How to Build an NZ Bot?

I have seen many robots at competitions that are based off of a design that a New Zealand team made. It has been very effective in both Gateway, and Sack Attack. I am interested in building an exact copy of an NZ bot as a summer project. I’ve searched around, and haven’t found any plans or instructions on how to build one. If anyone has any plans or instructions for building an NZ bot, or even detailed pictures that I could look at and reverse engineer a robot out of, I would be very grateful. I do understand that not all NZ bots are the same, but in general they all work about the same.

Thank you!


AURA’s website might be a good place to start. They have pictures of their gateway robots and lots of details about the way they were built here:

You can also find tutorials on 6 bars, which is the type of lift most NZ style robots use, such as this one:

The Gateway NZ Bot and the Sack Attack version are very different. An NZ bot, of course, is not a standard screw-by-screw design. Efficiency bots in general are the product of iterations and modifications over the course of a whole season. I suggest looking at pics and vids of various competing robots and starting a design based on the best of those, and then refine it with your own engineering process until you have something that works as well as the world-class efficiency bots.

I just want to jump in here, and say that New Zealand has just as much variation as any other region in terms of robot design. If you really want to try building a robot based on another design, and want more information about that design, it would be good to identify the team that built that design and ask them. However I don’t believe that building a bolt-for-bolt copy based on reverse engineering will give you best learning experience. Instead, I would suggest that you take a look at some of the robots that you like, identify the features that you think make them good, and try to incorporate them into your own design.

I’m not sure how others see it, but I don’t think that the term “NZ-bot” is a generalization of robots from NZ, but rather a generalization for a design that started in NZ and was adopted all around the world.

Of course, the most successful design in New Zealand this year (top roller with conveyor table) is not referred to as an NZ bot on the forums, because the first robot that we saw on the forums with that design was 24C’s “Vacuum.” Other similar robots popped up in the US before we even saw what was competing in NZ, so we know that the designs were made independently and that US teams weren’t just copying the NZ teams.
Since this bot is from Maryland, then we should really refer to that design as the MD-Bot.

Ya well NZ had conveyors and top rollers for a long time before Jordans 24C reveal. We all were so happy to see someone in US with a similar robot and then kinda depressed when it didn’t work well at all. Jordan knows its true.

Well, in all reality, I would say that 2941A’s robot here looked more similar to, and worked about the same as 24A did at our first scrimmage on June 9th.

I really don’t care what you call it, although “NZ bot” has always sounded rather dumb to me. However, it still shouldn’t be called the MD-bot, mainly because you could say that this design came from 2921 and 677 in Clean Sweep, who both created a design very similar to this one. But also because the whole categorizing a design by a region is rather stupid, in my opinion. Many teams from New Zealand have very different designs, and many teams from other regions have the conveyor + top roller intake design.

However, this debate seems to be a reoccurring theme now. In the long run, I am still unsure of what design the original poster is asking about. The design that New Zealand made popular last year was the dual side-roller intake + four/six-bar lift. This year there are many more variations of designs coming from New Zealand, and some are very, very different. However, I don’t believe that even one of them is using the dual side-roller + four/six-bar lift design. (However, there was one team at the Asia Pacific VEX Championship who did very well in Robot Skills with a design similar to that.)


I am going to jump in here because this debate comes up periodically and in some way always seems to hit a nerve with me. So hopefully I can add some sensibility to the arguments of who created what design and what the design should be called. For full disclosure, I am an adult coach associated with Team 24.

While it is true that we saw a large number of 4 bar lift variations come from NZ teams over the last couple, years I don’t think you can call it a NZ design any more than you can call the current 4 bar with a top roller and conveyor bed a 24C or Maryland design. (I don’t agree with calling a design a 24C or MD design either.) The 4 bar mechanism (and variations of it) has been around much longer than the last 3 or 4 years that we have seen it on NZ robots. I am sure if it was researched, it was used in previous robotics competitions in FIRST before VRC existed. It is used in commercial applications. Likewise, the current top roller design and conveyor belt bed was first publicly posted by 24C for this year, but I am sure the concept was used on past robots over the years in other programs if not in VRC. The concepts are used commercially as well. So this arguing over what to call a design is unnecessary, in my opinion. Call them 4-bar lifts, top rollers, and conveyor beds – forget about trying to tie the concept to a team or group that first showed it in VRC. These general design concepts have been around longer than VRC and the current argument over who created them and what to name them is not productive. If nothing else, it is very confusing to others on what you are actually talking about.

What is important are the finer details of implementing the general concept (top roller, conveyor bed, 4 bar lift, …) . Take the top roller example from above. I have seen many of them in many different variations this year. I dare say that 24C alone has tried in excess of 25 (maybe in excess of 50?) different variations. There are very effective top rollers, top rollers that work OK, and top rollers that don’t work at all. What is really important is how a team implements the general concept (top roller, conveyor bed, 4 bar lift, …). The pride in a design should be due the fact that a team took a general concept and refined it until it works really well for them. There is a big difference between slapping any ‘ole top roller on your robot, and creating one that really works for you and your way of playing the game. A particular design implementation in one team’s hands may be very effective, but ineffective in another team’s hands due to differences in how they play the game. Success does not come from implementing a feature that is arbitrarily named after some team or group that used it previously, it comes from exactly how you implement it, the reasons you did it that way, and how you plan to use it.

Any team should be able to take a general concept and implement it in a way the works best for them without the recurring argument over the origin of the design. Of course if you take a particular detail of another team’s design and use it, you should credit them. (But don’t make a screw-for-screw copy- innovate to make it better.) It may be true that the team was not the originator of the feature in VRC, but it is where you picked up your inspiration.

OK, it seems this thread has been sufficiently derailed. Back to the original question of the thread and Jordan’s point- the thread originator may want to be a little more clear on the design concept for which they are seeking more information.

I can’t resist.

A simple 5 step process is involved:

*]Buy a plane ticket to NZ.
*]Pack all of your VEX equipment into a shipping container.
*]Buy electrical outlet converters.
*]Ship the equipment to NZ. Fly there with the converters and at least one change of clothes.
*]Build a robot.

Viola! You now have a NZ robot.


Well said Jordan and cc4hldr. I put the term “NZ bot” in the same category as the term “efficiency bot”. Both are useless descriptors of the actual design used because they are so massively broad. In fact, both terms are interchangeable - that is how useful they are. I am just a dumb parent (posing as a mentor), but to me, calling something an “efficiency bot” attempts to pigeonhole something that, in reality, covers 90%+ of all designs that are produced! Begs the question, what is an “inefficiency bot”? Does this imply that a wall bot cannot be efficient? Very confusing.

I promise to stop using both these useless terms, if everyone else does :rolleyes:

By the way, we have room on our back lawn for a shipping container or two if anyone is keen!

Cheers, Paul

Conveyor belt with top roller was not new at all. There were lots of similar designs last year Gateway competition.

I love this!

I know that the Glenfield College robot exists in the land of Autodesk Inventor and that they will probably be making the design available after the Worlds.
They won the New Zealand Chairman’s Excellence Award at the Nationals so go chat to them about it.

In fact it was first seen in NZ during Elevation!