VEX Toss Up Robot Ideas

As this is the first year my school has participated in the Vex Robotics Competition (VRC), I had to do a little bit of research. I organized the information as follows:

A competition robot can be divided into 3 major assemblies:

  • the drivetrain
  • the lift
  • the intake

The drivetrain is the assembly responsible for moving the robot across the field. The lift is the assembly the somehow raises the vertical position of the intake enough to score or hang. The intake is responsible for grabbing or scooping up the balls and and holding onto them long enough to score them.


As far I’ve seen there are three main ways that teams make their drivetrains. These are 4-wheels drives, 6-wheel drives, and holonomic drives in various forms.

In order, the basic layouts look like these:

VEX_DtrainExamples_4wheel VEX_DtrainExamples_6wheel   VEX_DtrainExamples_HoloOmni

VRC Game 2013-14: VEX Toss Up


This year’s game is played on a 12′ by 12′ foam tile field. There are two alliances (red and blue) with two robots each. Each alliance places their robots on the appropriately colored square at the beginning of the match. A 15 second autonomous period is then followed by a 1 min and 45 seconds driver-controlled or “tele-op” period.


The field is initially set up as above. The picture is color coded to show the various scoring zones and obstacles. The alliances start in the Hanging and Middle zones. The smaller colored balls are called Buckyballs. Buckyballs can be scored in the Middle zone, the Goal zone, and the hexagonal tubes in the Goal zone known as Stashes. The larger colored balls are called Large Balls (read beach ball). Like the Buckyballs, they can be scored in the Middle zone, the Goal zone, and because of their size, only on top of the Stashes.

The last way to score is by hanging. There are several variations of a hang, as shown below:VEX_TossUp_HangingTypes

There are two obstacles. The bump is located between the Hanging zone and the Middle zone. It’s 2″ high and trapezoidal. The “barrier” is located between the Middle zone and the Goal zone. The barrier is in fact only thin PVC pipe suspended 12″ above the field.

To begin the match a robot must fit within an 18″x18″x18″ cube, although it can expand during autonomous to be as large as the team wants. In addition, the rigid height can not be greater than 12″ to fit under the barrier. The drivetrain must also have at least 2″ of clearance to go over the bump. The top edges of the Stashes are at 24″. To reach the Hanging bar, a robot must be able to extend or hook something at the height of 40″. Here’s a PDF with the complete field and game elements specification for Toss Up: VEX Toss Up- Field Specs

A perfect robot would be lightweight, fast, able to hang with a Large ball, go over the bump, under the barrier, and score Buckyballs and Large balls in the Stashes.