What is the best material for the base of the chassis? Aluminum, thick polycarbonate, or something else? It will need to be able to hold a shooter, storage system, an unextended intake system, and two hanger arms.
Most teams use aluminum, either bent sheet or tubing and plates.
That being said, if you’re trying to figure this out at this point in the season, I would recommend building the Everybot. It is going to be extremely competitive this year and will help you discover valuable information about building an FRC robot: https://www.118everybot.org/
Its not a material (though it uses aluminum), but the KOP chassis is always a correct answer. IIRC rookies cant opt out of the KOP chassis, so you should have one? Highly recommend building that (and then also the everybot (which uses the KOP chassis) as Andrew mentioned).
oh oops, i meant to ask, what material should the sheet that lays across the chassis be?
Oh, the bellypan?
You could use plywood as long as you get it secure. More commonly, birch wood or aluminum are the ones of choice for teams, but the thread linked will have a slew of options that teams have used (including polycarbonate).
Im not sure that the bellypan should be the ones holding all those parts up though…
So this would typically be called your belly pan.
You really can use a variety of materials from AL, polycarbonate, or even wood.
Best to stay away from Acrylics as they have a good tendency to break or snap easily.
The real key is properly designing the attachment and support of your drivebase to ensure you have good strength.
The support of your systems should really be on yhe drivebase itself, not the belly pan, as that will more securely mean you’ve got strength in your system.
Our team usually uses HDPE for the bellypan, it looks good and is surprisingly strong: https://www.menards.com/main/building-materials/panel-products/plastic-utility-panels/amerilux-2-x-3-high-density-polyethylene-hdpe-sheets/blkhdpe24x36x100/p-1539107080944-c-14048.htm?tid=3895089183567990200&ipos=2
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