The Future of FIRST: BaneBots?

I’ve been doing a little bit of planning. Assuming that FIRST worked with BaneBots to fix the issues with the transmissions this year, do you think that they will bring the BaneBot transmissions back into the kit for the 08 season?

I think they’ll probably stay with the BaneBots, but an improved version, for economics reasons. But, it seems to me that if BaneBots took some ideas from Copioli’s transmission and the AM 1 speed and just made a gearbox with punched side plates and 1.25 module spur gears, they could probably build a much much better transmission for not huge sum more.

I think they will use whatever transmission is the cheapest, unless the contract for the 07 KOP gearbox lasted more than 1 year.

I fear that this is the truth, but I hope that FIRST will heed the words of Dr. Joe with respect to the correlation between a robust drivetrain and an inspirational season. The benefit to the students from something moderately more expensive, like the single-speed AM, may very well far outweigh the cost.

Our team thought the banebots were great. We were careful about supporting them and we only drove one motor with each transmission, but it meant that we had a nearly finished, holonomic chassis by week 3, which is something that we’ve never done before.

I think they’ll test the contenders first (and this time, give 'em hell), then use the cheapest that survives.

I picked “Other”

Do you think that FIRST will put the BaneBot tranny in the KOP for the 08 season?


Will they make it better?

Aside from the plate issue, unlikely.

So basically my answer to the poll is:

Yes they will bring it back, but it was, and still is, a bad idea.

From our experience with the BaneBots motor and tranny I can say this much about it… Don’t use it for anything that requires a lot of power unless you’re a pyro. We tryed using it to power our manipulator (which we never did get to put on… <_<) and it nearly burned the place down! :yikes:

I don’t put much faith in their testing processes based on this year’s results…

How about the smart thing gets done and the AM single speed goes in the kit.

Although unfortunately I feel that the Banebots will be back.

I would like them to make these gearboxes available to teams that want them, but optional, so that it cuts cost for those who don’t use these gearboxes, and don’t want them piling up in their workspace or possible projectiles for freshmen… It would probably only knock off $100 at the most off the registration and kop. I wonder what the price cut is for buying these gearboxes in uberbulk…:rolleyes:

We used the gearboxes, and although they did get the job done…, it would have been easier to just fabricate our own gearboxes, less problems/fixings, but stuff happened.

Remaking Paul’s gearbox, and having it be built with 3/16" or 1/4" aluminum 6061 plates and having a variety of mounting holes so you can mount it to almost any chassis doesn’t seem like it should be too much to ask for.

A busted gearbox is a showstopper. I can’t think of many things worse than a broken gearbox in competition. I bit my nails all season and it turned out okay, but I had some steel plate and a waterjet to make a dozen spares (although we never needed them). As a rookie team pulling parts out of red and blue boxes for the first time, I would want something that I can trust to outlast the rest of the robot even if it’s not properly fixtured. I’m not sure if I’m at the level of comfort with the BaneBots transmissions just yet.

That being said, we ran four BaneBots transmissions of three different sizes this year, two with hardened carriers, and all survived. They fit in tight spots, are easy to mount, very light, inexpensive, and they look cool. I’m already picturing them on one of our offseason projects. :wink: With a bunch of gear ratios to choose from, they will still be a valuable resource for FIRST teams, I think, whether or not the 56mm winds up in the kit next year.

The only complaint about the 56mm transmissions is that they have not been battle tested.

Banebots as a company sells stuff primarily targetted to combat robotics, and their reputation is built on well built components that can survive severe abuse, more so than what we ever experience in FIRST. However, the 56mm never saw active battlebot duty as their other products, and I have to fault them for not having tested the transmissions for robotic combat.

My suggestion to Banebots is to hand over their transmission designs to real battlebot builders and see what they have to say. If it can survive that, then it can survive FIRST. If that happens then I will gladly welcome Banebots back to the Kit of Parts for 2008.

I would be happy to see the Banebots back next year.

I am sure if you search for my build season posts on the topic you will see that our team suffered probably as much frustration with these transmissions as anyone… but the more I took them apart and put them back together the more I came to appreciate the sturdy and simple design. You can bet that Banebots will have the tolerance and materials issues worked out for next year. In fact, they already have the materials issues worked out.

Given the way Banebots took responsibility for their product, and at no small expense gave teams replacement carrier plates whether they needed them or not, I think they deserve our respect as a quality vendor who can be counted on to put forward a quality product next year.

And did I mention how nicely their encoders mount onto the axle shaft and how well they work? That is a factor in favour of the BB’s that often goes unmentioned.


P.S. The suitability of the BB for direct drive is one of the true strengths of the product over some of the competitors. Direct drive directly increases overall drive system reliability by eliminating what is often the “Weak Link”, the chain coming off the sprockets. From that point of view a direct drive BB tranny has the potential to create the most reliable rookie (or veteran…) drivetrain EVER in the KOP.

If First continues with the cim motors and the intention of using 2 motors to a trans and a KOP 4 wheel drive set up, then I just hope that they will allow us to use the AM trans that we invested in this year. In my opinion for the Banes 56 with 2 cims to be a contender several other design issues need to be addressed. If these changes are made the cost of manufacturing will go up. I hope First gets a quote from AM for their trans.

This would be a good plan if FIRST has the manpower and resources to test them. I don’t know whether they are in such a position, but assuming they are, how should FIRST test them? Maybe this personwill take it on. :rolleyes:

I think you hit the nail on the head here. While BB’s did have their own problems, they probably improved overall drive system reliability for many teams.

I think FIRST will use whatever gets donated to them, whether they are good for the application at hand, or not. See Rockwell Terminal Blocks

Give the contract to

They are more than capable engineers who understand FIRST and who need the support of our community to do what we all wish we could do…turn our love of robotic competition and education into a career.

While quite alot of stuff in the kit is free, like the terminal blocks, the modern transmissions in the kit from 2005-present have not been donations.

Banebots (56 mm) will be back, better than ever for next year. We decided to use them on a drive system AFTER the problems surfaced regarding the carrier plates, and monitored them for excessive backlash during the season. We actually ran the original carrier plates through practice prior to shipping, two regionals, and into the Divisional Qtr Finals at Nationals, with no problems. We had spare, modified transmissions ready for replacement if needed, and just recently installed them for the several off-season events we attend (Beantown and WPI) so we could examine them disassembled. They are easily installed for Rookie teams, compact but a little heavy, but nonetheless, very beefy compared to what we were provided in the past. FIRST, as I have said in these forums, is about SOLVING problems, not just complaining about them. Banebots responded admirably in the limited time frames when the carrier plate problem surfaced. Many suggestions from teams concerning mods have not fallen on deaf ears at Banebots, and they plan on BETA testing some design changes on the transmissions before next season. In addition, I, along with many other experienced participants, offered design fixes in plenty of time for Nationals. Just look back at the posts in the General and Technical Forums on CD for information gladly shared with the FIRST community. In the meantime, many of us choose to use what is given us, and then be creative to make it better. If you want an erector set robot kit, then stick to VEX. Remember, it is rasre indeed, that a new design works first time out of the box. Just look around the pits and see how many robots are continually being modified as weak points become apparent during competition.

Even though we will probably not use them because the kids really want to design and use their own transmission next year, I think the Banebots transmissions with the modifications are a good idea. As Jason and several others pointed out, they can really make life easy for rookies teams. As I recall, this was the major reason for them to start offering a transmission in 2005, so that rookie (and any teams with a lack of engineering experience)teams could get up and running quickly.

My question is how many teams actually had problems with these. I know that many did have some problems but at our regional where most of the robots used these I never heard about one of these failing. The smaller ones failed but that was in cases where I looked and expected it to fail (arm). I suspect that there was a lot of ruckus over it and it made people nervous. Most of the failures that I heard of happened when the shaft wasn’t properly supported. I think that FIRST will use these in the future, and while I hope that they do make improvements and test them is much more strenuous situations, I would be content to see the current iteration in the kit next year.