3D printing spacers?

I want. To be able to 3D print spacers for my team to use this season because we are running low and one of our team members has a 3D printer. I asked our advisor and he said that it would be illegal, however States that

Certain non-vex screws, nuts, and washers are allowed. Robots may use any commercial available …(screws)…, and any commercially available nut, washer, and/or spacer (up to 2”/ 50.8 mm long) to fit these screws.

So technically speaking, 3D printing filament is commercially available, and so are the CAD files for the VEX spacers. Would this be illegal? I would prefer a direct answer from vex staff or anyone who has dealt with this previously, but I’m not objection to an open discussion as well

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Maybe ask this in the official QnA if you haven’t already. But even if you could I don’t know if you would want to, I feel like 3D printed spacers wouldn’t be as good of quality.

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For nylon spacers, robosource.net and mcmaster.com can both supply commercial spacers quickly and inexpensively.

The only way REC will make an official ruling is through the Q&A, and they will rule no…unless you are a U-team, you can’t use 3d printed parts no matter how much you try to work the system. I could say that 0.064 thick 5052 aluminum sheet is commercially available (it is), and the CAD for c-channels is available (it is), so I could just laser cut and bend a whole bunch of aluminum c-channels for my team (I could), but that would not be legal either.

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Thank you, this helps

I could say that 0.064 thick 5052 aluminum sheet is commercially available (it is), and the CAD for c-channels is available (it is), so I could just laser cut and bend a whole bunch of aluminum c-channels for my team (I could), but that would not be legal either.

That doesnt count though, since the rule clearly states

Robots may use any commercial available …(screws)…, and any commercially available nut, washer, and/or spacer (up to 2”/ 50.8 mm long) to fit these screws.

So your example of aluminum would not fall under that jurisdiction, as aluminum is not included in the list of things allowed when commercially available.

Making something new out of a commercial product for anything other than its intended purpose makes it no longer that product, therefore not commercial. That’s where I draw the line anyway.

Good point, and by that same point, 3d printing filament also does not fall under the rule. So both are still illegal, as we both already know.

But would they be able to tell the difference? Jkjk

If one has integrity, then it doesn’t matter. Young people need to learn early on that your reputation of having integrity, once lost even for the slightest infraction, is very hard to recover. Integrity means doing what’s right, even when nobody is looking.

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Jk means just kidding, you know that right?

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I do have one more addition to this post however,

Blockquote d. Any parts which are identical to Legal VEX parts are permitted. For the purposes of this rule, products which are identical in all ways except for color are permissible. It is up to an inspector to determine whether a component is “identical” to an official VEX component

By the standings of this rule, and listed above, a 3D printed spacer of a length and diameter that is exactly the same as a commercially available part would have to be deemed legal. Unless I am misinterpreting the definition of identical, if it has the same specifications as a legal vex component, it is legal.

If we buy two commercially produced zip ties, and we connect them together. They still are commercial products.
What if you use a commercial product such as a 3D printer and you sell CAD’s making the 3D file commercial. So you would have two commercial products as if you combined 2 commercial products such as zip ties together :thinking:
But then
You realize
Refs: [G3]

Now I do. (and I’m glad you were). You’ll have to excuse me, some of us on the forum have been using technology since Fortran 77 was done on punch cards and we plugged our cassette deck into our computers to store more beyond the 64k of a RAM our computers had!

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I don’t think you would get much trouble if you did do this, however, I don’t think this is actually allowed. 3D printed spacers wouldn’t be considered commercially available. You can get nylon spacers inexpensively from a few different vendors such as robosource.

Edit: For clarification what I meant was that it’s defiantly not allowed but would probably get overlooked at a local competition. Using legal materials is advised.

Identical would also include that they were injection molded from nylon type 6/6. “Identical” goes beyond dimensional shape, but includes both material type (which could potentially be matched by a printer filament) and processing method (which can’t), which can have a dramatic effect on properties. If you examine the molecular structure of polymers, or the crystalline (grain) structure of metals, you’ll find dramatic differences in grain flow between cast, molded, forged, and cold worked parts.

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Connecting zip ties doesn’t change the function of the zip ties :confused:

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Although 3D printed spacers would be illegal, they would work, until you’ve actually gotten spacers for competition, just don’t forget to switch them out. They should serve very much a similar purpose, as spacers don’t require very much load bearing.

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it would not work unless you print it with a stereolithography printer because spacers are often loaded a lot

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