Tips for Light Weight Builds

Hi, my team is working on our rebuild. I’m wondering what are some build quality tips to keep robots from getting heavy.

Only build your robot out of standoffs and axels.


Use aluminum parts instead of steel the steel parts are considerably heavier


could you post a pic of your bot both pre rebuild and currently in the rebuilding process. A general tip I’d give is to try to minimize the amount of 3 and 5 wide c channels and instead use 2 wide, halfcuts, and use bracing with halfcuts, standoffs, etc. to make up for spaces needed.

You can also use zip ties instead of screws to help lighten up the robot.


Here is our 3rd robot of the year. I think it’s final weight was around 12.5 or 13 pounds. Here are some of the weight saving methods employed:

  • Thumb Screws- the only legal nylon screw
  • Nylon nuts- you are still allowed to use nylon nuts
  • 1x1 L channels- Really useful for not overbuilding mechanisms
  • Aluminum Standoffs instead of screws and spacers- lighter, just make sure to use loctite.
  • Zip tie bearings on drive
  • Right length of screws everywhere
  • BUILDING SMALL- too often I see robots on the 18 by 18 limit. In most games, a smaller robot is better for maneuverability. This robot is 25 wide, which helps with low goal navigation
  • All Aluminum C channels and L channels- this one is pretty obvious
  • NOT OVERBUILT- If applicable, you could use lexan for mechanisms. You don’t need to cover your robot in useless material.
  • One tank- we use our 3 shot power system on this robot, but we only use 1 tank because we conserve our air in match.

Wow, is that a front-shooting catapult robot? First one I’ve ever seen.

On the topic of weight reduction:

  • Use aluminum 3-wide c-channels.
  • Simplify your robot design so that no unnecessary weight is added.
  • Standoffs save a lot of weight when in large amounts.
  • Polycarbonate components are useful, but be mindful of the polycarb limit.
  • 1 pneumatic tank only (they weigh a lot)

EZPZ3 has an amazing front shooting cata, averages 25 in the high goal every match alone.

But I must differ from your statement, aluminum 3 wides are nearly double the weight of aluminum 2 wides. I would suggest building a drivetrain made out of two wide aluminum c channels.

This is a pretty light, very rigid drivetrain made from two wides.


It depends on your bot- they don’t weigh as much as you would think.

3 Wides are almost never needed, I would do 1x1 L channels or 2 wide c channels.

Yes :)) we have built two this year. This is our second:


Pressurize the pneumatic tank w/ helium.



No! Go for Hydrogen! Fire would be a good thing! (lowers the mass even further)


I might be wrong but isn’t this a R11 violation

No. According the Vex Product page their Nylon thumbscrews are legal, R11 only covers non-vex parts. This part is made my Vex and had the VRC legal tag.