What would you buy if you could?

Now that certain robot part suppliers are on the market, many teams find it better to buy rather than build resource intensive items. There are many great solutions out for wheels and transmissions, but what else would teams like to see made available?

I really don’t want to turn this into a BUY vs. Build debate, so save strong opinions for some other thread. This is more of a brainstorming list of commonly needed items that are resource intensive (time, money, specialized machinery, specialized knowledge…) The reason I bring this up is from experience in Solarcar and other design projects I have all too often seen talented students tied up in endless hours of CNC or conventional machining for marginal gains in performance relative to a part they could have purchased off the shelf (i.e. hand made Titanium Lug-nuts for example). Also with a new control system next year, having ample programming and practice time will be essential.

To start things off, I would love a cheap off the shelf 3 speed transmission. Basically similar to the Dewalt’s but an easier interface with a slightly higher capacity. (Overdrive has me addicted to high speed robots, but most FIRST games require a pushing gear too).

i would like to be able to fix our andymark 2 speeds because we are always stuck in low gear which i believe is the reason we lost in the quarter finals in florida if we could have kept up with 103 and the others we probobly would have placed higher

other than that i would love a cvt(continuously variable transmission) for the robots!

Some type of arm pivot with a gear reduction box built in would be really spiffy…we spent a long time designing and building this in 2007. Of course I have no idea what it might even look like, or what material/shape members it would be designed to work with.

Also some type of more useful chain (or belt) idler/tensioner would be oh so helpful.

Powered Omni Wheels: http://www.jenniferlynnwikler.com/Holonomic%20Robotic%20Base.html

Hey Andy, how about AndyMark bring something like these to market? I bet you could do them for under $400 per wheel so they are FIRST legal. :smiley:

electronically controlled flow rate valves for pneumatic positioning i.e. not just in or out. LDAR, and binocular vision systems for really cool autonomous. as well as a closed loop motor control package that works right out of the box. we can all dream cant we?:rolleyes:

I would not be surprised to see AndyMark in the future release a crab gearbox.

Are you talking about some sort of shoulder joint for a large arm? Or are you talking about something more like an small pivot arm for the window regulator motors?

Love the feedback so far.

Only thing I would consistently purchase instead of build would be the drive train transmissions. Next year we may mill our own wheels, but usually those are purchased as well. Past that, I only ever see us purchasing sensors.

I think we will always design our own tensioners/pullies simply because the specific need must fit the application, orientation, and sizing constraints. I think we’ll also always design any sort of nitinol (memory wire) applications if FIRST ever rewrites the rules to make it useable. Nitinol isn’t that powerful of a mechanism but like pneumatics it has many places where it’s useful and desired.

A light, easy to mount, gearbox that cannot be back driven, and could easily interface with several of the KOP motors. This would really be especially helpful for jointed arms and manipulators.

CH Flightsticks.

Ditto–with a USB interface for the new system. Those sticks are better than the ones they give us now… Still working, too, after years and years.

I expect that a few different sizes would be needed…think shoulder, elbow, and wrist…

Amen. We would pay a whole lot of money to be able to by new Flightsticks.

I would love to have a Contex Z450 3D printer. just think, all you would need to build custom gearboxes, mounts, custom fasteners, and any other small part you could ever want; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyZtBYG0QOg

Get a reprap for (comparatively) really cheap, though it’s only for small parts.

The things I’d probably buy:

-A better interface for the window motors. Imagine an AM Shifter, but with only one shaft (which interfaces with the output of the motor) and the holes to screw the window motor to one plate (or both, if there are matching units in the KoP). Stick a half-inch shaft in the middle of those plates, and we’re in business. That’s something I can bolt on just about any part of our robot and not have to worry about those black hubs (or the things stuck in them) wiggling one way or the other.

-Encoder (or pot) hooked to a shaft. It’d weigh more than just incorporating one into a custom design, but I’ll suck it up more often than not in the absence of fabrication abilities.

-A mechanical brake. Not for any definite purpose, mind you; I just know I’m not the only person who has yearned for the ability to make something that spins stop spinning.

While the reprap machine is cheaper the Contex can print in color, and has an
integrated bead blasting chamber. Now if money was no object I would love a pair of Craftsman AXS 13 drawer toolboxes complete with custom paint to match
our team’s colors, billet aluminum casters, internal tool charging caddy, and cold cathode accent lighting. http://tinyurl.com/6klfyj

XPS 720 H2C - Windows Xp 64X

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For my birthday, please?

There’s lots of things I want that can already be bought on the internet… I just want them to be cheaper. I love the stuff that Banebots has been coming out with though.

Have you looked into disk brakes for bicycles? I believe 1540 (?) used one on their 2008 robot:


oh. my. GOSH! that is so simple! i love it. How is the tension applied to the brake, piston or another motor?