What had your team done in the offseason to prepare for 2023?

We designed a elavator (no one on our team had done that) and we built a prototype roller claw.

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My rookie team 9062 has been busy.

  • We started with a minibot (WCD 2wd skid steer chassis – 18" frame). This was built by the first 5 or 6 students to sign up for our pre-rookie team. It’s not good, but it is FRC legal with electrical and weighs ~40 lbs with battery!
  • We moved on to a chairiot, similar to 1477’s above, but significantly bigger. We used raptor treads, in a 4’ by 3’ frame because we forgot to trim the cross beams and thought it was funny. Turns out it can hold upwards of 400lbs and still move, although we used a limiter for “kid mode” to avoid accel issues.
  • We made a custom throttle motor gearbox, and have been updating it with 4 gear ratios and a dual input option (all printable with files we posted on grabCAD).
  • I presented at the 2056 conference and 9062 attended as spectators.
  • Recently we have been playing around with code for a limelight and hope to get accurate vision targeting for reflective tape before moving on to apriltags in December.
  • Seeded 9th at the STEMley Cup Championship, playing in the double elimination tournament with 4907’s as pick 1 on alliance 4 (used #9992, with 5406’s comp bot)
  • We have been running CAD training sessions and including other local FRC teams, then uploading our newest ones to YouTube.
  • Despite being a pre-rookie, we are now mentoring 5036 and 6135. This arrangement started in October.
  • Started the Covalence Crew initiative, for teams in Ontario to pool resources and share training modules. So far this has led to a shared sponsor between teams resulting in a few newer drive station laptops here in Ontario.
  • Started a Loaner Parts Program for teams within driving distance. This has included our good friends 3739 and 6135, among others. Most recently 6135 borrowed our minibot for an outreach while they wait for RIOs to come back in stock.
  • Finished a 45 page business plan for awards documentation and internal goals and values.
  • Ran a mock kickoff this week and had the students design robots for Stronghold, with decent success.
  • Students have printed multiple custom parts that make the IGUS KOP stuff compatible with hex shafts
  • Helped to host international exchange students to our school (CIC) and did robotics lessons with them, including a Mindstorms build day and a MarioKart Balloon Battle with Roombas (latter is posted to our YT as well).

I’ve got one or two other things planned before winter break, but honestly this team has been running at full speed since August. So darn proud of the 40 or so students on the team and the 25 or so that show up once a week or more. Next stop is SWATposium in the morning!


I wanted to expand on this post a bit.

A lot of what we are doing on 3512 at the moment is standardization of components and processes to decrease design, manufacturing, and assembly time all in the effort to maximize software development and driver practice.

We are attacking this on multiple fronts:

Standardization of Design

  • Drivetrain to be SDS MK4 swerve as long as the game allows
  • Using WCP Tube Plugs instead of structural gussets
  • Using WCP Elevator Blocks instead of bearing gussets
  • All gear ratios to be belted reductions directly off NEO where possible
  • Elevator, arm, and climber powertrains to use MaxPlanetary gearboxes in all cases
  • Using standard 0.196 diameter x 0.500 spacing hole pattern (#10-32 clearance & 3/16 rivet) on all tubes on all faces where possible
  • All pulleys above 12T to be MarkForge 3D printed w/ WCP 3D print insert installed for bore reinforcement
  • All arm joints to be constructed with large OD alum. round tube, tube nuts, and bronze bushings

Standardization of Manufacturing

  • Use WCP Tube Jig to workhold tube on Omio
  • Face off tube to length on manual mill
  • Cut and drill swerve tread using drill jig

Fall 2022 Projects:

Prototype NEO Swerve Chassis

We built a prototype swerve chassis to test out our new CNC workflow and verify a new chassis design with vertical corner 1x1s. The design is meant to be modular so all drivetrain tubes are interchangeable. If the 2023 game allows, this chassis will become our 2023 proto bot chassis and software can begin auton development very early into the season.

Multibody Configurable Elevator

One of our senior students is working on a configurable elevator design based on Greyt Elevator V3 using the Multibody Design Workflow in anticipation of 2023 being a pick and place game. Multibody Design is where the entire structure of a subassembly is designed as part of one single SolidWorks part. This has numerous advantages:

  • Easier to design in 3D compared to 2D mastersketching
  • Better Assembly performance as there are no mates required to mate structural components relative to each other

This Design makes use of WCP Bearing Blocks and Tube Plugs which eliminate the need for us to machine 44 gussets per elevator compared to our 2019 elevator which was based off a previous version of the Greyt Elevator.

Swerve Tread Jig

Based off a design by @Boomie


We recently received our road crates from Omega Cases and are begining the process of designing the shelving:


Forgive my ignorance, but what are the pros/cons of tube plugs vs gussets?

Low profile… they fit into/in place of the tube instead of on top or bottom like gussets, so you have the maximum amount of space still to mount manipulators/mechanisms to the tubes.

Also just looks cleaner…


FRC is all about time optimization. Let’s use an elevator for a comparison:

Our 2019 elevator (nakedly stolen from Greyt Elevator V1 or V2) has 44 gussets for structure and for the bearing blocks. Our new elevator design needs none of those 44 gussets.

44 gussets we don’t have to design
44 gussets we don’t have to mate in the assembly
44 gussets we don’t have to CAM
44 gussets we don’t have to machine on the CNC
44 gussets we don’t have to post process
44 gussets we don’t have cleco then rivet in place

Oh and we build 2 robots so it’s really 88 gussets. At what point does a few hundred dollars in tube plugs (sort of offset by buying less aluminum plate stock) start to make sense?


Are you saying you manufactured the tube blocks also, or are you comparing the time to purchase one item vs the time to manufacture another item (that’s also readily available to purchase)?

We do not machine the tube plugs or elevator bearing blocks, we purchase them from WCP. So the initial cost is higher, but that’s a tradeoff I’m willing to make to save time.

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Lots of good points. Like anything in engineering its about the trade-offs. One thing to note with plugs is that you’re dealing with a lot more weight (I’m assuming here as I dont have the actual numbers) than with gussets.



Do you manufacture these in house or are they COTS?

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Endlessly scrolling Chief Delphi


I’d love to see this arm joint.

We haven’t had a chance to design it yet, but it would be similar to how we did the climber pivots on our 2022 robot:

For an arm joint, we’d change a few things:

  • Use 7/8 OD tube because 7/8 ID bronze bushings play nicely with COTS sprockets
  • Mount arm into a slotted hole with grub screw for tensioning similar to 2056’s 2019 carriage

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So for a part like that that’s super small, we actually just pattern them together into one longer piece (with extra material). Cut it on the CNC, then chop that up into pieces and clean up on the manual mill.

This is our Offseason Project

Well, we we got our elevator working!!

Was a fun project. Some little issues we’ve found along the way, but overall it seemingly runs nice. 17lbs including motors and motor controllers. Whats left of our 2019 elevator is 35lbs, so we consider this quite the improvement. The RevION stuff seems like it works really well for us, and mixing it with custom parts is neat.

Also, the elevator was entirely configured in the Rev Hardware client for the video. No roboRIO involved. It was awesome to be able to teach out students about (and tune) position PID without knowing about programming. This is a great prototyping feature in the SparkMAX we will be using more!

Link to CAD


For the swerve tread jig, what tread did you cut (blue nitrile or black neoprene) and is there a CAD link for the jig?

Black Tread, ours is based off @Boomie’s:


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