Super Grippy 3D Printed TPU90A Tires for FIRST FRC

As many of you know, I’m currently an engineer at Formlabs and I’m mentor on TJ2, Team 88.

TJ2 has been working since about half way through the pandemic to develop the best 3D printed tire for FIRST FRC. Many of you saw the tire at New England Championships and at Worlds in TX.

Formlabs just put out an IG featuring the tire. You’d be doing me a solid if you could check out the video.

Dr. Joe J.


That looks awesome! Will you be selling them? Any thoughts on making one for the Rev Max Swerve?


Any data on how the durability compares with these wheels? We were able to get away with only having to change the Black Nitrile tread on our Mk4i’s about once per competition this year, should these be comparable?


I love these! First saw them at North Shore, and they looked great! Super impressed with how well they were working, and combined with the rest of your amazing bot, brought you to 2 banners this year!

Echoing above, would these ever be sold at all? Ever since North Shore I have wanted to get these for my team.


Is the CAD file public? As a team in Turkey we struggle to source the treads for the wheels. We really would like to give this design a chance with the available tpu materials.


These look great! +1 on if they’d be purchasable in the future and/or if they could be redesigned for the MaxSwerve module as well.

Could you give any insight on what testing was done for the “grippyness”? A 50% difference is both a bold and exciting claim.

You have V32 and V33 available for public download, how do these compare to the V40 in your video?



That’s a nice looking wheel! Will we see it at AMUG next year? Caught this in the Formlabs booth earlier this year :slight_smile:

Would love to see something like this in FIRST Choice!


Out test rig showed that V40 had a coefficient of friction on FIRST carpet of 1.6 while the standard black nitrile from SDS had a CoF of 0.9 on the same rig. This was a static rig with 35lbs on one wheel. We saw some differences between our static rig and the actual SDS Mk4i’s on a real robot. HOWEVER, we put them on virtually identical robots (this year’s competition robot, Scorpion, and our practice robot, Slither) and it wasn’t even close. V40 TPU90A easily pushed its twin around the field (and left less noticeable marks on the carpet FWIW)


How fast do these wheels wear down? Is it faster or slower than tread on normal billet wheels?
Edit: Sorry, saw here where it was already asked.

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Could this be caused by your testing direction of the neoprene treads? :thinking:
Sneak peak of your results sound too good to be true. Nice work! :clap: Looking forward for more testing data for sure.


do you know where I could find v33?

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I have played with designs like this for 3D printed RC cars and figured out an additional trick you can make use of for further tuning of stiffness and damping. The void space in the “spoke” region can be filled with a very low durometer pourable polyurethane or silicone. When the ratio of TPU spokes to soft fill is correct it seems to have a more damped behavior, but I haven’t done enough testing to see if that is really true or simply a lucky combo that worked well.

Actually, the whole tread even reminds me of a high density version of the old Tamiya pin spike tires

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The IG post had a hashtag for the Formlabs Fuse. Was this made on that machine?

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I guess my only question would be at what point does the tread become the same as Velcro


This is awesome! Was in Johnson with yall, and spent a lot of time talking to some of your students about the wheels amongst other things.

While working field reset on Johnson, there were two robots I really went hard on photographing for my team’s GroupMe: 971 and 88. This is a small part of why. Amazing stuff!


We’ve thought about selling them. Not sure if there is a market for them. Also, Team 88 has a Fuse1, which can’t print TPU90A (yet?) but even it if could, it isn’t super easy to convert between powders and we wouldn’t want to give up printing in Nylon12 (the parts as SO good).

As a Formlabs employee I have access “infinite prints” (best perk EVAR) but generally speaking that doesn’t include making parts to sell. Who can say? Perhaps I can convince them to make an exception for FIRST related parts.

As to Rev Max Swerve tire, there has been a ton requests from people stopping by our pits this year. I guess the stock tires are, let’s just say, less than ideal. I don’t see any reason not to make versions for other swerve modules. Our initial work was with a 3.5" tire we were planning to sell with our Diff Swerve Module (that we’ve pulled back from not enough bandwidth to do all the things we want to do in life.)

Dr. Joe J.


Oh, so this is SLS printed 90A TPU and not FDM?
Did you test FDM samples as well?

It was a lot of fun checking out what 88 was up to in Houston this year. The intermixing of yellow and tie-dye in our two pits was cool to see. Props to the awesome students and mentors for putting up with a lot of our questions and repeated visits - every time we were checking out the robot a new nifty thing caught our attention. The world needs more innovation (and more DoFs).

Joe - we would have loved to track you down and talk Fuse and the awesome parts and printer workflow. Hopefully next year!