Big Balls at the Comps and More Discussion

Ok, now that we are a couple months into the US season of VEX, has anybody actually been at a comp yet where the balls were the full 15.5" or larger size? I have yet to find a video or seen a competition that has the balls fully inflated. I am estimating that most of the ones I see are about 13-14.5". How about you guys? Have you been blowing your own balls up to that size? Thoughts on such large elements?

I pumped every ball I have to the full size.

It is pretty annoying but I have yet to have any balls pop.

Did get 2 balls with little holes in them though :frowning:

I blew one yesterday and upon inspection we concluded that it had a small hole in them, and when I got it to about 15" the pressure was able to blow it out right down a seam opening it into two hemispheres. Do you pump them slowly to allow them to stretch?

I also feel that VEX should refund us for these faults in the balls, I mean coming with holes and blowing so often is a huge issue that should have been addressed in the designing of the game right?

Anyone who is experiencing problems with their inflatable balls should contact VEX support 903.453.0802 or

I checked a couple of our large balls today, they were all within spec - approx. 15.5". Point is, JVN, the issue may not be as big as it would seem by these threads.

So the large balls can be inflated to the minimum size of 15.5". But this is the bottom of the specified size range. Has anyone ever seen any large ball inflated past 17"? Does anybody feel we should really design robots around balls that are 15 +/-1"?

I believe my team has practiced with balls pumped up to around 16". If it was 17", I’d honestly be scared to play with it because of the pop that could potentially happen any time.

My intake is a bit rough with the balls, though. So far, none have been harmed by me at all. The only holes in the balls we have are from people playing with outside of the field or another bot had a sharp edge and pushed against it, etc.

i was at an informal comp 2day @NEC birmingham, UK. And all of the balls were about 12, but i bought my pump with me, so i pumped them all up, i am taking my pump with me 2 every match … also there were some balls that had small holes in, but a small square piece of gaffa tape fixes that :smiley:

Are you always using a bike pump to pump them up? How big do they get at that point then?

i pump them up until it fills a 16.5" gap inbetween to chairs … then i stop, i haven’t had problem with the balls bursting yet and they have been inflated and deflated multiple times, i have had problems when teams leave sharp edges on the robot and burst the balls by ramming them (at non-official game) …

Not sure if anyone experienced this before, but the weight inside the ball actually popped. Now sand(is it sand?) is well scattered within the ball. It would really suck if it popped on the robot and stuff in the ports. I wonder if these types of balls would be competition legal.

This has happened to us as well. Perhaps you should ask in the q&a.

I’ve had this happen also, within a month of getting it. The ball itself popped a few months later after heavy use.

At one of the camps we offerd we had this problem also. It most likly happend because the kids liked to " toss" them around, but still the bag weight popped.

Small holes have been evident on our large balls to ( 2 of them). We are not sure if it was us or if it came like that, but it seems I’m not the only one :frowning:

We have lots of balls here with the sand bags leaking. So far, I believe the balls with the sand bags are still okay for use for practice. I wouldn’t use it in an actual match, because there might be a slight difference in the way it would bounce.

I would advise some team captains to get their students to not play around with the large balls that much. The main reason I saw the sandbags exploded was from people messing around and trying to get the sandbag to roll around on its side quickly around the diameter of the big ball. It’s a neat party trick, however, this flattens the side of the sandbag and wears it down, from what I’ve seen.