First year in VEX Robotics

I was wanting to hear some experiences from peoples first year in VEX Robotics.
I’ll go first.

TL;DR at the bottom.
This was during ITZ and it was the first year my school decided to enter in the VEX Robotics competition scene. Since then I have learned a lot and I have worked with my mentor to put together better teams based on qualifications.

During my first year my team decided to build a claw bot. After much tuning and driving practice I was able to get enough points to be halfway decent. (Sidenote: My team is in a newer region) We somehow convinced one of the best teams to choose us as part of their alliance. They helped us win that competition and qualify us for state. We were ecstatic. Our team worked hard on re designing our robot before state, but many people decided to not work on the robot as usual. The robot was not finished. I worked on the robot on the night before states until 12:00. I eventually get it done. The main mechanism being a claw setup on a rack and pinion tower. It was a masterpiece, or so I thought. We load up and arrive at states. We play around with the robot and make sure everything is good. We win a few in qualifications but lose most. We check our standings and realize that we placed last. Our mentor was crushed along with the rest of my team. We pack everything up and leave.

My team gets carried while using a claw bot and we go to states to be eliminated right after qualifiers.

Anyways I want to hear about some other stories during your first year in VEX.


Uh oh. Uhhhh. Dark times :frowning:.
Never done robotics before, neither did my teacher and I didn’t know what bearings were. This was particularly bad considering I was in NBN, and trying to do a double flywheel. On top of that my gear ratios were…let’s just say wrong. Then of course I had to use all traction wheels to top it all off. Needless to say I lost every match at my first competition.


My robot weighed 30 pounds in in the zone, also my roller intake was named Roxanne


At least you had the sense for a roller intake.


I also had an all steel six bar

All steel DR4B. I think I win. (Until someone tops it with an all steel scissor lift or many-stage steel cascade.)

And I just couldn’t figure out why everyone else was so much faster than me…

That was my first year and we only did one comp. seeded 23rd or something, I forget. Whole organization was new at that point and that comp was late season… so… yeah. Learning experience.

That’s what a rookie season is all about: learning. Figuring out what will and won’t work, discovering how comps typically go (including how to please scouts), that type of thing.

Then the second year is the time to put forth what you know and see how you do. From there, it starts to get into the competitiveness.


My robot was about 90% steel because I being a Build team member, didn’t know how to tell the difference and didn’t know when each should be used (turning point (first year)). Due to this, we were extremely slow and didn’t know why. Bout two days before states I realized the problem (thanks to a sister team for pointing it out). So I just started removing pieces of steel (I couldn’t remove anything connected to the claw or flywheel without completely redoing the entire bot), not realizing I was removing what was holding the two sides of the drive base together. Our drive was was only connected by a wobbly badly built fly wheel and claw and because of the weight reduction, we were fast, wobbly, I couldn’t drive well without sliding everywhere, and our auton didn’t work due to the increased speed.


My team tried to build an all steel scissor lift but that didn’t go anywhere

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Our robot was like that as well except we didn’t know that aluminum existed. Our robot was entirely steel. It’s like that when your mentor is new to robotics.


Built an all steel scissor lift and tried to run it 1:1

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My school began their robotics program with NBN and I tried building a flywheel. Somehow I was in charge of my team (prolly wasn’t a good idea), despite being the youngest. Flash forward a few weeks and my “flywheel” has an extremely low rpm and basically just spits out balls. We were limited to scoring low goal points :frowning:

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First played in ITZ and went into my first competition with a very strange( and heavy) DR4B that somehow worked and I went to 3 or 4 competitions with it and did alright. Decided to take our robot apart and start from scratch about 2 weeks before another and built a all aluminum 4 motor drive speed base with a mobile goal mover and a odd claw that enabled me to drop one cone off the match loads. Went from the and put a chain bar lift on it and got first place in quals. Made state out of skills and got nearly last place…


Seems like you had a rough time year one, I did as well.

I also started on In The Zone, my team was a couple of folks who had done it with the associated middle school. Since I was new and had no VEX experience (I did FLL as it was all that was offered at my school) I felt horribly out of place, had no idea what I was doing, and primarily worked as an “assistant” of sorts to the team.

As the year went on, I developed a basic knowledge of the programming language as well as general VEX terminology and rules. As I got to know my team better and worked with them, I truly developed a sense of friendship and cooperation that I had never experienced. That year, we qualified for state by a large margin, based on Skills scoring. As we reached the state competition, we knew we were going to have a tough time.

Our bot was an 8 bar with a claw on the front to grab cones, and a mobile goal loader attached via string that basically floated the entire game. Basically, we made it to eliminations (top 8) but were booted out by insanely fast Double Reverse 4 bars. Although we were eliminated, our season was not over. Several teams double or triple qualified, and as a result, our Skills score was high enough to take us to the World competition.

I would talk about Worlds but not too many changes were made and nothing really discovered, mainly a lesson in how competitive VEX can get at high levels, as well as a need for protection on the sides and back by the wheels. Additionally, wiring was easy to accidentally shake loose, but with current V5 systems, this is no longer necessary as much as a wheel guard.

In the end, my first season taught me to never give up and always do the best with what I had.


I started last year in tp. I remember that the only thing my team ever built was tribots. Yes, three wheeled tricycles that flew around the field like super lame pushbots. Also we decided using 3 motors was a good idea


I can believe being pushed into an assistant position. I will say that most of my teams failures were based solely on ignorance.

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In my team I came a year after a friend did so he had already made a team and I joined. We had all the rest of the people that didn’t have teams and our design was just a clawbot with a spatula. I did the best I could as a beginner programmer with autonomous and had a very decent autonomous. We did pretty well at competitions and usually got to eliminations. We got to states because of skills but then disaster struck. At states we discovered that almost every motor on our robot was stripping. You could practically hear the clicking on the other side of the field. This also affected our autonomous a great deal. Because I was a beginner programmer I had no idea what this thing called an encoder was so because of that you can see my autonomous slowly decay. In our last match it didn’t score any points. Now I am a pretty good programmer and know that I should use encoders.



61317A, is that you? if it’s not that’s a lot of coincidences

My first year was TP, there were only two people on the team (including me). We worked on our robot 4 hours a day, learned everything in a hard way, paid for most of the parts we ordered. We won 2 tournament champions and 1 robot skill champion, but we lost states and did not qualify for worlds due to various reasons.


Sorry mate, I’m not your friend. I live in a different state.

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What season was this?