Drive Base Advice

Posted by Andy Baker at 1/14/2001 11:12 PM EST

Engineer on team #45, TechnoKats, from Kokomo High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

Here’s some unsolicited advice for designing, debugging, and testing your drive base.

You veteran teams don’t need this, but since there are sooo many rookies out there, I thought that I would give some freebies:

  1. Drill motors. Use 'em and abuse them. These should be the foundation of your drive base. Some teams add other motors to supplement the drive base, but if you are only going to use two, use these two. But spares and be ready to use them. They are good motors, but they are also your workhorses… and they give out after much stress.

  2. Wrap that chain. You need at least 150 degrees of the sprocket or timing gear in mesh with the chain or belt… this is what Woodie was talking about at the kickoff when he was talking about “clack, clack, clack”.

  3. Get rid of the friction. Run the wheels/belts freely and get any binds out.

  4. Build your base and drive it… but, only drive it under the competition weight. Duct tape a box of bolts to your drive train to simulate the weight of the rest of the robot. Don’t give yourself the false sense of security by not weighing down that drive train.

  5. Drive it on carpet… the friction involved is much different on carpet compared to a slick floor. This really makes a difference if your drive base is weighted down like it should be.

  6. Break it. Don’t be reckless, but drive it as aggressive as you think you will be driving it in a match. It is better to see what breaks now instead of later. Last year, we broke our “trick wheels” 6 times before we got the design right.

Good luck,

Andy B.