Vex legal quadcopter for NBN

With VEXU’s unlimited 3d parts and the nature of NBN, has anyone had similar thoughts on a vex legal quadcopter? Previous games would involve intense control, programming and payloads to carry, however a defensive strategy would only involve camping at the opponents high goal. At the end of autonomous and driver control, the “lifting” bonus would be as simple as landing in a specified location, where the partner robot will be. There would still have to be a significant amount of localization and mapping of the field as with any localizing quadcopter, but the control seems a lot more simple compared to other year’s games.

Edit: The quadcopter would need to be encased with grills made out of polycarb or 3d printed for safety and so that balls don’t destroy the blades.

Any thoughts?

When I brought up this idea in a recent thread, I thought it would be unlikely that it would be an effective design in high school VRC, but with 3D printed parts especially, the possibility of a quad copter may actually be an effective strategy, especially defensively. As I have already said, this raises a lot of new rules questions which would need to be cleared up.

My main concern with this design is that the quad copter would not be safe and would therefore break S1. This would be at the discretion of a referee, and the safety of having a quad copter could be controversial.

Another issue is S2. What counts as being outside of the field? There is not a clear definition for the “playing area” that I can find, especially not in the vertical direction.

These are definitely some interesting things to explore along with the design itself.

Couldn’t the quadcopter be knocked out of control by the balls while playing defense? This would become a safety issue.

Potentially, but as long as there are good enough control algorithms and enough power dedicated for correcting for getting hit, I don’t think it would be a problem. Any sorts of spinning blades could be placed inside a casing to avoid being hit by balls directly.

Having a few Quadcopters myself I would never try to shoot a ball from my bot at it, it is shooting the ball way too hard for any 18x18x18 Quadcopter that I know of to take that hit and still be OK. Also you have to think about if it hits one of the propellers…

I wouldn’t be too surprised if it’s not a feasible design, but a couple other people seem to think it’s worth looking into, so you never know. I think the idea of a VEX quadcopter would be cool and is worth exploring, even if it isn’t viable for NBN or even for VRC in general.

I already addressed this problem in my previous post – you could encase the propellers so that balls can’t hit them.

I thought that the height measurement of robots was from the floor up. Like, if a robot flew above 18" (or 15 or 24) then it would have broken the size limit. Am I mistaken about that?

Yes, you are. It has been confirmed that the sizing area of a robot moves with the robot in all axis. Otherwise, most instances of elevation would be illegal.

Another thing going for the quadcopter is if the other team “shoots” you down, it is probably their fault for making you break the rules and therefore they are disqualified… With all of this I might be wrong and is up to the judge…

You could make the argument that if they are trying to shoot into the high goal when they hit you, then their strategy is not intended to make you break the rules, but only to score. Either way, something that can become dangerous in a scenario that would be very likely would probably be unsafe. For the quadcopter to be legal, I believe it would have to maintain control after being hit by a ball.

I think Karthik would want some way for a team to prove that the Quadcopter can’t leave the field (mostly for spectator safety along with driver and ref safety) or at least something that kills power to the motors when it leaves the field or something

So for a quadcopter to work, an 8 inch radius fan would have to spin fast enough to create 4 lbs of lift… How fast would the turbine have to spin in rpms?

every FRC season some one brings up this idea, because in FRC you could just but propellers to add to your bot, and the problems we bring up it 1) what are the benefits (answer: it’s awesome) and 2) does the height limit mean from bottom of bot to top of bot, or from ground to top of bot

There are a few more concerns that should be noted.
3. Safety. This isn’t a game of “How Many Field-Side Volunteers Can We Behead”. Serious safety concerns, and would most likely not be allowed to compete.
4. Weight. Lift a 10lb battery, a couple CIMs, the rest of the electrical system. Good luck…

Somebody on our team spent a lot of time testing this, even with an incredibly high gear ratio and using actual RC helicopter blades at most all we got was a half decent fan. Admittedly this was before turbo gears were a thing, but that would’t make much difference. Everything about a quadcopter is designed with the express purpose of flying, it’s fairly unlikely electrical systems not designed for that purpose would be able to succeed.

I have seen a ton of crazy ideas lately on the forums but this is totally crazy. I have no idea if it would be legal or not, I am assuming that the refs would not accept of this, after all this could be very dangerous.

Every year someone brings this up. But with the vex motors, the casings and gears they come with they don’t have enough torque to lift even their own weight.

Those of you that are serious about this quadcopter thing…please let this sink in. ^^^

It’s fine to have some fun and discuss this…but please realize it is a physical impossibility. Gearing, motor speed, all of that is irrelevant. The motors do not put out enough force to overcome the acceleration of gravity’s affect on the mass of the VEX motor/gearboxes.

It is as if you want to build a pedal bike that you (a human being) can pedal and achieve speeds of 200+ mph. It doesn’t matter how you gear the bike, you will never be able to apply enough force to do it.

well look here, if I were in a vacuum, using magnetic bearings on all my axles, I would only have to apply 1 newton of force, for a few hours or so, and I would be going 200 mph, and I KNOW I can output at least one newton of force

Don’t forget the space suit:) :slight_smile: