Calling All Ball-Lock Shifters

Since the Tigertrons first came out with our Ball-Lock style shifting three speed transmission in 2004 http://www.chiefdelphi.com/pics/bin/107896179440.jpg
many teams have been asking us about them and some have been building them.

We know about some of the teams who have built this type of transmission for their robot such as teams 476, 571, 1143, and 114 is using Ball-Lock transmissions on their 2006 robot.

If your team has built such a transmission whether you have just prototyped the design or placed it on your competition robot please let us know.

Also what teams are using this style of shifting on their 2006 robot?

Please post here about your experiences with them, what you liked, what you disliked, etc.

Good luck this year!


Here is last year’s set of transmissions - the ones this year are almost identical but have a slightly slower low gear and slightly faster high gear. They cost about $130 from start to finish, and they have worked flawlessly for us. They also are not too difficult to put together - one of our engineers explained it to me in about 10 minutes and even now I remember how to put them together.

The ball-lock shifter is done with a 3/4" bore 1/2" stroke pneumatic cylinder. We also have encoders on the shifter that allow us to know when the robot is in high or low gear and deliver that information to an LED on the OI. This year our programmers perfected autoshift when a certain RPM is reached (can’t remember what off the top of my head).

Neither the tranny nor the shifter has ever broken (though once we left the pneumatics open and were stuck in low gear for an entire match). They are light, efficient, and small compared to many other transmissions, thus explaining why we continue to use them this year and probably next (unless we are underwater!)

114 ended up designing and building a 2 speed version of the Ball Lock shifter.

However, due to weight, we ended up ditching the pneumatics. So all we have right now is a really nice 1 speed. I’ll follow up with pictures sometime, probably once I catch up on sleep.

That’s too bad, I hope you can come up with something else, maybe just a servo?

If not, maybe you could just make quick change gear locks so that you can decide right before the match which gear you want to use? That would at least give you the ability to change gears if needed.

571 I’m glad your transmissions worked well for you last year; I am also glad to see you are using them again this year. I saw them in person last year and they looked very good and well designed. I hope they work just as well for you this year, if not better, with the addition of your auto-shift feature!

I still look back to our 2004 three speed transmissions and wonder how did we do that? Now I look back at our 2005 transmissions and look at all of the improvements. Now I look back at our 2006 transmission and think wow they are totally different in looks, weight, and size of our 04/05 transmissions.