Slapshot - Ben Lipper

I need some input. We just had our first competition of the year and well we competed against half a dozen ben lipper robots. My students get super discouraged seeing. I wont name names but it was a particular organization and all their teams had his robot. that being said I need some help with the follow.

  1. Understanding how this is any different than, an adult designing the robot for the teams or buy one of ebay, or amazon.
  2. What do I say to my kids when they discourage? I try my best and encourage them to keep going but its hard for them. They want to do this themselves but they sometimes see it as a losing battle against ben, not actually competing against the other teams.

Any insight would be appreciate

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If you can’t beat them join them
I’m just kidding. But in all seriousness, you should tell your teams to go back over their loss. Ask questions like: How can I better the mechanisms used on Ben’s bot? How can I better my strategy for more points? Did Ben’s bot have any flaws that I can learn from? What did Ben’s bot do good, and how can I design a mechanism that is even better? As a student in IQ, I felt the same way last year competing against spitfire x1000. Ask them to look for things they can incorporate into their own robots too. Hope this was helpful


You are right. It is thoroughly dishonorable to do such a thing. It is possible to report these teams, if you have their number and evidence they cheated.


Wait thats cheating? Nice! But last year the judges were aware and didn’t do anything about it

There were so many copy-bots at states/worlds that they wouldnt have made any money if they kicked all of them.

There’s an entire thread from last season discussing this same issue, and there’s lots of folks on both sides, and all have good points.

As one example for consideration, there are at least two builds on the forums here for VRC that are relatively competitive and have full BOMs, build instructions, and I believe starting programs. Very few people seem to have gotten bent out of shape about it.

Personally, my problem with Lipper’s thing is that he’s trying to also get you on a mailing list for whatever reason, in exchange for high-res shots of the bots in question. Couple that with IQ age groups being more likely to just copy and not learn when given that much handed to them, and that’s what irks me.

If your kids can be moderately successful with a home-grown build that’s also well-documented, it should put you in a better position for Excellence, especially as the season goes on. And if they’re continuing to learn, they’re going to outgrow the kids that are just waiting on instructions for the next meta build.


It’s a grey area. If the students are identifying it, and working themselves to build it, then it’s not cheating.

If an adult is directing them to require them to build it, or building it and handing it to the kids, then that’s a clear violation of the RECF Code of Conduct.


Thanks for enlightening me

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VRC is completely different in this regard.
It is completely possible to copy a robot entirely hole by hole in vrc and still end up with a much worse outcome than the original bot.
Plus, vrc is much harder to start from scratch in than IQ, and the help is much appreciated.


Agree, and I’m in the camp for VRC that those teams were building community by creating that and releasing it here. Similar to what Caution Tape Robotics does with their videos. It’s benefiting the whole community with no expectation to gain directly from it.


Oh boy.

Here we go again

I’m going to try to not get too involved this time, but I would like to clear up one misconception.

First of all, there is a reveal video of the robot for free on YouTube if you wanted close-ups of the robot.

Second, Ben doesn’t want kids’ email addresses (that’s illegal). This is why it says on his website that you have to be 18 years old to submit your email. The reason he wants coaches emails is so he can invite them to his coach training seminars and meetings so he can help them be the best coaches they can be. He wants to improve the VEX IQ community, and one way he does that is through showing coaches, especially new coaches, what they can do to give their students the best possible experience. Many coaches are, for example, a robotics teacher at a school, and they have no idea how VEX IQ works or how to get started. I understand that VEX provides some of these as well, but that is no reason that Ben can’t do it as well.

The bottom line is, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to sign up.


I also don’t want to rehash this either. I get that Ben is trying to build a community of mentors / coaches that will be able to inspire roboteers.

Not a fan of just cloning robots, but a big fan of taking great ideas and building on them. There isn’t any reason a team can’t take a Lipperbot ™ and make it better. Thats where the coaches may have failed those teams by not enhancing them. Or maybe they did make the bot they saw better (and that’s why they did better?)

@childeater5 had the right idea, look at Ben’s work and make it better.

And remember there are 5,000+ roboteers that are just building the hero bot that was built by an professional engineer (in the they get money for it not that they are a Professional Engineer which is a license thing. My dad was a PE, so slack off on the hate posts)

@engineermike - you are worried about an email? Just think of the info that facepages, amazon, google track about you. An email is just dust in your digital trail. :slight_smile:


Hah, doesn’t bother me, I have throwaway emails for all that! :wink:

I’m not going to keep this thread going any more than what I’ve said here and on that other thread. I think most of us know the general feelings.

As long as the kids are the ones building, they’re not winning Excellence without a worthy notebook, and it’s not a school posting a video of a lab full of kids building to the same professionally made instructions of an advanced bot at the beginning of the season, then it’s part of the process. :slight_smile:


How closely were they followed? I bet half of them were similar, but weren’t the exact same. I doubt many were able to replicate the exact shooter, for example, considering it wasn’t very detailed and it was different from all the other resources you can find.

  1. Ben isn’t designing bots for kids to copy fully, its just a sample of meta mechanisms that teams can use but have to create themselves. It’s like a mentor telling you how a mechanism works, but less detailed. (i seriously doubt you can holecount everything on the bot, I’ve seen the images that you get, they’re not very detailed)
  2. They can either build a better bot (have them watch Ben’s stuff, learn how the mechs work, etc) or get better at driving, auton, scoring points in general). The reason they aren’t doing well isn’t because everyone else is copying a good bot, it’s because everyone else followed the EDP, iterated on a design they found on youtube and made it better.

I’ve joined @Foster on this point.

The only point that I had left was that adults shouldn’t provide competitive models for kids, but the COC that says that has no authority over said adults.

And there’s a need. Many new students really struggle to move on from the hero bots and RECF is only now starting to address that need. Lipper and others wouldn’t be successful if there wasn’t a large need and desire for a little help. He puts out really competitive designs, but he puts out starter bots as well. It’s actually really organized. You don’t think you can try this one, there’s another one right below it that you can actually do.

If the Lipperverse is a problem, the solution is to have 1000 Lippers. Ben’s designs this year are more conservative than the designs he put out in the past, and if that’s intentional I appreciate it. My students are all over the web and some are looking at Ben’s stuff but there is SO much out there that’s it’s just what it is. Ben’s designs may have an outsized influence on the community, but if he stopped there are many that would fill the void. If you see a lot of Lipper bots at a competition maybe you could suggest that they do a little more digging in YouTube, cite their sources, and build better bots.

No matter what is out there, the bar can still be raised by your kids. Even with a perfect design there’s still a LOT to do to be successful at a VEX IQ Competition.


I have to admit I even use a Ben Lipper bot, and it is not that easy to build, you have to make different work around to copy it exactly, Our bot uses a different basket and has a faster drive train. Students still go through the process of designing and rebuilding.


I lead a MS program and almost every team we have is going to have a Lipper bot. But they are not. They looked at the principles of what was built and went off and are building it on their own. Not a single one is peg hole counting and they are learning through trial and error to build something like it. While the teams collaborate, none of them are going to look the same when done. The Lipper Bots are really just an advanced Hero bot that the advanced kids need inspiration from that VEX isn’t giving them.

Peg hole robots aren’t winning Championships, esp in October-November. The kids who put the time to learn in now along the way are going to be the ones who are going to be the most successful in March and April.

I am a PE, so much love to your father.

I have no issue with the Lipper universe and remind you all that while Ben is the voice, Joseph is a solid roboteer in his own right and deserves recognition for his contributions to the community as well.

I do take great exception to the level of robot I see out of many of the teams from China. They are beyond what I would come up with as a Professional Mechanical Engineer with 20 years of machine design experience and am always shocked to see 4th graders driving incredibly complex robots. The playing field is no where near even and it has nothing to do with the Lipper family.


What is a PE?(20 Chatr)

Professional Engineer

To use the PE seal, engineers must complete several steps to ensure their competency.

  • Earn a four-year degree in engineering from an accredited engineering program(link is external)
  • Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Complete four years of progressive engineering experience under a PE
  • Pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam