Paper: JVN's Mechanical Design Calculator 2016

For some reason I’ve been getting a lot of emails about linear gearing mechanisms that can lift 150-300 lbs. Weird, right?

I made this to help:


For those people (like me) who sometimes have trouble finding a link to this thread and the latest version of my spreadsheet, I made an easy to remember URL with a direct link which I will always keep pointed at the latest version.

Hit up:

[my name].com/[an abbreviated version of the world calculator]

If you can’t spell my name this trick isn’t going to help very much, and I can’t help you… Or at least I’m not going to.

As always, YMMV - enjoy the sheet and good luck with your season!

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Quick question about the two efficiency values:

From what I’ve seen, the “speed loss constant” is only used in determining adjusted drivetrain speed, while the “drivetrain efficiency” is only used to determine current draw per motor in a pushing match - are these two qualities related, and if so, why are they separate?

My initial guess was that the drivetrain efficiency is 90% and that the 81% comes from that efficiency being 90% efficient in it of itself (.9*.9 = .81), but I’m unsure if that’s purely coincidental or not. If that is the case, why is there efficiency loss at the wheel that isn’t translated into the motor?

The answer is that “speed loss constant” is a practical hack with basically no direct theoretical justification.

Read the whitepaper linked in my signature for more information.

First, I would like to say thank you for making this incredibly useful resource available, it definitely saved our elevator this year.
I have one question about how to use the intake mechanism tab. When you set the number of Intake Sides to 2 does it calculate as if there was one gearbox for each Intake Side or as one gearbox running each side? For example, if I set the number of Motors per Gearbox to 2 and the number of Intake Sides to 2 as well would that mean the the intake mechanism has a total of 2 or 4 motors?
Thanks again for this awesome resource!

So I’ve been trying to use the linear mechanism tab and for some reason the current draw per Motor isn’t calculated using the gearbox efficiency, am I using an old version or is their a reason for that?

It depends on how your intake is built. # Intake Sides is used to calculate the speed - a one-sided intake implies that the opposite side of the intake is stationary (and that the game piece is approximately round at least in the plane of the intake wheels). Note that the way Drag Load is used, this is “drag load per gearbox”. So, if you have the most common intake this year of independently powered dual intake (4 motors in your case above), you would only put half the total drag load here. If you have both intake sides powered off a single gearbox (2 motors in your case above), you would put the full drag load here.

It doesn’t make much sense to me, either. The gearbox efficiency only affects (in dependency order): Stall Load (G17), Loaded Linear Speed (F13) and Loaded Arm Time (G13). The rotary and intake mechanisms do the same thing. Caveat: Arm Time is based on “terminal velocity” only and does not account for the time required to accelerate the load from a stationary position to that terminal velocity.

Looking at a couple of drive tabs (Custom 1 and Custom 2), the drivetrain efficiency IS used to calculate pushing current (and nothing else) by dividing the traction limited torque calculated at the motor by the efficiency to get the motor torque required and the current from there. This usage I get.

If you want the gearbox efficiency to be used the same way in the linear mechanism tab, change the formula in F17 by inserting the four bolded characters as follows:

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Are there plans for the calculator to support the NEO Motor in the near future?


Still hoping for this!!

You can make your own NEO motor in the calculator. :wink:

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Just go to the Data tab and enter in the stats for any motor you want, and they will populate in the drop down cells for each tab you use.

Does anyone have a google sheets version of the calculator available? My school issued laptop doesn’t currently have Office on it :frowning:

i got you.

edit: shared it with you on your gmail…

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Alternatively, the calculator made by Aren Hill and Dillon Carey is native to google sheets and its pretty useful too. FRC Mechanical Design Calculator (By Dillon Carey and Aren Hill)


You can just download it and then upload it to your Google Drive. No need to have Office locally.

Hadn’t tried it yet but wanted to ensure it doesn’t lose any functionality.

If you’re having trouble figuring out the download links (stats show most people don’t use the date-codes to figure out what the LATEST version actually is)…

I’m planning to keep the links at updated.
I just fixed them to reflect the changes to Chief Delphi.

I have plenty of updates to the sheet halfway done, but my 2018 “got away from me” due to some job changes. My ambitions keep seeming to over-reach my capability. (maybe this is a good opportunity for me to remind myself to “build within my limits.”)



JVN’s calculator works fine after import in my experience. Some of the image/text formatting goes weird is all, don’t let that scare you.

The iterative-calculators for sprint distance that Ari and Alpard have built in Excel (at separate times) do not work in Google Docs. Fortunately, Aren & Dillon’s calculator is native to Docs and does :slight_smile: Follow SPang’s link above.

Aren & Dillon’s calculator goes into significantly more depth, so I find JVN’s easier to teach with more inexperienced students - basically, JVN makes a larger number of invisible assumptions, on things that don’t matter to >95% of teams, so we can move faster to answer questions like “what gears do I need to use 6” wheels to move 14fps" instead of getting side tracked on exact DC wire sizes and run lengths.

Is there a spreadsheet calculator with 3 Neo as an option? Has anyone created one? Please share it if you have :slight_smile:

JVN Calc.xlsx (1.4 MB)
Please see attached.

As the first page says – Note, this calculator is provided as a design reference ONLY.