Increased Viability of X-drive with new (ish) Angle gussets

So, around October of 2020, these new 45 degree gussets came out:
Screenshot 2021-04-22 162114
Now, a common complaint of trying to build an x-drive the “Traditional” way, with two rings with the wheels in between, shown here:
is that the angles don’t line up, which means that you either have to drill holes for the gussets and some bracing if you connect the rings with standoffs, or just deal with it being off, which can increase friction in the wheels. More on that here. Now this can be solved by creating custom gussets out of polycarb (examples of which can be found here). However, this is a lot of work, and can be harder for teams who don’t use CAD or don’t have the experience or tools to do it.
However, it seems as though the larger holes with these gussets could help a lot with the holes lining up- especially if you use the older gussets that have less play in the holes for the inner section to make things lined up good there, and use standoffs to connect the inner rings to the outer ones to make sure things are lined up good. Then you could use the newer gussets on the outer rings.
So, I decided to download the CAD files for those gussets and try it out.
This is a x-drive I cadded a while back.
Screenshot 2021-04-23 100537
Now, this would probably not be great for a competition, as it uses the full rings all around the whole thing. But as you can see, the holes do not line up for both sections, especially around the supports:
Screenshot 2021-04-23 100910
However, because I used standoffs to connect the pods around the wheels, they line up perfectly:
Screenshot 2021-04-23 100952
Screenshot 2021-04-23 100505
Now, it’s time for the new gussets.
After taking some time in CAD, and making sure that I had everything lined up good, and looking at some references, I came up with this pod:
Screenshot 2021-04-23 105050
Things aren’t lined up perfectly, but it’s a lot better, and everything can be connected without drilling holes, and it all uses spacing that can easily be done with vex parts.
I think that the “newer” 45 degree gussets may make building x-drives easier


Lexan gussets are definitely the way to go, even with the new ones existing. The slots make new ones unviable, the channels can move around. They might’ve been closer to ok with me if lock washers were legal (to put btwn the gusset and the c-channel) but unfortunately those were specifically banned in a Q&A.


I agree with this, and have actually designed one in CAD.

This, I think is a more viable alternative for some teams, for the reasons above.

yeah I’d be hesitant to use those new gussets on anything important because of the large amount of slop a screw has inside those holes. even if you tighten it down as hard as you can, one good knock to your drive seems like it could misalign everything.

1 Like

I did see this, and should have addressed this in my earlier post. With the way that everything is connected in the example above (the rings are connected with standoffs or spacers), the gussets getting shifted around wouldn’t be a huge problem, and probably wouldn’t misalign everything with proper build quality.

one thing that would become misaligned is the wheel pods themselves. since these pods only have standoffs at the very end to hold them together, they rely on the gussets for support on the other side. if you allow the pod to slip inside the outer gusset, the two sides of the pod could become misaligned and no longer parallel, which would cause a ton of friction on your wheel and that’s not fun.

if you added standoffs or some other support for this pod on both sides, it would be a lot more resilient to gusset shifting.


okay, yeah, I do see that. This probably wouldn’t be a huge problem to fix (as long as nothing is bent, you could just loosen the screws and realign it, then retighten it), but I may make a redesign that addresses that. One that does that will take up a litte bit more space, but that probably isn’t a huge problem.

By the way, it may be possible to drill a hole through the gussets and put in a shoulder screw if you need to, which would probably take away a lot of the shifting.

i think they are better, but lexan gussets are still gonna be king.

1 Like

I think these gussets definitely will help teams to build X drives, and we might see some more running around in the future (depending on the game of course). I know this year one of the only reasons that I didn’t decide to stick with an X drive was because it was really difficult to properly space a rigid X drive with proper bracing without custom lexan gussets, which were hard to make as I don’t have the steadiest hands to cut lexan.

1 Like

The holes on the newer gussets don’t line up nearly as well, but it should work.

Screenshot 2021-04-23 122515

1 Like

I think you’d definitely have to do some drilling to make screws fit there.

I do think it’s possible to make a sturdy x drive from these gussets, but you’re really better off using custom gussets.

it also could be worth noting that if you support your wheel pod on both sides of the wheel like you have here, that inner gusset and inner bar actually doesn’t do much in terms of structural support. I think you’d be better off moving the old gusset to the outside, then doing away with the inner beam all together. you’d have a lot of twisting in that outer beam though so you’d need to do a lot of bracing between the sides of your drive to make it sturdy. And you’d probably want to do some more bracing on the wheel pods themselves, just standoffs probably wouldn’t do the trick.


Like this

Or this:


the second one. Having the bars on the outside is more important than the inside, if you brace properly you can do away with the inner bars altogether, which means no more misaligned brackets.

1 Like

You can also take advantage of the goofy hole in the center of the gusset and get everything to line up without modification. Doing it this way essentially does away with the center ring.



A couple of other ways to strengthen this design:
Screenshot 2021-04-23 105050
One way is to use standoffs and shaft collars like this:
Screenshot 2021-04-24 123340
However, I don’t see this being particularly robust, as it connects the shaft collars on the other end to the gussets, not the metal.
Screenshot 2021-04-24 123310
This way may get in the way of mechanisms more, but would be more robust.
The other way, that I see as being particularly strong, is that you can lengthen the outer c-channel hole by 1, like so:
Screenshot 2021-04-24 123956
This allows you to put standoffs between them like in this picture
Screenshot 2021-04-23 122515
, but it makes it more space efficient, and keeps the spacing the same:
Screenshot 2021-04-24 124014
The only problem may be that those standoffs are kind of close to the wheel.


I certainly wouldn’t consider myself an expert on X-Drives by any means, but after going through a few iterations this season, here’s what I’ve found to work well for me, as per @VexTeamZ’s request .

I actually tried using custom polycarbonate gussets at one point, but I had some difficulty getting the angles and holes exactly right. Plus, once attached, the X-Drive with polycarbonate gussets seemed much less stable and somewhat floppy. I’m sure I could have stabilized it, but again, the angles and holes weren’t quite right anyway.

I ended up using a combination of the old 45-degree gussets and the more recently released 45-degree gussets (for the outer supports). After a lot of trial and error, I found that these dimensions work (see photo from a page in my EDN below). Interestingly, the only way for all the holes to line up exactly was to use the old 45-degree gussets on the inner supports and the new 45-degree gussets on the outer supports (see close-up photo of part of my X-Drive below). Using all of the same type of gusset or switching which type is on the inner and outer bars causes the holes to be misaligned and the X-Drive to have excessive friction.

X-Drive dimensions from a page in my EDN

x-drive dimensions

Close-up of X-Drive with gussets

x-drive gussets

I didn’t really have any problems with the slop in the new 45-degree gussets. The rectangular holes allowed me to adjust each angle to be exactly right, even if the screw did not end up centered in the rectangular hole. Using nylocks and four screws per gusset added more weight than I would have preferred, but it stayed stable and tight.


if you dont have a CNC router, you can create your gussets in cad, print them out on paper, glue them to the lexan, and use a drill. I believe the pilons used this method to great success one season.