Drive Train Comparison 2006


What do you think was the best or most succesful drive train this year?

If you could choose again, would you have chosen a different set up than you used?

How does it compare to what was succesful in 2005?

(I know there are many posts about advantages and disadvantages of drive trains, but I am specifically trying to address it towards this years game and possibly a comparison with something similar - 2005, etc.)

Thanks, I’m looking forward to everyone’s replies.

Pros - One speed. 4 motors. Could push anything with no problems turning. Fast.

Pros - Light. Multi speed. Modular. Easy-to-adjust. Not many turning problems. Fast.
Cons - People rode up over their cantilevered wheels. Lots of precise machining required.

Pros - Made in one day. Free (used KOP gearbox and wheels), fast, easy to drive, turns on a dime
Cons - Easy to push.

These are just my opinions of teams that I was able to play with or against this year.

I think 6WD was the most successful this year, just look at the Championship Finals
25 - 6WD
968 - 6WD
195 - Treads

296 - 2WD
217 - 6WD
522 - Treads

Fully one-half of the Championship Finalist teams used 6WD, I’d say that pretty much demonstrates how succesful it was.

We used a high traction, high torque 6WD, and if we were doing it again the only changes I would make are: using DeWalts 3-speeds instead of the KOP, and smaller wheels/lighter wheels. (The 54 tooth sprocket + KOP skyway combo was just too heavy)

1114, once they stopped throwing treads. It took a whole heck of a lot of effort to push them off course.

Treads seem to be more work than they’re worth to me. Without proper protection, they will break with any kind of side load. In order to stop this breaking you must build up a system around them which will kill efficiency and add weight.

This is all true. But in terms of how they allowed the triplets to be essentially immobile, they have to be mentioned, as that was a huge part of the game.

You probably mean “immovable”; “immobile” was what they were when the treads fell off.

“immoble” as in you can drive in a circle and thats about it. :ahh: Happened to us this year too many times.

All the stats point to 6 wheels being the best, but it is certainly more interesting and exciting seeing a robot move sideways… gets people to be like, what the heck!!! I’m sure within the next year or two that sideways drives will get their glory.

A majority of successful teams use some variant of scrub, skid, or tank (they’re all the same thing) steering every year. This is probably because they are the simplist and by far the most numerous drivetrain used in first. Every single FIRST Champion has either used scrub steering or a swerve drive (or a combination of the two), with all but 2003 Wildstang and 2005 HOT using scrub steering. The amount and type of wheels/treads vary from bot to bot. No holonomic, ball, or mecanum drives have ever won the Championship event, but that may also be because of the relatively low number of teams who use these drivetrains.
2006 was dominated by 6WD scrubs and treaded scrubs. Because of the wide open field, yet relatively small scoring area for a majority of teams, and the steep inclined ramp, both pushing power and speeds were premiums (even more than other years). Rapid precision turning was not as necissary as other years, especially considering many top notch bots could accomodate for small variances in direction with turrets. Thus the dominance (and frequency) of high traction drivetrains on many bots.
Many teams which had built swerve drives (which enjoyed a fair amount of success this year, especially by teams 71, 118, and 1261), but several teams that had used sweve drives in the past used a variant of scrub steering this year (such as 67, 217, and 1114).
Several other teams used scrub systems that were better at turning, but had significantly less traction, such as 494/70, 1038, and 1625.
A few teams had notable success with mecanum drives, such as 40 and 357 (who both advanced to regional finals), but I do not beleive any mecanum drives won events. Holonomic drives saw a notable decrease in usage this year, as they could not make it up the ramp without a very advanced suspension system, so there wasn’t much success from them in 2006.
Widespread success of drivetrains typically results from a larger quantity of teams using them. Because a majority of teams used scrub steering in 2006, they had the most success.

Not true. 1503 successfully climbed the ramp once in GLR with a single tread. :wink:

Broken treads aside, they were the right call for our strategy last year. They allowed us to hold our position while shooting, which was crucial due to our lack of turret. For a different strategy, a 6 wheel may have been the best, or maybe a swerve. It all depends on how you play the game. We put a good deal of thought into choosing the right drive base for the game, rather than just building the same one over and over again. We don’t get the same level of refinement on our drive bases that you see on for example 25’s 6 wheel, but by designing for a specific game strategy, we ensure our drive base is a good fit to our strategy. There’s no need to force a square peg through a round hole.

That could have been a problem with our team last year. We decided, for some reason :confused: , what base and drive system we would use before the game was announced, but it worked out fine because it happened to work with our strategy.
I don’t want to think about what would have happened if we went a different way with our strategy :eek:

This year at IRI i saw swerves scrubs and every type of drivetrain. For our robot turreted perimeter shooter which picks up from the floor a simple 4wheel drive setup worked just fine as far as being quickish for picking up balls we then had our “foot” system to plant us in place. There were several occurances in which i wish we had a swerve or some type of holomonic drive to get out of tight spots.
I think the best demonstrated swerve this year was the beast(71) at IRI they got across the field and up the ramp regardless of who was in there way simply because they could go everywhere in an instant. It all depends on your strategy because beast was human loaded so people often attempted pinning them in a corner but they could usually break free. Our robot on the other hand usually stays in the middle of the field with periodic trips for balls stuck in the corner.
so its all just strategy our team is planning on having several drivetrains prototyped so when the game comes we pick our strategy and the appropriate drivetrain.

would you recomend building a preseason drivetrain based off another teams drivetrain so inexperienced student gain skill in designing their own?

we are intending to look at all the drive trains a brunswick eruption and pick the one that is the best and build in the preseason so we gain some experience.

You can learn a lot from doing this. The best part is because the time constraints aren’t there like during the build season you can take the time to really think through and explain everything much more thouroghly. I don’t think you necessarily need to build the drive train as much as going through the design excercise. What you learn from focusing on improving a few components can be more beneficial than building an entire drive train.

This really can’t be answered by a single team.

If you look at non-turreting robots you have a number of teams with great drive trains.

Triplets, Poof Twins, Martin Twins

These teams were all very effictive in what they needed to do. All of these teams used there drive train to effectively keep them in place when shooting.

If you look at turreting robots once again there are a number of good solid drive trains

217, 1126, 25

Once again these are the stronger teams that had turreting shooters. These teams were fast when they needed to be, and all could unload relatively fast so it didn’t matter if you hit them, because given a few free seconds and the match was over. These drive trains seemed to me to be more freely moving than those that needed to fend off as they shot.


195, 522

These both stick out in my head because they could play defense, and it wasn’t just because of their drive trains, which were pretty nice contraptions i must say.

Automode: Kinda figured i must have something in here for automode since it was such a huge part.


Beatty once again was the team the impressed me the most. They had an odd kinda of drop down swerve drive to begin auto mode to get them in place and then they would unload. I really didn’t see it run much but from what i did see it was by far one of the best drive train choices for automode.

Just my 2 cents again

217 was nearly impossible to force out of position, trust me. 116 could shove around around 95% of the robots we faced. We were able to dislocate 1261 and push them into 281, dislocating BOTH of them from shooting position in Peachtree. We even managed to hold position against 234 and 1625 pushing us at the same time (until 234 got under as and we tipped). But we couldn’t make 217 budge.

And 494/70 had turrets btw.

Drivetrain success, as has been stated, was largely dependent on your strategy.

I know at least for our team, we would have gone back and built a faster drive train for last year, because there were numerous times we just wanted the darn thing to go quicker.

We’re prototyping a new style of drive this Fall, and if all goes well with it we will probably use it next Spring (it won’t be exactly identical, but pretty darn close unless the floor turns into water). We’re actually building the full system to help give everyone more experience before spring starts.

I don’t know if you can chalk it up completely to the treads I think it had a lot to do also with their properly tuned PID loop rather than just the treads.

i mean if the treads are really the answer just do like in 2002, but instead of file cards use the gum rubber material and pneumatically actuate it. My thought is it will help, but the PID is the real secret to their success with staying immobile.