FRC Drive Trains

This hopefully is a simple question. I’m trying to look into drive trains a little bit for our team this year and I was just wondering if people could give a quick description of their favorite ones from previous years.


An obvious choice is 254’s drivetrain from… well pretty much any year. 1114 as well.

Bomb Squad (0016’s) swerve drive for omnidirectional drivetrains.

And now for a more a aesthetic choice:

We love our octocanum drive train, and are modifying the design for implementation as a drive base going forward (with modifications every year, of course, for a wide variety of reasons). Our new design will be significantly less expensive, use more available parts, be easier to maintain (not that it needed maintenance at any point, but if it had…), and be lighter weight.

Love it, love it, love it!

My favorite FRC Drivetrain is definitely 469’s articulating pneumatic eight wheel drive from 2011. That thing was a MONSTER. The four inner wheels were fixed and they had ball casters under the outer four wheels so their drivebase didn’t rock, and they could engage the four outer wheels against the carpet with the push of a button.

TL;DR: If you were in 469’s way in 2011, you were getting pushed, no questions asked.



The middle four wheels are fixed.

The front and rear pairs of wheels are pneumatically lifted or lowered
The front and rear wheels also have pneumatically actuated ball castors next to them, just inside the inner frame rail. I don’t remember the exact pneumatic setup, what was independently controlled and what was not.

They also used 3-speed Dewalts that year, servo shifted. They switched to Supershifters this year.

That drivetrain was HEAVY.

You always gotta love 254’s WCD. Same goes for 1114’s drives. My personal favorite though is 1717’s swerve.

33’s 2011 Drivetrain, as shown in this powerpoint.

I’ve always been a fan of the 148/217 Nonadrive as well as the 148 Tumbleweed but, for my vote on completely reinventing omnidirectional drive would be 1625’s Lobster Drive, which they did the year after they drove 6 wheel swerve on Einstein.

I hate to toot our own horn, and I love 469; but we pushed them in 2011.

You pushed everyone in 2011.

Team 25’s drive train from pretty much any year. With that drive train you can push anything. Also it’s a locking drive train as well

Thank you!!! Gotta love CD for doing some quick research :smiley: As much as I love that 469 drive train, and some of 254’s, can anyone think of some slightly simpler ones like 33’s Dual Drive. Our team has limited machining capabilities and we usually need to use the K.I.S.S. strategy.

…Although I would be in favor of an 8-wheel articulating swerve drive with pneumatic brakes :wink:

There’s been many drivetrains over the years I’ve really liked (some decidedly more successful in practice than others)

2003: 45 built a “Ball Drive” that worked a bit like an old ball mouse, but instead of the ball being the input, it was the output. (IIRC this wasn’t their competition bot, but rather a proof of concept)
2003: 1075 built a “reverse snowmobile” (two undriven wheels at the rear of a wide orientation bot, and the front was a steerable unit not unlike the belt of a snowmobile)
2006-2008: 1075 built several incarnations of a belted longbody tank drive, with the CIMs inside of the belt.
2010: 1625’s 6-wheel swerve
2010: 1075’s Invertable swerve
2010: 1114’s PTO-lifter
2011: 148/217’s Nonadrive and its variants

Another drive concept I’m not sure of its origins:
Kiwi Drive (3 omni wheels, 120deg opposed)

My favorite drivetrain is one that works consistently and requires little to no work to maintain. The Kitbot on Steroids (with Colson wheels) would be about as simple and solid as you could get.

Kitbot on Steroids with Colsons. There’s nothing better in terms of effort to reward ratio. You might never have to do maintenance on it.

Just as a heads up: FRC Designs has a range of different drive trains to check out.

FRC Designs:
FRC Designs Drives Page:

Wouldn’t using the kop wheels be equally reliable in terms of wear, but require less cost and effort?

Colsons are nice but I agree that if you are just going with a kitbot, why use colsons? The new Higrip wheels are superior to previous FIRST wheels but investing in Colsons is $180 for hubs and wheels. As a rookie or low resource team I’d rather invest that $180 into other parts of my robot considering I’m already given reliable/comparable drivetrain.

Maybe the future kitbot on steriods is upgrading to supershifters?

You’re certainly right, especially with the new HiGrip wheels that are in a similar ballpark to Colsons. I mentioned Colsons to contrast with the common suggestion to upgrade to a treaded wheel, as tread does add some (arguably negligible) regular maintenance to the system.

I’ve never seen a Colson wheel throw a tread or experience a broken spoke.