Disappointed in VexPro (Canada)

Every morning and every evening for the last three weeks I’ve had to go to the vex pro website, and check through my list of parts that I’ve been unable to purchase due to Vex not having stock.

With no method of placing a back-order, and not much help via email or phone calls. I’m left wondering if we will ever get the parts we need to finish our robots.

Even the simplest parts, (1/2 hex stock + 6" traction wheels) have been unavailable most of the season, leaving us to redesign, or find other suppliers.

/rant
-Bochek

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To be super fair, from what I understand, the majority of shipping issues these vendors have are due to customs.

I’m not totally sure what the actual issue is (I’m assuming you mean that the Canadian warehouse is out of stock) but I’d also wager a large portion is from China essentially having weeks of quarantine in areas and an extended Chinese New year holiday also caused by the coronavirus outbreak. As you can imagine, the Chinese economy as a whole has been hit hard, as have many teams in and near China.

The Falcon issues this year have shown me VEX (and most vendors really) are doing the best they can each season.

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I’m sure you know this, but McMaster Carr and many other companies carries hex stock if you are still looking.

EDIT: Did not know that McMaster Carr had tolerance issues on their shafts. My bad.

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Be careful with McMaster Carr hex shaft to make sure it’s what you actually want. We made a mistake in 2017 and accidentally purchased 6061 (I can’t remember if 7075 was available or not), and were constantly breaking shafts with it. The tolerances were very rough and over sized, where I believe AM and Vex undersized the hex to ensure it fits in bearings, hubs, etc.

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I believe op is referring to thunderhex when they mention 1/2" hex, as that has been out of stock for several weeks in Canada now (ask me how I know…). After emailing with VEX, I’ve been told that BAG motors and thunderhex should be in stock mid this week. We shall see if this holds true.

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Actually, both thunder hex and regular hex.

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You can get hex stock and wheels from WCP, and almost everything else from thriftybot, McMaster, Swyft, etc.

image

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To add to this, most of the Suppliers that ship from the states have either 1-2 weeks shipping times, prohibitively expensive shipping costs, or large duties when they cross the border. Sometimes all of these. I know that from WCP, in order to have my shipment in under a week I’m looking at $80-$100 american in shipping alone, and then duties on top of that when it crosses the border. ThriftyBot while amazingly cheap for their products and reasonable shipping costs, takes upwards of two weeks to get to me in southern Ontario.

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We have had the issue sometimes with the over tolerance, other times have been none, so we always have a toss up with hex from McMaster. Some times having to sand down the faces to fit bearings and such.

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Most industrial suppliers carry aluminum hex extrusion intended to be used as structural bars, not drive shafts. It’s not always a huge or crippling difference, but the tolerancing on the hex extrusion from places like McMaster is significantly different than what you will find from “hex shaft.”

Not to be that guy but if sourcing parts in Canada from the US is that huge a surcharge, sounds like some enterprising people should be able to take advantage of the marketplace next season…

:grin:

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Normally VEX does this pretty well, but if someone was to supply common items not available from VEX (large colsons, fairlanes, pneumatic cylinders ), I’m sure nobody would complain :yum:

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Disclaimer: I am not a true expert and I am stepping out of my realm of expertise here (I would rarely even take a peak at my team financial activity) but here goes nothing

There is some local distributors here (studica for andymark parts) that do their very best they can to get things in stock locally but have a tiny amount of storage compared to the warehouses in the states. And things can go out of stock very quick or not be in stock at all in Canada. This is also mostly based on what I have seen and heard.

Say it was a green compliment wheel year for intakes proven to work well and in high demand if studica only had say 5 boxes of them in stock then once they go then they are in the same boat trying to get them into their stores with everyone else trying to get something from the states stores which have stock or real receive the stock first. Hence larger bottle necking. But in a future year they might be able to get 20 boxes in stock at the start of the season but only need the 5 since demand was lower that next year but something else took that spot. (This is not meant to be a slight at studica or andymark that both do great things and this program would be a lot less without them)

if anything I have stated here is completely inaccurate then feel free to correct me.

Alumninum stock from mcmaster typically has a 101% import duty on it, mcmaster typically removes these items from your order.

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Thats cheap. I should show my shipping costs for DOMESTIC shipments. Enough to build another robot.

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Yeah, that’s the name of the game with USPS it seems unfortunately. They claim 6-10 days but that isn’t reality from what I’ve experienced this year. It’s easily 2+ weeks. Unfortunately once I drop it off its out of my hands, I can’t poke them and make things deliver faster :slight_smile:

I was also surprised to discover that USPS Priority Mail gets to Hawaii in 3 days for the same flat rate as everywhere else in the US :open_mouth:

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Unfortunately when we buy from most suppliers, especially the FRC ones, they dont even offer USPS, and now no UPS ground anymore. Everything is 2 day Fedex, UPS, etc. >.<
As an example, I ordered 3 short little sheets of adhesive PTFE, shipping was $60.

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Have you tried studica? They keep a lot of parts from various suppliers.

We often end up spending $600-$1000 just on shipping during a build season. I can’t imagine what it’s like for Hawaii.

But the takeaway from this is that if you’re somewhere where timely shipping is going to be expensive, make sure that’s part of your annual budget and fundraising targets.