A community discussion about 3D printing, 2 years after the previous community discussion

I personally don’t see how this is an advantage given that I’m aware of a couple of other teams that have managed to get the same 90-degree motion without the usage of bevel gears. That argument is invalid.

This entire segment doesn’t have much in relation to the usage of polycarbonate or manipulating it. CNC machining isn’t as dangerous as it seems, nor is using a bandsaw or scroll saw dangerous (given your mentor and you have enough sense to not put your fingers too close). Even tin snips are a fairly hassle-free method of cutting lexan for use cases. You yourself mentioned that you utilized tin snips because they were easy to use. As for a complex cut as punching a hole into a sheet of lexan, it can be easily done with a basic scoring method with an Exacto Knife and some patience. In the end, all of these methods are possible without the use of any machinery.

Edit: another perfectly good alternative to punching a hole into lexan provided by @zachmiles11.

(PS, I’d love to see a Pilons-level passive intake in action with standoffs and a couple of rubber links that had the same consistency rate and accuracy. It may or may not be one of the perfectly amazing cases to use such a versatile material like polycarbonate. :slightly_smiling_face:)


This would still require cutting, no?

And I’m saying that students would learn more, and would be better engineers if they were forced to build the same robot, but without the aid of Lexan. It’s easy and adaptable for those who have the tools to work with it.

You won a computer simulation. Your worlds bot didn’t have a Brain or Wheels either. I don’t think the claim about winning without a CNC is really a valid one

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Better engineering does NOT avoid current technology. This idea is beyond flawed. The best engineers push the boundary’s, instead of hiding behind funding. Vex encourages the former, not the latter.


This would still require cutting, no?

Every use of Lexan requires some cutting. It doesn’t require a possibly more difficult cutout.

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I don’t.

Please provide an example of this. I’m currently not aware of one.

Is about other things that would make some good teams better, and leave the rest behind. The rich get richer.

This is what I tried first to cut the hole in my lexan, and it did not work. I managed to scratch it up a bunch, but my brand new sharpened Exacto couldn’t even puncture a millimeter into the lexan.

VEX isn’t a game of current technology. If it was, it would be called BattleBots. I should rephrase what I said. There are many ways, and ways that would lead to more creative innovation with VEX parts, to create a similar passive intake without Lexan

So lemme get this straight. You said this after I sent my long response,

And haven’t actually read the all of that.


All of your “gotcha” responses do not add to your current discussion of banning lexan/cnc. Cutting lexan is not the hardest of things in this world, you can even use scissors if you want. Using a cnc on lexan may produce a nicer product than using tin snips on it, but at the end of the day, the function of the product is exactly the same. I’m sorry, but after all this discussion, I see no valid argument.

maybe we should create a topic or pm so that the main point of this thread stays on topic

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I see a lot of arguments that 3D printing is going to be make the entry gap for vex much higher and a lot of teams can’t afford 3D printers but tbh a 3D printer could actually lower the cost of vex. A lot of colleges will let you use their 3D printers if you just ask and if you want a decent quality one for yourself you can fund raise or work with your teammates to get a 3D printer. 4 people working a $10 per hour job can afford a $400 3D printer in just 10 hours. Even by yourself it’s only going to take 40 hours which can be done in almost a week. Most teams can afford to 3D print if they put enough effort in and instead of using all vex parts you can 3D print some parts to lower cost.

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It seems as though the entire basis for your argument is that I don’t have access to these abilities, therefore nobody should.



Whatever @meng has said I agree with. The forum is disproportionately wealthy teams who want to do something a bit more crazy and unique. This is not necessarily the attitude of the average competitor.

If a HS team wants to do 3d printing etc, they should look into VEX AI, because obviously that team has tons of extra resources and spare time for CAD etc.


Yes, it is a very self-centered view. Although there are teams that are wealthy and others that are less fortunate, I think that there are still ways to navigate around monetary obstacles to still be very competitive.


Please provide an example of this. I’m currently not aware of one.

Maybe he didn’t want to leak the design as it is an innovative solution that could allow 90-degree motion.


I’ve designed a solution that let’s me have fully custom parts using only VEX metal and a hacksaw.

But oh sorry I can’t share it because no leeks. You’re gonna have to trust me.

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I’ve designed a solution that let’s me have fully custom parts using only VEX metal and a hacksaw.

I designed that too, I call it cutting.


From what I’ve read in this thread, I’m struggling to understand why people think CNCing and 3D Printing is game-breaking. If anything, it’s more time for the team at hand to design and modify their design. If VEX introduced 3D printing it would obviously have to be at a limited capacity like in previous VEXU games as to not overshadow the core products themselves. Given this reasonable premise, how is 3D printing or CNCing anything gamebreaking at all? Like @Zach_929U posted, from my memory no teams with CNC’d parts have won the world championship and teams with intricate designs that are more easily made using a CNC were matched and in some instances surpassed by people using standard VEX parts (A more recent example that comes to mind would be CNC’d trays in Tower Takeover to allow for a more seamless slider design being beaten by consistent and tuned flip out trays).

As for the cost aspect, I’m still struggling to understand this argument as well. A V5 kit ($599 USD) costs more than a Low/Mid range Printer (Ender 3 Pro - $239 USD). Arguing that teams with more money can get better printers isn’t really a valid argument because there are diminishing returns as printer costs increase. You may be able to see the tiny difference in quality on a $300 printer vs a $700-800 printer, but comparing a $700 printer to anything higher is basically useless as the quality stays excellent across (This is, of course, dependent on the brand as well). I would like to stress that 3D printing would not be a necessity, therefore it’s not necessary to have to make a grant to give it to every team. Pneumatics are part of the VEX arsenal but, from my knowledge, there are not widespread and public grants to give teams these even though they are insanely useful in many applications.

An argument can be made that expensive printers can print in more materials, giving certain teams an advantage in niche applications. I disagree, because there almost always is an equivalent solution with the current limitations. If a team wanted to say use an extremely flexible material to essentially make a spring then a vex equivalent would be to change up how you tension using rubber bands. It may be harder to get similar results but it’s not impossible and that’s the point of 3D printing. It allows for unique solutions to get improved results/simplification of mechanisms. An argument posed earlier in the thread was that a team could potentially just print in carbon fiber since their printer can afford it. If 3D printing was legal there would obviously be limitations to the material your pieces could be made out of, but for argument sake let’s assume it’s legal. After being in VEX for almost 6 years, I haven’t found an application where you would need the strength of carbon fiber. The closest thing I could probably think of would be a catapult hard stop but at that point you could box some steel and put rubber on top. This goes back to the original point that there’s nothing you could do with 3D printed parts that you couldn’t emulate with VEX parts.

So, 3D printers don’t “break” VEX in any way, are relatively cheap compared to other things in VEX, and don’t necessarily increase the distance between teams with a lot of resources versus teams with minimal resources. What’s the problem with adding them to VRC?


Than what are we all here for? Isnt the point of engineering to use applied mathematics and science to push the boandaries of technology, not to sit around quite literally reinventing the wheel with technology thats been around for millenia (metal with holes, screws, and gears)


Ay yes, AI, the technology of the past (I’m not making fun of u just making fun)


Alright, I think this thread is ridiculous
Honestly vex is about problem-solving, and if you need a specific tool to get the job done,(keep in mind this is about building and craftsmanship) you aren’t thinking about the task correctly.
Just because you can’t create custom Lexan parts because you don’t have the tools to do so does not mean the rules need to be changed (also keep in mind this is NOT directed at @Sylvie, I’ve heard this argument before). If you want to have custom Lexan parts, there is SOMETHING you can do to get to obtain a CNC machine. Will it be easy? Of course not, but if you want something done, taking action in real life instead of talking about it on a public forum will be much more beneficial.

Futhermore, @Sylvie
I don’t think you have much ground here considering you stated

Is this really what vex is about? Do you think that this statement reflects positively for the community?? The undertones here are incredibly frustrating and while being very steadfast in your ideas is a good thing, I think you should throw in the towel and look at the facts. If money is an issue, grants, fundraisers and go-fund-mes are an option. It seems as if you believing in your idea is preventing you from doing something that would prove your idea wrong.

There are plenty of crowdfunding websites out there, such as Go-Fund-Me and Crowdfunder. If you need help setting up either of these to help fund a CNC machine, please let me know. I would be happy to help, and the same goes for contacting your local technical colleges. There is at least ONE CNC machine in Arizona.

Thank you for your time.


I already said I’m done arguing

I’m not arguing, I’m trying to help you