We are always struggling with this balance. Our schools and teams desperately want new technology (toys to play with) but at the same time we don’t want anyone to think they “need” to buy something to be competitive. This is an especially important thing to consider mid-season.
Obviously if we release a product at the beginning of the season, it should be legal for use.
In my mind, it is also obvious that if we release something right before the World Championship, it should NOT be legal for use.
So what happens if we release something in between? What is the cutoff? This is not so black & white. In my mind, a January release is still acceptable.
As far as implications of this release on existing designs, I don’t believe any of the development effort of these teams was wasted. If they have a working solution – great. If they decide to integrate the new technology into their design, their existing work will certainly help them with this and give them a leg up on their competition. Plus their developments probably served them well at the events they already competed at.
I bent the 1x3 bar to find the best angle it would “sink into” the tooth, so the metal contacts the tooth nearest to where it branches off from the gear. I see what you are saying, as the gear teeth are thin and there are many of them, but it was able to hold back quite a bit of weight. Imagine that you are climbing a tree, if you hold the branch on the part closest to the tree, it can support more weight than if you hold it far out. I’m not willing the break a gear to tell you when it’ll fail, but, it’s a cheap alternative to buying a $15 kit.
If you look closely at the Wench & Pulley Kit photo, you can see that the ratchet is a separate gear that can be used for other purposes as well. The wench can be used without the ratchet and vice-verse.
Like many things in Vex, you can create your own or you can buy the pre-made part. (Why sell 1x25 hole bars when you can buy 5x25 plates and cut them into 1x strips yourself at half the price?)
I personally think these parts are sufficiently different from the other Vex parts to be worthwhile as a kit. I’ll be getting a couple as soon as they go on sale. They’ll be great for classroom demonstrations for a variety of new (actually, very old) mechanisms.
I do think that IFI has done a very good job of putting these type of upgrade kits together, balancing price and contents. Each kit really is unique and self-contained, and the prices are reasonable for incrementally building your collection.
Regardless of whether you plan to get the kit, you can least enjoy the fact that 4’ lengths of nylon chord are now competition legal.
Thanks, John. I think that is a pretty reasonable approach. I know I speak for a lot of teams when I state my appreciation for the work that VEX puts in to keeping the focus of VEX on using your brains rather than your bankbook.
My initial response was, “oh my, that completely changes the “hanging” aspect of the game”. Teams that built winning robots over the summer (well, the northern hemisphere summer… we know there are a lot of pretty awesome teams that are having beautiful summer weather right now!) would now be almost required to do a complete redesign just to stay competitive.
But really, that’s kind of how the world works. No one put transistors on hold as “next year’s techology” so that the world’s best tube manufacturers would have time to make more profit! When technology advances, it’s time to redesign and move on.
So I’m looking forward to seeing how teams respond… and will be keeping my fingers crossed that teams will pay careful attention to the fact that ONLY 1/8" diameter braided nylon of a maximum 4’ length in any one piece is legal. In fact, I should probably remember to pick up a roll and take it to the next competition I’m doing tech inspection at, just to make it easier for teams to be compliant.
Personally, however, it is the ARM9 that I’m interested in getting my hands on!
Just a hypothetical question, even though I’m not participating in competition… would it be legal to splice and fuse the ends of two ropes together? It probably is, but there is a pretty fine line between “legal” and “illegal” sometimes.
I would think that fusing two ropes together would be illegal because melting is not an approved form of attaching things together. Splicing is probably legal though, although I don’t know how much success one could get by splicing two 1/8th inch ropes…