along the lines of "why didn't you mention the possibility of using a CNC to make the c-c distance exact for teams that have access to one?" My question was there just in case a team had a CNC, but didn't really know that you could take advantage of c-c distance, and remove the need of a tensioner.

One again, apologies for not clearly asking my question.
The versablock is designed so that one can slides it up and down the frame tubing. One can position it to the desire C-C distance with or without CNC capability.
If one have the CNC capability one can mill a slot and use the vex bearing block (P/N 217-3436) for a more compact solution:


The question that begs for an answer is the necessity for a chain tensioner.
This year's kit chassis AM14U is belt driven and has no belt tensioner.
From what I read timing belt usually does not stretch and theoretically if you have the optimum C-C then you just set it and you're done. But what is the optimum C-C distance? Is it the distance that the WCP calculator spits out using the pulley size and belt size?? I felt that there is more to that. When I build the prototype the belt tension has a significant influence on binding and the ability to rapidly go backward and forward without slop. Too tight and things bind, too loose and there is slop.
Right now we are using the Cam belt tensioner to adjust the tension until we have a smooth drive train that is also responsive to rapid change in direction.
My guess is once I find the right tension than I can leave it alone but what is the best way to find the optimum C-C distance for the optimum belt tension without using a CAM tensioner. Does anybody have a good formula for the optimum C-C distance?

Ken Lam



10-07-2014 01:58 AM

asid61


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamk View Post
The versablock is designed so that one can slides it up and down the frame tubing. One can position it to the desire C-C distance with or without CNC capability.
If one have the CNC capability one can mill a slot and use the vex bearing block (P/N 217-3436) for a more compact solution:


The question that begs for an answer is the necessity for a chain tensioner.
This year's kit chassis AM14U is belt driven and has no belt tensioner.
From what I read timing belt usually does not stretch and theoretically if you have the optimum C-C then you just set it and you're done. But what is the optimum C-C distance? Is it the distance that the WCP calculator spits out using the pulley size and belt size?? I felt that there is more to that. When I build the prototype the belt tension has a significant influence on binding and the ability to rapidly go backward and forward without slop. Too tight and things bind, too loose and there is slop.
Right now we are using the Cam belt tensioner to adjust the tension until we have a smooth drive train that is also responsive to rapid change in direction.
My guess is once I find the right tension than I can leave it alone but what is the best way to find the optimum C-C distance for the optimum belt tension without using a CAM tensioner. Does anybody have a good formula for the optimum C-C distance?

Ken Lam
From what I've read, you should put in tensioners regardless because of the tolerances required for belt engagement. Adding a cam tensioner is less than 0.1lbs anyway, so there's no reason not to have one.



10-07-2014 08:43 AM

Gregor


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

This is an incredible resource, thank you for sharing.



10-07-2014 09:12 AM

Oblarg


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by asid61 View Post
From what I've read, you should put in tensioners regardless because of the tolerances required for belt engagement. Adding a cam tensioner is less than 0.1lbs anyway, so there's no reason not to have one.
There is a reason not to have one, in that they cost money and can be safely skipped provided you have some other way of keeping the block from sliding.

The easiest way to do this is to simply assemble the thing without the cam, pull the versa-block until the belt is properly-tensioned, and then match-drill from one of the holes in the versa-block through the framing member and bolt it in place. You will then never have to worry about belt-tension again, and can save money on the cams. We did this last year at 449, and it worked perfectly. If your pulley is too close to the framing member to fit a nut on the other side of the versa-block, you can even tap one of the holes and just screw it into the versa-block itself.

I would not recommend doing this with chain.



10-07-2014 11:13 AM

the.miler


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Not to say it couldn't be done with chain. 846 ran without issue through Buckeye, Silicon Valley, Champs, Chezy, and CalGames without any provision for changing chain tension. We nailed the C-C right the first time and never looked back.

Just my own experience. I would be comfortable running chain with the versablocks locked in place after the right chain tension was found. Just make sure your gearbox pilots into the frame.



10-07-2014 11:48 AM

M. Mellott


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

I know that this system uses two 3-CIM transmissions but with only 2 motors each. Do you think that with the back-and-forth, high impact motion that a typical FIRST drive train will go through, the 9mm belts might not be strong enough? Would 15mm belts be a better choice for a drive train, especially for those who want to add on that third motor to each side?



10-07-2014 12:05 PM

Chris is me


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by asid61 View Post
From what I've read, you should put in tensioners regardless because of the tolerances required for belt engagement. Adding a cam tensioner is less than 0.1lbs anyway, so there's no reason not to have one.
If you put in tensioners, you could mess it up. If you don't, you can't. A very minor tradeoff, I know, but it's worth noting. It's surprisingly easy to overtension a belt.

You absolutely definitely do not need tensioners for a belt driven WCD, provided you can machine bearing holes in your drive tube with reasonably good accuracy. Our past three years of robots will attest to that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by M. Mellott View Post
I know that this system uses two 3-CIM transmissions but with only 2 motors each. Do you think that with the back-and-forth, high impact motion that a typical FIRST drive train will go through, the 9mm belts might not be strong enough? Would 15mm belts be a better choice for a drive train, especially for those who want to add on that third motor to each side?
We have had poor experiences with 9mm wide belts in the drivetrain using pulleys about this small. Last year several teams had belt failures doing this, though manufacturing issues at Vex may have contributed in addition to undersizing.

To me there's basically no benefit to not going 15mm, and the reliability is *much* higher. Even if it does work, why would you want to gamble on the edge of a safety factor with your drivetrain? All of our 15mm setups have been rock solid.

By the way, a good calculator for belt center distance is here. http://www.wcproducts.net/how-to-belts/ We have had good results with zero center distance added. Your mileage may vary based on your tolerances.



10-07-2014 03:39 PM

Oblarg


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

449 ran 9mm belts last year without any issue on their WCD.

Looking at the belt specs (which are conservative - you can get more than the rated torque out of them given how short the lifespan is in FRC compared to industrial applications), if I were running an 8WD I'd probably be happier with 15mm between the two lower wheels. For a 6WD, where the vast majority of the robot's weight is on the center wheel to begin with, I don't think it's a likely problem.

As for why bother with 9mm, it allows one to use the WCP gearboxes with pulleys-in-gearbox just as one would do with chain. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of that setup - if a belt does break (admittedly unlikely but it's better not to tempt Murphy if you can avoid it) it's a royal pain to fix - but even in other setups it's nice and much more compact to be able to fit 2 9mm belts on one pulley than have two pulleys.



10-07-2014 03:47 PM

Chris is me


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oblarg View Post
As for why bother with 9mm, it allows one to use the WCP gearboxes with pulleys-in-gearbox just as one would do with chain. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of that setup - if a belt does break (admittedly unlikely but it's better not to tempt Murphy if you can avoid it) it's a royal pain to fix - but even in other setups it's nice and much more compact to be able to fit 2 9mm belts on one pulley than have two pulleys.
Making your own pulleys from stock is pretty easy, and buying bigger spacers for a gearbox is even easier!



10-07-2014 03:53 PM

Oblarg


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris is me View Post
Making your own pulleys from stock is pretty easy, and buying bigger spacers for a gearbox is even easier!
The former isn't so easy if you're working solely with a drill press and chopsaw.



10-07-2014 07:09 PM

lamk


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oblarg View Post
There is a reason not to have one, in that they cost money and can be safely skipped provided you have some other way of keeping the block from sliding.

The easiest way to do this is to simply assemble the thing without the cam, pull the versa-block until the belt is properly-tensioned, and then match-drill from one of the holes in the versa-block through the framing member and bolt it in place. You will then never have to worry about belt-tension again, and can save money on the cams. We did this last year at 449, and it worked perfectly. If your pulley is too close to the framing member to fit a nut on the other side of the versa-block, you can even tap one of the holes and just screw it into the versa-block itself.

I would not recommend doing this with chain.
We have play with the belt tension both by manually pulling the block and using the cam. We find the cam allow us more fine adjustment. To us the cam is a little extra "inconvenience" that we can live with.



10-08-2014 11:57 AM

Steven Smith


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Small request on this guide (which is amazing by the way)

Would you consider updating it with an estimate on pricing for both materials required for just the drive, and what any parts you feel are the minimum requirements to make a quality drivetrain?

I think the combination of this guide and sufficient budget might allow some teams that would traditionally use the KoP drivetrain to venture out to a slightly more difficult drivetrain. It would be helpful for them to be able to compare the cost of the VEX drivetrain versus the $450 voucher.

Either way, I'll probably make sure a few teams in our area (rookie and otherwise) are aware of this guide. It was excellently written.



10-10-2014 05:47 PM

lamk


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Smith View Post
Small request on this guide (which is amazing by the way)

Would you consider updating it with an estimate on pricing for both materials required for just the drive, and what any parts you feel are the minimum requirements to make a quality drivetrain?

I think the combination of this guide and sufficient budget might allow some teams that would traditionally use the KoP drivetrain to venture out to a slightly more difficult drivetrain. It would be helpful for them to be able to compare the cost of the VEX drivetrain versus the $450 voucher.

Either way, I'll probably make sure a few teams in our area (rookie and otherwise) are aware of this guide. It was excellently written.
In terms of cost, there was a thread last year comparing the two drive train:
http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/sh...ght=wcd+vexpro

From our experience this is not a harder drive train to build than the KOP drive train. We are very familiar with KOP drive train because we used it in our competition and practice robot for aerial assist. We feel that the Versachassis is very easy to build and configure.

There is not a whole lot of difference in cost between the two drive train for just the chassis. However the KOP drivetrain uses the single speed toughbox mini which one can adapt to the Versachassis, but it requires a custom build plate.

http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/sh...=129576&page=2

The ideal gearbox for the Versachassis for team with low manufacturing capability is the 3 sim ball shifter which is more expensive than the toughbox mini. Obviously for the added cost you now have a 2 speed drivetrain.

I will post a spreadsheet with all the parts number and cost when I have a chance.



10-10-2014 06:54 PM

MichaelBick


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris is me View Post
Making your own pulleys from stock is pretty easy, and buying bigger spacers for a gearbox is even easier!
Shafts would have to be remade(non-trivial) or some how extended.



11-27-2014 10:30 AM

thatprogrammer


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris is me View Post
If you put in tensioners, you could mess it up. If you don't, you can't. A very minor tradeoff, I know, but it's worth noting. It's surprisingly easy to overtension a belt.



To me there's basically no benefit to not going 15mm, and the reliability is *much* higher. Even if it does work, why would you want to gamble on the edge of a safety factor with your drivetrain? All of our 15mm setups have been rock solid.

By the way, a good calculator for belt center distance is here. http://www.wcproducts.net/how-to-belts/ We have had good results with zero center distance added. Your mileage may vary based on your tolerances.
Are larger spacers on the wheels required if going 15mm?



11-27-2014 01:15 PM

Chris is me


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by thatprogrammer View Post
Are larger spacers on the wheels required if going 15mm?
Yeah. If you're using 15mm wide pulleys, you'll need roughly 1/4" more in spacers (6mm to be exact) for the wheel with an offset pulley. You may also need larger standoffs for the Vex 3-CIM Ballshifter. The other wheel should be fine.

You do need a lathe to make custom 30+mm wide pulleys if you don't want two 15mm ones, and you may need to modify the outer wheel shafts a bit (may not be enough room for the standard locking collar retension, haven't checked).



11-27-2014 02:56 PM

thatprogrammer


Unread Re: paper: Belt Driven VersaChassis WCD - Step by Step guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris is me View Post
Yeah. If you're using 15mm wide pulleys, you'll need roughly 1/4" more in spacers (6mm to be exact) for the wheel with an offset pulley. You may also need larger standoffs for the Vex 3-CIM Ballshifter. The other wheel should be fine.

You do need a lathe to make custom 30+mm wide pulleys if you don't want two 15mm ones, and you may need to modify the outer wheel shafts a bit (may not be enough room for the standard locking collar retension, haven't checked).
Would I be correct in assuming the same things apply to the WCP dog shifter? I do know that both pulleys should fit in with no problem, but I'm not sure if the spacer size would change.



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