Robots that Changed FRC

2007 was my first year with Team 968. That robot definitely changed FRC. It was the very first all aluminum gearbox. Back then, you could not just buy aluminum gears. These were all custom cut from raw 7075 bar stock, and hard anodized with a teflon impregnation. Travis really did all the leg work and calcs to get these gears to be ridiculously light weight and still plenty strong. This gearbox also set the standard of hexagon shafts going forward. As for 07 being easy, it was a super lightweight object and you only had to handle one at a time. But the ramps to lift the partner robots really presented a challenge, and were barely finished in time before the events. Also, the complexity of the 968/254 2008 robot easily made up for however “easy” the 2007 season may have been.

Overall, I will say that 968 really set the standard for neat wiring in FRC, going back probably to 2003 or 2004.

Speaking of those years, Team 60 in the years of 2002-2004 was definitely iconic, and it’s really where the idea of a “West Coast Drive” came from.

Also in 2004, Team 980 really popularized the center-drop 6WD. It was very effective, and a lot of teams noticed, at least in the SoCal area. Prior to the 2004 Team 980 robot, not many robots were 6WD with a center drop.


I know the amount of chuggas is up for debate, but can I get a chugga chugga??

1625 in 2008

The choo choo was first used in 2008, but probably gained the most traction from use on the 2014 JVN Build Blitz bot.


60/254 did the fine tuning on it somewhere around 2003. Not sure which one developed it vs adopted it.

But I’m not going to list them for the WCD. I’m going to list them for the collaboration: the Twins in 2004, one in yellow and blue and one in blue and red (as I recall, red was the secondary color for the Poofs back then) shocked the FRC world. Two years later, the Triplets unleashed a storm… but the way was paved by 60 and 254 back in 2004. A LOT of rules had to be clarified for teams working with other teams that season… and there was much argument over how legal it was.


Thanks to your link, I’ve found something I thought would be lost forever: CD Spotlight.

@Gregor, it’s back.


This is one that I definitely wanted to mention, especially because it was so overshadowed by 1114 that year that I think it does not get its proper dues.

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1717 in 2012 showed what vision was capable of, 254 in 2014 showed what could be done with vision control and responsive auto programming (which was refined in 2018, so the 2018 bot wasn’t so revolutionary), 971 in 2016 showed how a task could be done elegantly in multiple ways and introduced advanced controls, 2910 in 2019 showed that swerve could finally gain a real competitive advantage over tank drive and be durable enough.


971 solutions have trickled down to later teams as the technology evolved.

One more: the 2015 can grabbers. Setting the mechanisms was dangerous, and to arms race was ended during the fall off season events by allocating 2 center cans to each alliance. I’ll bet the GDC will avoid those types of game elements.

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This thread needs more 233.

Among other things mentioned… was among the first to start using the entire auton time allotted and other teams’ game pieces.


Looking back to the 2020 season, 95’s decision to use a suction cup on the ground to stabilize their robot was an innovative idea that, if allowed, could have changed how teams approached defense. To me it seems an natural extension of the vacuum prevalence of 2019, and I can’t wait to see where suction is used effectively in the future


FRC 60 in 2002.

The start of a drivetrain architecture that is still commonplace 18 years later.


You’re right! My how the years blend together…

Another thought for the OP: 610 from 2013 deserves a shout-out. One of the earlier teams to use a 6 cim/mini cim tank drive, designed to optimize cycle time, and a great demonstration of cycle-to-win.


Thanks, Sean. I had never seen that robot — didn’t go to the Championship in 2002. I first saw WCD in posts here, and live at IRI a little later.

Kingman (60) started it, but it was the design collaborations with 254 in 2003 & 2004 that really helped it start to spread further (already mentioned earlier in the thread, and also a big part of why 254 won the Chairman’s Award in 2004).

FRC 60 (2004)

FRC 254 (2004)

From there, it spread from 254 to their other collaboration partners in future years (22 in 2005, 968 in 2006-08). You started seeing the design pop up on more and more west coast teams in the later 2000s, and then FIRST as a whole in the 2010s (with the VersaChassis bearings making it accessible to COTS-teams).


I’m surprised by anyone who doesn’t mention FRC25’s 2006 robot in a thread like this.

They showed the powerful connection between an accurate vision system and on-field performance. I think their success was more foundational than some of the more recent examples. They also showed how important it was to come out ahead in Auto-Mode.


Ironic, considering their strategy in multiple Einstein matches was to intentionally lose autonomous. :wink:


Adding another 2006 robot, or rather robots, to the discussion.

The Niagara FIRST Triplets

It wasn’t the first case of design collaboration in FIRST (254 & 60/22/968, 217 & 229) or even the first iteration of these three teams collaborating (they also shared designed in 2005, when 1503 and 1680 were rookies). But it pushed the concept of design collaboration to the forefront in ways that none of its predecessors had done, and really make it a point of discussion in the FIRST community. The fact that 1114 & 1503 teamed up to win three regionals together (in an era where winning three events in a single years was unheard of for any team with a number other than 47) really made it a point of focus. They also helped launch 1114’s stardom.


Both 610 and 1477 were very fast cyclers. They complemented each other in that 1477 had a floor pickup and could pick up shots that didn’t go in so they did not always have to return to the loading station. It was cool to watch them catch up to the full-court shooter and out score them.

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I love that design, but I’m so glad it was ruled illegal. It would be a huge pain to play this game if 2022 rolled around and we all needed to start putting vacuums on the robots to be competitive.

I just wish 95 had gotten to play an event with it.


Really hard to hear. Plus I only count 10 on the video. Will have to look at the slides.