2020 COTS Parts Requests

It that time of year again. What parts would you like to see FRC vendors supply for the upcoming season? Here are the threads from the 2019 and 2018 seasons for reference.

I saw some cool new stuff on display at the sponsor tables in Detroit; I can’t wait to see them for sale and in use. Two of the biggest things in my opinion were a 1/2" hex bore encoder from REV and a new (even more powerful) BLDC motor/controller combo from CTRE.

One thing I personally would like to see developed is a 1.125" OD tube torque-transfer ecosystem. This would be useful for high-torque arm joints or long shafts that aren’t tolerant to twisting. FRC has already standardized around a 1.125" bearing bore hole in gears, sprockets, etc. Really all that would be needed is a hub with a 1.125" bore , 1.875" bolt circle, and some method of connecting the hub to the tube. Throw in some raw stock tubes and 1.125" ID bearings/bushings, and you have a nice ecosystem.


Hoping for a 775 scale brushless motor. Bonus points if it’s an open outrunner so that teams can do some creative stuff with the bell.
Alternatively, open up the rules and let us use existing BL motors with existing and future BLDC escs in the FRC electronics ecosystem. Perhaps with limits on kv, power, etc?


1.25" would be better, there are not fantastic thin wall options for 1.125 OD tubing. 1.25" tube has a nominal ID of 1.125".


I’m just excited for VEX and AM to hop on the brushless hype train. Brushless revolution here we come!


1293 used 7/8" OD tube with press-in connectors for mounting, which fits nicely with bronze bushings that are 1.125" OD. One in the 60T VEX bearing, one or two on each of the 1x2s on the arm, and it was maintenance-free through two regionals.

I didn’t do the McMaster orders, but if memory serves me right we used
, 94290A520, and 2938T57. And if we didn’t, it was something close to that. I’m sure there are ways that FIRST suppliers could drive cost out, but it’s pretty good as-is.

Add me to the list of people excited by hex encoders, CTRE’s brushless controllers, and even AndyMark’s work-in-progress Snow Blower Motor with a 1/2" hex (which, while still low on power compared to any other motor I’d consider, is at least convenient to use).


This probably won’t happen for 2020 because of this thread specifically, but hopefully we can get a new radio made with FRC in mind instead of a regular COTS router. The #1 feature I would want from it would be either an XT-60 or Anderson power connector as well as POE support.

Also, I really hope FIRST enforces some standardization between the brushless motors and controllers and ensures that they all work fine together. I don’t want to see the motor controller manufacturers intentionally making their stuff incompatible so you have to buy X controller to use Y brand of motor.

A few other things:

  • Budget brushless motor controller
  • CAN to PWM converter, allowing PWM motor controllers to use CAN features and exist on the CAN bus
  • A new cheap, fast, light motor since it seems like the 9015 is discontinued. Not that there’s anything wrong with 775pros, but they’re often overkill for something like an intake.
  • I think I said this in the 2018 thread, but keep a POE cable in the kit of parts no matter what.

Big unconnected list incoming:

  1. aluminum threaded inserts for the ends of 1x1 and 2x1 tubing
  2. Carbon fibre tube stock 1.25" OD x 0.063" Wall
  3. Air actuated gate latch or trunk latch (all nicely integrated)
  4. A motor tester that we can plug into 775 pros, or neos or others to tell us how healthy it is (if its partially melted and running at lower power)
  5. A high-reduction, high strength planetary gearbox with a bolt-circle output for direct mounting to mechanisms
  6. A little electric hot plate jig for welding urethane belting and/or cording
  7. A commercial hex bore encoder
  8. A can-bus connected time of flight sensor
  9. Swerve modules that cost < $250 (heh)
  10. Vex gussets that are back to their pre-2019 price
  11. A flanged hub that can attach to 1.25" or 1" OD tube axles and support pulleys and gears in the middle of the tube. Ideally we’d like to run a hex shaft between plates (fastened tight for strength), put a tube on bearings around it, and then drive it with a belt or chain. Currently we can only do that with flat urethane belting.
  12. PDP, VRMs and PCMs with something more reliable than the weidmuller connections
  13. Plastic RIO cases to keep out aluminum chips (I know we can print one, but I like to buy something engineered well)
  14. Radios with more than 2 ports. Don’t like the extra weight and risk of adding a network switch.
  15. 6" Colson Performa wheels

I’ll probably come up with more later :wink:


The reason I said 1.125" OD is because it would interface well with all of the FRC “bearing bore” gears, sprockets, wheels, etc. All of these have holes for the FRC standard 1.125" OD bearing. If you used exactly a 1.125" OD tube as a shaft, the shaft could transfer radial forces directly to the part, so the hub would only have to transfer axial forces and torque.

Using a 1.25" OD tube would mean that you can’t pass the shaft through any of those items. They would have to come at the end of the shaft, severely limiting design options. Perhaps it could use a 1" OD tube so the shaft will still fit through the bore in the part. This way, though, all torques, axial forces, and radial forces would have to go through the hub because the shaft won’t directly contact the part.

Can you explain this a bit more (with pictures/drawings if possible)? I’m not succeeding in seeing how these parts fit together to transfer torque.

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Yes, please!


Less a parts request from a supplier, but I’d love to see FIRST relax some rules on what parts and technologies are allowed, and from who. I can imagine it’s not too inspiring when some suppliers are allowed to do some things and others aren’t, or when some teams with a specific resource can do something but others with a similar resource cannot.


REV (I think. One of the suppliers) had a hex bore encoder at Detroit worlds. If I remember correctly, they said it would be coming out later this year.



I’m also very excited for REV to release the new encoders this summer ever since I saw them in Detroit! We had issues mounting the gray hill encoders on our custom gearboxes on our drivetrain this year. Resulted in many broken 3D printed parts and an ultimate decision to not use any encoders on our DT.

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-COTS elevator winches
-this is more a conceptual thing, but if a supplier came out with a urethane belt/polycord jig I think people would buy it
-VEX swerve modules or an updated versaswerve using Versaplanetary encoders rather than having to 3d print encoder mounts :slight_smile:
-a mid-size 80/20 REV option, our REV elevator never came off the rails this season (outside of slipping out of the guides sometimes), but it was so heavy that we can’t see ourselves using it again. Our robot weighed 120 as a cascading lift with a cargo mechanism, without a proper hatch mechanism or a climber.
-Smaller mecanum wheels for intakes, 4" mecanum wheels are good on intakes, but sometimes people might like smaller ones.
-VEX Gussets for interfacing a 1 inch face to a 2 inch face, or a 2 inch face to a 2 inch face. I know that 1x1 Gussets can work, but if there were those options, that would be cool too.

If i think of more, I’ll say so.

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http://www.robotmarketplace.com/store/Search.aspx?SearchTerms=Colson, the live and dead hubs are sold separately

Piston mounting hardware.


We used the separate hubs this year. I’d like a pre made assembly

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Ah, probably won’t happen, the whole point of the hub was to make it compatible with all the Colson ecosystem, and is used widely in industry, I doubt they could justify the tooling to make integrated hubs for a niche market like frc. Never hurts to ask though :grin:


Tooling for these kind of simple things is less than you would expect (this is coming from an industry where tooling packages are easily upwards of 500k).

I think you’d actually want a 1.125" ID ecosystem (or 1.124"). Existing 1.125" bearings and hubs could be pressed into 1.125" tubing and/or secured with set screws. The biggest component need would be some sort of exterior hub or fastener for securing mechanisms/arms to the tubing. Perhaps something along the line of “round Versa Tube” with pre-drilled holes and clamp-on hubs that can be secured with bolts.

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