Vex Versachassis

I looked all through the thread about vex’s new products, but I didn’t really see anyone’s opinions. I have talked with a few people on my team and I wanted to get some feedback from CD. Our team has used C Channel for 4 years now, I was wondering (from the teams who did a similar drive last year), do you think the versachassis will be easier to build? Will it be lighter (i looked at the specifications on their website but didn’t see anything)? How much will the whole thing cost, for the gearboxes, wheels, frame, etc.? What are some of your first impressions?

In my humble opinion, the VersaChassis is going to revolutionize FRC. It’s cheap, lightweight, reliable, and the best part, will save teams A BUNCH of time during the build season. I know RC and the crew behind this put a lot of thought into making it easy and quick to assemble, and because of this a single person can put it together in half a day, a small team of people could put one together in a few hours. I’ve spent a lot of my time researching powerful drivetrains the past 4 years, and I can honestly say this is up to par with every custom drive I’ve seen. So in summation, you get a powerful drivetrain that can compete at the level of the best drivetrains in California (because those are where the best drivetrains are from ;)), and you can save time during the build season by having it assembled extremely quickly. Looking at the capabilities of this chassis, I’d say any team, rookie or pro, who doesn’t use the VersaChassis is going to be at a disadvantage in 2014 compared to everyone else, solely because of the time saved that can be used to work on scoring mechanisms.

In the video last night VEX mentioned plans to release plans suggesting different configurations, I think a lot of your questions will be answered then.

I am also curious. I can tell it’s good stuff, but it’s a bit tedious now to figure out the price of one.

Does anyone know if the Versa Chassis has been used in a competition before or similar match play? I wouldn’t be using the term “reliable” unless it has undergone a typical season that an FRC team would go through. I am a huge fan of off the shelf solutions but I would be cautious about running such a custom style drivebase in 2014 without “breaking it” so to speak.

I know some of the VEXpro and WCP teams put the drives under serious testing and I believe there may have been some running at offseason competitions, and they all held up perfectly.


We had two robots at mttd off season that ran this configuration. The setup works really well. We will have documentation/step files/cad etc… Available as soon as we can.


You can’t possibly make such a huge blanket statement like this. I’m reasonably confident that at least one team in FRC can finish a drivetrain before the VersaChassis parts arrive in the mail, assuming they order on Kickoff. So that’s time and money saved. Not to mention that man-hours aren’t simply interchangeable like that.

It’s a fantastic drivetrain, don’t get me wrong, and it will be of tremendous help to many teams, but don’t be ridiculous.

Anyhow, to answer the OP: Kitbot on Steroids is about 42 pounds with motors and without electronics; this chassis can cut that number down a lot (I’ve heard 30 pounds thrown around). It is worth noting the cost of this drivetrain though - it’s going to be at least $120 in bearing block parts, $40 in frame, $20 in gussets, $40 in shafting, $120 in gearboxes (2 reduction single speed), $60 in bearings, and ~$60 in sprockets and chain. All assuming you still have CIMs and live axle wheels lying around.

So you’re looking at a $460 drivetrain, compared to a free frame and gearboxes in the kit of parts. If you already opted out of the kit, then factoring in $450 of free AndyMark stuff which could replace some Vex components makes the drive a bit cheaper. It will take a little work to assemble, but it seems like you just need a drill, a saw, and a credit card to pull it off.

It’s all about tradeoffs, really. Depends on your team and your situation, but it is certainly a really tempting drive that you should seriously consider. WCD has never been easier.

I can see where you’re coming from, but until they come out with an official price, you can really start saying that it’s going to be really expensive, because they did say that it’s “affordable” but affordable in robotics terms is a little vague.

The prices I used are all available on the Vex and AndyMark websites. I assumed a 6WD west coast drive with 4 bearing blocks for Vex and something like the 2013 Kitbot for AndyMark.

Unless I’m mistaken they have come out with the official prices. All the parts are available and ready to be ordered. They just haven’t released the documentation.

We still haven’t seen the kit of parts drive train for this season. All we know is that it’s adding a direct driven wheel and it’s made out of sheet metal. I don’t think we can start comparing things to it until it’s been in the hands of teams, same goes for the new VersaChassis.

All of this innovation is going to great for FRC but it’s a little to early to speculate which things will actually be game changing and give huge advantages to teams. We’ll have to wait and see if the a full VersaChassis is that much better compared too a Kitbot on Steroids or VEXpro chassis in a day (both of which can also be put together in a very short period of time). It’s not like the westcoast drive is the end all and be all of drive trains, there are plenty of great robots every year that don’t use westcoast drives trains.

For a WCD Versachassis, I get a cost of $310.

$40: 2x Versachassis Rail @ $20
$20: 1x Versachassis gusset 8 pack
$150: 6x Versablock kit @$25
$40: 8x 1/2" hex bearing @$5
$20: 4x Versablock Cam @$5
$40: 4x Versachassis hex shaft @$10

Here’s what I come up with for a 3 CIM ball shifter, 6 CIM, WCD drive base with 4" traction wheels/tires:

$40: 2x Versachassis Rail @ $20
$20: 1x Versachassis gusset 8 pack
$150: 6x Versablock kit @$25
$40: 8x 1/2" hex bearing @$5
$20: 4x Versablock Cam @$5
$40: 4x Versachassis hex shaft @$10
$480: 2x 3 CIM Ball Shifter @$240 w/ cylinder @$240
$42: 3x 12T CIM Gear @$7
$56: 8x #18T sprocket @$7
$84: 6x 4" Traction Wheel @$14
$30: 6x 4" Traction Tire@$5 per 0.5" 2 pack
$10: #25 chain
$150: 6x CIM Motor @$25

Total: $1162

I view that as an expensive drive base. I’m trying to figure out if our team can stomach the cost of that drive base (x2 with practice robot). That’s $2300 without even talking about the costs to build manipulators.

If I remember right, last year’s kit bot was worth between $500 and $600 if you bought all of the components.

Going with a West Coast Products single speed West Coast Drive gearbox instead of a 3 speed ballshifter would reduce the cost by $260 (gearbox is $110 vs $240). If we can use last year’s ball shifters (similar to what Adam Heard posted for their WCD setup last year) and then buy only one set of regular ball shifters this year, that would reduce the cost significantly while maintaining 2 speed capability.

The existence of this excellent, albeit somewhat expensive “kit” drive base is going to create some interesting discussions.

Literally half of the cost of that drive base is in the shifters though. When you compare a Vex single speed (double reduction gearbox is about $60) version of the West Coast drive to an AndyMark Kitbot (valued at ~$450) it’s a much more even comparison.

True. Here’s a list that’s more tailored to be a comparison to the kitbot. This uses West Coast Products WCD single speed gearboxes (Vex single speed gearboxes aren’t setup for WCD). It also uses Versawheels instead of traction wheels and omits CIM motors. That should put it on similar footing with a kit bot.

$40: 2x Versachassis Rail @ $20
$20: 1x Versachassis gusset 8 pack
$150: 6x Versablock kit @$25
$40: 8x 1/2" hex bearing @$5
$20: 4x Versablock Cam @$5
$40: 4x Versachassis hex shaft @$10
$220: 2x WCP SS WCD gearbox @$110
$28: 4x CIM gear @$7
$56: 8x #18T sprocket @$7
$36: 6x Versawheel DT @$6
$10: #25 chain

Total: $660

I agree with your premise that the shifters add a big portion of the cost. Wheels can jack up the cost, too, depending what you get.

I did the math for C Channel, and I got about $794 (our team uses C Channel) and this is for Mecanums (our team likes to use mecanums), corner links, the actual c channel, 4 toughbox minis, corner links, and wheels. I didn’t include CIMs or belts because we don’t know what belts we’re going to use and the number of CIMs could vary.

I beg to differ.

If anything, the new VEXPro line with respect to the chassis, helps even the playing field and skies the limit for teams with much less capabilities.
VEXPro has continued to listen to teams as Paul has stated and continue to meet the needs of the majority of those with less resources.

But does that truly put a veteran team with capabilities at a disadvantage?

I more see VersaChassis as a nice addition to a market filled with already excellent products. By no means to I think that teams that use VersaChassis are gaining any significant advantage over teams that use the kitbot, another COTS drive train assembly, or even build a custom drive train in a reasonable amount of time. The kitbot has only gotten better, and there will always be advantages to custom-designing a drive train that meets your exact needs. As Chris is Me said, it’s all about tradeoffs, and I can bet there will be teams that don’t use VersaChassis that beat teams that do.

As for price comparisons, with VexPro, basically any drive train is incredibly cheap. Using essentially the same drive train my team used last year, I’m calculating that it will be around $900 per drive train this year for my team. This is down from $1200 last year, which is incredible. It’s possible as we optimize that it will get even cheaper.

Bottom line is, this is an excellent looking product, and I have no doubt that teams will put it to good use during 2014, but it is not the be-all end-all of COTS drive trains or drive trains in general. Seriously, people, calm yourselves down!

Also, note that the VersaChassis bearing blocks are currently listed as being available January 15th.

Another thing that I noticed is that the shipping for the 3 CIM gearbox, it says it will ship on the 15th of January… that and another part.

I think VersaChassis looks like a compelling addition to the COTS drivetrain market. Definitely a unique solution to the placement and management of wheels on a tube.

We’ve been providing COTS and custom chassis solutions to teams since 2008 and we’ve yet to work with a team that didn’t truly appreciate the time and effort saved by not re-engineering a stick with wheels every season.

Interestingly, a lot of FRC teams have plenty of cash but are extra tight on time and know-how. COTS chassis systems fit this niche really well.

The price point for VersaChassis is amazing as well…though the source of these components likely isn’t domestic, for what it’s worth.

Hopefully our SimpleTube Chassis will be an equally compelling option for teams looking for a COTS solution in 2014.

I include veteran teams because of the time saved. You can assemble it in a few hours and never have to worry about your drivetrain again for the rest of the season. Even pro teams here in California spend a few days at minimum on their drivetrain for manufacturing, and that doesn’t include maintenance throughout the season. I’d say a veteran team could definitely use the time gained to their advantage.

Is there an estimated cost yet for the SimpleTube Chassis we could use as a comparison to the multiple VersaChassis price options Nemo posted earlier? I know the page lists it as a custom order only but will it be available as a kit similiar to the kitbot, Vex Drive-in-a-day chassis, or VersaChassis? It looks like a great addition to the COTS drivetrain family, can’t wait to learn more about it.