That sounds like something I should discuss with my team’s main designer! Just curious, is FreeCAD not a good option for designing when it comes to robotics?
ALL the major CAD software has “free” educational licenses. Here’s a document with more information and links: CAD for VEX Robotics.pdf - Google Drive
It depends on your goals: do you want to add a useful skill for your resume and a future in engineering/technology related stuff…if so, then learning one (or more) of the industry-standard CAD packages would be a better option. And as a student, you have the unique opportunity to use these software packages for “free”, while industrial users are paying as much as $5,000/year per license for the software.
Thanks for this! It’s highly appreciated!
Thanks for the ideas !
For sure. Something I saw with our freshmen team this year is that they jumped in head first with very little research or knowledge. Make sure to explore all design options is what I was trying to say. For example, the two main bots we say were flywheel and catapult. I am saying to look into both, and do your reseach before, and during buliding. Does this clear it up?
Yes, thanks for the clarification!
Depending on the region, HS is usually more competitive, and less friendly (this is a massive generalization, take this with a massive grain of salt). Teams will focus more on winning, and might be less willing to help. For robot build and prep, dont dive head first into building. Every year, freshmen are super eager to start building a robot, and it never ends well because they don’t have a plan. For a simple way to make a plan, make sure everyone has a role on the team, and usually people will have multiple roles. (Builder, Coder, Modeler, Driver, Notebooker, Scouter, etc). When the game gets revealed, make a plan for what you want your robot to be capable of doing. Most high level teams will be capable of every method of scoring, but if you dont feel that you are experienced enough, or dont have enough time, consider focusing on 1 or 2 methods of scoring, rather than all 3 (example of spin up, some middle school teams in my region focused on having a powerful drivetrain, roller mech, all tiles for expansion, and a good endgame blocker. These teams were successful even though they couldnt score in the high goal.) So a checklist before you start building a robot, is at least a sketch, preferably a cad model (the cad model doesnt have to be exactly like what the robot will be in real life, but something that will help you build the robot and make sure everything fits within size limits), team members have roles, and a timeline has been laid out. Timelines are pretty simple, dedicate some time to planning, sketching, and cadding, dedicate time for building, dedicate time for coding and driver practice. You want at least 48 hours before your first tournament of the season to work on coding and driver practice. This is a minimum, more time is always nice, but not at the expense of a worse robot. Some general tournament tips, its basically the same as middle school (usually tournaments are combined anyway), but expect more competition in general. Senior teams will usually have at least 4 years of experience, and sometimes more if they did vrc in middle school. For some reality checks: even if you did well in middle school, your going to lose a lot in high school. A freshmen team in my org won excellence last year, but lost in quarter finals this year. Dont expect to worlds qual first year. It is possible, but its certainly not guaranteed.
Also, just take your time. Spend time on planning, spend time on team moral, spend time on building things properly. Robotics is fun, so dont burn yourself out.
Thanks for this! Yeah, I have definitely learned the not spending too much time on coding and driving lesson the hard way ! Really appreciate the advice!
personally I would use onshape
For CAD? If so, I will be sure to look into this! Thanks!
yeah you can insert parts into it and rearrange them the way you want its actually really simple for vex
Thanks for the clarification! I’ll be sure to check it out!
Also be sure to check out Protobot. It’s another CAD software but designed specifically for Vex. They each have their pros and cons so I’d say just experiment with both and see which works better for you. IMO Protobot is a bit easier to learn and operate as it has less controls and is specific for Vex, but it lacks the ability to do things such as add custom plastic parts.
I tried both of them this past season and ending up using Protobot most of the time since it fit my use case better seeing as I was designing individual mechanisms not an entire robot, meaning I didn’t have to worry as much about custom parts and movement and things like that. Anytime I was trying to see how two mechanisms would fit together in CAD I would end up using OnShape since it was easier to manipulate a series of mechanisms in there.
Thanks for the suggestion for CAD! I’ll be sure to experiment with all of these and see what works best for me and my teammates!
In your opinion, is Inventor superior to Fusion 360? If so, why?
Yes, this is a great question! I would like to know the answer too!
Yes, Inventor is better at handling many-component assemblies (which is what robots are) and the Vex library for Inventor is better than the one for F360.
Thanks! I’ll lean towards using this then!
Everything that has been said, AND… build or at least analyze bots people have made CAD files of and uploaded.
Check out some of these top-tier robots, and see how they were constructed. Take some notes and build some models to help understand it.