Unofficial response to [VexEDR Suggestion]: To allow teams to use 3D printed parts

Original Post

I think Karthik would say no. In previous years, up to Skyrise, the GDC set a limit of 10 motors for robots regardless of the use of pneumatics or not. They changed it in NBN to give 2 additional motors to those who didn’t use pneumatics because teams felt the previous rule gave teams who could afford them an advantage over those who couldn’t (aka pay-2-win). Not a lot of mid and high schools can afford 3D printers like colleges can easily, thus 3D printers would also be pay-2-win at this level. The GDC doesn’t want the MS and HS competitions to become P2W, thus I don’t see such a rule implemented anytime soon.

Yeah, 3D printing would be extremely unfair for the lower budget teams out there who can’t afford a 3D printer, especially private teams. The reason VEXU teams can use 3D printers, is that most of the time they are associated with a college, which already has a high end 3D printer.

After I asked this Q&A regarding VEX U and accidentally convinced the GDC to half the 3D printed part allocation for… Skyrise? IDK, anyway a fecal-matter storm erupted in this thread after I may or may not have said “Minecraft is a more innovative learning platform than VEX U” … among other things in the Q&A, which my team for PR reasons removed after I refused to (I gave them my password and told them to do it). But hey I don’t represent any VEX U team anymore.

That was after Paul tried to pitch a completely new take on VEX U (which I unfortunately missed) and everyone seemed to shoot it down (so I heard second hand from a friend).


Good luck with that.

Just wanted to point out that teams were allowed 10 motors and pneumatics in past years, not 12 motors and pneumatics.

Thanks for giving your oppinion, its true that there are a lot of teams who cant afford a 3D printer but in the worlds I saw a lot of teams with one or two. Also in Vex U not all the teams have a 3D printer, ex. In Mexico the 3D printers cost the double comparated with the cost in USA, there are only 3 or 4 teams that use 3D printed parts and this not means that these teams are the national champions in Mexico.
Its like a tool, not all the teams have CNC laser cutters, or cutting machines, a lot of teams do it handmade, not all the teams can cut pieces, actually the teams who has much money to buy more vex parts have advantajes. But that dont means that all the teams who can cut pieces must become the winners.
I think that could be better if all the teams make a vote for the implementation of this kind of rules, the intention isnt affect the other teams. :slight_smile:

Compared to the cost of VEX parts, a 3D printer actually isn’t that much. We bought a 3D printer for under $400, and I think VEX could maybe start selling a VEX 3D printer.

Yeah, the GDC isn’t going to change the rules to allow 3d printed parts in the middle of the year, but maybe next year. It’s going to happen eventually. At the open forum discussion thingy at worlds Paul and Jason said they wanted to do it as soon as 3d printers became common place in every high school IIRC, which seems a little extreme.

Everyone says that having a 3d printer would give too big of an advantage to some teams and disadvantage others, but it’s really not true at all. Just about anything you need you can build with VEX parts usually more quickly and with less hassle than 3D printing. Money is already a HUGE part of VEX; adding 3d printers would hardly affect that.

Once we get to that point, then 3D printing would no longer be considered pay-2-win in my opinion. Right now, it’s too early for that to happen.

Corrected. Thanks for telling me that.

If you think adding 3d printing to VEX today would make it a pay-to-win game, then VEX is already pay-to-win since

some teams buy many times as many motors as they need, test them all, find the best ones, and only use those, while other teams can barely afford 12 motors

some teams build their robots entirely out of aluminum, while others can only afford steel

some teams have the full field kit, tiles, and perimeter, while others can only afford one or two game object kits and have to improvise the field elements and due without a real perimeter

Any of these amounts to the cost of a cheap 3d printer and they have a much greater impact on the performance of a team than a 3d printer would if 3d printed parts were legal.

I agree with @Highwayman
Especially considering the fact that you don’t have to own a 3D printer to have 3d printed parts. Websites like shapeways, sculpteo, etc offer incredibly cheap pricing, and deliver much higher quality as well. Vex is very close to a pay to win game, but isn’t really.

Lets consider: Who does vex?
Answer: People with lots of money. (Arguably)

You’re not going to walk into a random Compton ISD school and expect to see kids building VRC robots, nor will you find that in a homeless shelter. (As much as I would like both of these scenarios to be true)

And the fact that everybody competing even has enough money to compete implies that it’s pretty much fair game.

It’s true that not-as-rich schools do compete in Vex, but that is a very small minority. I’m willing to bet that at least 90% of teams who make it to their states will easily be able to afford shape ways parts and a slightly less minority who can buy full fledged 3D printers.