I was just wondering how hard is it actually to build a good swerve drive? And how much better does it actually make a robot?
Crab is only good if the game requires it and you have the ability to practice a lot. Otherwise it could be the biggest obstacle you encounter in a particular season.
I’d say it depends on the resources available and the game strategy of the team.
Does your team have access to a fabrication shop with a quick (1-2 day) turnaround time?
Can your team shop make mechanical adjustments on the fly?
Does your team have two (or more) committed and knowledgeable programmers?
Does your driving strategy for this specific game require you to make evasive maneuvers at full power?
Will the weight of a swerve drive added to the type of manipulator/harvester you wish to use put you over the game’s weight limit?
Would your team be willing to sacrifice some drive practice time during build season?
Has your team built a swerve system in the offseason?
If the answer to all of these is “yes” then I’d say give it a shot.
I don’t think anybody would say starting a swerve from scratch in the build season is impossible, but it is very ill-advised. I would make the unqualified statement that teams should be very hesitant to create any drive train in the build season that they have not successfully made before.
Edit: Al (the poster before me) is a pillar on WildStang - the creators of arguably the best swerve system in FRC. If he says be careful, I’d heed his words.
If you don’t have the resources to build one in the fall and get it working then absolutely rule out swerve next season. However, if you are willing to find the sponsors or whatever it takes to build and program one this fall then you can make an educated guess on whether it will be beneficial in the upcoming season. Worst case is you spend the fall designing and building and programming, teaching everyone along the way and the team becomes much wiser and you don’t use the design in the spring. Clearly this isn’t a bad thing at all. So go ahead and prototype one and decide for yourself if it’s worth it.
As for the weight comment…in many cases it is true but there are definitely ways to make it at least as light as most teams standard 6wd drivetrain. Just have to get a bit creative with the design.