VEX IQ 2022 Slapshot - Purple Dispenser Shafts?

This may have been already covered but I could not find it. Seeing a lot of post regarding the VEX IQ 2022-23 Slapshot purple dispenser yellow shaft breaking and/or twisting. I could not find a replacement part for the yellow shaft. Is Vex offering a pack of these yellow shafts (don’t want to buy $109 field kits to replace 1 intentional break point). Our league has already had 2 break, and we have competitions starting up.

Also - what are other leagues doing to help ensure competitions run smoothly)? Are they purchasing a spare field kit to quickly swap out broken dispensers? Having built several field kits; repairing a dispenser during a meet will not work well.

Thoughts? Options to buy the yellow plastic shaft on the purple dispenser (I think part #228-3449-079 and also the short ratchet shaft #228-3449-078).

This may have been covered with apologies - I am reading a lot of “broke 3 shafts in 1 week” comments. Competition coming up for our league, and a tournament later. We don’t want hiccups during the meet with broken elements.

Try replacing it with a metal shaft, there is caped metal shafts you may buy those.

Sharky_do, thanks - but looking over the manual and the forum they specifically state only use the yellow plastic shafts. Would “love to” replace with metal shafts; but need to keep the competition fields compliant. Thoughts?

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Also, there are threads that have already been posted about this topic, as well as answers in the Q&A

Thanks - I’ve read the forums (most frustrated and requesting to be able to purchase the axle in bulk or the purple dispenser separate from the field kits to keep cost effective). Do you have a link to the answer you could share (and thanks).

Will the GDC allow Event Partners to substitute a Steel Shaft for failed plastic shafts in the Purple Dispenser : Robot Events,

you can temporary replacement if and only if care has been taken to ensure that the underlying assembly has been fixed.

If it keeps on breaking use a metal shaft, and fix it later.

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If it is for practicing, use metal shafts
However, if you are planning to host competitions, use plastic(because metal shafts are illegal, etc.)

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Thank you for that info! Will share. Still would like to be able to purchase a spare purple dispenser (ready to swap and no downtime) and additional yellow shafts. From the info, only in a emergency during an event can swap for a metal if no other yellow shafts available. Having built several field kits; won’t have the time during a meet/tournament to replace a live field on the fly. Has Vex offered a spare purple dispenser as a spare (and have they offered to sell a bag of yellow shafts)? I can repair a purple dispenser between meets, but won’t have the time to replace during a meet (downtime, delay, etc.) And looking over the forum, the yellow shaft breaks often - even under normal use.

The shaft does not have to be yellow, it can be black or any other color, Nowadays many vex teams stopped using the plastic shafts you can maybe ask in your area for some.

Thank you both (color did not matter; staying legal and compliant did). We’ll probably bring spare dispenser from practice field to quickly swap (for now); looking for a better solution from Vex for spare parts (shafts), individual dispensers (I’m sure other dispensers will wear out). Prefer not to buy separate entire kit for a single dispenser issue. Head of our Vex IQ may have a solution from Vex. She was asked to contact Rob Smith directly in Vex Sales. Will update with any info and thank both of you!

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This is a bad idea.

Replacing with a metal shaft won’t fix the problem. The plastic shaft is not the problem. The problem is that the arm can’t rotate. If it’s a metal shaft, it will rip out the guts of the gear. The arm still won’t turn, and you might not be aware of the damage that was done. The arm will not preform correctly if the 60 tooth gear has a partially rounded out hole.

This is caused by one of two reasons. One is if the pawl is installed incorrectly on the arm. They made a big deal about that, so it’s probably not the problem.

The problem is most likely the installation of the tower. It’s it’s one hole forward or backward, the arm will fail to cycle. Try it for yourself.

You should see one empty hole between the corner connector and the connection to the tower. This was the source of the failures that we have seen, and now that we are mindful of this we haven’t had any failures.


For us this was not the case. It may vary.

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Do share. What were the reasons for the failures?

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Couldn’t you just use a black plastic shaft to replace it?

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I just saw a post in the Indiana Coach’s FB group where this was actually the cause (incorrect pawl placement) of a tower breaking. They had one pawl correctly installed, but not the other.

I think the purple tower build instructions need a giant warning banner to carefully check all placements to prevent breaking.

But also, making a set of plastic shafts available for purchase for replacing would be ideal.


Yes, we replaced it with one of the identical black shafts.


Our pawls and builds were correct; (verified with instructions and your pic); we have 3 broken yellow shafts; doubt all 3 were spun wrong way. An update from earlier; our head was asked to contact sales. They requested proof of what broke. In all 3 dispensers yellow axle.

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Can you reproduce the problem? Was the placement of the top checked in real time? Remember, the plastic shaft is the symptom, not the problem. It is failing because of some other reason in the dispenser.

I have half a dozen dispensers that get dumped dozens of times per day with students. When the arms get stuck, the problem is always the placement of the top. We never have a problem otherwise. Did you try it for yourself?

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Have not replicated myself (my goal not to break stuff). I followed the instructions each time and when built I was able to spin freely the right direction and spinning arm dispensed pucks as expected. I did not try high speed; and did not force backwards as the ratchet would stop. Not sure how to insert pic via iPhone (not normal controls and rookie in posting). Rotating yellow arm had no catches (made sure proper holes on orange hooks. Top assembly matches the pics and no sticking spots. Nothing to cause shaft to torque and break (unless someone intentionally spun all 3 reverse and doubt that (coaches and managers with kids at all times snd was stressed to coaches about how fragile purple dispensers were after reading vex forum issues and I believe regional manager warned area directors (?). Does seem from all the forum posts that the purple dispenser was poorly designed when you take into account kids are under a 1 minute timeline to get max points with a fragile piece of equipment prone to break easily. Seems like it would have been better to skip the ratchet lock and eliminate the two posts behind the pucks. If kids spun the wrong way pucks would have fallen out the back and would have not broke the shaft. Hoping Vex will offer a bag of yellow shafts and also ability to buy individual dispenser sets (wouldn’t be surprised if yellow dispensers wear out towards end of season on slide tray.

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Spinning the wheel backwards would not twist the shaft that is broken in your picture as it is caught by the pawl. It’s just stopped from moving. Maybe it would damage something else, but it would not damage the yellow shaft in your picture.

What I would ask is this:

  1. Instruct your kids to note if the arm stops rotating when the purple wheel keeps spinning.
  2. Tell them to stop everything and not touch anything at all. The plastic yellow arm can withstand some tension.
  3. Note the position of the basket on the tower.

I will 99% guarantee you that it’s in the wrong place. I do encourage you to try it. Getting it stuck will not damage the tower unless you over rotate it a lot. If I have time I’ll post a video today. If the kids take off the tower before you get there, you will never know if it was misplaced. I check my room from time to time and still find them misplaced from time to time. I’m convinced that trolls come in at night at this point…

And please remember, the yellow shaft is the symptom. Find the problem and let us know what you found! You said this was not the case, what was it in your case? Please share to help us diagnose these problems to help the community at large.