Looking for pre-drilled aluminum tube stock

Hello from team 7650!

Our team is working on a small off-season project, and we need some help trying to find some 2x1 and 2x2 aluminum tube stock that I’ve seen several teams use in their chassis and other structural parts. In my search, I’ve come across VersaFrame, but it doesn’t have holes drilled on all sides. The reason I’m looking for tube stock specifically with the predrilled holes is that our team decided it would be easier and better suited to build our robot around these holes, both in the design and build phase during the season.

Are these tubes drilled in-house by teams or a sponsor, or can they be bought from a supplier with the holes already drilled?

Examples are posted below. None of these photos are mine




If I’m not mistaken, the Grid pattern is what you’re looking for. AFAIK, that’s the only place that does that at this time, and it looks like it matches most of what you’re showing.

Otherwise, you’ll want an in-house CNC.


In the examples you show, the answer is yes.

Rev is starting to address this market. As of today, they have a very lightweight (0.04" wall) 2x1 tube with a 0.5" grid pattern available in their MAXtube line. They do not yet have a more substantial 2x1 tube with 0.125" side walls available. They have not announced any plans to introduce 2x2, 2x1.5, or other larger sizes of pre-drilled tube.

The other thing shown in several of your screenshots are gussets, mounting brackets, or major structural parts that have hole patterns compatible with the rectangular tube. While Rev and a few other suppliers sell some general purpose brackets/gussets, anything custom would have to be made in-house, by a sponsor, or by an FRC-related service or general-purpose service.

Luckily, you’ve got quite a few options on gussets–pretty much everything is on either a 1/2" hole pitch or occasionally a 1", and none of the big suppliers make their holes bigger than #10 sized (a few, like VEX and Thrifty Bot, do #8 instead but that’s nothing a drill bit can’t fix). AndyMark puts 1/4" holes on a 2" grid on the AM14Ux chassis as well; enlarge a couple holes on a gusset and it’s easy to add structure going vertical.

The only exception is someone using AndyMark Peanut or Walnut extrusion, which uses a 5/8" spacing and 1/4-20 hardware But with press-in tube connecting nuts becoming widespread for face-mounting to extrusion, I think their relevance to modern FRC robots is diminishing.

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Is it realistic to use this material to make a competition chassis? Is it strong enough? The walls look rather thin

I’ll have to see if I can find the specific post(s), but if I recall correctly, @JamesCH95 did some FEA on the new MAX Tube offerings when they were first announced, and found that the 0.04" wall MAX Tube was fairly comparable to “normal” 0.06" tubing (of which some teams will opt to run on a WCD or similar application).

Edit: Found the post(s). See this one and a few shortly above it for the testing James did.

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