2 Speed Transmissions in the Future

Will 2 speed transmissions be used by more teams in the future? I don’t know how many teams use them, but it seems like more and more are using them as time goes on.

Are they easy enough that rookie teams feel super confidant in them? I know it’s not easy for some rookie teams put together a dominate robot, even thought they can and do, and I don’t even know if some rookie teams have used 2 speed transmissions.

Can FIRST Design, or have someone design, a 2 speed transmission that is just as reliable as the KOP transmissions from 05’ and 06’? And will they become affordable enough to be in the Kit Of Parts?

I would like to get the FIRST communities thought’s on these questions.

Anyone that has the dough can buy an AM shifter. reliable, good ratios, and not too heavy. Thats one of the more common 2 speeds out there. Between that and the Dewalt, transmissions arent too hard to make.

BUilding your own is where things get tough.

The use of shifting transmissions will increase as long as there is a benefit. In the recent era of first, more often than not they are useful.

I don’t think they should be in the KOP however. Giving rookie teams a fully functioning gearbox is pretty generous already.

Too expensive to put them in the KOP. an extra $660 per kit, with 1200 teams would be nearly $800k that would have to come from somewhere.

Sure you could lower costs, but not enough to make it financially viable.

They’re becoming more common in my estimation, and I pin a lot of that on AndyMark. Just as the Kitbot has allowed for everyone to get a functioning drive system, the AM Shifter has allowed for anyone with $660 to go two-speed. Even as they get more common on the field, more teams are now able to get up-close and personal with a design known to handle almost anything FRC can throw at it and draw some ideas.

Are they easy enough that rookie teams feel super confidant in them? I know it’s not easy for some rookie teams put together a dominate robot, even thought they can and do, and I don’t even know if some rookie teams have used 2 speed transmissions.
AndyMarks: Absolutely. If you can assemble the Kitbot, you can get the AndyMarks going.
Custom designs: That depends. If you’ve got mentors that can help you with the design (or, even better, provide a baseline setup to help get moving), I’d say it’s within reach. But if your team hasn’t ever seen an FRC robot before, I wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole.

Can FIRST Design, or have someone design, a 2 speed transmission that is just as reliable as the KOP transmissions from 05’ and 06’? And will they become affordable enough to be in the Kit Of Parts?
Someone has designed a two-speed that’s just as reliable (in my experience) as the Copioli kit transmissions, and even taken it to market. Still, I see no way on earth that the price difference between a BaneBots (or even a 2005 gearbox) could be made up.

However, it would be interesting to see someone come up with a solution that uses components from the kit gearbox. (The older transmissions would work better for this than the BaneBots, obviously.) I suspect such a design, if it could be done and brought to market, could swing a more attractive price than the current magic number ($660 for an average robot). This, in turn, draws in the teams whose reservation price (marketing-speak for the most they’re willing to pay) is at some lower number–a team might not be willing to pay $330 a gearbox, but they may be willing to pay $250 or $275. The difference buys a lot of pizza.

Furthermore, if these new BYOG (Bring Your Own Gears) shifters stuck, it might move the reference price (which is used to judge the acceptability of a price in the mind of a consumer) lower altogether. Suddenly, the barriers to going two-speed shift (pardon the pun) from technical and financial to the need for it in the game, weight, and personal preference.

(This, ladies and gentlemen, is what you get for having marketing courses as half of your course load in a year.)

So are you saying that team’s wouldn’t agree upon adding $500 to the reg. fee to be able to have durable (not BB!) trans in the kits from years to come?

I would figure many teams would jump to it if all they had to do was pay an extra $500 to the reg. fee to get those in the kits.

Before 2005, there were shifting transmissions in the KOP. Bosch drill trannies, which interfaced with the Bosch drill motor found in those kits. Anyone remember those? (Oh, and Adam–you should know about the “fully functioning” gearboxes in the 2007 kit–or were those KOP?:rolleyes::yikes:)

There are 2-speeds out there that aren’t AM, but they might not work with what we’ve got available. If 254/968 marketed their gearbox, especially if it was less than the AM 2-speed, I’d probably take a close look at it. Now, that still won’t compare to having a 2-speed in the KOP, but I’d rather see a team look in the box, say, “this is not what we need,” and then go about modifying the kit gearbox or designing a new one or otherwise thinking outside the (kit)[size=2] box to get what they want.[/size]

No, they wouldn’t.

$500 is a very significant amount of money for a lot of FIRST teams. More than many have available to build their entire robot with.

Any increase in price would not be well received by the FIRST community, even if it is “only” $500.

In addition, there’s no reason that a low cost, reliable alternative to the banebots transmissions can’t be included in the kit.

I doubt it, especially if they are paying $500 for an added feature (2-speed) that they might not even want to use (or use at all if it is pneumatically actuated).
$6000 is plenty, and even a semi-reliable transmission such as Banebots is much much better than what was used to be provided.

I wouldnt want to pay any extra money for a kit where im not going to use the extra 500 dollars in components.

Until a robot NEEDS to shift to function in a game, i see no need to include a 2 speed tranny in the KOP.

If you have extra cash go buy some AMs or some dewalts…

I can say with a lot of confidence however, that most FIRST teams can design a 2 speed transmission themselves, and save some money…you have all the time in the world in the offseason… (OHH LOOK WHAT TIME IT IS…)

I think the kit of parts should include a silver platter as well.


I would think that FIRST could get with some company to manufacture parts for a 2 speed transmission so that the total cost of each transmission is less than $50 each. Our 2005 and 2006 2 speed transmissions were custom made by us and they were very reliable, and I would say that the materials in it did not go over $30 per transmission.

There’s no possible way, be it by buying gearstock, or individual gears that the cost of materials will be less than $30 per transmission. I wouldn’t see any possible way for the material to be less than even $75-100 per side.

The Banebots transmissions hover around $50, and they have very poor build quality. It simply wouldn’t be possible to pay for materials, and labor to machine all the parts required to make a two speed transmission.

I think that if FIRST keeps pumping out games with the same relatively flat field with maximum of 30? inclines to climb, you will see more and more 2 speeds. There just isn’t a challenge for teams to design anything besides a basic 4"-8" diameter, 4 or 6 wheel drive train. Its related to the arms race thread, but on a broader scale. Most teams wont try to make a V6 or anything like that, but with all the previous designs out there, a 2 speed isn’t that much of a stretch for any semi-experienced team.

And there are teams out there that have almost reached perfection as far as 2 speeds go. 254/968 has the most elegant and thought out drive train I have ever seen. And it helps that they have had at least since 2004 to work out their design. I’m not quite sure if you can get any better than a 1.4 pound 2 speed gearbox (great job Travis btw) and I would doubt their entire drive train came out to be over 35 pounds. Thats 85 pounds to do whatever else you want to do with the robot! Being the one who is always working on arms/manipulators, it would be nice to be able to make something without having to worry if the drive train is gonna take up all of the robots weight.

In short, yes, as long as games continue to have fairly repetitive field layouts, 2 speed will become better and popular-er (is that a word? :p)

Mike C.

Shifting Transmissions are somewhat overhyped. We were very competitive this year and didn’t use them. 2006’s game seem to be wide open and we used AM shifters and got good use from them. You just got to look at the game to see if it’s worth your investment of time and money. If they release another game like 2004 First frenzy, I suspect most experienced teams would invest time and resources to other robot attributes.

This seems to be a thread twice a year on average.

The assumption here also seems to be that *tank-drive *wheeled robots are the future of FIRST.

Omni and meccanum are barely controllable in low gear. Swerve drives are complex enough without the addition of multiple speeds. Track-drives have a tendency to throw belts at high speeds…

Not that these drive systems are incompatible with 2-speeds, its just that most teams are unlikely to build them.

There are other-ways to improve drivetrian usefulness then to add another gear…

The use of 2-speed transmissions has gone up a lot since AM came out. I think the reason they are used widely is because they are so readily available. Some teams decide to custom-build theirs and do a decent or excellent(254/968) job on it. I think the use of 2-speed gearboxes is going to go up in the years to come. FIRST has encouraged defense in the past 2 years and 2-speed transmissions are one way to face the challenge. I don’t think they are going to change the rules because defense on the field is good to see within limits. Swerve drives, crab drives(45, 116, 1114 and so on…) etc are very cool but they are also complex to build and very time-consuming. That is why teams stick to tank-drive and do very well in competition. It also matters what a teams goals are when building a robot. Some build purely to win competitions while others build for the “cool” factor. Some are good at both and some have neither. 2-Speed transmissions will go a long way because they are ease to buy and install. They are also very effective.

More popular. But indeed, the issue with two speed gearboxes is now not mechanical skill or cost, both of them are now remedied by AndyMark.

The question is now, is it actually needed? For example, this year showed little advantage to be gained by using a two speed gearbox. The field was not open, and the two sides next to the rack could easily be blocked by opposing machines. I do not believe it was worth the time and weight to implement a two speed gearbox.

The second issue is - how easy is the gearbox to implement? Manpower is a significant issue. While AndyMarks are rather simple to implement - it may require the addition of subsystems, such as pneumatics, which might not be viable if time is short. Custom gearboxes are notorious in this respect - ours went over the deadline significantly. While this was fixed, it took time away from some other projects.

My personal preference has always been to eschew shifting - because it simply is complicated and time consuming. However, if two speeds actually does give a substantial advantage in game - then by all means, go for it.

The use of any drivetrain will depend entirely on the game. As long as FIRST has a field with no serious obstacles, then 2-speeds will gain popularity. Although I was not there, the 2004 challenge didn’t really seem to favor multi-speed transmissions because on top of the platforms there was no need for the high speed, with very little room to maneuver. If there is any serious obstacle the driver must slow down (except for the few who try to fly). The more obstacles, the fewer opportunities there are for the driver to use the fast speed. I know FIRST is itching for an obtacle field, so plan accordingly.

I know several teams who would entirely disagree with you based on the success they had this year. I had to play defense first hand on 254/968 and 330 on many occasions… What made them stand out over other teams was their driver’s ability to evade and maneuver in high gear, and resist pushing in low gear.

These are just first hand examples, I’m sure many other teams that were offensive robots can thank their success on the extra edge their drive gave them. 1114 and 1270 from curie are another two. Also, 45 and 1902 in Galileo used them well.

I think what is more important than perceived game environment is whether or not the driver can effectively utilize the advantage.

Usually the added cost in weight and work is minimal compared to not using them. I wish we had used shifters this year; They would actually weigh less than the 3 motor workaround we did and would be just about as complicated to install.