Favorite Robot Concept That Never Made The Cut

Hey all,

Amongst all the new and bright budding ideas there’s bound to be a few ideas that have to get the axe no matter how cool, fun, and awesome they may be. I’m curious what some of y’alls favorite robot subsystem ideas that had to be scrapped for any number of reasons.

Mine is that in 2018 my highschool team wanted to make a pneumatic climber that would use 2 4" diameter pistons and some rigging shenanigans to pull our robot up in less than a second but alas our elevator never really worked (we tried to use one looooooong piston for that too, hence why the idea was scrapped).

Noah E.


2015: Attached to a standard robot, a net the spanned the entire length of the field to block pool noodles from being throw across the field.


this irradiates some VEX Robotics energy haha


2015- Some of our kids wanted to build minibots to build tote stacks early in the season but we a mentor group didn’t think it’d be feasible (148 proved us wrong on that one).

2016- We had a design for a climber that used a bent fiberglass yard stake to deliver a hook to the bar (imagine Wile Coyote trying use a tree as a catapult). We ran out of weight/time before worlds.


2015: large stationary crane that folded out from starting configuration, picked up totes + containers from landfill and dropped the off on the platforms. Used the kit drivetrain parts as a counterweight for the arm. Made it remarkably far in prototyping phase. The kids ultimately didn’t get their tote + container claw pickup consistent enough to move the concept forward, but it was fun.


2016: The party climber: A small inflatable tube would propel a hook to the bar, and a winch would pull us up.

While it never did work, we did one day comeback to our pits filled with balloons, each with the word “prototype” written on them. One single helium balloon floating above the rest had “final design” scrolled on it.

I have fond memories of trying to escort as many balloons to the stands as possible before our mentor went at them with a knife.


This year, our frame will not be 34" long to enable the roll-up-the-field-perimeter climb direct to Traversal Bar :sob:


2005: In a year where people added zip-ties to their frame to ensure the robot physically touched the loading zone (as being in the airspace was insufficient), two large pieces of plywood that physically covered the opposing loading zones.

2006: A robot with no drivetrain, just conveyors and multi-sided intakes so motor power could be focused on shooting from the starting position with deadly precision and throughput.


1519’s robot-in-a-robot in 2008.

The side-clamper (118) and bridge troll (95) in 2012.


the claaaaaaw (read in toy story alien voice)


Truck Town Thunder, 2003? Someone remind me if it was ruled illegal to fully block passage between ends of the field.


In 2018, 299 came up with a strategy we have solely referred to as “The Blitz”. The strategy was simple: You design the robot around an autonomous mode that involves driving parallel to your alliance switch and chucking as many of the cubes placed on that wall into your alliance side switch as possible during the autonomous period. The goal was at least 4, but more was better. The idea being if you could securely lock down your switch in auto, you push the focus for the rest of the match on the scale and the opponents’ switch. In trying to defend their own switch, the opponents wouldn’t have time to steal yours and the match momentum is permanently shifted to the other side of the field as they attempt counter-defense.

I really wish we had done it.


I can’t remember if it ever made the field but I’m partial to 1923’s forklift HAB 3 buddy climb, seen at 0:46. I remember brainstorming a forklift buddy climb idea on my team and it was cool to see a similar idea make it to at least reveal.


2019 - Low robot that yeeted ball/hatch-panels up to Velcro / ball ports. Catapult down low, pair of carbon/fiberglass rods used to guide the ball/hatch to the location on the rocket. Deemed too risky for hatch panel launching rules (even though the panel would never leave contact with the robot (gamepiece sliding up rods the entire way))

Never made it out of the concept stage, just a crazy Idea I am fond of.

(edit: I am still clicking the wrong reply button sometimes… sigh)


It happened at Bayou, during playoffs. Each human player (Robin from 3946 and another from 3937) got at least one noodle over it.

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Never made the field. We had issues with our back wheels lifting off the ground as we drove up the level 1 hab while lifting another robot. There wasn’t enough time in buildseason to troubleshoot it properly (we were planning on adding outrigger arms that came out beneath our partner robot to balance ourselves) so we moved on to suction.


We could easily do the “forklift ourselves up after another robot has climbed” part as seen in the video you linked, but saw that option as having less strategic depth than just putting a suction climber on the same arms so we could also climb solo if needed.


Block no. Their stuff was ruled grappling the field which wasn’t ok. But without reacting against the field it just didn’t work cuz it’s hard to resist getting spun if someone has a 13’ lever arm on you…

In 2013 I always wanted to build a robot that would shoot full-court high release hammers into the 3 point goal so it was unblockable. Not sure how well existing disc-shooting mechanisms would fare with the physics of upside-down discs, but if it worked it would have been insane.


For infinite recharge I thought what would essentially have been a 120A ducted fan parked out in from of the opponent high goal would have been cool to try.


Thanks for the reminder on details of the ruling. I just recall that TTT had a visually awesome concept that year.

Bumpers? We don’t need no stinkin’ bumpers!