2021 COTS Part Requests

I guess it’s that time again, technically. In the vein of the 2019 and 2020 threads, do you have any parts you’d like to see from suppliers next season? Here are my ideas:

  • A higher quality VP ratchet, maybe with an integrated servo to disengage it on command.
  • More BLDC motors and controller options
    • Separate Talon FX and Falcon 500. After the loctite issues this year, I would much rather have a $40 motor die than a $140 motor and controller die at the same time.
    • On the other hand, an integrated controller option for NEO 550s would be pretty neat for people that prefer integrated controllers.
    • “Less smart” BLDC controller with no advanced control modes but is still sensored
    • Keep making CIM class brushless motors! Let’s see how far we can take the brushless revolution, since this is getting pretty exciting!
    • SPARK Max encoder cable removal tool
  • Redlines in different colors. I said this as a joke once but I would love to see different color options so teams can have motors matching their overall color scheme.
  • USB battery pack designed for FRC. I’d like to see it take an unregulated 12V input to charge and have some digital outputs that activate when input voltage is removed for more than a few seconds in order to send a signal to any coprocessors to shut down.
  • New budget PWM only motor controller, depending on what Rev does with the original SPARK from this point on. My team honestly probably wouldn’t use them since we probably have 3-4 PDPs worth of SPARKs, Talon SRs, and Victor 888s, but the option would be nice for new teams or teams looking to shave some money off of their BOM.
  • PWM motor controller CAN conversion board, with smart control features. It would also be nice if it had multiple mounting holes matching the SPARK, Victor SP, and Talon SR so that you could put the board under or over the motor controller so it packages better.
  • COTS brushes for ball indexing
  • Somehow make belts that can be cut and welded to a custom length so I don’t have to keep a ton of belt sizes on hand
  • 775 with integrated encoder
  • 775 with integrated motor controller (the real next revolution)

Brushless 775 series motor. Ik the 550 offers close to the same power but I’d like a more powerful 775 cause sometimes a 550 doesn’t have enough power but a neo won’t fit.

Also if a brushless 775 is to exist, slower RPM for that and a slower RPM 550 with the same output power. Sometimes you don’t want all that reduction


Basically, you can’t get a brushless motor with the diameter of a 775 and a lower free speed. If anything, it would be higher. Brushless motors just kinda be like that.

a cheaper way to do swerve as well


You can a bit closer with a NEO w/o the protective shell. The actual outrunner OD is ~1.9" (i.e: ~.5" less than the shell OD), which could make all the difference for some designs.

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I was waiting for someone to bring that up :slightly_smiling_face:
Last time I went around asking for brushless things Paul Copioli yelled at me…


A CAN motor controller that uses Weidmuller connectors.


Polyutherane belting from McMaster can be cut and welded to any length with a heat hun and 3 heavy objects to hold to down while welding. Look to team 1678 of FIRST Capital Ri3D videos in flat belt welding.

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*A replacement for the Spark Max that addresses a bunch of little issues with mounting and wire security for both encoder wire and CAN bus.

*A falcon that addresses the variety of QC and design issues that meant early adopters had to take them apart to keep them from catastrophic failure.

*The Rev Ultraplanetary made into an FRC ecosystem product, specifically set up for the n550.

*hex bore, plastic GT2 and HTD pulleys to replace the aluminum ones Vex currently sells. Those stamped rings used as flanges don’t last long.

*5" wheels.


Love most of your suggestions, but I have to argue strongly against this:

The advantages of having the controller on the motor were very apparent to us this year. We were able to have a far more compact set of systems (drivetrain, winch, PC mechanism arm) than we would have if we’d had to find space for separate controllers as we did the year before with multiple Talons. That idea leads me to what I would like to see from the CTRE/Vex ecosystem:

  • Small brushless motors (775 and 550 equivalents) built like the Falcon 500 with built-in Talon FX controllers.

I know people are dubious about the 775 equivalent, but there is a place for these smaller, high RPM motors. Think how many shooters this year were using 775s to get very high RPM on their flywheels. We used 550s on our PC mechanism intake because we could get a decently high RMP while still getting enough power when the reduction (9:1) was included. Having a brushless version would have been a real bonus.


This is a request for a change to an existing product rather than a new product. AndyMark, Please make the two short screws on the end of the Sport gearboxes longer so that when they are used to mount the gearbox, there are more than one or two threads engaging in the body of the gearbox.


Apologies for providing my own take on some of the suggestions here.

Or even just a manufacturer-suggested way to do this!

Agreed. But maybe a product revision + spares that makes swapping stuff possible?

Sandblaster and powder coating would do this adequately, I feel. Not sure if it would be within the motor modification rules though.

This would be fantastic, but I don’t think it would be useful unless it has enough output current for, say, a Limelight (which claims to need more than 2A from a VRM)

Not as useful as toothed timing belt for power transmission, which I think is what Chadfrom7226 was thinking of… I believe you can staple Gates belts together with a special clip? I could be wrong.

Coming from the hobby RC Brushless motors, this seems wrong? Motors of the same size can be wound for different KV ratings, which equates to “RPM per Volt”

At least one team I saw did this, not sure how, but there isn’t anything stopping people from doing this already apart from knowledge that they exist.

Something that should have existed years ago: an aluminum threaded insert for the ends of 2x1 and 1x1 tubing. I want to use tubing as a standoff between two plates or tubes where there is no room for gussets. And I want to be able to mount stuff to the tube, so the inserts must have two threaded holes to prevent twisting.

Andymark’s peanut and walnut extrusions are close to this, but they’re heavier than an insert would be.


I was hoping someone would put out 775pros with extended backshafts to use the PG encoders with, but AM decided to go in a different direction with the redline encoder for some reason. Those PG encoder boards with a 775 Connect like interface would be pretty cool.

Even if it were within the motor rules, I would trust motors ordered from the manufacturer in specific colors way more than anything done by even the most careful teams doing this.

I think the point is that it’s great to have the controller located on the motor, but make the two as separate parts that can be replaced independently.


You’re absolutely correct, my apologies for not elaborating. A lower Kv (we need something around 400 to match CIM class motors) requires more turns of a higher gauge/smaller diameter wire on the stator coils. It appears that this becomes a limitation for commercial manufacturers as I haven’t been able to find any motors of that KV rating in the diameter of a 775, except just the really tiny ones. Even if they are possible to make, there’s probably a reason they don’t exist.

Various motor mounts.

Multi drilled plates for assembling various gear options - bonus if stackable.

We spent an unnecessary amount of time making our own of these whereas for rapid prototyping could help.

‘inexpensive’ replica materials again for rapid prototypes. At least the season many of our students struggled with spatial awareness the visualizing CAD to physical.

I ended up cutting a bunch of inexpensive ceiling tiles up to somewhat show but making extrusion isnt feasible in the same way.

Direct outputs to brushless motors - ie not having to wire back - I know some have made them but would be nice to just have.


I’m assuming you’re witnessed the glory of round tube nuts, but it looks like these guys make them for 1x1 1/8” and 1/16” wall square box tubing: https://www.homehardwarestorer.com/threaded-tube-ends-and-inserts-connector-star-nut/
Still, the AM treatment would be fantastic.