What Parts Should You Buy

So next year my team really wants to be on par with some of the great teams in our region, and we want to possibly even make it to worlds. But, our resources are sort of limited. We have a full field, but not many parts. We mostly have a ton of really bad steel rails, and little to no aluminum and the good stuff. So what I want to know, is which parts (excluding v5) should a team get to help bring it to the next level of competitiveness? Obviously aluminum, polycarb, and those cool fat white spacers are good, but what other parts are a must-have for an amazing bot?


Hundreds of low strength 60t gears.

jk, I would seriously consider getting high strength everything, and more than enough 36t gears to where slipgears aren’t a huge deal. Pulley wheels can be nice for tensioning, and, if you’re getting v5, a micro-usb extender is a must to keep the port from breaking.


If it is a lifting game next year I would suggest to buy aluminium screws to use on the lift to keep the weight down. Also if you might want to buy some high quality tools, such as a band saw and belt sander. You might want to buy more sensors to improve your autonomous

I think a hand saw and file work just fine.

No. A dremel is better.

1 Like

Definitely get lots of spare aluminum c channels (all widths, and probably 35 long), I think switching over to stardrive Screws is a good idea since they don’t strip as easy, and good quality vex legal rubber bands will really help. They seem to be used in every game, since they help with lifts, this year intakes and shooters depend on them, as well as other applications. Alliance orange and blue seem to be popular choices, as well as black crepe. Lots of legal anti-slip matting is good too (don’t buy it from vex). Getting lots of high strength gears and sprockets/chain is always good too. Spare full length axles are good as well, since they seem to be consumed in every build as you cut them to custom lengths.

This band saw is $140, but it is worth each and every penny: https://www.homedepot.com/p/RYOBI-2-5-Amp-9-in-Band-Saw-BS904G/205503634?cm_mmc=Shopping|G|Base|D25T|25-9_PORTABLE+POWER|NA|LIA|71700000044155732|58700004615424082|92700038837660384&gclid=CjwKCAiAiJPkBRAuEiwAEDXZZQPPMqX1yikZ7-RXaomxehEqxVzqKavJJAKcJ17xIKIEgaDJr2H1rxoCp8oQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
I’d suggest buying above^
Make sure you buy the whole range of Aluminum 35 long C-Channels(Mostly 2 wide though), and use the 3 and 5 wide C-Channels for 1x1 L-Channels and 1x1 plates, cutting them with the bandsaw above. Make sure to buy the star screws from vexrobotics.com. Buy a ton of thin nylocks/locknuts, FELO Star Drive Torx Screwdriver, Lexan, and 2-3 Nylon Spacer Variety Packs from robosource.net. Make sure you have a Vice around you and have it anchored for better cutting and filing, and make sure that you are aware of the screw joints(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhfNeMwAKnI ) to use when building. When building your robot, I’d suggest making your drivetrain with only 6 of the 2 wide C-Channels, no more no less, until you get more knowledged on build quality. Also, buy a ton of different lengths of screws to do spacer connections (Image Attached).
Although VEX is still working on trying to improve the build quality of their robots in the starter kits, the robots are improving very well from the past.
Some things that differ in teams who are competitive and teams who aren’t is their exposure to other competitive teams. If you join discord servers and alliances/organizations that are known to be competitive, you will become competitive too. “If you are around 5 millionares, you are the 6th.”

Hopefully this helps :slight_smile:


All great suggestions, thanks!
We are going to be on an extreme budget after we buy v5, so what should our priority as far as parts be? Aluminium?

1 Like

Aluminum 35 c-channels and a band saw allowed me to triple my build speed this year. Get enough to where you don’t feel guilty about cutting (but of course try not to be wasteful) and you will find that you can build much faster.


Make sure to wait for the game to be revealed before you buy ANYTHING. especially if you are on a tight budget. Although our team is nothing prestigious, I find it is extreeemely intelligent to focus on building somewhat of a “ghetto bot” for the first few competitions, and once the vex community has begun to identify designs for robots that will be the most successful, decide on a design communally as a group, purchase the aluminum and specific parts that will allow you to construct this. The white spacers from mcmaster are a solid purchase, and arent terribly expensive, and allow for extensive building techniques once you get a feel for the number of uses they have. If next year turns out to be a height game similar to itz, focus on aluminum because you probably won’t end up cutting it up as much and hardware. If it is another game like tp where compact robots are successful, focus on hardware, aluminum that will probably be cut into much smaller pieces, and some standoffs. some examples of height games are in the zone(itz), starstruck, and skyrise, and examples of compact robot games are turning point (tp), and nothing but net (nbn) in my opinion.

also, I find that although band saws and other power tools are helpful, a careful hand and coping saw are fantastic for cutting aluminum, or even a hack saw works as well, just take your time
edit, that is unless you are looking for a fast build

If you don’t have enough aluminium to build a robot, that should definitely be your first priority.

1 Like