Legal 3D Printed Number Plates

If a team 3-D printed their number plates in the correct color, would it be considered legal?

I doubt it, but the only way to know is post a question in the official Q&A so Karthik can answer.

I like questions like this… I was thinking “of course it is legal… the number plates can be hand written or whatever… why is this even being asked?”

Which, of course made me think that maybe I should double check that part of the rule book before posting.

And based on this… the answer should be “no”. You’ll be able to have 3D printed number plates as non-functional decorations in addition to the official number plates, but R19 requires VEX Team Identification Number plates as supplied by VEX (or, perhaps more correctly RECF) to be on the robot.

The rule could be better worded if that is what they are really trying to say, so there is an outside chance that other number plates may be allowed… can’t hurt to ask.


If it is ruled that 3D prints are ok, then any method of manufacturing should also be allowed. Carved from wood, CNC milled from titanium (very slowly), a bronze casting. All painted red or blue of course. What is it about 3D printers? I guess there is something cool about seeing a part take shape over a number of hours but most of the results I see from “hobby” grade printers are horrible.

(Sorry in advance if I go off topic a bit)

I’ve noticed there’s been a lot of discussion about 3D Printing on the forums lately. I have a feeling that within the next few years, those “hobby” grade printers will start to become more sophisticated/affordable in homes. Just a few years ago at my old program, we got this huge 3D printer that cost around 5 figures, and all we managed to print was a few small objects like a model of a rubber duck. If we compare that to just a few years later, now they’re being sold for comparatively less money for people to use in their homes and small businesses. Even if the results aren’t as great as the more high-end 3D printers yet, once 3D printing really takes off, maybe we’ll see more applications for it in competitive robotics as a whole, even if said applications are limited to VEX U at first. Wouldn’t it be cool to see entire 3D printed/custom manufactured robots in a competitive environment some day? It’d certainly be interesting to try in the classroom, at least.

This is only regarding your statement above…not about the use in VEX. It seems you haven’t seen a recent hobby grade printer at work. Or perhaps our definition of hobby grade is different. I just got a $2,000 Lulzbot Taz4 Printer (cheap in my opinion), that will print an object up to a cubic foot with a resolution of .1 mm layers…thats 4 thousanths of an inch! It is FAR from “horrible”. I have not stopped printing with it since I got it a week ago, and am incredibly impressed.

I second this ^

FTC you can now 3D print most of your robot excluding electronics really. I know that an FRC team carbon fiber 3D printed a robot, and that 3824 has a few mainly 3D printed robots.

Yes, I consider that a hobby grade printer, I was thinking about MakerBot Replicator and similar devices. I’ve nothing against 3D printers, the mechanical engineers I work with use them everyday to print prototype parts. Last year I was working on a new control panel for a product and we probably printed a dozen different designs to try and get some idea of how it would feel in the hands of the end user. The results are ok but I’ve never been that impressed, even from much more expensive devices, always though that SLA was a better method. The type of hobby grade results I consider “horrible” (and that’s just my opinion) would be something like this I pulled at random from thingiverse.

Anyway, bashing 3D printers wasn’t the point of my post and I do understand that within a few years it will be much better. I was just trying to say that there are many other ways to produce similar results to 3D printers and that these other methods should also be allowed.

Totally understand and agree with what you are saying. IF we are allowed to 3D print certain parts in the future here in VEX, they almost have to also allow similar methods of manufacturing…e.g. CNC milling.