Input Wheel Comparison - Banebot vs AM Compliant vs VEX Straight Flex

Over the years we have used two types of wheels of various
durometer ratings for input and moving materials around,
Banebot & AM compliant wheels, each to varying degrees of
success. Probably mostly due to us. We have never used the
VEX Straight Flex wheels before.

Banebot - Very sturdy, takes a beating, wear level is consistent with
the durometer rating. Hub makes them heavy. No native
hex hub requires an extra part an more weight.

VEX Straight Flex - Not as sturdy as the Banebot. Spokes tend to crack
and break over time. Wear seams a little high.
Lighter than Banebot and integrated hex shaft hub
is a plus.

AM Compliant - No experience.

What have you used for input and what are your experiences, we’d like to know?

The Banebots T40 wheels are not compliant but they have excellent grip, and they have an integrated hex hub. They are also very light. I recommend trying them if you can build compliance in through other means, such as springs. They do wear quickly but that’s part of having a very grippy wheel.

Fairlane wheels are great; very durable, very flexible, very grippy. They are also large (4"), heavy, and expensive, and don’t have an integrated hex hub. They take a lot more resources to integrate into an FRC robot. We used them with great success on our 2018 intake, and would gladly use them again if the situation called for it.

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Flex wheels are the GOAT - will almost exclusively use them for every robot where a compressible wheel makes sense. We’ve never had tearing issues, and even with the softest durometer we haven’t had much wear at all (our flex wheels from in-season which went through two regionals, drive practice, and champs are all still pristine). Couple the excellent material properties with the variety of durometers and sizes and there’s a flex wheel for every situation.

VEX Straight Flex - Not as sturdy as the Banebot. Spokes tend to crack
and break over time.

Do you mind elaborating on this some more? I have not heard of any cases of the spokes cracking and breaking over time. What kind of application were you using them in?

I think that might be a typo in OP’s post. It says they haven’t used the Straight Flex wheels, but have used AM’s compliant wheels, then later indicated they have no experience with the AM compliant wheels.

The breaking spokes note seems to be more inline with what I’ve seen from the AM compliant wheels with heavy use.
(excluding when we intentionally cut off the outer ring and were quickly imitated by other teams at our events in 2018)

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Agreed, chalking that up to typo.

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Our team like other teams used compliant wheels in our intake copying from robot in 3 days but I now that I think about it, I don’t understand when would you choose to use compliant wheels over normal wheels. The only application I can think of is this year with the dual wheel intake where you needed the wheel to squish. Why couldn’t normal wheels work in 2018

The quick explanation is that in any intake you need some amount of compliance. When the game piece is rigid, all the compliance needs to come from the mechanism. Otherwise, it can be shared or primarily accounted for in the game piece.

With modern parts, it’s often easier to just use compliant wheels over spring loading the intake, which you used to see a lot more of with rigid pieces.

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TYPO -
What I should have said
AM-Compliant - Not as sturdy as the Banebot. Spokes tend to crack
and break over time. Wear seams a little high.
Lighter than Banebot and integrated hex shaft hub
is a plus.

VEX Straight Flex - No experiance

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I think you meant to ask about 2019, where you nailed the issue IMO. 2018 did have a fairly rigid boxlike game piece and compliance in the mechanism was pretty much a necessity.

Another alternative is to use arms for the intake which effectively are springs - e.g. being made from vex polycarbonate tubing. This worked so well on 3946’s 2018 offseason bot that we pulled the cylinders to actuate the arms towards/away from each other and fixed the base of the arms in place.