Best simple robots based on kit chassis?

I’m doing a presentation that incorporates a section about examples of successful and simple robots based on the kit chassis. What do you think were some of the best kit-chassis based robots? They can be from any year, and extra props if you include photos. Thanks!

What’s the intended audience? If you want an example of what a rookie team did with the kit I can post some info on our implausibly successful kit chassis based machine.

T. Wolter

Intended audience is pre-rookie teams, so I’m looking for pretty much anything. Just trying to show you can build good robots on the kit chassis.

I recommend checking out 1114’s videoabout the Kitbot. It is pretty old, but it still has a lot of good content.

2014 Championship Finalist 5136 was an excellent robot built from the AM14U. It’s a robot that a lot of teams, mine included, should have built in 2014.

We love the AM14U frame. We’ve used it in 2014 and 2015 before we had the machining resources to do a WCD. We used the AM14U3 in 2016 for a prototype testbed. It was really nice to go from box of parts to driving base in under 4 hours.

My old team(1318) decided to switch to the kit chassis in 2013. The 2014 bot was the simplest and arguably the best. Pictures are on the TBA for each robot

In 2014 my team used the AM14U and had our most successful year until that point. With the time we saved not designing and fabricating a chassis, we were able to build two robots (a first for the team).
The chassis held up fairly well with a few minor issues all season.

Lets see if this link works. Short video of our rookie season from test bed to wooden prototype to final version. Kit base and a lot of really sturdy steel. We became big fans of 1/2 inch rigid EMT conduit!

T. Wolter

The kit chassis is great. We have used it for many years.

However, its hard to beat the simplicity of a Mecanum drive using Vexes clamp on tube gearboxes. If next year is a game where Mecanum makes sense we will totally go that route even if we don’t plan to utilize strafing much just for the ultimate simplicity.

My advice is to find some way to turn this assertion around. That is, until you have proven that you can build a good robot on a (suitably modified) kit chassis, don’t even think about building your own chassis. Here, I’m defining “good” as better than (oh, about) 50th percentile seeding at a local event. Once you meet this threshold, seriously think about whether spending more time on a drive train is worth it to your strategy. Unless your team is dripping talent, the answer will probably be that a custom drive train is only worth doing when the game presents unusual challenges.

I respectively disagree. Something like a simple west coast drive is really not that much more difficult then using a KOP drive train especially if you are going to go out of your way to modify it. Plus mounting gets easier and you are not restricted at all in terms of sizing.

While you may be correct about the physical advantages and difficulty, the biggest resource a team can control by using a kit chassis is time. The chassis can be built in a matter of hours, whereas any custom chassis will take multiple days.

Our last three chassis have been:

2014 – souped-up 6WD kitbot
2015 – semi-custom 6WD-plus-drop-strafe using VexPro clamp-on-tube gearboxes (see Sam’s plug earlier)
2016 – souped-up Rhino track drive

We like starting with stuff that others have developed, and tweaking it to suit our game play priorities.

As Dave said long ago, steal from the best, then invent the rest.

In 2013 amd 2014 we used the kit bot chassis in order to save time. Both years we won our states regional and in 2014 had one of our most successful robots reaching the semifinals of our division. Unless the game is very drive train intensive where a good drivetrain will score you points such as 2016, I would just stick to the kit chassis.

Our robot used the upgraded kit of parts chassis with the pneumatic wheels. We took an angle grinder to the front of our chassis so we can pop ourselves over the rockwall and the moat. You can easily do well with a regular kop chassis if you modify it to your needs. Here’s a few pics you can’t notice the angle on the front because we made it at our competition

Team 694 won Curie this year with a kit chassis bot. It wasn’t exactly a simple bot so you might not want to include it in your list, but it does technically fit the bill.

It is common in the working world to use off the shelf parts where possible to save time and effort and get to market quicker.

The lack of restriction you see as an advantage can also lead to a trap. One can spend a lot of time figuring out where to mount the components and optimizing it over and over.

There is also risk that you are not able to get all the needed parts manufactured correctly in time. A few years ago, a team in our area that had been part of a Einstein winning alliance spent the Thursday of their first Regional completing the assembly of their robot. Their sheet metal sponsor delivered their parts just a bit over 24 hours before bag and tag so they had to bag an incomplete robot along with all the uninstalled parts (it didn’t even have wheels installed). The imperfect COTS parts you have in your shop will perform much better on the competition field than the perfect custom parts you only have CAD drawings for.

This robot should be included. The time they did not spend developing a custom drive train (probably giving only a small increase in performance) was probably spent on developing the scoring mechanisms and practicing, allowing them to perform well enough to become the Alliance Captain and win the Subdivision Championship.

I’d like to throw a hat tip to the VEX drive in a day chassis, 558 used it to success back in 2014 and we loved it. Its our go to for prototyping.

If you are looking to stay simple I would 100% avoid mecanum. In my time in FIRST here has only been one year that I believe it offered enough to even consider (and the game could still be dominated by a kit chassis).

While it’s not a kit chassis I’d like to throw the VEX VersaChassis in as an example because it’s simple to build and fairly well documented. In 5254’s rookie year we were able to build a 2 speed WCD with basically a hole saw because of the VersaChassis. VEX has instructions on how to build a simple WCD along with information for multiple other simple drivetrains.

Well 2016 was the first year for my team(6060) and since we did not prepare properly or did any fundraising for parts we had to build a pretty simple robot. It got the job done and it got my team to eliminations, here’s a link to view some photos of it.