What Not To Do

Could we have a couple of posts that show what is not good in a robot for troubleshooting purposes? Like as a newbie, I don’t know what a gear stripping sounds like, or stuff like that, and it’d really help if you guys could give me some examples, so hopefully I won’t make the same mistakes.

I don’t know if this has been done before recently. If so, my your topic is similar to thing didn’t show it. If it has, please post a link. Thank you!


Gear stripping sounds like Satan brushing his teeth. But really though, if your robot starts to make a bunch of cracking sounds (that’s the best way I can describe it), that’s gear stripping. If you hear it, stop what you’re doing, that’s not what you want to hear. I don’t have a picture or a video of it, but hopefully that gives you some insight on what not to hear.


If you hear anything that doesnt sound right then chances are something’s wrong

But if your bot is moving and you hear no noise then something’s really wrong


Don’t place your VEXnet radio buried in a bunch of metal - you will lose signal strength and loss of connection to controller.


don’t use the thin gears to bear heavy loads, the square that contacts the axles tend to strip (learned the hard way when building a steel scissor lift with low strength gears)


Long drive shafts are NOT your friend, they bend under load - so that clicking noise as your two sides of a lift try to is not best served by thin 12" drive shafts…

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offset sprockets connected by long chains are likely to break…

When building a drive train, try to attach sides with c-channel cross pieces instead of standoffs, so that the cross pieces attached later don’t need to be drilled to line up. I’d also try to avoid 5-wide c-channel at all costs. There are a couple niche uses for them, but most of the time 2 or 3 wides provide all the support you need.

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Don’t cantilever axles

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Wires running across moving structural members that move are likely to get sheared - or short-circuit - not good to do at Worlds with battery cables - robots likely to suffer meltdown or fire.

Try to avoid friction, so if a mechanism doesn’t free spin when disconnected from the motor, you’ve probably got too much friction.

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File down metal on moving parts so that they don’t slice open the smart cables.

Don’t attempt to cut metal with a file (not fun)

if you need to cut an axle, you can do so with a kitchen kife, a pair of scissors, and a vice (we made one by putting the axle between two C-channels and screwing them together). Only took 10 minutes but bent the steel C-channels, and the end of the axle.

Someone last year did that (idk if aluminum or steel) with scissors and it took a few months with 2 1 ¹/² hour practices a week