Rookie Team Questions


Maybe we shouldn’t give engineering students too much free time, or they find ways to fill it up.

Our organization is returning to the VEX HS Robotics Competition after a 3 season hiatus. We had some questions on restarting our team.

  1. What extra parts should we order?
    a. Our organization already has lots of old Cortex parts made of steel (we are associated with a PLTW school) and has some newer V5 electronics. We have very few aluminum parts (6 2 by 35 C-channels). Our team is looking for guidance on what structural parts we should look at ordering. We also were curious about when to use gussets/whether we should order any gussets. Are gussets only used when parts don’t seem to hold themselves square after breaking, or when?
    b. Another related question to this is are there any Cortex parts that we should not use in competition? We are aware that we cannot use the Cortex microcontroller, MC29, motors, servos, really old three wire motors, and/or flashlight. Are there any other parts (especially structural parts) that we might have missed and aren’t clearly brought up in the game manual section on (dis)allowed cortex parts that an older organization may have accumulated that we should mark down to not use? Specifically, are the old turntable bearings legal for competition use (we could only find v2 of the part on the website)?

  2. How do teams begin/style their notebook?
    a. We looked at the 515R notebook that was posted on the forum recently, and have also looked through the judges rubric and notebook template on, but we aren’t sure where to get started as a rookie group of robotics students.
    b. Our team has already begun writing notebook entries in a google doc, but we aren’t sure whether to continue with our current notebook format or change over to the published ones.

  3. CAD Libraries?
    Our school taught us Fusion 360 and Autodesk Inventor, so we are comfortable using CAD software. For our team, we believed that using Fusion 360 would be the best method of explaining our ideas and modeling, as we value allowing all of our team members being able to contribute to/view the CAD model. One roadblock that we faced when beginning to model our robot, however was trying to find an updated VEX CAD library specifically for Fusion 360, as it allows for easier collaboration (we already have added field assemblies/game pieces from this year). Alternatively, do any teams use a 3rd party app to help with sharing Inventor files/assemblies? We have some past experience (and nightmares) with GrabCAD, but the tool was discontinued earlier this year.

  4. Programming Language(s)
    We noticed a lot of discussion on the different ways VEX robots could be coded including PROS (C++), python VEXCode, and blocks VEXCode. Many members of our team have taken AP Computer Science A, and as such have experience with the JAVA programming language. We would prefer to use a text based language and look at all options that we can use before selecting one to code our robot with. Are there any other coding languages/programs that we missed? We are leaning towards python, as our team members have more experience with it over c++, and we heard that many teams in our region prefer to use Python, allowing us to get support at competitions if necessary (2 programmers on the same alliance working together on auto is better than 1).

  5. Are there any considerations that we may have missed as a group of students who are restarting a VEX Robotics Competition High School team (we know the time commitment we are taking — kind of at least)?

We can’t wait to have the chance to compete with other teams, are planning on having a lot of fun participating in the VEX Robotics 2023-2023 Competition Season in Over Under!

I also wanted to add, are there any grants for restarting dormant teams? I am not sure if our team would qualify as a rookie team and the associated grants), as while none of our team members have competed on a VEX team previously, our organization competed in VEX before COVID.

I would contact your RECF Team Engagement Manager who can answer that specific question for your region.