Overpriced Pneumatics?

I am wondering if there is an alternative to the vex pneumatics.

After i thought about it, i came to the conclusion VEX IS ROYALLY OVERPRICED ON THE PNEUMATICS!!!

Someone from vex please read this and lower the price to $100 or at most $120.

And do you want to know why they are overpriced.

I can buy a some pvc and assemble a crude but simple pneumatic system like vex makes that can probably lift more weight faster for $30.

Now vex be real, the metal that you used costs what $10 to $20 for all of it if you produce it in a factory in bulk.

It is a simple air tank with a schrader valve attached wow thats not that hard to make. $15

The hosing does not cost $5 for 5 feet its more like 20 cents per foot.

The on/off switch is a simple hand operated valve that costs nothing at homedepot. $5

The regulator cannot be more than $10-$20 for sure.

The solenoid valves are probably the most expensive part of the unit, but since you buy them in bulk i can not imagine them being anymore than $15 to $20 each.

The actual pneumatic cylinder is a simple cylinder with a rod in the middle and an oring to seal it and 2 air fittings. $10 each.

Now assuming that you paid the max for everything for all of this it would only be $95. For a complete double acting cylinder set

So stop ripping people off and charging them an extra $135 for something that is not that expensive.

You only charge $20 for a motor, wow $20 pneumatics are no differnt they are motors powered by air.

And i am positive that i overestimated the price i honestly think they make these for $50 each.

Now i can understand about producing limited quantity’s of this with custom machined parts is not going to be the cheapest way.

If that is the case why don’t you have your engineers re engineer the pneumatics to use much more generic parts that are mass produced.

In the end i am saying that by inflating the price of the vex pneumatics by $140 you are not increasing you sales. If you want to see people build more complex robots and have an increase in sales for the pneumatics lower the price to something reasonable.

I really want to buy the pneumatics but your prices are obscene, if i buy the pneumatics i would have spent almost as much as the starter kit costs.

Please read this and seriously consider it.

im sorry but you have no proof of any of the things you just said. you say that “The regulator cannot be more than $10-$20 for sure.” but have you actually looked into where you would buy them? and about the actual cylinders, they are way more than pvc pipe and o-rings. go do some actual research before you go and make accusations of vex products. and by the way, motors are electromagnets revolving around a shaft, whereas pneumatic actuators deliver more force and extend mainly in a linear direction. i know that rotary actuators are available, but i would guess that they are more expensive and complex than motors.

also, telling the people at vexlabs to read your harsh post about one of their products is probably not going to make them want to lower the prices.

Well said paco, also it’s not just the materials that make up the cost of something but the machining. Pneumatic cylinders have to very finely machined or they would wear out very fast. Also I would hazard to guess that VEXLabs buys their pneumatic parts from another company so there is another mark up. Robotics is, unfortunately, somewhat expensive.

not to start an argument, but OK, go buy those products and then make it yourself, lol then see how much these should cost, you might even think the price should be raised :smiley:

just my $0.02

Yeah, I have spent my share of money on robotics.


For one i know that the regulator has to be that cheap, i can buy a brand new paintball regulator capable of stepping down 1000psi to 150psi for my guns for about $50.

Pneumatic cylinders are not complicated.

You have 1 air fitting at the back and when you apply air it forces the piston to go forward and the same for the opposite direction.

If you want to see me build these then fine i am going to build a simple ball valve piston as solenoid valves for 1in pvc are like $20 each.

I don’t see why everyone says i am wrong, everything i said is true.

$230 for 2 little cylinders and an air tank is obscene.

And building a pvc piston is not hard at all i just have to get a good seal inside the piston and viola i made a pneumatic piston not to mention i just got a freaken 33 gallon compressor for $300.

Now vex explain why i can buy a 33gallon compressor with a 1.5hp motor for $70 more than a little tiny pneumatics set. Thats not even funny it just goes to show what you get for your money.

I have found out exactly how i am going to build my pneumatic piston.

O and i left out 1 more things about the vex things, the solenoid drivers, they are probably the most complex part in my eyes a 555 timer and a few resistors there may be more but i dont have 1 to disassemble.

Sure its not going to be fancy but hey its going to lift 2-5 times more than the vex pneumatics can lift for only $20.

You have to settle down a little…

The Vex pneumatics are expensive but they are expensive for a reason. It is because the high quality pneumatic parts are expensive to make and distribute. If you don’t like the price then too bad.


We read every post, every piece of feedback, and every criticism submitted. We take it all seriously.

The current price is set based on extensive calculations and estimations of what we can effectively sell the product at (based on our costs, etc). We do not just arbitrarily pick a price point. Just because you want them to be cheaper, does not mean it can be so. The price is where it is for a reason. These parts are more expensive than you think.

I’m sorry to hear you feel our current pneumatics kit is too expensive. These are industrial pneumatics, not some cheap toy. We are always striving to create a good product with good value for our customers.

I can tell you this kit is aimed primarily at educational users who would like to do a pneumatics learning module. I can also tell you that these kits sell quite well in their target market.

We have discussed creating a lower-cost pneumatics kit oriented more to competition & consumer users. This development project is underway, and hopefully we will come up with something worthy of release. As always with something this early in development, I have no idea whether this will ever become a product or not. I certainly have no time estimates on release. Until then, we have plenty of motors available.

Again thanks for the criticism. Hopefully sometime in the future we will be able to provide a lower cost pneumatics option for our users. I know many users still find our current pneumatics offerring a good value, and I’m sorry to hear you’re not one of them.


sweet new pneumatic system…possibly…but still!!! also i think JVN makes a good point that these are good quality *industrial *pneumatics what i doubt would break, if you have too much pressure in PVC, well i wouldnt want to be in the room :smiley:

although robofreak to be fair, you raise a good point and this does sound like a fun project :smiley:


I was just talking more about raw material costs and how some parts could be cheaper. I can understand why they are expensive, from the looks of the kit i am assuming that the parts are custom milled. From that it doesn’t matter about material costs more or less labor and quantity. But a new pneumatics kit does sound cool, is it going to be a single cylinder?

And this may sound like an insane idea but i think that you guys should make a small unit that replaces the air tank that would constantly produce air like a mini compressor!

Well i am going to see if i can build my own pvc pneumatic, i found this website that shows you how to build one with over 20lbs of force at 50psi for a reasonable cost $50.

I was also looking at the vex single cylinder kits, if i am correct i can soup up my own regulator not that i need one, i want the full 100 psi for max force. Then i can build my own pvc tank that is bigger than the current tank, it will also have a ball valve for on and off and an air fitting for the hose. But i am not sure that this would work if you guys have any ideas please tell me

All I want here is an air pump that is powered by the vex controller and for the whole set to be FTC legal. That would be amazing!

just so everyone knows vex buys the pneumatics from SMC

just be careful when putting 100 psi in pvc… it would be better if steel or aluminum were used instead.

PVC can take pressures of up to 230psi, or atleast what i am using can.

I am not sure as to if i am going to build this pneumatic piston, i can not find the correct parts to build this safely.

It i jack this thing up to 100psi with a spring for return it will hit so hard and the spring will amplify this force by a lot that it could shatter the front assembly of the piston and shoot out which is dangerous.

I know for a fact that it can be done but i am not trying to spend $50 to prove a point i just wanted to show you that it can be done.

I am now going to build something else, i want to make a vex tank but this time it needs to be really powerful with a lot of torque on the chassis as well as speed.

I have the pneumatics set and I can tell you they are really high quality and so are priced fairly reasonably. Also, If you want cheaper pneumatics just buy individual components elsewhere. They’re plenty of places on the internet to buy small pneumatics components.

I can recommend Surplus Center for good quality pneumatic cylinders on the cheap.

(And if you need any 10-32 threaded hose-barbs for your new pneumatic cylinder, let me know - I thought I ordered ten, when I actually ordered ten 10-packs :eek:)


  • Dean