How does this Toughbox Mini sound? For my sanity

So during our 6 hour unbag time we put an Andymark Toughbox Mini on our bot… followed instructions, greased it with an entire pack of the red grease.

Does this sound okay? Or should I be worried? Sounds way too loud, but what do I know

That doesn’t sound too bad to me, especially under a large load like that. I’d reccomend putting a ratchet wrench on their though so you can stay up! :slight_smile: Best of luck!

It sounds the same with and without the load. Just skeptical because some quick Google searches yielded some incredibly quiet Toughbox Minis

When in doubt, lubricate!?

Toughbox Minis, in my experience, have always had slight QC problems (I do not trust the tolerance on those molded plastic parts). I’d say about one in every four I’ve put together has been loud/friction-y. That one certainly sounds louder than it ought to be. It likely will do fine, all things considered, though - they have steel gears, and FRC doesn’t require long service life from parts.

How long do you think it will last? We tested about 30 climbs yesterday and have a regional in a couple days…

You have a regional? Or a district event?


Maybe district… Whichever is the smaller one?

Probably will last you all season. Toughboxes are pretty true to their name.

Looks like they only have two district events DARC SIDE - Team 6502 - The Blue Alliance at Raleigh and Pitt County

Did you run it out before installing it? We always give a gearbox 20-ish minutes under no load before installing.

The AndyMark product page states you should let it run in ungreased.

Product Usage:
All AndyMark gearboxes require grease for proper operation and long life. We suggest using our red tacky grease, am-2768. We also encourage that the user powers the gearbox continuously for 30 minutes without grease to allow the gear teeth to wear in. While we do design with short run times in mind, this ‘run in’ period for smooth gearbox operation, is recommended. Once this is completed, thoroughly grease the gear teeth periodically to ensure smooth operation.

It was not clear if you did the unlubricated break in run. This makes a HUGE difference with these gearboxes. As others have already noted the tolerances on these gearboxes are fairly loose. Some are smooth and quiet right away. Some are noisy, with obvious tight spots.

For example: We used them this year on our drivetrain. We build 2 robots so had 4 gearboxes. 2 were smooth and quiet from the start, 1 was slightly rougher, and one was nasty (loud, very obvious tight spots, etc). As we were tight for time (as always) we did the break in with the robots up on blocks, doing 2 15 minute full power runs with a drive cim connected directly (and safely) to a battery.

On the 2 quiet smooth gearboxes, it did not make much of a difference. The slightly rough one got smooth and quiet. The nasty one had a visible collection of metal dust under the gearbox and in the gearbox. It still was not as good as the other 3 but was much smoother and quieter than its starting state. They all were then fully disassembled, cleaned, and greased.

You need to do this break in with the gearbox dry. Yes it will break in even if it has been greased, but it will take much longer. Likely will not be as effectively broke in even after many hours of drive practice. It will also result in all the metal dust trapped in the grease.

That sounds about right for the geometry you’re using: a long shaft directly out of the gearbox. Even with the far side supported, you’re likely to get some deflection of the axle, resulting in what you’re hearing.

An upgrade to help reduce that noise (and wear) is to use a belt or chain to drive a different axle to take up the rope. Place the sprocket/sheave as close to the gearbox as you can without interfering with the bolts holding the gearbox together.

Toughboxes are generally about that loud, yeah. They aren’t that quiet. Maybe they are quieter if you break them in, but that is about the noise level I would expect to hear.

Breaking them in is nice but not absolutely required for it to work, so don’t panic if you didn’t do it and don’t have time to.

Gearbox “burn-in” is a necessity for high-stress gearboxes that need to run 100+ matches over a year’s time. I’ve never had a single non-planetary gearbox come exactly perfect. There are always tiny manufacturing defects in the gears that work themselves out during burn-in.

With that said, I’ve heard what a quiet gearbox sounds like and then witnessed how much more responsive the drive train it drove felt like. If you want to go down this road, here is what I would do.

  • Disconnect the climber from the gearbox (if attached via chain, take off the chain)
  • Free-spin the winch. It should keep going for a few turns. If it doesn’t, tune it until it does. There could be racking (the towers aren’t square) or non-concentric bearings (shim/loosen/tighten bolts, etc).
  • Run the gearbox with the winch disconnected.
  • As the gearbox runs, carefully and slowly squeeze the CIMs together (or torque the one CIM if it’s a single CIM). If the motor gets quieter, hose clamp the CIMs together. If single-CIM, use teeny-tiny pieces of shim stock to shim the motor (disassembly may be required).
  • If squeezing made the problem worse, push the CIMs away from each other as the gearbox runs (remember - gentle & slow - you’ll hear the difference very quickly). If the gearbox gets quiet, ziptie or hose-clamp a custom-chiseled wooden wedge in between the CIMs.
  • When re-assembling the chain (if you use a chain) make sure the chain isn’t TOO tight. If it is, then the output shaft axle may be deforming the plastic, which would cause the gear meshes to make noise like this.

We did a custom gearbox for our climber, and after swapping from 2 MiniCIMs to 2 775Pro’s we had this exact sound coming out of the gearbox. Turns out there was a slight warping of the CIM-ile gearbox we put the 775Pro’s into, causing their pinion gear meshes to overlap too much. We added a zip tie between the two 775 PRO’s and now the climber sounds like a smooth jet engine rather than what’s heard in your video.

No QA will get every instance of every price-competitive product correct. We’ve learned to adapt over the years.

Yeah, sorry. I meant district event. I can’t edit my posts for some reason

We had it laying around from earlier… I’m not sure if this was done when it was first built

Cool, this makes me feel better

Thanks for all of these suggestions! Squeezing idea is great

I hope you are mistaken in saying that it is a regional cause normally there is no 6hr unbag time for a regional.

That’s the AndyMark Sound ™. The Sound…of Victory.

I’ll expect my $100 AM gift certificate in the mail shortly.

OP is in North Carolina. They’re district and not registered for any regional competitions.