WCP SS Gearbox Out for the Season (?)

Just called VEX Support and asked about the availability of the WCP SS Gearboxes, and was told that they will likely be out for the season.

Overall, I’m a little frustrated and surprised by this. The WCD versions went out of stock relatively early in the season, and I’m pretty shocked that they won’t be back for the rest of the season. I also wish this was better communicated on the website so that we could’ve designed for these earlier.

I understand the complexities of supply chain, but I expected better for such an integral (and popular) part.

Just as a heads up for teams that were maybe waiting for these GBs to come back in stock.

  • Sunny G.

Do you have a sponsor that could make the parts? We are at the point with ours that I think only half of it is original as having to remake shafts every year for the proper size of wheels. Little more time and resources but you could probably make it work

Not to kick someone while they’re down… but if you are designing around a component, especially one you have no means to fabricate yourself - you MUST order that item ASAP. It’s the beginning of the 4th week of build season which means supplies are dwindling or gone, and contingency plans are harder to pull together.

Often the first thing we do is identify critical COTS items we need, place all the orders, and then fire up SolidWorks to actually start designing a robot around them.

I echo the above comments, buying individual components and having plates fabricated is likely your best option - or redesign around an available COTS gearbox.


So, this is fair criticism and an aspect of FIRST that I’m well aware of, but…

…(a) these things went out of stock fast. I started noting that these were out of stock on 1/19 and they were out of stock a few days before then.

…(b) it was communicated that they would be back in stock around 1/29, so I opted to wait. It was a risky move, but I really didn’t expect that a part that went out stock that early would be out for the remainder of the season.

I will admit that I dropped the ball and didn’t get these ordered in the first few days of the season, but it doesn’t change the reality that a shortage of this magnitude is … not good.

  • Sunny G.

I was told that the SS boxes were getting updated before next season, so I don’t blame WCP for not wanting to make more of the current version and having them sit around after the new version is released.

The single speed base version is still in stick in canada. Maybe get it ordered from here and then get the WCD part milled locally.

If I were you I would maybe look into using the single clamping reduction greaboxes and use two of them on each side of your drive train. Using a bearing block to get your center drop.

Even more simple to building and cheaper as well

I would love to see Andymark/VEX/WCP item usage numbers year to year. I’m sure the swings are crazy. Like Pneumatic tires were heavily used in 2016 but not much since. The use of 4" vs 6" wheels. I’d bet numbers for shifting gearboxes were way up last year and single speed seeing heavier use this year. 3:1 gear ratios used a ton last year for shooters, but now 10:1’s heavily used for collectors.

Plus the more these companies get known around the program, more teams start buying these components too. Getting the numbers right while also not sitting on tons of inventory come off-season must be incredibly difficult.

And also being able to restock items during season. I’ve heard before that some items take like 2 or 3 months to get in. For the business that they are doing, I believe Vex and AM are doing it well. Vex (IFI) does this year round though between the other Vex lines and then Hexbug from what I’ve read.

Our team took a gamble that some COTS items would be used this year, and they would go out of stock quickly, so we purchased them before the season started.

The gamble paid off on gearboxes, but I ended up with a bunch of 4in wheels that won’t be used until a later season.

I did this myself. I bought 4 WCD SS Gearboxes during pre-season, and as it turned out we aren’t using them. Works out that a team nearby needed them. I’m going to ship them to 1648. At least one team’s problem is solved :smiley:

We ordered 4 WCP WCD-DS 2 CIM Gearboxes on January 12 (With credit card and early in the season), they were delayed till the 22nd and then the 29th. I called this morning for an update and the WCP guys were extremely helpful and apologized for the inconvenience. They helped me by selecting a suitable replacement and canceling my original order. They are also packing up that order today and shipping it out.

We knew a few days after we placed our order - when the gearboxes went on back order - that our chassis needed to be open and the rails removable in case our gearbox needed to be changed to something different.

We switched to the flipped DS - which will fit with minimal modification to the current chassis (A few holes and slots).

1712 has purchased our drivetrain gearboxes before the season started in each of the past 4 or 5 seasons. I highly reccommend this practice to every team who can afford it. While occassionally we will be snakebit by a game that changes the dynamic of our drivetrain design seriously (2015 being the most notable example), it usually helps far more than it hurts.

We, however, wait until after kickoff to order our drive wheels. We have enough random wheels lying around that we can get prototypes rolling, but don’t feel the need to have our drive wheels in stock before kickoff. Once we know the game challenge, we move rapidly to nail down our drivebase and select our wheels.

Seeing that you are from GA, it shouldn’t be too hard to make the plates yourself with a waterjet. The axles shouldn’t be too difficult as well. We may be able to make them if you need.