Okay, so hear me out.
I’m in VEXU, and I want to build a robot. I realize that there is an enormous freedom when competing, as 3D printing and CNCing metal is completely legal. As such, I decided to buy my own 3D printer for myself, an Ender 3 for $180 (and you can get the printers for as low as $100 when they are on sale at the Micro Center and other stores). I get myself some nice filament (PLA+) for $25 and I start printing. I get everything working very well to a point where I can start making good prints.
I needed a hinge. But I realized I did not need to buy any hinges from the VEX website, as I could 3d print my own and it would be equally as strong but more compact. With my handy cost estimator, I only spent 50 cents for that print, as compared to buying hinges with $10 for 2. I realized some of my mechanisms required 45 degree angle gussets. Yet again, I realized that I could 3D print my own for 10 cents a pop as compared to buying some from the VEX website. And these patterns go on…
This $180 3D printer, although is $180, pays itself off very very quickly. I not only save money for my team, but I also learn life skills that carry on beyond VEX. I would like to emphasize, yet again, this $180 3D printer I bought, paid itself off in the long haul and will continue on for years to come. And the same can happen for high school teams. There should be absolutely no reason 3D printing to be illegal in VRC. In this golden age, 3D printers have the capability to earn money, as compared to being a mere deficit and money-draw.
Two years ago, I made a post showing how inexpensive 3D printing is, and as time continues the price for them will continue to drop (which they are super affordable now and can be bought with a couple of days working part-time). That being said, why the living hell did the GDC say no to 3D printing, then:
- Releases the GPS sensor with a price tag of $200
- Make the game manual force teams to spend $500-1500 in pneumatic components to stay competitive at higher-level competition
- Limit the use of older products that still have life in them, and could be passed onto new teams as starting parts
This is not just absurd, but is the antithesis of their motto
I don’t wish to dilly-dally with the concept of profitability for VEX or whatever, but when is the stopping point to this nonsense?