FRC Blogged - KOP Evolution

Kit of Parts Evolution

As FRC continues to grow, we continue to try to find ways to better serve our teams’ needs. Today, we have an exciting announcement regarding the Kit of Parts.

In 2005, the Kit of Parts Drive System was introduced. Since then, based on feedback from the FRC community, the KOP Drive System has evolved, but its overall goal has remained the same: give teams the opportunity to have a working drive system built quickly following Kickoff. However, not every FRC team wants or needs this component of the Kit of Parts. For the 2013 FRC Season, returning teams will have an option! Veteran teams can opt to receive a Product Donation Voucher (PDV) from AndyMark instead of the KOP Drive System at Kickoff. The PDV will be worth $450 and can be used on FRC-specific AndyMark parts, shown here. The option to opt out of the KOP Drive System for the PDV will be available ONLY from 10/1 to 10/18. During that time, the option to receive the PDV in place of the KOP Drive System will be found in the “What’s New” section on the right side bar of the TIMS main screen. NOTE: If teams do not choose to opt out of the KOP Drive System in favor of the PDV by 10/18, they will be automatically by assigned the ‘default’ option of receiving the KoP Drive System as part of their kit as they usually would.

If your team decides to receive the 2013 KOP Drive System, you will receive an AndyMark C-Base chassis system similar to the last few years. It will again be a six wheel drive robot, with similar wheels to 2012, and with enough material to drive all six wheels. The 2013 gearbox is a ToughBox Mini with 10.71:1 reduction. The estimated final drive speed is about 10 feet per second.

Thanks to our partnership with AndyMark and with a donation from Gates, we are switching from chains to belts to drive the wheels. The KOP Drive System has been designed to be set up as either a six wheel drive “long” robot, or a four wheel drive “wide” robot.

We believe this is a positive change for a number of reasons. The belt system is between 1.5 and 2 pounds lighter than a chain drive system. Belts have also been shown through FRC-specific testing to be a more efficient system than chain drives. The assembly time for the KOP Drive System should also be reduced, since you no longer have to break chain or assemble master links. Chain may provide greater flexibility in design, but we believe, for the stated overall goal for the KOP Drive System, a belt system comes out on top.

In the fall of 2008, FRC team 234, Cyber Blue, did a Design of Experiments study of the differences between belt and chain drive. Kit of Parts Engineer Collin Fultz was a mentor on the team at that time and helped with the experiment. Their final report can be found here. We believe that, with the help of Gates and AndyMark, we have mitigated the largest obstacles a team would face when deciding to use belts.

We are excited about this new opportunity for teams to make the Kit of Parts as valuable as possible and thank AndyMark and Gates for their support in creating this possibility.

I’ll blog again soon.

The referenced white paper from FRC234 can be found here.

Belt drive CD discussion here.

Looks like IndySAM and I saw it at the same time- feel free to merge/delete one of them.

I win!

Ah, but did you link CyberBlue’s white paper?
Plus, mine has more replies

I win better. :slight_smile:

Belts are a VERY good change for the KOP robot. Most of the mechanical misassembly that is done with previous kit bots has been in regards to the chain paths. Whether it was too loose, too tight, mis-aligned, etc. Hopefully with predetermined belt lengths, assembly should be a breeze.

Nicely done FIRST.


All of the teams that don’t use the Kitbot are big winners on this one. Since the PDV are considered KoP items, which don’t count against your $3500 robot budget, I think that all of our robot budgets just effectively jumped from $3500 to $3950. This is good news for our team, whcih has been looking at alternative designs that we will probably implement this build season. This eases some of the concerns that I had had over the robot budget restrictions.

It sounds like the teams that do use the Kitbot are big winners, too, because of the lighter drive train and improved buildability.

This is great!!

And the teams that don’t use the Kitbot in competition but use it as a testbed are also winners–they don’t have to build another testbed.

Some good ideas with the KOP the last few years: FIRST Choice, and now this! Wonder what other good ideas they’ll come up with…

Wow! These are great changes.

I think this is an awesome move for FIRST that also hugely benefits teams. From FIRST’s perspective, it lets them move a significant chunk of the KoP costs into a voucher, which is much easier for them to modify in future years should they encounter budgetary or donation constraints as the program grows. From a team perspective, it doesn’t take anything away from teams who opt not to use the voucher, and it provides a nice chunk of financial support for teams who don’t want the KoP chassis.

Awesome news!

This change is a winner.

Fantastic news.

FRC: Doing things right now.


10/1 - 10/18, How do I know whether or not I want to use the kitbot drive system if I don’t know what the game is?

Can you use your voucher to buy the parts needed to build a kitbot?

Well you could still use the $450 buy a Kit Frame, with modified components even. Also if you team has a habit of building custom drives every year you probably aren’t going to use the kit frame anyways.

This is really great imo. Our team just finished up on building our first WCD and we love it. And plan to over the season and $450 to go to components would be awesome! I hope Andymark has some pulleys we can use with a live axle setup…

This is a huge step in the right direction; however, I’m a bit worried about the voucher deal.

Teams that might not be able to make a custom drivetrain that can match the kitbot in reliability might just opt out after seeing the savings. Of course, every team needs to make its own decisions; but, as a person who wants to see a net increase in competitiveness throughout FRC, I’m worried about how this move by FIRST and AndyMark may effect that goal. Maybe I’m just overthinking things, but who knows. I’m probably wrong.

Overall, I’m happy with the move to belts. I trust Cyber Blue’s analysis and I think that many teams could use an introduction to the use of belts in an FRC drivetrain.

Free SuperShifters for everyone!

I wonder if Gates will offer more belt/pulley options to all teams?

I’m happy with this move as well, but I think I understand your concern. Hopefully all teams can evaluate their resources and experience/skills well enough before making this decision instead of just seeing a voucher for a large amount and making a perfunctory choice. Hopefully no teams screw themselves over.

I would like to think that most teams enjoy the freedom of making their own choice instead of having it made for them by a big daddy overseeing entity.

And if a relative few teams make the wrong choice, they will be responsible enough to deal with the consequences of their own actions, and others within the community will be kind enough to reach out to help them.

Because it would be a shame if the overseeing entity denied this freedom of choice from an entire community because they felt they had to “protect” a relative few ill-prepared teams from themselves.

Thank you, FIRST and AndyMark, for bringing more freedom of choice to the individual teams. What a wonderful concept. :cool:

Me gusta. Me gusta mucho. Instead of piling up more C-Channel we can get SuperShifters again. I’m glad that the PDV list includes electronics as well. A few hundred dollars of controls parts could make me one happy kid…