Favorite/Most Influential FRC Whitepapers

Please share your favorite / most influential white papers below!

I’ll start:

White Paper Discuss: Drive Train Basics - CD-Media: Papers - Chief Delphi
This whitepaper, by Chris Hibner, discusses drivetrain design and the math behind turning. Some believe it caused widespread change in how robots looked on the field.

Paper: 4 wheel independent drive & independent steering (“swerve”) - CD-Media: Papers - Chief Delphi
This whitepaper, by Ether, details the math behind swerve kinematics and various other concepts that made swerve more widespread in the end.


NBD: Nothing But Dewalts, by Joe Pavliga of 647 and Dr. Joe Johnson. Groundbreaking at the time for its transparency. It put shift-on-the-fly transmissions solidly into the hands of the midmajor teams.
Discussion thread


One of my favorites from Russ Ether.


The mecanum force analysis was the first worthwhile whitepaper I ever read.

Some white papers I have enjoyed:

History of 1625 Swerves published the year after their 6 wheel swerve

Bumper Guide - a great resource on bumper construction

Zondag’s arguement for Stop The Build in 2016 - A really interesting look at factors of team success, more than just the bag

Analysis on Yelling Robot - Makes me smile

The Shop Dog Effect - Is a whitepaper? No. Am I very biased? Yes. “Science” and dogs? Yes and yes.


Ian MacKenzie’s drivetrain kinematics paper from 2004(?) is one of my favorites, but no longer appears to be available

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All of them. I love this type of practical knowledge sharing.


Omnidirectional Drive Systems


Im assuming its this one?

1086964929simswerve.pdf (2.5 MB)


Nope, that’s a different paper. The one I was referencing @mdurrani834 dug up on archive.org


FRC Drivetrain Characterization is a personal favorite, we learned a lot as a result of it.


Spanking the Children, by Jim Zondag, is a great read, and can shed some light for newer FRC people on why the rules are the way they are.
dfae6662319413de24aadb76ddad05e08ad7c66f.pdf (233.2 KB)


JVN Calculator - I know it wasn’t written to be a white paper, but I learned more about what matters* when designing an FRC robot from inspecting JVN’s formulas than any other single paper or file.

@Ether had so many where I learned more about kinematics and a variety of other subjects. IMO, his most underappreciated white paper was using cubic splines to map joystick inputs to motor outputs - tunably reduced sensitivity near zero (not zero, unless that’s what you want - you want 30%, you got it!) , and no special cases unless you also want to implement a software dead zone.

* Examples: Current budget, how to figure proper gearing, time to perform task. They’re all baked in and straightforward to infer if you know high school or at most freshman college physics.