Actobotics

The Actobotics kit from ServoCity (https://www.servocity.com/actobotics) is a fixed-pitch, channel-based building system using imperial units. Its 1.5” c-channel and ball-bearing based motion system allows teams to iterate and build mechanisms entirely from kit parts.

Special Considerations

  • Actobotics’ channel hole pattern has many more mounting holes than a Tetrix channel, so it offers more flexibility in terms of mounting.

  • Actobotics uses imperial units across the board, allowing for clean spacing and fitting. However, most other kits use metric.

  • Actobotics can interface with other kits such as REV through a variety of Pattern Adapters.

  • ServoCity offers a 25% off discount for all FIRST teams making pricing competitive.

Notable Components

  • Mini-channel is offered in addition to the standard size channel for non-structural components.

  • Actobotics’ X-rail extrusion system offers immense adjustability and flexibility as it adds a extrusion component to a channel-based kit.

  • To complement the structural offerings, Actobotics uses a series of clamping hubs and a robust 1/4” steel D-shaft.

  • The Linear Motion Kit uses X-rail extrusion to build extending mechanisms.

  • The Servoblocks, which prolongs the life of a servo, are recommended for all teams, regardless of kit. However, Servoblocks seamlessly interface with the Actobotics ecosystem.

  • Actobotics furthermore offers motion options such as bevel gears and Linear Actuator kits (using lead screws) for specific use cases.

Verdict

Actobotics is a solid choice for new teams, offering a reliable base kit with many options to expand upon.

Kit Parts

https://www.servocity.com/ftc-competition-kit-20-21-season/

  • Aluminum c-channel and mini channel of various lengths

  • X-rail (a special type of extruded rail similar to 8020)

  • Assorted plates and brackets, flat and 90 degree

  • Flat plates

  • Clamping hubs, spacers

  • Gears and sprockets

  • 1/4” D-shaft

  • Standoffs

  • HS-488 HB servo (4x), assorted accessories

  • 5201 Series, 53:1 Ratio, 105 RPM Spur Gear Motor

  • 5201 Series, 26.9:1 Ratio, 210 RPM Spur Gear Motor

  • Bars and angles

  • Omni and traction wheels

  • Nuts, screws, fasteners

  • Battery

  • Tools (screwdrivers, etc.)

Advantages

  • Actobotics provides a great value fixed pitch build system that is generally easier to assemble than extrusion-based systems which require cutting extrusion to length.

  • Actobotics has the patented Servoblocks, which help drastically increase servo life by protecting it from shock loads. More information may be found in the glossary.

  • Actobotics is easily compatible with other build systems such as REV’s kit using adapters which can be found on the Servocity website.

  • Actobotics is more sturdy than TETRIX in terms of drivetrain flex and has more support options to prevent structural bending.

  • The clamping hubs offered are more reliable than set screws, as clamping engages the shaft in more places than a set screw (one face). As discussed in the TETRIX section, set screws in particular are vulnerable to loosening, especially without application of Loctite.

  • Actobotics’ motion system is very robust and relies on ball bearings, which have a lower coefficient of friction than bushings. Actobotics is compatible with the 5mm hex used by REV with their adaptable hubs.

  • Actobotics also allows for face mounting of motors as opposed to clamp mounting.

Disadvantages

  • Actobotics is not very cheap, so its cost may be prohibitive for some teams with a low budget. Note that with the 25% off FTC team discount, Actobotics can be cheaper than TETRIX. The only cheaper build system is REV.

  • The belts from ServoCity are not great. It is recommended that belts are purchased from vendors other than ServoCity. This may necessitate 3D printed belt pulleys and other parts, which is more difficult for newer teams. There also isn’t a large amount of space inside the channel for a belt or chain run, vastly limiting the size of the pulleys.

  • Channel takes up more space than extrusion, so mechanisms can be a bit larger with the Actobotics kit. To remediate this issue, ServoCity sells mini-channel which is a similar size as extrusion.

8644 Brainstormers' Relic Recovery robot

An example of a successful Actobotics based robot, 8644 Brainstormers: 2018 Winning Alliance Captain (Detroit), Relic Recovery

9971 LanBros' Rover Ruckus robot

Another successful Actobotics based robot, 9971 LanBros: 2019 Winning Alliance Captain (Detroit), Rover Ruckus

9794 Wizards.exe's Rover Ruckus robot

9794 Wizards.exe used both Actobotics and REV extrusion to build their Rover Ruckus robot