RobotMesh Studio with New Chrome Versions

Hello VEX Forums,

I’m new to VEX and am trying to figure out RobotMesh Studio. From the videos I’ve watched online, it seems to be an excellent choice both for programming and modeling/simulation. However, it appears that I’ve run into an issue with it I am unable to figure out.

The option to create a V5 Mimic project is missing from the menu, and when I try to create a Metal Mimic project, I’m told that V5 Mimics requires Chrome v68 or later. I’m running on the most up-to-date version of Chrome, v94, and looking at the article further explaining why v68+ is required, I learned that it’s because V5 Mimics requires SharedArrayBuffer and Atomics.

Looking further into this, it appears that there has recently been a change in how Chrome handles these standards, web pages are now cross-origin isolated as of v92. Now, I have no idea what that means other than it may have potentially broken RobotMesh Studio, which is why I’m posting here and asking for assistance.

Is my only option to use an older version of Chrome without cross-origin isolation (I tried using Edge, the same issue occurred)? Does RobotMesh Studio need to be updated to meet these new Chrome standards?

Any and all help is appreciated, I’m looking at RobotMesh Studio mostly for its modeling and simulation capabilities, so if anyone has any alternatives they can recommend, that would also be really helpful. I have experience with Fusion 360 and have attempted to model robots in it but this is usually quite a time-consuming task, hence I’m looking for solutions more aimed towards ease of building VEX robots.

Thank you for your time and assistance,

-William

There is an excellent parts library and part modifier add-in that is absolutely life-saving for modeling with fusion 360.

VEX CAD Fusion 360 Parts Library Release Log

People also say inventor is very good too.

Here is a pdf made by @kmmohn about the different types of CAD.
CAD for VEX Robotics (2).pdf (300.8 KB)

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First off, thanks for the quick response, I really appreciate it.

I already have a parts library for VEX set up in my team’s Fusion Drive, probably the same parts as you directed to. Modeling each piece would be an immense challenge, I wouldn’t even know how to start going about that. The challenge I’m referring to is that it’s not all that easy to assemble these pieces; most of my experience with Fusion 360 is CAD design for 3D printing, which (very sadly) is not allowed in VEX competitions (at least the one I’m in). Using joints and assemblies, this process is improved (I modeled a super clawbot from the directions in Fusion 360, it took a few hours), but I was hoping for a modeling system more focused on VEX and making it easy to snap parts together and connect them with screws. I understand these may be unrealistic expectations, is modeling with Fusion 360 and the parts library already about as easy as it gets?

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So The parts library I use ( the one I linked) has little sketch points in the middle of all of the holes on the c-channels, that make it really easy to joint them together- you don’t have to worry about clicking on the edges or anything like that. With screws, gears, and all of those, you don’t need sketch points because you can just click on the circular holes.

There are also a lot of good libraries for autodesk inventor, which also has a student license version. Lots of people use that, and say that it is very good, too.

If you are looking for something that is focused on vex, you could always wait until the download version of this is ready:

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Alright, I’ll try the library you’ve recommended over the one I’m currently using. It probably has some parts mine is missing as well. Protobot Beta looks like it has a lot of potential, I’ll have to see what happens with it in the future, I tried out the web demo and it seems like pretty good modeling software. Thanks for your help! Maybe if someone from RobotMesh sees this they’re able to help out with the Chrome issue. Have a great day/night! I’ll post again if I have any questions, I really appreciate your time spent helping out.

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Most of my students would tell you that SolidWorks is easier to use than Fusion 360. The only time they use Fusion or Inventor is for an online challenge, and even there, they model their stuff in SolidWorks first, then re-model it for the online challenge submission.

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I’ve never tried SolidWorks, I have a few years of experience in Fusion 360 which is why I decided to go with it for VEX modeling. SolidWorks also requires a grant for the education version, which I’m not sure how to go about getting, although I don’t think it would be too difficult if I were to look further into it. Is SolidWorks so substantially easier relating to VEX that it’s worth learning with prior knowledge of Fusion 360, while also giving up the cloud-based aspect and team drive?

The grant for Solidworks is easy to get here (https://www.solidworks.com/product/students), and you’ll find the link (along with other general information about all CAD systems) in this document: CAD for VEX Robotics.pdf - Google Drive
The link on the Solidworks webpage to click looks like this, scroll down 3/4 the page 'til you find the “play to win” section:
image

The grant is good for 2 years at a time, and we just re-upped our grant for 60 seats.

No professional-quality CAD software is “easy” to learn: that’s why community colleges have 2-year degree programs in mechanical design! But robotics students are both smart and determined, and the skills needed to build pre-made parts into assemblies are not as difficult as the initial part modeling. I think students are well served to learn several CAD packages, since so many are available free for educational use. Autodesk products have the advantage of being entry-level software with lots of support in the VEX forums, while SolidWorks is a high-end package with significantly more capabilities for those looking to explore them, but is also available free on the sponsorship even though it costs 5X the cost of Inventor.

If this is really important, then consider OnShape. OnShape was developed by the original owners of SolidWorks after Dassalt (who owns Catia) bought rights to SolidWorks. They went on to develop OnShape, which, although a high-end package resembling SolidWorks, can even run on a Chromebook because the actual processing takes place on the OnShape servers.

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The RobotMesh mimic is a fantastic idea. Build a robot in a CAD-like environment, and then program it. It should be a great way to get started with CAD and programming together.

We tried that. In practice, creating mimics turned out to be too cumbersome and time-consuming for students. The mimic editing UI wasn’t that easy to use, and it had some quirks. So it didn’t turn out to be a good tool for introducing CAD.

It was, however, a great tool for creating programming lessons. Someone with a lot of patience could build a robot mimic, with a lift, and simulate driving it in autonomous mode or driver control. Once you had a good mimic, you could use it in a bunch of sample programs.

However, about a year ago, the mimic environment changed drastically. It seemed like they tried to simplify the geometry of all the parts. I’m guessing that they did this to get better performance on Chromebooks. To make matters worse, it was no longer possible to edit any existing mimics. There wasn’t any official explanation for this change (that I know of), but it did happen at the peak of the pandemic when everyone was short-staffed.

VEXcodeVR has since been released. It is polished and professional-looking. VEX is putting a lot of resources behind it, and they keep adding educational content, like STEM Labs for coding, and more sample programs. But it still lacks some key features that were in RobotMesh. VR has one predefined robot that you can’t change, but if you’re not trying to learn CAD with it, then that’s fine. However, the VR robot does not have a lift, and that’s one of the first things that a competition team will need to learn to program. They will also need to learn how to program a controller and simulate driver control. Maybe those features will be added to VR soon.

My students are mostly in middle school, and I’ve been trying to get them interested in CAD for a while, without much success (so far). I don’t have a background in CAD, but I brought in robotics alumni that use CAD on the job. Although they were very passionate about SolidWorks, or Inventor, it didn’t rub off on the kids. The main problem has been getting started, specifically, getting the software on machines. Autodesk and DS have educational licenses, that are not too difficult to get, but the installation is not for kids.

This year I’m going to try out Onshape. No install. YES! It even runs on my phone. My main concern with Onshape is that there doesn’t seem to be much community support for it. I’m hoping that will change with time.

Here is a video training series that I’m working on for VEX with Onshape. Please take a look, and let me know what you think: CAD Training with Onshape for VEX Robotics - YouTube

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