Chinese Bevel Gear Group-Buy -- Gauging Interest!

Hi all,

I’m posting to gauge if any teams/individuals are interested trying a (relatively) inexpensive set of 1.5 module 15T/45T bevel gears, for offseason use only. My own team is refining our offseason swerve from last year, and we wanted to find a cheaper source of bevel gears other than KHK, since spending $60 on a set is a tad on the high side.

I have been in contact with a Chinese supplier who claims to be able to machine bevel gears dimensionally equivalent to the standard KHK gears many teams use today. Furthermore, I have requested that the 15T gear is broached to 3/8" hex. The 45T is left untouched as I recognize teams will interface with the gear in different ways.

The cost breakdown is $13.50 for the 45T, $5.45 for 15T, and $5.80 overseas shipping per bevel gear, coming out to $24.75 for the set. I was quoted these prices for a MOQ of 10, so depending on the interest, cost per unit could potentially go down. Shipping from within the United States looks to be $7.50 for a USPS flat rate box. The manufacturer is estimating a lead time of 25 days.

Now, a huge disclaimer:

These bevel gears are not legal for competition use. Unfortunately, China does not count as a valid VENDOR per 2019 rules. The intent for this potential group buy is to allow teams to produce cheaper offseason modules to experiment with before committing themselves to KHK during the actual build season. Now, if a VENDOR wanted to stock these during the season, I’m all for it, and I’d be more than happy to share the details of my source.

I’ve created this Google Form to fill out if you are interested.

Submitting this form does not commit you to purchasing a set; I’ll be sending an email to the address you provide in the form that finalizes cost and purchasing details, and another form that commits you to purchasing.

I’m looking to send this second form at 5/16/2019 at 11:59PM, so get your responses in before then. I want to purchase the bevels on 5/24/2019.

If you guys have any questions/comments/concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask in this thread or DM me! I’m aiming to be as transparent as possible so everybody knows what they’re getting into.



I’ve never really paid attention to this section, but citation please?


Why would your supplier not be a permitted vendor? Unless you’re purchasing from an illegitimate vendor (this is rare given they have to deal with international shipping and declarations) yous shop, even if a custom part, probably meets requirements. Actually, section D of the VENDOR rules almost explicitly allows the customization + long lead of the 15T gear.

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Actually… good point. I re-read the rules after Akash’s post and I was somewhat surprised that I had overlooked section D. The problem is that they’re essentially custom gears, and so they’re subject to the manufactured parts restriction, meaning they have to be ordered after kickoff.

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The issue lies with teams purchasing items in bulk from China and then re-selling them to other teams. A group order may or may not skirt that issue.

See this bearing order thread from December/January. $0.73 per Flanged Bearings 1/2'' HEX and 13.75 mm Thunderhex


To elaborate on Sean’s post , their supplier in China is producing a part that becomes COTS because their team is acting as a reseller in the US. The problem is the FRC team organizing anything like this very likely has no way to qualify as a vendor under FRC rules.

Can you circumvent this by just asking for a donation and then awarding then with a couple of bearings? I feel like that’s in the gray area but might work out fine.

Just out of curiosity how much flexibility did this chinese vender offer? I have been looking for a fairly customized gear set for a while now

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In your form you say the overseas shipping is $5.80 per bevel gear. Is this $5.80 per gear, or per set? Your total in the original post would suggest shipping is per set, but the wording makes it sound as though it is per individual gear.

It’s per set. The form is incorrect; I’ll change that right away!

That’s obviously illegal, but you won’t see that spelled out in the rules.

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IMHO, If they’re fabbed entirely after kickoff and then donated to another team that seems within the rules to me. If not, then per the above discussion they’re custom parts, not COTS, because the donation path means they’re not being sold, and no seller means for sure no legal vendor. And that makes them custom parts fabbed before kickoff and not legal for competition use (per 2019 rules, standard disclaimers apply)

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Where is this all coming from. I don’t mean to be offensive but why is it not allowed to buy parts from china.?

Cory’s point is not specific to China.

Well is it wrong to buy parts from thigna that aren’t WCP/vexpro/andymark? I’m extremely confused.

Check the VENDOR rules in the rulebook, they go into detail on the topic. Basically, if you order something custom, it has to be ordered in season to be legal.
A box of screws from McMaster is not custom, so you can buy that before the season to stock up. Similarly, regular Vex, AM, etc. parts are all legal to buy any time.
This Chinese vendor is offering to make them custom. So to use them on a 2020 robot, you would need to order them after the 2020 game is revealed.

Can’t you just tell them have it ready and ship it on the 5th on express delivery?

The issue is that the person organizing the group order is technically becoming a reseller of the Chinese gears. Therefore this person must meet all criteria that qualifies a VENDOR, the biggest concern of which here being that a VENDOR must be able to reasonably handle demand from any FRC team interested.

It can be a grey area and of course all of this falls under an honor code situation, but an individual acting as a reseller doesn’t really feel like an official VENDOR under the intent of the rules imo.

That said I think all of the rules around the BOM and part legality is generally stupid and maybe with the bag now removed some of the rules around this can be loosened or eliminated, but for now let’s keep this conversation operating under the assumption all rules stay the same next season.

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Thanks for the accurate response! I’ve been so confused but yea, equality for teams makes sense!

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The vendor I talked to offered a wide range of customization. As long as you are willing to provide detailed drawings, they will make it for you, although of course cost goes up with increasingly complex parts. Apart from broaching the small gear, they were also capable of putting a standard bolt circle on the gear, and removing the hub.