Why the extra hole in the middle of some beams?

Not a big deal but I’m curious: What’s up with the extra hole in the middle of some 1 \times n beams? The poster included with the super kit shows this hole on all beams, but the build instructions booklet only shows the middle hole on some beams. For example:

  • The 1x6 beam (228-2500-005) is shown with the middle hole (so 7 holes total) in both the instructions and on the poster.
  • The 1x10 and 1x12 beams (009 and 011, respectively) are shown without the middle hole in the instructions, but with the middle hole on the poster.

Most of our kits came with beams that have the middle hole.

This discrepancy isn’t a big deal - the beams with the middle holes can be used everywhere - but some kids in our camps have found it confusing (e.g., “I searched through our entire kit for this part, but all the 1x12 beams have the extra hole in the middle”)

(Edit: FWIW I checked the LDraw-compatible parts library as well - it has versions of all the even-length beams from 4 to 12 both with and without the middle hole :man_shrugging:)

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3 or 4 years ago, the extra hole was added to the center of all “even” length beams (I remember it was announced at Worlds, during the “new parts” reveal). This was done as a “running change,” so there was no change in part numbers, nor any effort to remove the non-center-hole beams from the part stream. By now, most every “new” even beam you buy will have the center hole now.

The only problems I’ve seen are the one you’ve addresses (kid can’t find the “right” beam, and it blows their mind to not use one that doesn’t match exactly), and the other is that 6-hole beams end up in the 7-hole bin (for example) because of the extra hole.

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Makes sense - but why does the instruction booklet show some beams with the middle hole but not others? Was the middle hole previously only present in shorter beams, and they never updated the instructions to reflect the running change?

In some sense I’m kinda glad when kids get caught on this - my mantra when building the IQ clawbot is “every little detail matters”, and if they notice the middle-hole discrepancy I figure it’s likely they’re going to get the rest fo the build right on the first try.

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Even in the “revision 10” instructions, I see that there’s a mix “center hole” 1x beams. My hunch is that updating the documentation is a pretty low priority for VEX. And I know from personal experience that it take a lot of work (and time) to go from CAD through final layout, publishing, and printing.

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