Posted by Rob DeCotiis at 03/18/2001 1:49 PM EST

Student on team #504, RoBUCtics, from Red Bank Regional High School and Jesel.

what types of drive systems is everyone using??? im trying to figure out next year’s bot so we can get working on it, then change it so it fits next year’s specs… first thing’s first - drive system!!!

Posted by Kevin Sevcik at 03/18/2001 2:50 PM EST

Other on team #57, Leopards, from BT Washington and the High School for Engineering Professions and Exxon, Kellog Brown & Root, Powell Electrical.

Posted by Rob DeCotiis on 03/18/2001 1:49 PM EST:

I seriously doubt you’re going to find a concensus on what type of drive system to use. Well… Except for CD’s nifty Swerve system, but I don’t think most able able to build or handle that anyways.
From watching two regionals, I can tell you the types of systems that usually show up:
Timing belt treads on drills
2 wheels on drills
4 wheels on drills
4 wheels on drills and something else (rare)

That really just about covers it, unless you wanna get into details or start listing really odd and rare drive systems. Most of these use tank-style steering, though some of the wheeled designs use car steering, and one used a weird broken center kind of thing that you’d see on BIG bulldozers or earth movers. If you’re looking for something simple to work out, I’d go with 2 or 4 wheels on drill motors. But if you’re running on 2 wheels and you have to go uphill, make sure the casters are at the back. Have you ever tried pushing a dolly uphill with the casters in front? I saw some teams trying this and it didn’t work very well…

Posted by Pat Bogard at 03/18/2001 2:54 PM EST

Student on team #103, Cybersonics, from Palisades High School and Lutron, Amplifier Research, Lucent Technologies.

Posted by Rob DeCotiis on 03/18/2001 1:49 PM EST:

We’re using a four wheel drive system. Each wheel has its own motor, either a drill motor(back) or a van door(front. We steer the front and back independently with globe motors.

Posted by Matt Leese at 03/18/2001 3:11 PM EST

Other on team #73, Tigerbolt, from Edison Technical HS and Alstom & Fiber Technologies & RIT.

Posted by Rob DeCotiis on 03/18/2001 1:49 PM EST:

Well, as far as working on next years robot – don’t. First of all, building a base before the game is idiotic because the drive system is very dependent on the game. This year lots of teams went to treads for traction which they wouldn’t have needed as much last year. We went to a pivoting drive train as a few other teams did. Secondly, it’s illegal to build anything before the six weeks anyway. If you have a neat drive train idea, you can prototype it and such but don’t plan on definately using it. You got to match it to the game.

Matt who when he introduced himself to someone at NJ was expected to keep talking like he does here :wink:

Posted by Justin Ridley at 03/19/2001 3:31 PM EST

Engineer on team #221, MI Roboworks, from Michigan Technological University.

In Reply to: Re: DRIVE SYSTEM
Posted by Matt Leese on 03/18/2001 3:11 PM EST:

I completely disagree. I recommend building anything and

everything you can before the six weeks. Drive systems
in particular are a good thing to work on since your
going to need one every year and they are the least
dependent system on the game (although the game can
still affect it’s design as Matt pointed out). Try
building a strong 4wd chassis, something many teams use
year after year. After that, work on a 2wd or something
more radical. Regardless its going to help you gain
experience building systems, teach you about
drivetrains and give you another chassis to use in
driving practice. Try other things such as arms and
lifts as well.

Offseaon R&D, as our team calls it, is a way to build

the experience needed so you can start rising to the
level of these awesome powerhouse teams, whose
technology can simply blow your mind.

Now under the legal issue, nobody says these have to be

the actual systems you use on a future robot, but after
designing and building one once, you should be able to
easily do another in the six weeks.

Justin Ridley - MI Roboworks

Posted by Ken Leung at 03/20/2001 5:37 AM EST

Student on team #192, Gunn Robotics Team, from Henry M. Gunn Senior High School.

In Reply to: Re: DRIVE SYSTEM
Posted by Matt Leese on 03/18/2001 3:11 PM EST:

It is true that the drive system is very dependent on the game… If the game is like last year’s where there were a lot of robots pushing each other, you will need to build a high torque and/or high maneuverable drive train to beat your opponents, while this year traction and torque are a lot more desirable if you are planning to manipulate two goals onto the bridge…

However, it never hurt to do some experiment on your own, where you can try out the motors in different type of driving. Two years ago we tried out a holonomic drive system that’s supposed to allow the robot to maneuver anyway it want. It turns out to be totally unnecessary for the competition. But we learned a great deal about putting together drive train and manufacturing skills.

Do all you want to do off-season. Call it a personal hobby if you want. Try out different drive system that have been used:

The tank drive with two drill motors, each controlling one side of the drive train with two wheels.

Or the two wheels, two casters design where each drill motor control a wheel, and the casters allowing the back of the robot spin more freely, losing less energy in friction compare to the tank drive

Maybe even add couple of motors to the tank drive to spin the wheels, up grade it to a crab drive…

Hey, even just trying out 6 wheels with the tank drive is lots of fun. Try out the design of having the center set of wheels lowered more into the ground than the front and back ones. Do different modification to the wheels to add more traction…

Trust me, it is SO much fun, as well as a great learning experience in both building a robot and team work. There are just so many good things about doing this. FIRST will never stop you from exploring engineering on your own.

Just make sure you actually get a fresh start when the competition starts. You want to examine the game closely, and decide what kind of drive system will give you the best result. Then, follow the good old steps of designing, prototyping, testing, manufacturing… etc.

Good Luck!

Posted by Patrick Dingle at 03/18/2001 9:47 PM EST

Coach on team #639, Red B^2, from Ithaca High School and Cornell University.

Posted by Rob DeCotiis on 03/18/2001 1:49 PM EST: