Are 3d printed pneumatic tank holders allowed?

I was just wondering to see if I am allowed to 3D print something to hold my pneumatics tank. I know you’re not allowed to 3D print functional things but wanted to see if this falls under that

Welcome to the forum @MomoBinn !

As the GDC would say, “no”:


It’s so disapointing that this answer has been repeated so many times to a point where it’s a joke.


Additive manufacturing future is already here. Its time for GDC to pull their head from the sand and start expanding allowed uses for functional 3D printed parts!


Little did you know, the sand is not vex legal, so they would not have their heads there…

Their heads are in a vex legal shopping cart full of nylocks.


The reason vex does not allow it is because it would be giving an even bigger advantage to the well funded teams.


Conner pointed out 3D printing saves him money; he prints things for 50 cents in filament instead of buying them from VEX for $5, and after a couple months, he’s recouped his investment. RECF answered that VRC is supposed to be a kit-based competition.


Short answer is no.

3d printed Air tank holders - #6 by Foster if they can be consider decoration and not functional

See this as the last post on a very long 3D Printing post. Well, that isn't what I expected (flying parts edition) - #126 by Foster Feel free to jump in and take a role.


Use some brain.

VEX are literally selling GPS sensors for literally 200 dollars each, and most other V5 sensors are around 40 dollars. You can already buy a good 3D printer with around 200-250 dollars. Giving well funded teams more advantage is already not an argument, if VEX already sell parts that are similar in price.

The true reason VEX don’t want to allow 3D printer is because they are greedy for money. With a 3D printer, teams can literally print any plastic part vex makes: gears, insets, pulleys, spacers, which would be significantly cheaper. They don’t want to miss out on the money by forcing teams to buy overpriced parts in order to compete. As @242EProgrammer said, you will most likely make money back in a short period of time with a 3D printer by not having to buy overpriced parts from VEX.


Gentle annual reminder that RECF (the people that setup and run the VEXIQ, VRC, VEXU, etc competitions) are completely separate from VEX (the people that make the robot parts that we use to build our robots). VEX supplies CAD drawings that you can 3D print your own parts from.

RECF is the group that your unhappiness about being forbidden from using 3D printed parts should be directed to for competitions.

You should read the last post about 3D printing in the very long thread about it. Your local mentors / coaches are NOT in support of 3D printing because of the huge demand it will make on them. That is the true pebble in the road. Starting a campaign with them is you best bet to get this changed. Dan and the rest of RECF listens to the Event partners and the mentors / coaches. Moving RECF means moving the group they listen to.

Feel free to edit your post to channel the anger the right way.


Every time this gets brought up, this same point gets made. The GDC, the people who come up with the rules (including the ones that make 3D printing illegal), are made up of employees of both the RECF and VEX.


I think the only crossover person was Grant, but happy for you and the DRowForGDC gang to prove me wrong.

But in the core 5, 2 are VEX employees, 2 are REC Foundation employees and 1 works as a part-time contractor to do the GDC work and other competition aspects throughout the season.


Cool, awesome search function skills, thanks. Continue VEX bashing.


This was originally my thoughts as well. But I feel the real reason is that of complexity. Vex wants a low entry barrier for new teams and 3d printing undermines that. Put simply: Gears and metal that come in a kit and just screw together is much more appealing to new robotics students than bots made completely out of custom 3d printed parts.

Just my 2 cents.


True, but vex does already allow custom parts: pretty much any non electronic part can be modified, and they already allow a not insignificant amount of custom plastic sheet. So it wouldn’t be much different from now: teams who aren’t ready for modification, who just want simple screw together kit bots, can do that. More advanced teams who are ready for custom parts can get into that stuff.

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My personal view is that it is about complexity - but maybe more towards regulations than the appeal factor.

Run-of-the-mill 3D-printers are not expensive and affordable for most teams.
But there are also high-end, commercial grade 3D-printers that allow users to print in better quality and also a wider range of filaments.

So maybe the issue is about how to try to keep the playing field as level as possible?
But it is not easy to regulate the types of filaments allowed, etc.


I certainly see your point. But to me, the difference between a high-end VRC HS bot with custom Lexan, etc and a VEXU bot made almost entirely of custom machined parts. (Granted, VEXU has more liberties than just 3D printing).

I also feel like 3D printing would give a much larger advantage to teams than Lexan. So it could potentially widen the skill gap between lower-end teams and advanced teams (not that it’s necessarily a bad thing).

(Edit: Spelling)


General consensus: I feel like teams should learn how to 3D print in high school as it has many benefits at college level. 3D printing may be used a lot in university level, beyond merely VEXU.

Supporting claims:

  • 3D printing has earned its money’s worth. Yes there are moments of botched prints that cost quite a bit ($2-3), but that’s not much considering that VEX has additional expenses like shipments costs that are upwards of $15.
  • In VEXU, you are not obliged to use 3D printed parts. In fact it is oftentimes preferred to use regular VEX parts due to their better tolerances. 3D printing barely gives a competitive advantage. For the most part, they simply allow you to get parts faster and cheaper than ordering on the VEX website.

As explained by Tabor in Discord:

3D printing does not really offer an extreme competitive advantage. A lot of the times, it just makes your robot look more manufactured. This can have benefits as well, like to appeal to companies for sponsorships when robots look like they are made with time and effort as compared to slapped together from an erector-like robotics kit.


I’m of two minds on this (and both are not very well informed):

  1. It seems FTC (the rough equivalent to VRC) has already “solved” this. At least in my area, FTC has a more “pay-to-win” reputation than VRC, though I don’t know that the ability to 3D print in FTC contributes to that p2w reputation
  2. Holding up VEXU, with it’s maybe 100 teams worldwide, as being some sort of crucible for what may or may not give competitive advantages is too small a sample size, compared to VRC HS with 7000+ teams. Plus, I’d say there’s way less incentive for parents to p2w VEXU than VRC HS. To Tabor’s point, VEXU seems to have more runway for long-term and non-competition-based motivations, certainly compared to VRC HS IMO.

While I’d welcome 3D printing to VRC, either in an unlimited sense or something more than Scuff-Controls-and-License-Plates-but-still-regulated, it’s not a hill I’m going to fight over at this point.