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?