Flex Wheels Updates From VEX

Flex Wheels seem to be a popular topic so far this season…

VEX would like to address a few things regarding Flex Wheels, VersaHex Adapters, VersaHubs, and alternatives, so that teams can plan ahead.

When will Flex Wheels, VersaHex Adapters and VersaHubs be back in stock?

The short answer is soon. VEX expects that by late November all backorders will be shipped, and Flex Wheels, VersaHex Adapters, and VersaHubs will be fully back in stock.

I have Flex Wheels, but I need VersaHex Adapters or VersaHubs. What options do I have?

VEX has released a Knowledge Base article about Flex Wheels. This article has everything you need to know about Flex Wheels, such as selecting the right wheel, buying the right adapters, and alternatives you can use if adapters are out of stock.

Here’s some examples of alternative hubs and adapters featured in the article:

I’m competing before Flex Wheels will be back in stock. How do I build my robot?

While Flex Wheels can be an effective solution for intaking and launching discs in VRC Spin Up, it’s not the only solution. The key to intaking discs for VRC Spin Up is to have some compliance in your intake. This allows the intake to adjust as the disc is lifted off the floor in into your robot. This is why the front intake roller on Disco floats.

VEX Engineering has compiled some examples of intakes that do not use Flex Wheels. Some of these were developed by the VEX community. Some of these are examples created by VEX engineering. The one thing they all have in common is that they create a compliant intake.

*******Rubber Band Intake

This uses what is often referred to as a “New Zealand Intake”, which is a predecessor to the Flex Wheel intakes seen in VRC Spin Up today.

This uses (2x) 24T High Strength Sprocket (276-3879) with (12x) rubber bands wrapped around the teeth of the sprocket. The middle of the roller is hollow, which allows the rubber bands to flex, similar to what you would see with Flex Wheels.

This was tested on a standard Disco build, with the front roller and chain replaced.

|481.1397260273973x644.464396569474|786.6768999986746x590.2579822257966

*******Chain Intake
This is the standard intake used with Disco. It uses High Strength Chain and Intake Flaps.

Further Reading: An Introduction to Disco: the 2022-2023 VRC Hero Bot

*******Omni-Directional Wheel Intake

This uses (2x) 2.75" Omni-Directional Wheels to replace the front roller on Disco.

Note: The rubber rollers can collect dirt. To keep the performance of this kind of intake consistent, VEX Engineering recommends cleaning the rollers regularly with water or WD40.

*******Intake Roller (276-1499)

This uses (4x) modified Intake Rollers to intake a disc. You can use these unmodified, but VEX Engineering found that they actually work a little better if you trim off all but two of the flaps.

This was tested on a standard Disco build, with just the front roller replaced.

|514.2918531781559x686.9366092845449|817x612.5916164257657

*******Pneumatic Tubing Intake
This uses a piece of pneumatic tubing through the screw hole in a High Strength Shaft Collar.

Unfortunately the standard height of Disco’s intake doesn’t work well with this style of intake. This does require you to adjust the angle of Disco’s intake. The angle used in the video below is approximately 25 degrees.

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Video: 606X Spin Up Pneumatic Intake Explanation - YouTube

Hopefully this helps alleviate some of the confusion and frustration surrounding Flex Wheels and their accessories so far this season.

-Jon

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Congrats to @Benn for getting his YouTube channel suggested by vex.

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Look mom, we’re famous!

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Really love this, really like the intake roller hub mounting idea.
Nice to get a glimpse of what goes on at vex engineering, would love to see more posts like this.

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I’ve got to admit this this one is really cool and I would have never thought of even look inside these. Props to VEX engineering on this, echoing VexTeamZ would love to see more that goes on at vex engineering

I also really like suggesting vex teams take from their poly reserves because when I first started I didn’t want to deal with the messy and confusing custom plastics, and I think this give teams some direction on how to use it, which is great.
Screen Shot 2022-10-31 at 6.01.45 PM

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44 and QCC2 referred to these intake rollers as “magic fingers” and made use of them… as well as the springs from the clutches.

It really is great to have this post as model to have teams think through all the possibilities vs “this is the only way to accomplish the task”. Kudos for bringing in Disco modifications to use some of these approaches. Well grounded.

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I’m not planning on using them, so treat this response with all due accord, but to me, it seems like vex is suggesting the use of versahex, a part that I can only find as legal to vex pro (looking at the vex store). Are these legal in V5? Again, I’m not planning on using them, but wanted to caution teams that may have these lying around from using them if they are not legal. Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems off to me.

They are very much legal:

All of these parts of VRC legal. If you scroll down, you will find the hubs.

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Ah, thank you. On the site, if you look for the individual part it demonstrates Vex U, FRC, and VAIC compatibility, but not VRC. Looking from the set of other parts it does say VRC. Interesting…

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This is one of the all time greatest Official Vex posts. Here is why.

Vex is all about creativity in a limited space. However much of the official released materials and guides show single constructions for a variety of solutions, like a single claw, single lift, single drivetrain, etc. Here, for the first time we have a variety of construction methods that are worth testing and open doors for students who didn’t even know they could be creative in these ways. And they didn’t just stop at one or two workarounds. My man dropped 4 different Flex Wheel mounts, and 4 different compliant intake roller designs.

I love how creative compliant structures can be.

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Great post! There are lots of creative ways to mount flex wheels other than using versa hubs and I’m glad to see a collection of them in one place.

I do have strong concerns about this recommendation though:

To keep the performance of this kind of intake consistent, VEX Engineering recommends cleaning the rollers regularly with water or WD40.

Using WD40 in this manner from my understanding will violate R7b in 3 separate ways. R7b states (with emphasis added):

Any non-aerosol-based grease or lubricating compound, when used in extreme moderation on surfaces and locations that do NOT contact the playing field walls, foam field surface, Discs, or other Robots.

  1. WD40 is generally (but not always) aerosol-based
  2. It would be very difficult to spray WD40 with “extreme moderation”
  3. The rollers mentioned in the OP by definition touch the discs, and after doing this would spread WD40 residue onto them.

Yes, the quote says to clean the rollers with WD40, but

  1. WD40 residue will remain, especially in the relatively porous rubber
  2. The WD40 will seep in and lubricate the roller joints.
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Good points. If you do use WD40 to clean the rollers, you will need to thoroughly clean the wheels before using them again. Here’s an example of an omni that was cleaned with WD40 and then used to intake the disc shown.

Thoroughly clean means wiping off an excess WD40, blowing any remaining WD40 out, repeat.

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If you have suggestions for other topics/insights you’d like to see, let us know and we’ll see what we can do.

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Sure, you can wipe the WD40 off the external surfaces, but how are you going to get it out of the roller axle joint? As a ref, you’re asking me to somehow tell the difference between a student spraying a can of WD40 on their robot for “cleaning” and doing so for lubrication in violation of R7b. Expecting students to perfectly wipe off all traces of illegal lubricant before each match is only going to result in field tiles and discs ending up with WD40 stains on them IMO.

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From my experience, WD-40 tends to evaporate within a few hours. This is one reason why it’s arguably a better cleaner than a lubricant.

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Yep, I clean all sorts of stuff with WD-40, clean it off and then use a lubricant afterwards. WD-40 is great for softening up the junk on a part.

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Do you guys have any tips on how to connect the 3600 rpm internal motor gear to a shaft? :skull:
jk

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Got to admit, this made me laugh.

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is cleaning the rollers with water or WD40 better than isopropyl alcohol wipes? we’ve just used isopropyl alcohol wipes instead of water because it evaporates a lot faster and doesn’t seem to cause any issues

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