FRC 2012 "Best Designs" Log

Hello CD,

So, this is an idea that I’d like to try and implement for all future years. Every year, a number of people go to the forums and look for the best designs to do this and that. Well, why not centralize it? What I’d like to do here is list out several categories of robot designs for the specific years, and people list their suggestions for what should be considered the “best design” for that category.

Now, this is in no way going to end up being a definitive list of the best designs, because what someone considers best will vary from person to person. My goal for this thread is to have a list of designs for a specific task that people looking for inspirations in their robot designs can turn towards, analyze, and develop as they see fit.

So what do you guys think of this idea? To the best of my knowledge, so thread like this has been started with continuity, and I feel this is something that people on Chief Delphi can really benefit from.

So, here are the guidelines:

  • When making suggestions, you don’t need to make a recommendation for all design categories. You can suggest anywhere from one to as many as there are categories!
  • When making a suggestion for a design, include the following: Design Category, Team Number, a description of the design, and what you think makes this design better than any other.
  • If you feel someone has posted a design that IS NOT the best, don’t just say that. Put up another design that you think it better, and expain why you feel that way.
  • Suggested designs will be recorded in this original post, for ease of access for all.
  • Don’t hesitate to suggest a design that has already been suggested. If multiple people back a design, I will note it in this post. And if you feel you have anything to add to what has been said about that design, go for it!
  • Including pictures or videos of the design would be ideal. Links would be preferable, so I can link to them in this post.
  • If you feel another category needs to be added to this, please let me know. I’ll determine if it deserves its own category, or if it can be combined with an existing category.

So with that, I’ll kick things off with my proposals for 2012:

Swerve Drive, as seen by 16, 1717, 973 and others
-Omnidirectional drive system allowing teams to move in any direction, anytime.
-The Swerve Drive in 2012 aided teams in a variety of ways. With it, teams were able to drive onto the bridge on either the long or wide orientation. It also gave teams an amazing ball intake ability, allowing them to turn to any direction to acquire a ball. By avoiding defense robots, and traversing the field and acquiring balls quickly, Swerve drives had a huge advantage this year.

Ball Acquiring System:
Multi-Directional Drop Down Intake, as seen by 973 and 177
-A drop-down intake system consisting of a series of rollers and urethane belt that sucked the ball into the robot, no matter what part of the device the ball contacted.
-This system gave 973 and 177 an amazing intake ability, being able to touch a ball with any part of the system and have it be acquired. This gave teams a lot of leeway when going to acquire balls, having a smaller chance of missing and not acquiring the ball.

Over-the-Bumper Intake, as seen by 469, 2056, 1114, 2826, 341 and others
-The over-the-bumper intake system was a very common design in 2012, with many dominating teams using it. Essentially, it’s just a collector system that drops out over the bumpers and sucks in balls. This can turn an entire side of a robot into a collector.
-By using this, teams were able to greatly speed up their collecting of balls. By making them as wide as the side of a robot, teams were essentially able to just drive at a ball and collect it. This proved to be a huge asset for teams who were shooting, and teams who were stealing balls.

Ball Transport System:
Rotating tower, as seen by 33, 973, 177, 78 and others
-Instead of just the shooter rotating, the entire tower/storage system and shooter rotated. In doing so, balls entered the same way every time.
-In doing so, the teams who used this were far less prone to jamming as the balls would enter the tower the same way every time.

Perpendicular Entry” Tower, as seen by 971
-971’s tower and intake system put the balls in around a corner, greatly reducing their risk of jamming.
-Like the rotating tower, 971 rarely (if ever) had ball jams, keeping their shooting consistent every match. Combine that with their lightening quick ball elevation, and 971 was a force.

Ball Scoring System:
Arm/Shooter combo, as seen by 548, 330, 1323 and others
-These robots had a shooter attached to an arm, allowing them to get their shooter up to the top basket, and pop the shoots out from a much closer distance.
-Many teams had an issue getting consistent key shooting throughout the season, but by having the shooter on the lift, the teams were able to greatly increase their consistency. Most of these teams also acquired the ability to shooter from distance, allowing them to circumvent defense.

Rotating Wheel Shooter, as seen by 1114, 610, 118, 1717, 399 and many, many others
-The rotating shooter is exactly as it sounds: A spinning wheel acting as a shooter, on a rotating device so it can point in different direction
-By using this design, teams could target a basket and face it with a turret design, and then shoot from a distance. By tracking the target well, teams using this could avoid defense and put in a lot of points.

Bridge Manipulator:
The Utility Arm, as seen by 67
-67’s Utility Arm allowed them to acquire balls, go over the bump, and manipulate the bridge. This arm would push the bridge down with little effort.
-The utility arm was built to be robust, so 67 would always be capable of manipulating the bridge. It could quickly and easily push the bridge down to allow 67 to drive on smoothly.

Bump Crossing:
Large Pneumatic Wheels, as seen by 1114 and 2056 and many others
-These teams use large pneumatic wheels in their drive systems, which allowed to simply drive over the bump, quick and easy, forward or backward.
-By relying on the type of wheels they used, these teams had a passive device that worked every time, no failure. This gave them more time to work on other robot functions and gave them and even more robust design.

Drop-Down castor wheels, as seen on 254, 971, 111 and others

Bridge Balancing Aid (i.e. Stinger, etc.):
FRC1986, The Teeter-Totter Talons
-1986 had a pair of pneumatically powered ‘talons’ that would push down and aid in the balancing of the bridge.
-With the aid of the talons, 1986 could not only push up on the bridge to even it out, but they could even brace the bridge from falling. Quick and effective. With the addition of the Twin Tucking Tabs, 1986 was a balancing machine.

So what do you guys think? Also, if I post any incorrect information, please let me know.


With all due respect, the multidirectional intake system was not pioneered by 973. It is a descendent of a design first featured on Chief Delphi’s 2002 robot.

Even if you don’t count that, 177 had a virtually identical system at their first regional, so if you want to credit the “first” design of this nature in the year 2012 they deserve just as much credit as 973. I believe 1323 had a similar system at ship, albeit with a recessed front intake. I am sure I’m missing others (e.g. I don’t know if 33 shipped with the CD7 intake or added it later).

The same applies to other designs you posted. 33 had a rotating tower, but so did 973, 177, 78, and probably several others. While 548 had a shooting arm, so did 330 and 1323.

Hi leeland,

I like the idea!!!
No offense but some of these systems multiple teams had the same thing.

For Ball Acquiring System:

973 wasn’t the only team who had that design there was 3138 and a few other teams that I don’t remember.

For Swerve:

16 wasn’t the only team who had swerve yes they can do some of the best swerve but they weren’t the only team who did swerve this year.

I wouldnt give credit to one team for similar mechanisms. multiple teams had similar systems.

We’ve had a CD7 “Joe Johnson”-style intake since long before “ship” day. It was in our design quite early on.

Edit: The best pic I can find of the CD7 intake is

A compilation of the best implementations of the best designs is pretty cool and useful. Maybe a little more emphasis should be put on the fact that it’s not a new idea, but highlighting whoever did it best this year isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

We referenced the 2007 FRC Design book (I can’t remember it’s actual name) a few times for the 2011 season. I’m sure not all of the designs in there were original, but it’s a lot more helpful than leaving out designs because they’ve been used before.

This thread is abut the best designs used in 2012 not who did what first. Shouldn’t it be about what designs worked the best in 2012.

We had the intake since week 1 of build, but we clearly copied it from 47 2002. I saw that robot in action first hand as a 7th grader and never forgot how awesome I thought that intake was.

We probably could have had our intake work 50% better, as we made some geometry mistakes on it that really bogged it down.

Bump crossing I think goes to 67 for their arm, which they used to lift themselves over the bump, or 548 for their slanted front bumper/frame that slid them up over the bump. Both of those were amazingly elegant.

I also want to throw out that there were some pretty underrated wedge-shaped bump traversers (118 and 233 come to mind) that people forget.

*And no, I’m not blowing my own horn, because we always took a bridge instead of going over the bump.

I also nominate 469 for best ball acquiring system. They had a system that–however it happened–was absolutely magnetic to balls. I never once saw them go for a ball and miss, and every time it was lightning fast. They also made great use of the basket, taking feeds from their inbounder at the inbuonding station and heading right back over the bump with the built-in wedge.

BTW, before everyone give ALL of the credit to 47 for their 2002 ball intake, 45 came up with a nearly identical intake that year. They probably deserve a bit of credit as well. Here’s a link to a pic:

How could I forget. I loved how that robot would throw balls to itself as it’s “conveyor” system.

also, 254/971/111(and any others) for the pop up wheels that allowed them to get over the bump just as fast or faster than all the other bump traversing robots I’ve seen.

My comments are in Italics and Underlined

Great thread idea!
Regards, Bryan

I think this year 1717 may have had the best driven swerve in the history of FIRST. It’s hard for me to recall back to the early 2000’s to think of who might have driven theirs better, but they definitely drove it better than any team in recent memory that I have seen.

I agree that 1717 takes this category hands down.

So let me just address some things.

I know multiple teams used similar designs this season. The 33/973 turret is just one example. I have a few reasons for doing this the way I did. For starters, I wanted to give people who find this thread later on a reference point to go off of. Giving a robot and a design, I felt, fit that criteria. I also wanted to give as much exposure to multiple robots/teams as possible. 33, 973 and 16 all had designs I wanted to use multiple times. 33 or 973 for the turret, 16 or 973 for the swerve. Because 973 also had an acquisition system I really liked (and thus was already having their design directed to), I thought teams could benefit more from seeing a separate robot with a turret (i.e. 33). I don’t mean to cut the credit from teams who had similar designs. It’s partially I liked how it could work out by getting more robots exposure (and thus, people who come here later can see more). Maybe having a specific team referenced was a poorly thought out idea, but I think it’ll give people coming here for reference a better idea. The point isn’t to provide credit to a certain team for a design. It’s to put a design out there, and have a team be used as an example. If that makes sense.

P.S. I’ll make the appropriate updates to the original post in the morning. From now on, I’ll try to update it once a day, or multiple times a day if I feel it’s necessary.

Funny how that’s coming from the team who won an award or two for Emperor Swerve…

1717 since last year has had a swerve better in programming and mechanically that 16. When it became independent this year, along with 2 speeds, it completely blew everything else out of the water. By maybe adding in some modes like 16, it could really become that drivetrain that we have all been dreaming about.

That’s debatable. Bomb Squad’s swerve looked better this year than any I’ve ever seen.

It is definitely debateable, but 1717’s swerve this year was at least as good as 16.

I thinks this is hard to tell. 16 had much larger wheels than 1717 (and us) so they could traverse the bump without a separate mechanism. This I think gave them an advantage because the driver never had to wait for the co-driver or double check that the mechanism was down, which robbed us at least a lot of time. Although when I did see 1717 a champs they rarely slowed down before crossing the bump.