So I just saw that Rev Robotics is making this new extrusion and axle system. I might consider this next year for my team. We were thinking of Vex Versaframe next year for our custom swerve chassis, but maybe this would be better. My team did not use any manufactured parts last year so this could be a good option. What does everyone else think?
See the thread Greg from REV created announcing the new ION product line
Not interested. For the same reason that we never got locked into the Vex Versaframe system: we don’t want to be held to one idea of how to do things and locked into a system that may or may not serve the needs of our team in a particular year. We’ve spent years getting the manufacturing capability to get away from the Kit frame and now have the freedom to adapt to whatever the game may require.
With a swerve drive I don’t see any advantage to using Versa Tube. It gains you #8 pilot holes, for attaching the swerve modules. I’d suggest 1x2 tubing from a local supplier over the Versa Tube. Personally I prefer the AndyMark gussets over the Vex since they are thicker, are set up with #10 holes and a nicer finish w/o sharp corners and edges.
Now the new ION tube is another story. It comes with the #10 holes and the internal features that give it a good weight to strength ratio. Since they are new I have not tried any of the new gussets but since they also have #10 holes they are already better than the Vex stuff in my book. I will be ordering some of the 3-4-5 gussets to give them a try since I really really love that they are offering those, something long overdue for the FIRST community.
If you are a zero or minimal manufacturing team, I feel like REV ION is the new high bar for that. Choosing to stick with many de facto standards (#10 holes, 1/2" pitch hole pattern) makes it easy to integrate products from many other COTS offerings.
For anyone else… it’s the same as ever, new products to integrate or not integrate based on your needs. Many of the staples in REV ION (gears, sprockets, shaft collars) seem to be a bit nicer than average while still being price competitive, and some things like the grid tube are products that are appealing for having previously needed to be in-house.
YUP! This is exactly the point of REV ION. We believe that there are 3 main adoption methods teams will have with the system of products.
Teams with limited or no manufacturing will be able to build more competitive robots, with everything just fitting together and working. The ability to build without much cutting, drilling or modification means that you can take things apart and re-use and iterate robot designs within the season or across seasons. We know there will be robots made from all ION parts this next season that will be successful. We also know that this system is a good starting point for teams in FRC, have a season or two building robots out of the system and introduce more custom things over time.
As a prototyping platform. REV ION builds really fast. Even if your team has manufacturing capabilities, those first few weeks of build season trying to iterate on designs before you lock in on things are critical. Because ION just bolts together and works, you can build things like arms, elevators, shooters, intakes, etc. really quickly to test things like game object interaction, drivetrain dynamics, current draws, etc. You then take the learning from the prototyping and apply that to your custom design, using some of the parts from the system on your final robot or just using the geometry that worked the best. Similar as #1 because they are designed to be built with limited modification that means you can take those prototypes apart and use them again in the future.
More COTS parts - While we introduced new standards like MAXSpline and 2in bolt circle everywhere (instead of 1.875), we still use 1/2 hex and rounded hex shafts, 20DP gears, 1x1 & 1x2 nominal structures, #10 hardware, and many of the other things you are already building your robots with. This means that the majority of the system becomes another set of parts that you can pick and choose from to accomplish your robot design. If you ignore the system as a whole there are products like MAXPlanetary that really level up the game. I personally think our Omni wheels are now the best omni wheels available for FRC. 5inch wheel options exist where they didn’t before opening some additional drivetrain gear ratios and a bunch more.
There is something for every team inside of REV ION, and we know that teams will adopt the products to fit their program. Some teams will get far more from the system, while others will just get a 3rd vendor for products of the same type you already buy at competitive prices.