Next year we may be mentoring some Vex teams at our local middle school. Obviously we have a ton of great ideas for the new game, but none of them are great for sixth graders who know nothing about Vex, who we would be mentoring. A holonomic drive with a double inverted four bar, eight bar, or scissor life and pneumatic claws on the end sound amazing to us. But, most of those things would be to complicated for the kids. We have to spend a bunch of the season teaching them basics, so there’s limited time to build complicated bots. We were wondering if you guys had any ideas for somewhat basic robots that could perform decently (at a local tournament, nothing high level)?
Somewhat simple Skyrise robot ideas, for sixth graders new to Vex?
I would focus on the skirise sections. just make a six bar and attach the vex claw to it and your ready to go.
Why not build a pushbot? In fact one of my team’s bots back in our rookie times-- sack attack, was a chassis bot. Slam five high speed motors on each sides and you are free to push whoever you want to push. It is a lot of fun for beginners and easy to drive, as long as you can identify which opponent is better… But this year things are different with the 3 foam tiles of absolutely safe spot.
Disclaimer: not saying that pushbot is ideal for this year’s games, or that it is the only option for you. Just a easier and lower-standard way to approach the competition.
I agree with Max-D on this. A claw should even get picked at most Ill and WI tournaments. After they get some more experience throughout the year then maybe you can have them build a H drive.
A simple enough six-bar or chain bar with a claw on the end with a 30-inch lift would do pretty well - it could stack three Skyrise sections and score four cubes on it, plus the four low posts. That’s a max score of 48 points, not counting any floor goals or an support/defense that the bot can play. It’s also easy enough to do that kind of thing with even just one motor on the arm (it will need to be a chain-bar with aluminum and gearing at about 1.6:15 or something like that, but it’s doable) and one for the claw, allowing for an eight-motor drivetrain. Make it an eight-motor X-drive and you have a maneuverable platform that’s quick, agile, and strong at the same time, and yeat a competent scorer.
Assuming you had 10 motors,
Id make a robot with an 8 motor drive train, omnis on the front and back, traction in the middle. Three of the 4 sides would be fold out walls which rotate out if the robot moves slightly. Then add a back dump fork lift that can dump as many cubes of the opposing alliance into the robot. If you get the angles right, you can at least build the scoop to score on the low post and floor goal, but with the superhoarding ability, you can be a great defense bot, for more than half of the alliance game pieces are located in the center of the field, and you can spend the rest of the time, keeping game pieces away from the opponent.
Besides, a push bot/hoarding bot is pretty close to battle bots.
I actually have helped mentor a elementary school VEX team before. Just like your situation in my first year mentoring them which was in Sack Attack, we spent most of the season teaching them the basics such as programming and building. They did pretty well with a robot that just scooped the sacks up and dropped it in. This year their robot was a bit more intricate and were similar to many of the normal toss up robot with the side roller intake that could pick up the big ball and bucky balls and score.
With that being said we made sure they focused on the MAIN objective of each game and to do what was need in order to just score points so that when they go to competitions they can at least have fun seeing their robot function and score some points and maybe even eliminations. I suggest that you make sure you get the kids to read all of the rules and possibly give them a small quiz on it before or while you are building so that they know what they can and can not do. For this game I have been already thinking just like you, making a robot with all the bells and whistles. But building a robot for younger ones like you said has to be simple. Try to let them come up with the ideas and design and maybe “guide” them in the direction of a successful robot. I would say just focus in trying to pick up the cubes and placing them on the short goals first and maybe later focus on building the skyrise, or the other way around.
VEX IQ would be a more appropriate option for sixth graders. The new Highrise game for VEX IQ is much more manageable for kids that age, and requires less time, experience, and money to build. VEX IQ is also designed for kids in elementary school, up to grade 7, so they will have much higher chances of building a successful robot, and gain experience to use the high school VEX in later years.
We have lots of luck with 6th graders and are some of our most enthusiastic learners (when they still listen I guess). They’ve had two years of FLL in our club (maybe we will switch to IQ one of these days - maybe a trade in program??)
We’re currently teaching our spring classes and some of our sixth graders are taking the line following class. We teach proportional drive, graphing/visualization/logging techniques, wheels speed control, and line follower control of course. PID is on the agenda but I am not sure we’ll get to it. Kicking it up a notch making better programmers!
Anyway, one of our sixth graders is in the lead on their maze follower. So don’t underestimate their abilities.
Our sixth grade teams all got six bars down with the help of the older kids. It’s a year of learning in 6th grade so lots of rebuilding and learning what works. I don’t expect them to build a full scissor lift or get to 48" off the ground but they should be able to put in sky rise sections, move cubes, and get them on the low posts at a minimum.
(We would have added gyros to the class but apparently they’re still out of stock.)
How about a 6 motor tank drive with a 2 motor 6 bar lift with a rotating claw so they can handle the skyrise sections and the objects semi efficiently? Shouldn’t be too hard (though the first few weeks with vex is always hard) and it would probably do pretty well also. See where they want to go as a team from there. Thats basically how our team got started last year and we went a long way in one school year.
Though I will note, what our team did that I thought was very educational was our mentor had a team meeting at the beginning of the year where he explained all the different types of lifts and drives and sketched them and then let us problem solve and choose as a team which one we thought was best. He then had us problem solve how we wanted to pick up objects and sort of lead us to the typical sideroller intake for toss up. But since skyrise is cubes, it would be a claw.
Hope it goes well!