pic: The Beginings of a Vex-Legal Space Elevator

Using a bunch of secret alpha-prototype parts from VexLabs/IFI, work commenced on the Vex-Legal Space Elevator Project (VLSEP). After working in a secret underground bunker (a.k.a. my basement) for several hours, here is the result - the beginings of the world’s first Vex-legal space elevator*. After careful analysis of this technology, it was deemed very useful and important to the FIRST community, and was declassified. Civilians may now purchase unlimited quantities of these linear bearing parts from VexLabs/IFI.

*I am still like 62.499999999 miles short of the edge of space. But I prefer to emphasize the “beginings” part. :wink:

It looks like you may be a PWM cable short as well :yikes:

(I love perspective photography!)

After recieving a bunch of alpha-prototype parts from VexLabs/IFI for testing and feedback, I thought that I would create something cool. So out with my old single stage elevator on my Vex robot, and in with a multi-stage elevator using the new pieces. Right now it is only two-stage elevator with a maximum extended height of 55 1/2 inches. The elevator works very well so I may increase it to a three-stage elevator.

Also, the center of gravity is still so low on that robot, that even with a tetra on it almost five feet off the ground, it still won’t tip over - even when going from full forward to full reverse immediately. :yikes:

EDIT: Actually, I was three PWM cables short until I my father found one in the bottom of his laptop case. So the limit switches on the arm are useless, because three-foot PWM cables I used are about two-feet too short now.

Here are some more pictures I took outside this morning:





can i just say WOW :ahh:

that’s totally awesome!!! looking really great…

how fast does it take to extend up without the tetra on board?

Rather than FRC robots using your Vex field, soon your Vex robot is gonna be using the FRC field.
Keep up the great work, Art.

the channel pieces in the lift itself. will they be available from vexlabs. or were they just testing pieces to find out if the pieces would work or not. or are they simply bent these.

that robot is amazing, how much does it weigh? also what kind of sensor is pointed at the mini vision tetra?


But, if I may ask, how did you happen to be identified for alpha testing?? I know of at least one other team that could definitely put some new hardware to the test.

Yes, I do believe this qualifies…


And here I was thinking Ockham had a high-reaching arm.

Thanks for the great comments everyone!!! :smiley:

Right now, the way it is geared, it takes about 12 seconds to fully raise. It seems a lot, but when you watch it, it actually seems quick. It used to be much faster, but I geared it slower to make it easier to control.

According to JVN, the linear bearing pieces may be available for purchase from VexLabs sometime in the next month or so. They are brand new pieces, that work excelent and have very low friction. They are 12 inches long, and comprise of an inner and an outer metal bearing piece. Here is another picture of them:


Right now, the robot weighs about 7 pounds. The sensor pointing at the mini vision tetra is the Vex Ultrasonic Sensor. I was using it to try to find the panels on the side of the vision tetra in autonomous, but with limites success. Even though it pans back and forth, the angle of the vision panels deflects the sound pings away. Unless the sensor is dead on, it never gets back a good reading because of the geometry of the vision tetra. (read: If you are ever trying to design an anti-radar aircraft - make a giant vision tetra ;))

How long will it be before I break the six-foot height for Vex? :eek:

Art… I must say you amaze me. I have been seeing your creations lately on chiefdelphi. This is the most effective vex robot I have seen for Triple Play. Very well designed and very creative.

How long will it be before I break the six-foot height for Vex?

I would guess in the next 2 weeks. Can’t wait to see what’s coming next. :slight_smile:


I wonder if the server rails we used in our tower/shuttle were the inspiration for these additions to the VEX line up? Or maybe it has something to do with Rack Solutions ties to VEX Labs. I’m sure john could clear this up for us.


EDIT: For any of you who don’t know, IFI, VEX Labs, Rack Solutions.com and Rack Solutions.co.uk are all part of Invovation FIRST, inc.

The server rails we used on 229 last year are from the Accuride2907 series. These are low-friction slides using ball-bearings. (I used these rails last summer, during my RackSolutions internship. When we were designing our 2005 robot, I remembered them and integrated them into our elevator.)

The VexLABS-Slide Rails are patterned after a different (simpler), friction based design. (No bearings). That RackSolutions came up with for some of our medium duty applications. This design was easily adapated to Vex.

The basic design is that there are 2 “C” sections, which sit inside each other. They slide back and forth on their “corners” and not on their edges, which provides a happily low-friction motion, while maintaining good linear allignment. (See attachment.)

I’m very proud of this rail design, and can’t wait to see it released as a product. Art certainly proved to us that it will be well utilized. We at VexLABS continue to be impressed by the high quality of his robot designs, and of his dedication to the Vex program.

Thanks Again Art!