The Thrifty Bot - Product Releases & Updates

FRC Teams -

At the start of summer I explored acquiring a large quantity of 1/2" hex bearings and 1/2" hex split shaft collars with the intent of saving teams money. That exploration has lead to me launching a website for all teams to order from in order to satisfy the FRC vendor rules -

The Thrifty Bot -

In my experience, these are two of the most often used items by FRC teams and buying them in bulk seemed to make sense. Now you can stock up for the season or multiple seasons and spend that saved money on other things.

Teams can buy hex bearings in packs of ten for $30 ($3 per bearing) and split clamp collars in packs of 5 for $20 ($4 per collar.) All items are checked prior to shipping them to ensure you do not receive a defective part. I ran both of these parts in FRC applications in the off-season and did not run into any issues.

More detailed information is available on the website for each item, but here are a few images -

Items will be shipped by the following business day via USPS. I’ve found we can fit 80 hex bearings or hex collars into a priority mail small flat rate box which ships for $7.50.

Feel free to ask any questions you have in this thread or you can contact me directly at


Very excited to get my hands on some slightly more affordable parts. Thanks for setting this up, Ryan.


This is terrific! Ryan you da man.


No problem! If teams have other ideas for parts they use often, feel free to post them here and I can always look into it.

I should also mention that international shipping is available too through USPS and isn’t too bad for a flat rate box. Teams may want to pool together and do one big buy and then split them up once they receive them.


Going to be placing an order soon once we run though our current supply, thanks for setting this up, excited to get our hands on some!


Sounds good, appreciate it!

Thanks to those who have ordered and suggested new parts to look into as well.

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3.5" ID, 4" OD, 1/4" thick bearings. Ideally shielded or sealed.


Why the heck would anyone

Oh, ok.


Artisanal hex bearings, huh? Well are they grass-fed?


Organic, non-GMO, free-range. Only the best.


Eh…Unless it’s truly locally sourced, fair trade, gluten free, farm-to-table, I’m not sold yet.


Sorry, I only go for vegan alternative bearings


Will each order come with a notecard that describes where they were raised and brought up?


Nope, but we’re getting stickers soon. So that’s exciting.


Thanks for doing this. It’s nice to have more competition and lower prices on FRC commodity items.

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Serious technical question, did you end up going with grease-packed or dry?

(Swyft’s design is grease-packed, both AM & Vex are dry. Swyft’s bearing feels a tad heavier and has a hint more initial rolling resistance with an implied benefit of longer lifetime)

Also, for my own curiosity, how did you end up tolerancing your hex? You state “compatibility with existing solutions” which implies a ~0.5005" nominal matching Vex’s dimension? (This might be a Trade Secret and that’s ok - Vex doesn’t publish a customer tolerance)


The bearings are grease packed. These will roll smoothly (doesn’t bind or anything) but won’t spin continuously when spun by hand like an AndyMark bearing might.

When I say compatible I just mean we tried them on AM’s hex, VEX’s hex / thunderhex, churro, etc. and found no issues with alignment. You can plug this hex bearing into anywhere else you plug one into and it will work.

I’ll note that I slide every bearing on a hex shaft and compare them, spin them, etc. If anything feels off or looks off, that bearing doesn’t get sold. The last thing I want is for teams to get bad parts. If you do receive bad ones that are damaged, just contact me and I’ll make it right. Same goes with the clamp collars.


Sweet, looks like a solid process.

I think there was a thread on this sometime last year that dove into the hex tolerancing from different vendors - if you check your Quality Check Hex stock with a micrometer, you can probably simplify your QC process to just Vex hex for fit on the large end.


When you do your next Bulk buy of hex collars, would you look into making them balanced by putting one tapped hole and one counter board hole in each side of the shaft collar. similar to these:

Doesn’t need to be perfect, but people who use these on Shooters may appreciate it. It also reduces the design to 2 unique pieces instead of 3…


Oh that’s a great idea. Thanks for the tip, once I sell through these I’ll definitely look into that.