pic: Carbon fiber monocoque drivetrain Top view

Cool concept. Unless your team doesn’t have the in-house resources to make a drivertrain, this would likely take a lot of time and delay the rest of the robot. On top of that, unless you design in a standard mounting system, later in season it may be tricky to modify the robot to improve it. How would you repair it at a regional if it broke?

Every year since 2006 I have found some component of the robot that could benefit from a composite material and lead the team on it’s construction. Do we have to use composites - NO. We do it to expose the students to them. As far as doing a whole frame or chassis, this would require expertise and considerable experience. If a team does not have this, don’t attempt it. Start off with some smaller lay ups. There is always fiber glass pulltrustions to work with. Done right composites can can be wonderful. Done wrong you have some expensive trash.

Maybe. Maybe not. I think the jury is out unless/until we talk to someone who has crawled through all the trade-offs (including buyers’ psychologies) in the real world.

If we presume there are bumpers on the sides, then we can presume an impact will spread pretty evenly across the outer edge vertical face. If that were rounded, the force of the impact would be more concentrated.

I forget the VA/NC team who usually does carbon fiber. They’ve been next to us in the pits a few times, so I got to talk to them. IIRC, a lot of their super structure was rounded tubing. The edges of the drive train frame were filleted with a small (0.25"-0.5") radius but otherwise the faces were straight.

On the plus side, this stuff is so lightweight you can disassemble the vast majority of the superstructure into COTS parts and the carbon fiber frame while still being under the withholding limit. The downside to that is that you’re spending all day on Thursday re-assembling…

I would put “stress concentrators” as a (singular, but definitely not the only) reason that sharp angles aren’t used with carbon fiber bike frames. Sharp angles tend to try to take all the stress they can, in general… and in the case of carbon fiber, it’ll be very not pretty when (if) it breaks, particularly if somebody happens to hit the break. There are ways around this–like more material on the sharp corners–but it’s generally better to not have the corner quite so sharp in the first place.

Ah - found them - 1829, the Carbonauts:

Looks like for 2015 they went to Aluminum. I’ll see them this weekend at Rumble in the Roads, anyone have any specific questions for them?

The team you are looking for is 1829 “Carbonauts”.

That’s what I was imagining, not 100% round. Also not 100% sharp(ish) corners.