Unofficial rules

In the new season our team is trying to establish better unofficial rules, from a technical standpoint, for the new freshman. What does the vex forum have to recommend for unofficial robot building rules?

What do you mean by “rules”? Do you want like tips for the build process or actual rules for what you can and can’t do with the robot and parts?

I am also confused by what you mean. Do you mean rules like “Don’t over-tighten your screws.” or something?

@Mr. Vex @NightsRosario tips for build process

  1. Make sure your shafts freely spin - your motors will thank you and you will drive easier
  2. Don’t let the lift gears skip - keep it tight and don’t have too large a distance to the tower
  3. Turbo motors lead to PTC trips unless you use multiple motors and have a lightweight robot
  4. Build first in steel and then go to aluminum to not waste expensive parts
  5. Mechanically couple left/right lift sides with a long shaft. Way easier than programming it


Prove to me (the advisor/coach/mentor) that your plan will work before you cut that nice piece of 5 wide metal. Then show me alternatives before I cut. Having to cut aluminum uselessly just drives me insane!

This is a huge thing. Metal wasting seems so prevalent as we’re in a generally affluent region. I’m captain of the team so I’ll talk to my coach about putting hard limits on this. Thanks so much!

legomstr1… Yeah we still have metal from 4 years ago. I don’t mind cutting on stuff that has already been cut. We have bins of used metal and already cut up. The students don’t like it sometimes but I put a limit on it for sure. I think that metal conservation is key for us since we have 4 teams sharing supplies. It does suck though when you do not clean and have to sort out all the stuff :slight_smile: Sometimes that is a punishment… sort out the bucket of screws. But back to the original… yeah conserving the used stuff for later really help be innovative as well. It forces them to be creative!

That’s why we have the scrap bucket! And as far as screws, we made a complete switch to star screws at the begining of the year, so hopefully they stay all sorted out!

I am not sold yet on the star heads yet plus our inventory of bolts is massive. I would hate to change them out! Maybe down the road though.

@n5vei our school just built a new large engineering lab, so many people joined the robotics class. This ended up working out extremely well as we could pass the old hex screws onto the 40 something new kids and we got new, non-stripped screws:) I was pushing for robertson(square head) screws, but those are much to expensive in the states. The Star heads are good and I have no complaints yet though, if you need any endorsement for the new screws:P

From a programming standpoint, use some method of version control. I like to use github for all of my code, and then at tournaments when I make changes, I save my files with an incrementing number at the end and I sometimes include what round of the tournament I’m in (MarkI_14_QM85.c).

Keep your code organised too. I typically save my autonomuses in a separate file and I have a lot of helper functions that I’ve made over last year add to my primitive library that help me keep my code clean. Stuff like this:

int limit (int num, int limit) {
	return sgn(num)*(abs(num)>limit?limit:abs(num));

is nice to have lying around.

As for regular building “unwritten rules”,

  • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
  • Always use the smallest size screw possible
  • Always put things back in their place and have a system that works for you when it comes to organisation
  • Aluminium, all the time
  • Document your season. It doesn’t have to be an engineering notebook, but on our team, all of our phones are filled with images of each part that we change on the robot.