Herobot: Fling Unofficial Thread

Hoping that this year’s herobot is more competitive than most seasons. We just completed our build and will drive around a little tomorrow (we need a few more pieces from our robotics room at school to finish it properly).

The launch mechanism is clever but has some tight clearances when loading and launching.

Hopefully this thread will be a place to discuss the Herobot, how to operate it and tips on how to improve the design allowing beginner teams to move beyond the standard build and start applying their STEM knowledge.




Some notes from building (please add more as you find them)

Step 51 doesn’t show a standoff in the 2x16 that was installed on a previous step. My son thought he did something wrong and went to remove the standoff based on the picture not being up to date.

Step 102 shows the wrong 1x2 corner connector in the header, you need the offset corner connector with the 3 holes

Step 114 shows 1x rubber band in the header but 2x on the assembly, my son went with 2

Step 115 should be a 4 pitch standoff, not a 6 pitch

Step 120, doesn’t show a short shaft and 12T gear that drives the launch mechanism anywhere. Your only clue is you can see the small shaft sticking out of the 2xbeam. Also doesn’t show the wire length or where to connect. Next steps show port 4 now occupied

No clear explanation on how the bumper sensor is meant to interact in the code. Basic Driver Program doesn’t seem to coincide with this build.


I expect there will be some VEXcode example programs, VEXcode virtual skills implements the same hero robot.


I programmed one button to “load” which pulls the arm down until the bumper is pressed.

Then launch continues the rotation until it launches.

That’s what made sense to me since you’ll want to drive out around with the arm down so the ball can be gathered into the launcher.


I’m sure Mr. Pearman is right about VEXcode example programs, but in the meantime, I’ve attached the super duper basic code I was using to test the robot. (I am not a programmer. The program is probably bad and I feel bad. And this is v2. Imagine how v1 must’ve looked?)

Seems like a good first improvement. Excited to see what y’all come up with. There are definitely things on this robot that should be improved. But we couldn’t give you a winning robot right out of the gate. That just wouldn’t be fun anymore :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

IQYeet v2.iqblocks (18.7 KB)


I certainly hope that this philosophy never changes! These “basic trainers” should be just that, a robot that can play the game at a minimum competitive level. I especially appreciate that all the trainers have a common “direct drive” drivetrain. Changing the gearing/design on the drivetrain for increased speed is the probably the first good project that a novice team can work on, and I’d hate to take away that learning opportunity from developing teams.


Concur. About half my teams stick with a basic hero bot (my second year running my kid’s school program). My goal is to give them tools to recognize areas that can be improved and how to do it.

My initial concern with this bot is how well will it hold up under the stress of launch and if the tight tolerance of the launching arm passing by itself in between the gears will result in a self-disassembling robot!

Also the fact that the standard Driver Control won’t operate this bot will require 1st year teams to embrace learning vexcode right out of the gate.


Here are the notes I took while my son and I each built Fling. I ran into most of the same things you did:

Fling Manual Findings:

I’m keeping a list of things I note as I go. What I list may not necessarily be a “mistake” per se, but could just be something to keep in mind.

Step 22 and 29: Show using a 1.5 pitch standoff. These are not included in the SuperKit itself, but a 1 pitch standoff should work fine.

Step 51 is missing the standoffs added in Step 48.

Step 102: Parts list shows 1x2 Corner Connector but needs a 1x2 Offset Corner Connector

Between Steps 105 & 106, a 1x8 support beam just appears on the robot with no mention in the instructions. There is space for two of these beams on the robot.

Step 114: only lists 1 rubber band, but 2 are shown. The mechanism isn’t really functional with only one rubber band. BUT: this is a great intro for kids into testing simple changes to a robot’s mechanisms.

Steps 116-117 again show 1x2 Corner Connectors in the parts list, but use 1x2 Offset Corner Connectors in the build instructions (only the offset would fit here anyway). It also shows needing 2 of them, but you only need 1.

Step 120 has a plastic shaft unaccounted for appearing out of nowhere and is necessary to drive the actual mechanism. I assume there should be a 12T gear there since nothing else will likely fit. I ended up going back to Step 117 and adding a capped shaft and 12T gear. That seems like it’s working for now.

Step 121 shows installing the catapult motor. Step 122 shows that it’s plugged in (assuming port 4 since it was previously empty). Instructions are missing a step between 121 and 122 where you plug in the motor.

Steps 122 and 124 show adding washers behind the wheels. I recommend spacers here. The washers don’t really prevent the wheels from rubbing against the frame. The wheels will be canted slightly when using the plastic shafts, but otherwise are fine.

The catapult, all of which both of my sons and I built individually, was not functional until we moved the base of the linkage to ensure the bushing was underneath it instead of above it. And made sure that the shafts did not protrude into the space where the linkage would rotate.


Has anyone else discovered that the metal bar that acts as a stop on the catapult is too high to drive under the low bars dividing the field in half (or did we build something wrong?) (we double checked and it appears we have built to the instructions)

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Please note that all of the VEX herobot designs are DESIGNED to need tuning and refining.

That has to be a terrible job for an engineer, to design a barely-adequate solution. They want teams to use them as a starting point and then tune and refine them.

This is actually a deviously clever solution to beginning teams. Give them a solution that basically works, but has obvious limitations so the teams can learn to engineer upgrades…


I understand, was just making sure that our starting point was accurate. The team did a herobot review last year and would like to donthe same this year. Just making sure they have their initial build true to what vex/REC intended.


Not sure exactly what you mean here.

With apologies for lifting this from Stuff Made Here’s latest video:


It definitely has proven difficult in the past to get into this mindset for hero robots.


It would certainly help the mindset to stop calling them “heroes” and call them what they are: “basic trainers” or “minimum competitive concept” designs.


Fling is my Hero.
Let me explain. Are you familiar with the super underground indie movie Iron Man? Starring Robert Downey Jr?

The main protagonist is Tony Stark. He has fame, fortune, and access to whatever he wants. But he’s seen as a bad person for the things his company is involved in. That makes us feel bad. But things happen (I don’t want to spoil the movie for you) and Tony is put into a situation where he is forced to learn about himself and the equipment and people around him, Forgive these minor spoilers for a second. Eventually, he makes an Iron Man suit. It’s not the best, but it’s pretty good. It’s not going to win him any VIQC Competitions or uh I mean Iron Man suit competitions or anything. But he doesn’t give up. He learned from his first try and he improved! Eventually he made a suit that would win a competition! And that would not have been possible without first having a good starting point to build off of. Iron Man is a hero. Fling is a hero.

On a more real note though, the term hero is used in different areas such as marketing and web design. It’s really used as an element to idolize the thing you are trying to market. It’s not literally a super hero like Iron Man. Check out this Wikipedia page that sort of explains the concept.

It’s a hero because it can be used tell teams “Hey! Build this and you can really contribute to a match!”
It’s a hero because we can use it to show off the game in a higher capacity than something like the Clawbot could. Clawbots can’t shoot, so that would be really lame to film a game unveil and not a single robot could score in the main goal.
It’s a hero because it can be used to hand the controller to a kid at a promotional event and let them play the game in a fun higher level that isn’t a super complicated world champion robot.

The hero robots are never advertised as a “Build this and you’ll win VEX Worlds!” but we do advertise it as I mentioned above.

I’d say we’re calling these robots what they are. Heroes. And heroes inspire others to build themselves up.

I’ll finish by asking you a question. Would you rather have a clawbot as a partner at a tournament or a hero robot? Seems like they might be your hero too.


Fling, like all of his Hero companions can be a great thing or a nightmare.

I do IQ with elementary roboteers. I like to show the game and brainstorm ideas with the roboteers. I then present that years Hero to see if it meets most of the ideas that the roboteers came up with. In most cases the teams will decide to build it (some of the other teams, mostly returning roboteers will build something else)

Once it’s built its hard for some teams to make changes. Small changes are OK, but bigger ones don’t go over well. They have spent a few weeks building and don’t want to mess it up. Adding power boosts to the hero can sometimes be hard.

And for what it’s worth, sometimes the Hero bot can get you into trouble: https://www.vexforum.com/t/why-yes-maam-your-robot-was-designed-by-a-professional-engineer/58474

But all in all I like the hero bots. I like that the IQ team does a new one each year and I’ve been excited to see the iterations on the back upright becoming better each year.


OK, I can see your point…and I see (from wiki) that the term “hero” has evolved over the past 50 years form what I perceive it to be. And I don’t disagree with having examples of different builds…I use them in our STEM summer camp curriculum, as a way to quickly build bots to play the current game. I think it helps the kids with learning the rules more quickly and more thoroughly, as well as developing a game analysis for their EN’s and figuring out the strategies they will need for designs.

The issue I have with making these designs the “hero” (by my [old person’s] definition: the best there is, which is different from your [younger person’s] definition), is that I’ve seen in the past few seasons less creativity and original design at competition. I especially noticed it starting with “stretch” during ringmaster: there must have been 75% of the bots were either “stretch” or a very-minor variation of “stretch.” I even overheard a novice team/mentor saying “I didn’t know we were allowed to build anything else.” While I grant you that a novice team is just that…to me the emphasis on “hero” versus “sample design” might stifle the creativity of novice teams.


Well I hope you’ll see moving forward less of that design copy-catting.

Like Art mentioned above:

Sometimes the robotics competition alumni turned professional engineers have a hard time making something that is

But we all try and get better. Rise did a much better job at this than Stretch. Hopefully Fling does an even better job while still introducing cool new mechanisms and design techniques.


@adamjgray , thanks for the correction steps. We have created a blog post based on your original content and added photos for kids to easily identify the parts. Blog post link is VEX IQ Hero Bot Fling building manual corrections - Caution Tape Robotics Club
We have also credited you and this thread for the original content. Thanks!