Non-functional decoration

So. I’m not trying to do this but couldn’t you legally zip tie a v5 brain, battery, and radio to a brick and have that as a legal robot? The brick definitely isn’t functional and should have no issue passing that requirement. I’m just wondering.


It would be a clean, structurally intact brick btw.

You could argue that the brick increases the weight of the robot sufficiently to counteract some pushing hence making it functional.

You could also argue that the brick allows the robot to be

Hence being functional.


If brick ens up functioning as an effective giggle or eye-roll inducing device, that could potentially impair opposing alliance drive team menbers, then it is considered functional per <C22> rule of the game manual.

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to be fair you can always make this kind of argument with these types of rules; there’s a ton of gray area in the manual

example- are nylon nylocks illegal because they reduce weight beyond what any vex nut can functionally achieve (older teams have occasionally done this)?

or what about LED’s that light up when a certain color ball is in a sorter (tarans vid)?

or shoulder screws that have a tighter tolerance than any vex made shoulder screw (robosource)?

or how about vibration resistant washers (it can be argued that the existence of the keps nut’s serrated washer makes other forms of vibration resistant washers legal)?

the only rule we really have to fall back on for gray- area questions like this is G3
so is it legal to make a brick bot? idk, ask the refs lmao

it really depends on how good your argument is


So wait. What if you did the same thing the op said just with a piece of plastic

Not even considering that the brick is adding a large amount of mass (thus providing functionality if the intention is to make the robot difficult to move), the brick is becoming the frame/structure that holds the brain and other components; therefore it is not “non-functional” and would be in violation of R13, and need to be “backed by VEX material.” But most inspectors would consider the brick to be a counterweight as well, so two counts against being “non-functional”.

These examples are all “commercially available” fasteners, allowed by R12 (except for the LED). Perhaps years ago, before the wording of R12 was better clarified, that your examples would be “grey area”, but not in the current manual, they are fully legal by R12.

The LED, if it is providing data to the driver, would be no longer be “non functional” and would not be legal. Again, not a “gray area”.


excellent. i’m glad you agree. the reason i brought those specific examples up was because as you stated, they had a bit of uncertainty surrounding their legality and even though they are 100% legal as the manual stands today, im absolutely certain that refs would question some of those choices at a comp because of how close to the edge they are

anyways, now that we’ve met that premise that those examples are legal (and that the led setup is illegal), let’s move onto some slightly more shaky ground:

are commercially available “standoffs” legal? they are just long nuts, after all. mcmaster (one of the bigger industrial distributors of this sort of hardware) even has some hex nuts and “standoffs” with practically the same specs (for all intents and purposes in vex, the two items presented below are identical besides the height- 15/64” was the closest i could find to the 1/4” long “standoff” but im sure with more looking i could find one with exactly the same sizes):

According to R12, any commercially available nut, spacer, or washer less than 2” in length that fits the legal screw sizes without adding functionality beyond what standard vex parts can do, are defined as legal

so with that said, would you consider “standoffs” less than 2” in length that fit legal sized screws to be allowed under R12?

(if you agree, the next question is even more fun)

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Not sure why we’re talking about R12 when non-functional decorations are governed by R13.

(emphasis mine)

There is some grey area in this rule but I don’t think we’re anywhere close to it here - “holding the robot together” and “adding a bunch of weight” would both pretty obviously qualify as “significantly affecting robot performance” in my opinion. Ergo, no bricks.

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But since the robot doesn’t do anything anyway, could you say that the brick doesn’t affect performance?

Not necessarily - for example, a much heavier “robot” is also more resistant to being pushed around the field by other robots, which I think could be described as a significant change in performance.

In any case, I think this specific scenario is very unlikely to ever come up. Even if you did want to build a robot with no functionality (which, why), it would likely be easier to screw a brain, battery and radio to a piece of c-channel. Or heck, just zip tie them directly to each other - no structure needed!