Gears and Motors
Non-compound gears are gears which are all on their own axles. The idler gears which are not powered don't matter when it comes to calculating a ratio. You just need the powered and output gears. We made a custom calculator to help you calculate your ratios. Our calculator displays the calculated ratio as a number like 3 this means 1:3.
Compound gears are gears on the same shafts. When you calculate the ratio of a compound gearbox you have to calculate each of the gear sets individually and then combine them. You can use the calculator we made to calculate each of the sets. To combine sets you have to multiply the first and last numbers.
To combine 1:3 and 1:5 you will multiply 1 and 1 and you will multiply 3 and 5 to get 1:15.
The quadrature encoder or optical shaft encoder uses two digital ports. It allows you to track the position of a shaft. It doesn't give you a direct output telling you the angle of a shaft. Instead it outputs a tick for each degree of rotation. The cortex can count the ticks and therefore you can track its position.
The limit switch is a button which outputs either a one or zero based on whether or not it is pressed. If it is pressed, it outputs a one; if it isn't pressed, it outputs a zero.
The light sensor varies its resistance based on the amount of light that it is exposed to. This can be read as an analog value.
The ultrasonic sensor measures distance. It pulses ultrasonic noise and waits to see how long it takes to bounce back.
The gyroscope can measure rotation. It outputs a digital value from -3599 to 3599, or one tenth of a degree.
The VEX flashlight can be used to illuminate the bottom of the robot for sensors or to allow the driver to see different parts of the robot better.
The IME (integrated motor encoder) is like the quadrature encoder except it is built into the motor. Because the IME is housed in the back of the motor, the ticks per rotation vary based on the motor's internal gearing.
Ticks per rotation:
Torque gears - 627.2 ticks per rotation
Speed gears - 392 ticks per rotation
Turbo gears - 261.333 ticks per rotation
The bumper switch is just like the limit switch except it doesn't have a metal arm. Instead, it has a plastic dome.
The potentiometer is an analog sensor. Unlike the encoder, it outputs a signal based on its position. If it changes position, even if it isn't powered, the value changes.
The accelerometer measures acceleration. It outputs a one to five volt signal for each axis.
The Line trackers allow you to follow lines on the VEX field. This can be very useful for autonomous programming.
The speaker can provide feedback to the driver through beeps and sound effects.
The pneumatic cylinder does the work. When triggered, it quickly fires, pushing in or out the piston. There are two types of pneumatic pistons: double acting pistons and single acting pistons. Double acting pistons have to be triggered to fire out and to retract the other way. This means that it can push and pull. Single acting pistons can be triggered to go out but have a spring to retract them. They use less air than the double acting cylinders but can't pull back.
The pneumatic tubing pushes into the pneumatic connectors and is what the air travels through to the cylinders from the air tank(s).
VEX air tanks store up to 100psi of air that is used to power the VEX pneumatic cylinders. They are very easly to use because they can be pumped with a standard bike pump.
Wheels come in almost all shapes and sizes there are wheels with four spokes, wheels with rubber rollers, and wheels with rubber treads.
The claw kit makes it easy to add a claw to your robot. It is oppened and closed by a motor but has a spring to help close it.
VEX angles come in 2x2x25, 2x2x35, and 3x3x35 hole sizes. They are made out of steel and aluminum, and are great for structural framing due to their strength in two axes.
VEX carries two different types of batteries a 7.2v 2000mah smaller battery and a 7.2v 3000mah larger battery. Mah is a measure of the storage capacity of a battery. This means that the 3000mah battery will last the longest and is therefore the most used. VEX also sells a smart charger to charge both types of batteries.
There are two different types of VEX motors, 393 motors and 3-wire servos. VEX 393 motors can spin continuously while servos can only turn one hundred degrees. The benefit of servos is that they will go to a certain position and stay there if you "tell" them to and 393 motors you can just turn on in a certain direction with a certain power.
VEX motor controllers make it possible to control more than two 393 motors with a cortex. The cortex comes with only two two wire ports the rest are three wire ports. The motor controller allows you to plug a two wire motor into a three wire plug.
The VEX Turntable Bearing Kit provides a low friction rotational joint that is capable of a high load. It is particularly useful for teams with less experience building vex robots, because it removes the complexity of building a complicated gearbox.
VEX chain can be purchased in high and low strengths. The high strength chain is very useful in applications were lots of torque needs to by transmitted over longs distances. High strength chain is often used in drivetrains to transmit power from motors to wheels. Low strength chain is useful in applications where low friction is the priority and not strength. A prime example of a use for low strength chain is linking a rotating axle to an optical shaft encoder.
The VEXnet Joystick allows for human operation in real time. It is very similar to many video game controllers. The VEXnet Joystick features a 2-axis accelerometer, 8 face buttons, as well as 4 "trigger" buttons to give the driver the best control possible.
The VEX hinge provides a strong pivoting joint with 265 degree movement. It is a very versatile part, and is found on many VEX robots.
The VEX 8-32 standoff coupler is used to connect multiple standoff together. They are very useful in creating custom length standoffs.
VEX shafts come in high and low strength variants. The high strength shafts are used in only they most demanding situations where extreme strength is required. Most mechanisms use low strength shafts, because they reduced friction and weight.
C-channels are the main structoral component in VEX robots. They come in twelve inch and eighteen inch lengths. They also come in two hole, 3 hole, and five hole widths.
VEX sells tons of screw sizes and types. The standard screw sizes for structural building are 8-32 and motor mounting screws are 6-32. They also come in different lengths. VEX also sells matching nuts there are toothed nuts called keps nuts. There also are lock nuts which have nylon and metal threads the nylon has lots of friction on the screw which means it doesn't come off.
VEX rails come 2x1x25 and 2x1x35 holes sizes. They can be purchased in either steel and aluminum, and the are very useful for building VEX drivetrains and other mechanisms.
VEX plates come in 15x5 and 15x25 hole sizes. They can be order in steel and aluminum, and they very versatile due to their ability to easily strengthen mechanisms.
The VEX Linear Motion Kit allows for the creation of linear mechanisms. It utilizes low friction slide rails that come in 12.5 and 17.5 in lengths along with plastic trucks to allow for linear motion with minimal friction.
The VEX ARM® Cortex®-based Microcontroller is the "Brain" of all VEX EDR robots. It coordinates all of the information and power on the robot. All of the electronic components must are controlled by the cortex.
The VEX Power Expander allows for the addition a second battery on a vex robot. If used properly it will double a robot's run time and greatly increase it's performance.
VEX gears can be order in high and low strengths. High strength gears are useful in very high torque applications. Low strength gears are lighter and have less friction but sacrifice strength and therefore are used in lower torque applications.
The VEXnet Key 2.0 provides wireless communication link between VEX ARM® Cortex®-based Microcontroller and VEXnet Joysticks. This key utilizes VEXnet 2.0 communication technology over a custom 2.4 GHz radio. This increases reliability and ease of use.
VEX standoffs are used on almost every VEX robot due to their ability to separate two parts from one another. All VEX Standoffs have 8-32 threads, and they come in 12 different lengths.
VEX EDR gussets are used to connect pieces of metal in ways that wouldn't be possible without their unique shape. They are great way to strengthen your robot's mechanisms.
Lifts and Arms
How to Get Sponsored
The first step of getting sponsored is putting together a sponsorship packet. We made physical packets because we thought that companies would be more impressed at the work we put in over just sending them an email. With an email, we thought they would be likely to just skim over it and delete it. A good sponsorship packet consists of four things: an "About the team" page, a community page, a "What is VEX" page, and a sponsorship page.
About The Team
The "About the team" page is probably the most important. You want it to be the first page your potential sponsor sees. It allows the sponsor to develop a personal connection with you and your team. It should include pictures of every member, their names, and a short paragraph about them. If you can't print pictures with your printer, that's fine, just have each member's name and a paragraph about each. It's best if each member writes the paragraph about them because they know themselves best. A good example of an "About the team" page is our page on 2114x. You can't include a video in a physical packet so just model your page on the top of that page.
Community outreach is very important. Sponsors will want to know that you're giving back and helping others. This page is not strictly necessary but does allow them to strengthen the emotional connection they have to you. You are going to them as complete strangers and asking for money. They want to know you and if you are good people. A excellent example of a community page is ours.
What is VEX
The "What is VEX" page allows your potential sponsor to know what you do and if they sponsor you, what you will spend the money on. You should describe the VEX game and what you have to learn to accomplish your VEX dream. Write about your robot if you want. You really can do a lot, just try to help your potential sponsor understand the VEX game and the VEX morals such as teamwork. Our VEX page is an example of a small VEX page.
The sponsorship page allows you to show your sponsor what get if they sponsor you. You should have different levels of sponsorship for different monetary values. You also should have your contact information on the bottom of the page. Make sure you have enough levels to allow a wide range of sponsorships. You also need to have enough rewards that your sponsors actually sponsor you. No matter how much they developed a personal connection to you, they probably won't sponsor you if they don't get anything from it. A great example of a sponsorship page is our sponsorship page.
What is CAD?
How do you use CAD?
What CAD is good for VEX?
Onshape can be used on phones and on computers. It requires almost zero processing power. It also has all of the features which are included in professional CAD software.
Helpful Downloads AND Links
What to bring to a vex competition
The competition switch allows you to easily test your autonomous code on the host's practice fields.
Some of the "must haves" at a VEX competition are allen wrenches and wrenches.
We always bring a programming cable to competitions so that we can tune our autonomous code and fix any bugs in the driver control.
We bring two of these small drills to the competition so that we can quickly build and fix our robot.
We suggest you use these safety glasses because they are adjustable and only cost $2 at Harborfreight Tools.
We use this tool bag to carry all of our most important tools to the competition. It has backups of almost everything including motor refurb kits, screws, nuts, safety glasses, and allen wrenches.