New FRC Calendar
If you haven’t seen them yet, check out the new FRC Calendars, available in both ‘Month’ and ‘List’ views:
Kit of Parts Evolution
As FRC continues to grow, we continue to try to find ways to better serve our teams’ needs. Today, we have an exciting announcement regarding the Kit of Parts.
In 2005, the Kit of Parts Drive System was introduced. Since then, based on feedback from the FRC community, the KOP Drive System has evolved, but its overall goal has remained the same: give teams the opportunity to have a working drive system built quickly following Kickoff. However, not every FRC team wants or needs this component of the Kit of Parts. For the 2013 FRC Season, returning teams will have an option! Veteran teams can opt to receive a Product Donation Voucher (PDV) from AndyMark instead of the KOP Drive System at Kickoff. The PDV will be worth $450 and can be used on FRC-specific AndyMark parts, shown here. The option to opt out of the KOP Drive System for the PDV will be available ONLY from 10/1 to 10/18. During that time, the option to receive the PDV in place of the KOP Drive System will be found in the “What’s New” section on the right side bar of the TIMS main screen. NOTE: If teams do not choose to opt out of the KOP Drive System in favor of the PDV by 10/18, they will be automatically by assigned the ‘default’ option of receiving the KoP Drive System as part of their kit as they usually would.
If your team decides to receive the 2013 KOP Drive System, you will receive an AndyMark C-Base chassis system similar to the last few years. It will again be a six wheel drive robot, with similar wheels to 2012, and with enough material to drive all six wheels. The 2013 gearbox is a ToughBox Mini with 10.71:1 reduction. The estimated final drive speed is about 10 feet per second.
Thanks to our partnership with AndyMark and with a donation from Gates, we are switching from chains to belts to drive the wheels. The KOP Drive System has been designed to be set up as either a six wheel drive “long” robot, or a four wheel drive “wide” robot.
We believe this is a positive change for a number of reasons. The belt system is between 1.5 and 2 pounds lighter than a chain drive system. Belts have also been shown through FRC-specific testing to be a more efficient system than chain drives. The assembly time for the KOP Drive System should also be reduced, since you no longer have to break chain or assemble master links. Chain may provide greater flexibility in design, but we believe, for the stated overall goal for the KOP Drive System, a belt system comes out on top.
In the fall of 2008, FRC team 234, Cyber Blue, did a Design of Experiments study of the differences between belt and chain drive. Kit of Parts Engineer Collin Fultz was a mentor on the team at that time and helped with the experiment. Their final report can be found here. We believe that, with the help of Gates and AndyMark, we have mitigated the largest obstacles a team would face when deciding to use belts.
We are excited about this new opportunity for teams to make the Kit of Parts as valuable as possible and thank AndyMark and Gates for their support in creating this possibility.
I’ll blog again soon.