Setting up a solo/independent team

So I had my first ever year of vex in tipping point, and it was one of the best experiences every even though I didn’t get to go to worlds since school wouldn’t let me.

However, school doesn’t let me do vex this year (context I’m yr13 in the UK (I think equivalent to senior) and school would rather I concentrate on exams) and I would really love to keep doing vex since it was such a great experience, and I also want an opportunity to go to irl worlds, since this would most likely be my last opportunity as VEXU is quite small in the UK.

What I want to ask is if there is any advice in setting up an independent team, mostly stuff like finding funding and sponsorships and grants etc, like what do I do, do I just email a bunch of businesses? What do I include in the email? Do I send emails everywhere or just some?

Also are there any good resources to learn to program for vex, since I was the builder and driver, the only skill that I lack is programming which would be important if I want to make a solo team (or I could ask a friend to join, but again yr13 important exams)


Hello im yr10-yr11 next year in a british school like you and i clearly recomend to try and urge a friend to compete with you as if your alone it will be 10-20 x harder (i know this for personal experience)

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I mean I have experience doing competitions alone (one comp none of my teammates could attend, and I was also alone first day of nats cus my teammates were doing their physics mock) so I know I can handle competitions alone, but the part I’d probably struggle with is programming. I did the majority of the building and driving myself

Start easy with VEX block coding. It’s really simple, but still can do a lot with it.
You can look at the examples they provide for help.

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try to use vex v5
if you use c++ is 20 times harder than vex v5
its just like scratch

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For further reference, and to clear things up: VEX V5 is the platform (i.e. the hardware that your code runs on.) You probably meant VEXcode V5.


For further reference, to clear things up, there are to apps created by VEX that can be used to program the V5 brain: VEXcode V5 and VEXcode Pro V5. VEXcode V5 supports Blocks, C++, and Python, and is available on the Google Play Store, and probably for Windows, Mac, and Linux. VEXcode Pro V5 supports (I’m pretty sure) only C++, but has several nice features, including dark mode and the ability to put code in different files, so it’s not all on one page, but is only supported for Windows and Mac.

What @AndorranFalcon meant was that you should use Blocks, supported only on VEXcode V5, since C++ is (in his opinion) 20 times harder. In my opinion, Blocks are ugly, difficult to use, and miserably uncustomizable, and C++ is 20 times easier. However, you, as someone who has not programmed off and on for 5 years, would probably agree more with @AndorranFalcon. If you want to learn Python, which is much easier than C++ and provides an excellent starting point for learning to code, I reccomend you start working through this book and programming on this website. It’s worth it, and now is a great time to start (assuming the UK also has summer break).


I’ll take a look at those, thank you a lot

Yeah we have summer break too.

I also have a friend who might help me with the programming without officially joining the team, but it’s still worth learning to program myself in case I need to fix something on the fly


You may want to be careful about having people program for your team who are not members of your team. It’s probably better to just have him join your team but not be there most of the time and/or only program than to have him program as a non-team-member.


what difference does that make? what do i need to be careful around?

I’m not exactly certain, but it seems like the team should be (and might be required to be) the one programming the robot. I’m not sure there are rules against student-age people not in VEX programming for teams, but it seems like it’d be easier to just add him to your team than risk some punishment for having a non-team-member doing team work.


As long as they aren’t on another team at the same time, it should be fine

In my opinion, as far as VEX and the RECF are concerned, your programmer might be part of the team, and would need to be someone who VEX would allow to be a team member (and might need to be mentioned as if he was part of the team in interviews), but for other purposes (like for the school or for his personal level of obligation to the team), he wouldn’t need to be counted as part of the team.


hes in the same year as me, so thats no issue, he might end up joining the team anyway, except he might not come to every competition

You might as well just add him officially, not? As far as I can tell, there’s no reason not to, and you could avoid some misunderstanding or confusion with judges. So what if he doesn’t come to competitions or meets, there are plenty of people on the forum complaining about lazy team members. (He’s not even being lazy.)


What does it mean to add them officially? Do I just include them in my engineering notebook or something?

And yeah I’m probably gonna get them to join officially

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I don’t think there’s actually any official list of team members or something; I just meant treat them like a team member and refer to them as if they are a team member and write down their coding in the notebook as if they are a team member and so on. It just seems a little weird if you go to a competition and the judges say, “How does your code work?” and you say, “I don’t know; the person who does my programming isn’t a team member so he isn’t here.” It seems a little nicer to say, “I don’t know and my programmer isn’t here today.” So basically just act like they’re a team member, and I’m pretty sure it’s fine.


Instead, why don’t you know at least the basics of the code? Although the judges will be understanding that they are not there in attendance, I think that they would be more impressed with a non-coder fielding basic programming questions. This would also allow you to better troubleshoot and debug code in the fly when they are not there to help you.


if he wanted to learn a simpler way he could use robot mesh studio it works fine and it is beginner friendly

G6> The Robot must represent the skill level of the Team. Each Team must include Drive Team
Members, Programmer(s), Designer(s), and Builder(s). No Student may fulfill any of these roles for more
than one VEX Robotics Competition Team in a given competition season. Students may have more
than one role on the Team, e.g. the Designer may also be the Builder, the Programmer and a Drive Team
a. Team members may move from one Team to another for non-strategic reasons outside of the
Team’s control.
i. Examples of permissible moves may include, but are not limited to, illness, changing schools,
conflicts within a Team, or combining / splitting Teams.
ii. Examples of strategic moves in violation of this rule may include, but are not limited to, one
Programmer “switching” Teams in order to write the same program for multiple Robots, or one
Student writing the Engineering Notebook for multiple Teams.
iii. If a Student leaves a Team to join another Team, G6> still applies to the Students remaining on
the previous Team. For example, if a Programmer leaves a Team, then that Team’s Robot must
still represent the skill level of the Team without that Programmer. One way to accomplish this
would be to ensure that the Programmer teaches or trains a “replacement” Programmer in their
b. When a Team qualifies for a Championship event (e.g., States, Nationals, Worlds, etc) the Students
on the Team attending the Championship event are expected to be the same Students on the Team
that was awarded the spot. Students can be added as support to the Team, but may not be added as
Drivers or Programmers for the Team.
i. An exception is allowed if one (1) Drive Team Member and / or one (1) Programmer on the Team
cannot attend the event. The Team can make a single substitution of a Drive Team Member
or Programmer for the Championship event with another Student, even if that Student has
competed on a different Team. This Student will now be on this new Team and may not substitute
back to the original Team.
Violations of this rule will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, in tandem with the REC Foundation
Student Centered Policy as noted in , and the REC Foundation Code of Conduct as noted in
Event Partners should bear in mind , and use common sense when enforcing this rule. It is not the
intent to punish a Team who may change Team members over the course of a season due to illness,
changing schools, conflicts within a Team, etc. Event Partners and referees are not expected to keep
a roster of any Student who has ever driven for a day. This rule is intended to block any instance of
loaning or sharing Team members for the sole purpose of gaining a competitive advantage.

If he is not your team member, you need to have code at the level of people who are on the team (so he would have to teach you to code, for instance, not do the code for you).

Note - the above is a game manual rule, not a judging rule. Other issues involved with judging related to this.