Make It Real Cad Challenge Finalists Frustration

This year’s finalists for the Online challenges have been released, and I am disappointed at what chosen (and not just because they didn’t pick me). While some of the finalists (like the VEX Linear Actuator) are legitimately innovative and useful, many of them are very basic, not that useful, or copies of designs that have been entered before. Here are some examples:

The Customizable slip gear set ( was chosen despite being almost identical to the 6 other adjustable slip gears that have been submitted in the last 2 years.
(see , , , , ,
and )

The Universal Ratchet and Pawl Mechanism ( is very similar to the 11 other ratchet and pawl mechanisms that have been submitted to online challenges.
(see , , , , , , , , , ,
and ,

The VEX 90-degree C-channel Coupler submitted this year:
is almost the same as this part that was submitted in 2017:

The Vex Snap-In License Plate Holder ( image
seems to be a slightly upgraded version of the VEX licence Plate Holster ( that won 3rd place in 2017.
The way finalists have been selected seems wrong. Many of the entries that were chosen were not that special or creative, and some of the best ones got left out. Some teams (including mine) spent many hours coming up with the kind of original inventions the challenge is trying to encourage, only to lose to someone who made a small change to a design that won last time. The contest is meant to encourage students to learn about CAD software in order to invent something, but some of the top contenders were made with relatively little CAD skill, or just unoriginal. To clarify, I am not not trying to bash any of the entrants, but I am frustrated with the Judges’ decisions.


I agree completely. There were many entries I had fully expected to see in the finals, but that didn’t make it. The judging process seemed…odd this year. I had really been hoping to be a finalist, but looks like that’s not happening.

I would like to point out something, however. The EDR entries I thought would make it (which also had an attached final report rather than the report in the description) didn’t, including mine.
If you look at each EDR finalist, 13/14 wrote their description in the box. Just a little piece of information.:thinking:

SIDE NOTE: I have no affiliations with them, but whoever made the scuff controller add-on is a genius, should win the challenge, and I plan on actually using that in competition.

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I both agree and disagree. Yes some of the designs seem less useful than some that weren’t picked and some may be repeats from last year. But for example, the customizable slip gear set, I didn’t enter that challenge, but I thought that would be really useful. I think it was chosen not because it was a repeat, but it is specifically extremely useful for this year’s game in particular. So the decisions were likely somewhat based on the usefulness in this year’s game. There are some decisions however that I somewhat disagree with.

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That universal 90 degree couple from a few years ago! He did it two years ago I thought. He was proud of that thing! I wish they would make that part for real! Yeah it looks like lots of copies or variations of things in the links.
Oh well… I feel your frustrations!

Is there a date for when the final winners will be chosen? I couldn’t see it on the site.

Online Challenge Winners will be announced on March 10, 2019.

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Have all the finalists been announced?

I agree with you about the judging. I just don’t understand. We had the highest votes in two categories. I know votes weren’t the most important thing, but it did say that judges take votes into consideration. Several entries that had 0 votes were finalists. People: don’t waste your time with votes next year because apparently it doesn’t matter. I expected not to be finalists in every category that we entered, but I thought for sure we would be finalists in at least one category. My girls spent hours and hours on these challenges. A lot of hard work just gone down the drain. We got over 400 votes. Many of those votes couldn’t have verified email addresses, because our school district does not allow outside emails. Only district emails are allowed to be sent to our students. I just don’t understand. Countless hours wasted…

I am happy for some of our neighboring teams in our state though, who are finalists. I just wish we had feedback from judges.

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The finalists for the other challenges just came out, and some of them are pretty questionable. The judges have picked some entries that did not follow the judging criteria and the intent of the challenge very well, or are simply not that good. For example, fuelbot ( was selected despite not following these judging criteria very well.

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However, besides a couple of those videos, there were plenty that met the criteria and deserve to be finalists.

I have read all of the comments and take note of the frustrations. I will look into each and every one as this progresses. As you all know, Autodesk is our sponsor for this challenge and will offer much insight to us on the finalists that they are judigning and I will also make note of that. As for the online voting, it is indeed taken under consideration. Again, we will be looking into each and every comment and even if all matters are not handled to everyone’s satisfaction, please know that they all will help us only improve going forward.


While I do understand your frustration with the finalists selection especially since you weren’t selected, as a member of the team submitting The Customizable Slip Gear Set, (, I find this post to be rather inappropriate. Teams are selected to be finalists for this challenge for more than just the originality of their design. It depends on the presentation of the design. While yes we weren’t the most original in our selection, we were able to implement it into our design and explain its purpose. Our submission was well rounded and was developed for what the challenge asks for “modeling a new part for a robot that improves its functionality or overcomes an existing problem.” We did not say anywhere in our submission that we were addressing a new issue. We were well aware that slip gears have been around for many years in vex. We were however unaware of the alternate solutions that were submitted previously, but we did see the other submitted this year. I am not surprised that other submissions for this have been made, but we were just presenting our approach to the problem as this years game would have it. The slip gear was made for our catapult this year and we weren’t making it based on someone else’s design. We made it for our purpose, which we explained in detail in the summary we provided to go along with our submission. Judges make selections for multiple reasons and we put a lot of time into our presentation and our delivery of our design. While i cannot speak for everyone that you mentioned, people designed items that will benefit their design, and while some designs are repeats, they still aren’t a part of the vex product list making them still a part that they could change something with with a previous submission. While I do appreciate that it can be frustrating now getting picked, I do not feel that it is appropriate for you to call out others as clearly they were picked for a reason.