We could use plastic skins for our Vex models. I would like to see something like the Hero 1 Robot or C3P0 or R2D2 moldings so that our robots stop looking like T2.
why wouldnt you want them to look like T2? they are much better with the mettalic look. also skins would have to be custom.
In the past I have just got some Lexan and cut it to fit the bot, in fact, I plan to make a “skin” for the robot I built because I will be doing a VEX demo at the GenCon in Indy.
In one article of robot magazine the mythbusters made a plastic cover for there vex packbot. I forget what they made it out of but it looked pretty sweet.
I had an idea to buy a bunch of lexan and cut it to fit just on the outside of each exterior metal peice (or atleast the drivetrain). This way it would fit on any model. But making a custom “skin” for each model is ALOT better looking! Good luck!
Officially, for VexLabs to sell a R2D2/C3P0/Bender/Johnny Five/etc. skin for a robot would mean that they would have to obtain the proper licenses from the companies (Such as Lucas Film, Disney, Fox, etc.) that own the rights to these characters.
But do not worry, making side decal panels yourself is a lot easiar than many people think.
Here are three possible ways in which you can create your own side-panels for your own robot:
- Laminated paper
Print out the graphics on regular paper and have them laminated at Staples, Kinkos, etc. These side panels will be flexible, and can be easily attached using Velcro or zip ties. This option is also somewhat waterproof, as long as the water does not get in between the layers of laminate. This is probably the cheapest option, and it requires no additional tools besides scissors. (Under $5)
I used this option for making the side panels on my “Space Elevator” Vex robot I made last fall:
- Printed Sticker Paper onto Lexan
Go to your local Home Depot and look in the Windows/Doors area for Lexan, which is also known as polycarbonate. You can usually find some small sheets for $10-$20. You can cut this up, and if you like, you can bend it (using a heat gun) into almost any shape you want. If you go to an office supply store, such as Staples, look in the Paper/Stickers aisle for full-sheet sticker paper. (Such as Avery #3383). This will probably cost you $12-$15 depending on the store. You can then print out the whatever graphics you want onto this sticker paper, cut that out, and stick that onto the Lexan side panels.
Although this is the most expensive option, this is also the “rugged” option. The Lexan won’t ever bend or break, and if you can print out the labels using a Color Laser printer (if you don’t have one, bring whatever graphics you want on a USB stick to a Staples Print Center or a FedEx Kinkos print center, and they can print it out there for a nominal fee.)
You can attach Lexan side panels by drilling a hole through them and bolting them directly to the Vex hardware. (This option will require some tools.)
- Print Directly Onto Thin Plastic Sheets
The last option is a “middle of the road” option. If you go to any local hobby stores, especially ones that have model trains, look there for modeling styrene (plastic) sheets. Many of the thinner ones (you can buy them as thin as 0.005 inches thick) are flexible enough to be able to go through a printer. This way you can print directly onto the plastic sheet. (The water from waterjet printers will run in the rain though.)
Through some experimentation I’ve found that many black and white (I haven’t tried color ones yet) will print out perfectly fine onto plastic sheets, such as the clear transparency sheets for projectors.
This option can cost anywhere from a few dollars and up, depending on how big of a sheet of styrene you purchase. This option may require you to have a straight edge and a hobby knife to cut the styrene. You can then Velcro it as is to the Vex robot, or carefully drill small holes in it and use zip ties to fasten it down.
Finally, you may ask about finding the right graphics. Just remember, Google is your friend. If you look on Google Images for “R2D2” and if you select only Large Images, you can come up with many pictures that you can use. Or if you are good at Photoshop/illustrator/Fireworks or any other image editing program, you can create your own graphics.
i agree we definetlly need a way to custimize our bots, weather its painter bots or plastic skins.
i agree it would be expencive but does anybody know what kind of matirials i could use to protect my bot from dirt and other things
how about putting plastic wrap on it very tight if you cannot laminate?
Do you really need something like this in the Vex kit?
If you’d like to customize your robots, go ahead and do it!
You don’t need the official “customization” kit to do something like this.