Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
Inspiring students, one robot at a time.

The Q&A is closed for the 2021-2022 season. Any rule changes or clarifications pertaining to the 2022 VEX Robotics World Championship will be included in the April 5 Game Manual Update. Teams attending VEX Worlds who wish to pre-submit questions for the driver's meeting should have received a contact form via email; if not, please contact your REC Foundation Team Engagement Manager for more information.

Official Q&A: VRC 2021-2022: Tipping Point

Usage Guidelines All Questions

R5 and multiple sizing tools


Matthew Monahan (Event Partner)
2-Dec-2021

R5 Reads:

<R5> Robots must fit in a sizing box. At the beginning of any Match, Robots must be smaller than 18” (457.2 mm) long by 18” (457.2 mm) wide by 18” (457.2 mm) tall. a. Per <SG2>, Robots may expand beyond their starting size constraints after the start of a Match. b. Any restraints used to maintain starting size (i.e. zip ties, rubber bands, etc.) MUST remain attached to the Robot for the duration of the Match. It is at the Event Partner’s discretion how size will be inspected at a given event. Possible methods may include the Robot being placed in a “sizing box” with interior dimensions matching the above size constraints, or by using the VEX Robotics Competition Robot Sizing Tool while the Robot is placed on a flat surface. A Robot may not touch the box walls or ceiling or the Robot Sizing Tool sides when being measured. There are two VEX Robotics Competition Robot Sizing Tools that may be used: www.vexrobotics. com/276-2086.html and www.vexrobotics.com/276-5942.html

The head ref certification course adds this clarification:

It is at the Event Partner’s discretion how size will be inspected at a given event. Possible methods may include the Robot being placed in a “sizing box” with interior dimensions matching the above size constraints, or by using the VEX Robotics Competition Robot Sizing Tool while the Robot is placed on a flat surface. A Robot may not touch the box walls or ceiling or the Robot Sizing Tool sides when being measured.

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So, the sizing tool is up to the EP's discretion.

The problem is that the old tool is smaller than 18", and the new tool is larger than 18", and a sizing box would be exactly 18". This is a recipe for chaos, and has been a great source frustration in our experience.

(Later edit, while awaiting an answer.) A further source of confusion is that the game manual states "...smaller than 18 inches" while the Q&A sometimes says "18 inches or smaller." These are two different specifications that seem insignificant until a student is tearing a robot apart to pass inspection that they thought they were prepared for.

For the past few years we have had incredibly stressful encounters where we attend an event that use the old sizing tool (which until recently was unavailable). My teams use the new sizing tool religiously and end up at events where they're told they're out of size and suddenly are tearing their robots apart to pass inspection. Months of work have been dashed in minutes in these situations.

If a robot needs to be less than 18", then VEX should not have manufactured and distributed a sizing tool that is 18 1/8" (the new tool). In the world of engineering, specs are everything. It's an inconsistent message to kids to say, "your robot must be precisely less than 18," which is very appropriate for the engineering world, but then design, manufacture, and distribute a sizing tool that regulates those specs that is itself out of specs.

How can we standardize this so that teams can move forward with clarity? Below I suggest a couple of solutions.

Our program has four of the new sizing tools. At $44 dollars each (plus shipping), it would be difficult to throw them all away and purchase the old sizing tools. Perhaps VEX could do a trade in program and recall all the new sizing tools and exchange them for the old ones that are available again.

One drawback to this option is that many teams have months developing robots using the new sizing tool as the standard. With this new ruling, many will have to redesign in light of this new ruling.

In Tennessee, our regional reps came to the solution that teams bring the new sizing tool to competitions so that they can demonstrate that they pass inspection with a VEX-issued sizing tool. This would allow teams teams around the world to continue to use the (tens of thousands? hundreds of thousands?) of dollars worth of new sizing tools that have been purchased or distributed.

Having proposed two potential solutions, I'll end with this.

The head ref course clarification adds this quote:

"If an oversize team says they have passed inspection at other events, then maybe those other events were using a slightly larger tool." This is really a misleading quote. For teams newer than around five years old, then it's not about using "A" slightly larger tool, but THE only sizing tool that was available, that VEX manufactured and issued to EP's to run events. This quote makes it sound like the EP's or teams arbitrarily decided to use a flawed measuring tool, when in reality this was what was issued to us as THE standard to use in inspection.

I'm requesting that VEX/REC take more responsibility for this issue than is shown in the last quote, which places the responsibility of the issue on teams and EPs. We need Vex to use it's authority to make a crystal clear ruling that brings order to this issue. Simply citing the manual as the standard and leaving it to the EP's to interpret is a recipe for chaos and frustration, that actually does more harm by undoing solutions such as what our region has established.

Thanks in advance.

Matthew Monahan 663 Coach Chattanooga, TN

Two PS thoughts.

If this ruling stands, I think any team would be foolish to not throw away their new sizing tools and buy the old ones, which is the smallest standard.

Which tool will be used at Worlds?

R5  
Answered by committee

I'm requesting that VEX/REC take more responsibility for this issue than is shown in the last quote, which places the responsibility of the issue on teams and EPs.

Although we appreciate your thoughts on this subject and will take it under advisement for future seasons, this request is outside of the scope of the Q&A forum and we must reiterate the following line from the Q&A Usage Guidelines:

The Q&A system is for rules clarifications only. For game questions, suggestions, or concerns outside of specific and official rules questions, contact GDC@vex.com.

To answer the specific question that was asked:

Which tool will be used at Worlds?

As noted in G21, gameplay and inspection details pertaining specifically to VEX Worlds will be included in the April 5 Game Manual Update.