Spray Paint Vex Robot???

I was wondering if we’re able to spray paint our vex robot. We’re planning on spraying our vex robot black (only the main structure of the robot), which will be going to the World Championships in Dallas to compete. Soo i just wanted to make sure if its allowed.

As far as I know, spraypainting your robot is allowed - provided that the paint does not serve any other functional purpose - i.e holding 2 parts together with a stronger bond.
We spraypainted some parts of our robot in Atlanta last year, as did others, and the inspectors had no problem with it.

oh ok thanks. i guess black it is.

Make sure you get a spray paint that will stick to metal. IFI will not be happy if they are finding black paint chips all over the field.

At least if that happens we stand at the ready with a Vex solution: https://vexforum.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=2826.

Does someone know where I can buy spray paint that sticks to robots? Can’t find helpful links…
Steve, http://www.fatbuddhastore.com


You will want to prep the metal by cleaning it thoroughly before painting. [http://www.krylon.com/safety/surface-preparation/ This means using a degreaser (detergent and hot water should work – maybe put your metal parts in a dishwasher first?) to remove skin oils, fingerprints, and any slime left over from manufacturing.

I haven’t used Krylon on robots, per se, but it works fine on other metals I’ve painted.

By the way, you probably won’t have much luck spray-painting the aluminum parts. You need to strip off the oxide layer to get a good paint surface, and aluminum will quickly re-oxidize. I haven’t tried it with aluminum so do some research first.](http://www.krylon.com/safety/surface-preparation/ This means using a degreaser (detergent and hot water should work – maybe put your metal parts in a dishwasher first?) to remove skin oils, fingerprints, and any slime left over from manufacturing.)

If you have access to a powder coating system (like this one), that is a first-class way to paint metal parts.

I’ve powder coated a few Vex parts and they come out great. You get a thick glossy coating that holds up to the Keps nuts much better than spray paint. (You can get the powder in a wide variety of colors and finishes from other sources.)


  • Dean

You also could anodize the aluminum parts. Ive done this to other things before. It’s easy to do if you have a DC powersource, and there’s plenty of how-to sites for it. If i try it myself I’ll post pics.

I don’t think you can anodize steel which is what most of VEX is. You could spend the extra money and buy the aluminum parts but that would get very costly very fast.

You cannot anodize steel. Somebody mentioned aluminum above and i was commenting on that. I see alot more teams that have at least one aluminum kit these days though.

Now, uh, I may be mistaken, but isn’t powder coating rather expensive? Besides… spraypaint is far easier to remove if you ever wanted to reuse the parts and not have them black (or whatever color the case may be)?

although on a completely random note, it may be cool to electroplate the metal parts. I’ve done this with gatorade and 93 volts… just attach the negative wire to the piece, drop in the gatorade (clear works best due to lack of dye), keep the positive wire in the gatorade but away from the negative wire or the metal piece, and drop in the metal you want to coat it with, making sure that they don’t make contact.

please note that this gets super hot super fast. Don’t leave unattended. Oh, and lots of bubbles are normal. The electrolyte is just ionizing. Now, the gatorade may turn neon yellow and/or dark green-black. Still normal. I must emphasize: DO NOT drink the gatorade afterwards.

Actually, once you’ve got the system, the paint is a bit cheaper. This is why many industrial metal painting operations are switching over to powder coating.

The powder, at $5/jug will cover quite a lot of area. And because it is powder, you can collect the overspray and reuse it if you are careful. A powder sprayer isn’t even very expensive ($70 for the one I linked to above). The only expensive part is the oven you use to set the powder, but some schools and other public access shops have this equipment available for use.

Actually, I think this is a selling point of powder. Regular spray paint will easily chip and scratch off the VEX metal parts during normal usage. Powder paint is much tougher and will look much better far longer.

Having used both powder paint and spray paint on parts, I can say that I will almost never use spray paint again. But you should certainly go with whatever you prefer - thats the beauty of building it yourself :wink:


  • Dean

There you go. Gild your robot with a chemical reaction or two and a 9 volt battery! :smiley:

acTUALLY, that might work fairly well, gut it’d be hard to do to an assembled robot.

well, so long as it’s just a basic chassis construction with just metal plates and bolts and nuts it wouldn’t be that hard… (and of course…no electronic parts… )

it would take a bigger container (a five gallon bucket may work well) and a lot of gatorade. But you CAN reuse the stuff. But then you run the risk of accidentally fuzing/freezing the bolts in place.
but i think if you just plate the pieces before hand, it wouldn’t be that much of a problem…

just do NOT use salt water. It corrodes most metals… I’m not sure if this is the case with the Vex metal, but i wouldn’t want to risk it, because it takes about two hours to get a good coating…