Ok, so we are in our 2nd year w/this VEX IQ thing. We have seen several crazy awesome robots at various competitions. We have all seen the instructions on the VEX website, however is there a place that contains blueprints of these “off script” robots? Or are these kids simply designing them on their own w/nothing in front of them?
Thanks for the help!
For the most part they are designing their own.
Many competition robots follow standard forms. They aren’t parts dreamed up by the students from nothing. It is a drive base with a lift mechanism with an actuator. Each one of these things is chosen from a list of “things that work well”. Your kids can learn these building blocks over time. The Vex IQ and Vex curriculum have examples of many of these mechanisms and ideas about how to teach them. You can find build videos on youtube from Vex teams on common mechanisms. The “off script robot” you’re looking at might be an H drive base with a scissor lift that used a conveyor belt to lift rings. Look at stretch, which is a 3 bar variation of a standard 4 bar lift – you’d be better off using an actual 4 bar lift, imo. Once your kids have built and played with 2 and 4 bar lifts, they’ll be able to consider them as options for next year’s challenge. Then they see a 6 bar lift on a Vex robot, and the concept will immediately be clear.
I saw a video on YouTube of a VEX IQ “Revolver Robot” design. Most awesome thing I’ve seen so far and been searching for some design instruction ever since. Wouldn’t even know where/how to start to build this! Our first-year team just qualified for the World Championship next month, but with our own “modified Clawbot” design we wouldn’t stand a chance competing against anything like this.
There are many awesome robots about. Lots borrow design ideas from one another.
Going to Worlds with a modified Clawbot/Stretch is still really worthwhile. You won’t come back World Champs but use it to spend the time talking with other teams about their design process and how they build robots. Use there advice and support to make your robot as awesome as you can whilst you are there - these could be basic changes to physical parts or code that dramatically increase your scoring.
You won’t be World Champs but you might just come back with an award!
I coached a team of 1st timer primary school kids using a Stretch robot. We spent an hour running a few matches and identifying the issues and two hours later they have added a few structural parts to help them line up to the uniform rings and a few buts of code to help the take the rings off the peg and line up for the posts.
Simple but more than doubled their average.
Thanks for the advice, calvc01. That makes me feel at least a little bit better.
Our team managed to score 2 STEM Research awards, 1 Robot Skills award, 3 Teamwork Champion awards and 1 Excellence Award in their local and State competitions so far, so they’re not “used to losing”. They qualified for the World Championship with that 2nd STEM and the 3rd Teamwork award and a WHOLE LOT of sheer luck at the State competition. Are they ready for Worlds? Not by a long shot and I’m just worried that, if they get “pounded” by the competition at the Worlds event, it might discourage them from staying in the program next year. Hard enough to keep them motivated when things just don’t want to work out (our autonomous program worked flawlessly during practice, but NOT EVEN ONCE at the State competition), so we’re just looking for options to give them a better chance…aside from relying on our STEM project to maybe be good enough for the World competition too.
The great thing about IQ is that you never play against anyone. As such, they need to forget the fact that they have won a few events and approach Worlds as being the best Alliance Partner that they can be. Go talk to your Alliance will in advance of your matches, practice together if you can. Formulate a strategy and stick to it in the match. Make lots of friends and learn loads!
Don’t forget, there will be some teams at worlds who are more novice than your kids, so at some point they’ll need to be big brother/sister to their partners.