Kitbot pros and cons

In my teams first three years, we used the “Kitbot” with modifications for gamepiece manipulation. Last year, we welded our own frame and it worked out really well for us because we were defensive minded. The frame was solid as a rock and we never had to worry about losing nuts and bolts.

This year, we’re considering going back to the Kit frame because speed is so vital and the Kit parts are so light.

What are your thoughts on the Kitbot? Any pro’s or con’s of using that opposed to welding your own frame?

Joe & Team 1405

-easy to put together

-“robot droppings” may weaken it

Is it weldable? The “robot droppings” problem would thus be eliminated

I think we’ll be going with the kitbot frame ourselves this year primarily to speed drive train development and completion. If we do, our plan to combat robot droppings and weight is to use 1/4" pop rivets instead of the screws and nuts, as several other teams have had good success with.

If you do decide to use the kit-bot, turn it upside down and use smaller wheels. There’s no need for 2"+ of ground clearance this year. This will lower your CG, making your robot faster and sturdier.

I think we’re planning on 6" wheels so we can increase our velocity. Acceleration may take a hit but velocity is so vital this year.

But thanks for the tip in turning it upside-down, I’ll bring it up with out team.

I’m still wondering, is it weldable??

Yes. It is easy to weld. I welded some of the Kit-bot stock together last year.

Yes, you can weld it.

awesome, sounds like a plan

thanks everyone

Use Loctite Threadlocker Red on all the bolts - It is almost as good as welding. (I believe it mentions this in the Kitbot instructions somewhere.)

Personally I love the kitbot frame. We tried to make our own frame last year but we ended up ditching it for the kitbot.


Relatively light
Predrilled for six wheel drive
lots of holes to mount stuff
Almost bullet-proof


Not heavy enough for a primarily defensive bot (IMO)

I was thinking it would be good to make it low too, but don’t the bumper zone rules make that difficult?

Bumper zone is 2.5 to 8.5" from the floor, and the frame is really skinny, so that might be an issue. You could make brackets to mount the bumpers though.

I wonder how the kitbot frame would work with Ackerman (car type) steering?

Same thing we’re wondering. We’ll probably have to cut away some space in the front so the wheels will have room to turn.

I’d be wary of cutting away too much from the kit frame; when we tried going open-front at BE, it was not really as effective as the whole frame together. I’m not saying it’s impossible, I’m just saying to be careful.

Another option, if you have access to facilities that can do sheetmetal work, could be to take the drawings of the kit end caps and get new, wider ones made. I believe that IFI has the drawings on their website.

good tip, thanks

Some thoughts on the KOP frame. The side rails need to be cut. When you cut make sure you cut from the same end. Put the pieces together and mark. If you do it wrong, the holes will not be aligned as our team found out last year. We assembled the frame with a couple bolts to hold it together. When we where certain that the frame size was fixed, we pop riveted it with 1/4" pop rivets from McMaster-Carr. It takes a large tool. We borrowed one from a local automotive shop. Normally for pop riveting frame pieces, I insist on the team using back up washers. However for the 1/4" rivets we did not use them. It is very difficult to get them in side the frame and hold them flat. If you pull the rivet with out them just right the joint will not pull tight properly. The rivets will save some weight and have not failed for us. The was a post back in Nov. discussing this. If your using the KOP wheels get 3/8 ID bearings and use 3/8" grade 8 bolts for axles.