COTS Solutions for Telescoping Mechanisms

There are a few decent elevator kits out there, from the Greyt Elevator to the Andymark Single Stage Elevator to the Rev Lift Kit, and these are excellent options for teams designing elevators, especially for games where that’s the main scoring feature needed.

But teams each year also design climbers and arms that utilize telescoping tubing. Some of the machine-work on these is impressive, and although it’s easier each year to design your own, I can’t help feel like there’s a gap in the overall FRC COTS landscape for a product to make telescoping mechanisms easier.

Are there existing COTS solutions for this that I don’t know about, or is an FRC Supplier already working on this?


I’d really like to see a standard kit for the classic 2>1.5>1" square tube two stage lifts that have been really popular the last few years.

Would be sweet to be able to buy a kit and just need to match drill the end blocks.


Do you mean this? (CRP merged with REV) Elevator Bearing Kit - REV Robotics


I think I do. That part looks correct. I’ll remove the note from the OP

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I would imagine making a set of bearing blocks/delrin inserts/etc. and releasing a guide on how to install them into a tube that the team already owns wouldn’t take one of the major suppliers very long to develop.

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Better get to it, the market won’t corner itself.


Yep, they’re the same parts. I work at REV now and all of CRP’s products are on the REV website.


At the risk of adding a new size bearing to the FRC ecosystem, the 1/4" ID x 3/4" OD bearings are a bit pricey and probably contribute to the cost of a lot of these kits. We used some 8mm ID x 22mm OD skateboard bearings for our telescoping mechanism this part year. The 8mm bore is slightly larger than a 5/16" bolt, so you can stick with an english bolt (or an english shoulder bolt if you really NEED 1/4-20 threads everywhere). The 22mm OD is a bit bigger than 3/4", but there is typically plenty of room with these types of mechanisms for that larger size bearing. The real advantage of using skateboard bearings are 1) they are very cheap (100 packs for $20 are quite common) 2) they are widely available from multiple sources and generally can get next day from amazon and 3) the bearings are available with a wide variety of colors for the grease seals so that you can select team colored bearings.

I would have thought that a system built around these cheap bearings would result in a significantly cheaper lift kit system.

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As always use case is very important, but for light to medium duty it is kindda hard to beat nesting rectangular tubes and mushroom head Velcro.

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Are you using the velcro as a slider?

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I’m gonna need you to elaborate and post photos. Your slider for elevators in the past has just been strips of 3M Dual Lock? aka mushroom cap velcro?


That would be greyt

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Yes, keeps the contact patch down and gives the tube a chance of still working if it takes a small ding. phenomenally cheap, lightweight extension arm. Small bore pneumatic cylinders can easily be used on the inside if you want to be complicated, or on the outside (if you want multiple stages, depending how far you wanted to go with it I suppose you could rig it like any other elevator with string and pulleys on the inside of the tube, but that starts to get out of the realm of simple).

In light load applications, yes. Not the only thing that has been used, but bearings/3dprinted linear bushings are not always needed.


Does this exist on a competition robot? Photos or video?


876, in 2011, also 876 in 2016 climber (in a similar use case)

@BJT can elaborate perhaps


Any example in the last 10 years?

Agreed. I’ll have these in stock within the next week or two for a reasonable price.


What was the 2011 system?

See image above.

IIRC it was 1.25" square tube x 1/16" wall for the outermost tube, and a 1"x 1/16" tube for this inside, This had a 24" (or longer) Bimba cylinder on it.

The rest was all C-channel fittings that were fastened on.