How much can you decorate a robot?

I have a girls team that would like to paint some of the parts or their robot. They want to have several pieces pink, purple, yellow, green, etc. Is there a rule against painting some of the metal used on the robot?

Team 2118 A,B,C, D?

I asked the same question here:

The answer was Yes you can spray paint or paint your metal.

Here is our robot painted:

I saw a team with leds that changed colors on their robot.

Though it’s ultimately up to judges’ discretion, a general guideline:

  • Spray painted/altered metal must be purely decorative and mustn’t change the coefficient of friction for any actively used mechanism
  • Decoration shouldn’t be too much of a distraction or something that obscures the view of drivers or judges
    -Things like custom nameplates cannot be used as structure or support (even for things like wire holders, etc).

As long as none of the decorations affect gameplay in any way, you can have as many decorations as you want. This means, they can’t touch any game objects.
P.S. The flag and nameplates are considered non-functional decorations.

There has been more than one FAQ thread in which Karthik has said that this is illegal, unless the LEDs are vex LEDs powered by the cortex. You cannot exceed the allowed battery limit even if those batteries are for non-functional decorations.

It’s understandable that the inspectors and refs of the event you went to might not know that, though. It’s an obscure rule that has only been clarified in FAQ threads from past seasons: (Elevation) (Round Up)

(Elevation) (Round Up)

But Karthik has declared that, independently powered small cameras are legal. I assume these are battery-powered, and this would seem to violate the battery rule…

Yeah I saw that after I posted and since then I’ve been intending to post a Q+A thread. As it stands though, cameras are the only explicitly stated exception.

I think LED’s should be legal if a camera is!

Why do you think that is the case? maybe a compelling discussion/argument will give VEX a chance to alter their stance. After all Argumentative writing is a part of the new Common Core curriculum.

Vex is the type of organization that would change there policy because of a convincing argument.
I am the captain of my school debate team to so right off the bat I think of arguments both ways.

Reasons to allow LED’s
cameras are allowed
they are just decoration
vex sells LEDs so why not

Reasons Vex might say no
Karthik says so
Cameras serve a purpose LEDs dont
people would try to blind drivers

If they’re called Non Functional Decorations, I’d think serving a purpose would make cameras illegal, and not serving a purpose would make LEDs legal. However, in reality it’s the other way around.

I didn’t mean in match. I was refeering to how you can use footage for cool videos and stuff but can’t do anything with the LEDs other than make your robot look cool.

The issue here is one of safety. A camera with a self contained battery has almost certainly gone through some type of certification process (FCC, CE whatever) to ensure that that it is safe and does not produce any number of potentially disruptive emissions. Generic LED’s hooked up with student wiring to an unknown battery are potentially hazardous. I understand that they will mostly be safe but what if someone takes this to the extreme and uses several of these, hooks them up to a large battery that shorts to the chassis causing a fire. A small possibility but VEX has to consider the worst case scenario.