Cube lock ideas

Hi everyone I am planning on building a cube lock for our teams new robot. We are a first year team. Any ideas appreciated.

  1. There are many feasible designs
  2. 2 Classes of locks
    a) Gate
    b) Ratchet
  3. Rachets are easier
  4. Gates are more functional

If you want help with a gate, I’d PM @Xenon27 for help. If you want a ratchet, look up different VEX ratchets from previous years, and apply it to this.


Here’s my take on this. Cube locks are overrated. The only use for a cube lock is in skills, in which it helps save time in order to get an extremely high score, and sometimes, rarely, in matches when you have to score towers and hoard cubes at the same time. So it really depends on how competitive you are. If you can get a very high skills score and your robot sets down stacks quickly and scores towers effectively, then go for the cube lock. If you are less competitive and can’t put down stacks very fast, let alone score towers with ease, then it’s not worth your time to build a cube lock. But anyways, if you still want to do it, then there are several sources that show how a cube lock works. There are ways to do it super simply, and I’ve noticed some teams tend to over complicate the design.


cube locks are a usually easy addition to robots that want to focus on skills. if you don’t care for skills, then they don’t give you much benefit in matches.

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This comment might not be very helpful but I tried my luck at a cube lock and from what I found is that, at least for the lever style design on 7Ks decade reveal, it’s ease is highly dependent on your style of arms. Depending on how your arms are positioned to your rack adding a lever lock may be very complicated or very easy. For us, it was nearly impossible because of where our bot’s arms are located. So if your arms don’t go very close or parallel to your rack I wouldn’t really bother this late in the season. Additionally if your robot isn’t maxed out in other aspects like what @Sam_9364E then I wouldn’t try it until then. However if you do still want to build one be conscious of your arms and check out 7ks reveal and give @Xenon27 a pm. Good luck!

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Not necessarily, you can easily add an extension of sorts that engages the lever when the arms are in the resting position, the arms themselves don’t necessarily need to engage the cube lock.

As for the feasibility of a cube lock, there are a few prerequisites that your robot needs. The first –– the lift arms cannot be braced on the underside of the tray. If the tray needs to tilt forward for your arms to come up, scrap the idea. Second, if your tray angle is too steep, there is little to no chance of cubes staying in the tray with the cube lock while driving around trying to score towers. Lastly, you need space underneath your tray to mount a cube lock. If you don’t have any space because your tilter is in the way or any obstruction in general, you need to rethink if adding a cube lock is worth it.

For me, a cube lock was well worth it. I have pass-throughs on my tray so the cut-outs allowed me to easily add a cube lock. It works really well, and from my experience, it will be necessary. It’s easy for someone to say cube locks aren’t worth it if they don’t have one. There is a huge difference and a lot more opportunites open up in matches when you do have one. Look at some of 7k’s matches, and you’ll see how having a cube lock is extremely helpful in qualification matches when you can’t necessarily rely on a partner.


I both agree and disagree with this. I do agree that cube locks can be used to get extremely high skills scores, as our team was able to increase about 50 points with the latch. (Same goes with our programming skills) However, I disagree that they are rarely used in matches. In our scenario, typically we go with another tray bot capable of scoring 9+ cubes. At our home tournament a few weeks ago, we used our cube latch every match and it always secured us the victory, even in qualification matches when our partner wasn’t the greatest. I’d say the cube latch is definitely the main reason for our success this season.

As for the type of cube latch, I would recommend one similar to 7K’s design. We were able to reverse engineer their design from their reveal video and it has worked wonders for us. It’s basically a series of levers that ultimately leads to the lever triggered by the intake arms. If you can figure out the lever orientation and proper tension, it’s well worth it.


I also both agree and disagree. I agree that in matches where everyone is very good at the game, cube locks are very useful. However, as for the design of the lock, I would not go with 7K’s cube lock design as it is very complex. In concept, yes, go for 7K’s. But as far as actual integration on the robot goes, (no offense to 7K at all if you’re reading this since obviously your cube lock works well enough to get 304ish :joy:) don’t try to copy the design. There are so much better ways to do this, and I assume that 7k built theirs so early that there were not many simpler designs being talked about at the time. But in short it should not be over complicated. There are very simple ways to do it

Oh and for this…

You can use simple code to fix it in this situation and other situations similar.

@enothecool made some really good designs of different cubelocks as well.

Yeah, UMN’s Design is pretty cool. It’s so effective yet so basic. (Basically just two 1x1 angles on a pivot)


I am good friends with the person who designed the cube lock at UMN since he used to go to my high school. I would personally recommend this style as it takes only a hour or so to build once you understand it, and it works very well. It is also easily modified to work well with many different robot designs.

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I would kind of disagree with this, mainly because I watched two teams with cube locks decimate every other team in eliminations. The cube locks help finish off teams with slower block stacking and block sucking speed by clearing the field. I think that cube locks will be a must for any team going to state and most definitely worlds. However, for non-competitive matches, cube locks are unnecessary.

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Try making a horizontal 4 bar, so we have one side of the 4 bar sticking out of the tray and the other side underneath the arm. As the arm lowers it presses down on it’s side of the 4 bar, which also lowers the side on the tray.

But as you have probably guessed from the replies, it’s best if you focus on practicing and improving your driving because a cube lock only advances you in skills.

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