Weirdest Drive Trains

Just curious what oddball drive trains have been out there.

5484 this year went with a 2 center wheels with 4 ball castors on the corners.Gave us very fast spinning and pretty decent torque to push with. It also made it extremely squirrelly to drive. We had to utilize a gyro updating every 1/20th of a second to keep it on course.

By the end of the season we had it so that it worked pretty well, but I am not sure I would recommend it to anyone. It was pretty unique though. Loved seeing the incomprehension on scouts faces when they asked “what type of drive train” and we told them 2 wheel. :slight_smile: (they all wrote down tank, <sigh>)


For Stronghold my old team had a 10 wheel drivetrain with 3 different sizes and 2 different types of wheels.
8" Pneumatic wheels: 4
6" HiGrip wheels: 2
4" HiGrip wheels: 4 (unpowered rollers)

What we learned from this:
A drop center is very important if you want to be able to play a full 2:30 match and have good friction.
Super glue makes for a decent low friction surface if you have no drop center.
This configuration is not super effective for anything we encountered.

1 word… Mecatankanum.


Neither of these would qualify as a separate drive train, but in 2016 the two wheels on each end of our tank drive used pneumatics to pop down, pushing the rest of the drive train up. This allowed us to get over defenses with quite a bit of ease, while still being able to zip around the field.

In 2015 our drive train utilized omniwheels, with a wheel in the center to move the bot left and right. This really helped us with our 3 tote auton. Would not recommend this drive train for a game with heavy defense though :rolleyes:

My descriptions probably don’t do our robots justice, but I thought each drive train was pretty cool.

1058 in 2014 was mecanum but had drop down velcro treaded wheels.

2011- My team (45) had a 6 wheel center drop drive train and the front two wheels were on a pivoting jaw so when lowered it was a 4 wheel long robot. When we wanted to be defensive it wouldn’t turn.

2013- 135 had what they called pallet jack drive. 2 fixed wheels in the front and a pivoting wheel in the back.

Someone had to do it, I guess

I was surprised no one had mentioned either of these bots yet:

148 2008:

1114 2015:

My personal favorite.

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Team 5464 this year. Using modified rhino tracks was a very outside-of-the-box idea this year, and they were an awesome hybrid offense and defense robot, and one of the main reasons our alliance at Minnesota North Star made it to finals and qualified for Champs.

The photo doesn’t show up for some reason, so here is the link to a photo of 5464’s robot.

Can 1533’s Swank drive from 2016 get some love? AM treads with 4 swerve modules dropped just below. Really cool and effective drivetrain.

Our Mecatankanum???

It wound up being very effective at traversing the field obstacles and yet still able to strafe for alignment. That was a fun robot and drivetrain…

4230 and 4009 in 2017
6 Omni-Wheels (Holonomic+2)

525 in 2016 (two fixed, one swerve wheel)

3026 in 2016 and 2017 (Meca-Trak and Posi-Canum)

Maybe not the strangest, but new and abnormal.

Edit: How could anyone forget team 71 in 2002. Used file cards to “walk” back with the goals.

The weirdest drive train I saw was run from one wheel to another black plastic with 4 ball bearings on the corners don’t know the team number but remember it was a second year team.

1640’s CVT swerve drive is pretty awesome and unique - I don’t think I’ve seen any other swerve that uses CVT.