Revell Monogram Partners with IFI To Expand VEX

Sounds cool…

This sounds like it could be a great thing. They talk about more reasonable price points and easier to build, which is good, but I hope it doesn’t lead to solutions in a box (the mock up seems to have a 3 wheel gearbox neatly wrapped up - but it is a mock up and perhaps that is just a cover plate).

–EDIT-- I missed the gears the first time around…either I didn’t recognize the red, or I’m just stressed out. Either way, I thought the wheels were connecting directly to the black box, which isn’t the case. Anywho, ignore my incoherent ramblings…

VEX competitions seem to be popping up everywhere, so having the items readily available once again will certainly fuel the fire.


Well I don’t see anything out of the unusual in that picture except for the black things in the front. It’s pretty obvious that the three wheel gearbox is something that can be built all ready because I can see five gears on either side of the robot. The parallel linkage hand is nice. Building one of those now is a pain in the butt.

Thought I would add some color to this thread.

Yeah, i believe i saw this on the vex forum and i was amazed and can’t wait untill the summer of 2007 to see what is coming out!

That bot looks sweet and looks half way decent for this years game.


My question/concern is with the merger, how will it effect those of us who have invested heavily into the original VEX systems? Will they be compatiable with the new system? Will the “old” parts be allowed in competitions? I what invested around $5,000 and would hate to have to re-invest this amound again, as our school budget is extreamely tight.

This is a ‘business partnership’ and not a merger. The “new” and “old” Vex kits will be totally separate. The new Vex kits will be more average-Joe consumer friendly, whereas the existing Vex kits will continue to be sold and used for such things as the FIRST Vex Challenge.

The picture posted in this thread of the new Vex kits looks like it has been color-shifted in Photoshop. If this is true, the motors and some of the gears in the new Vex kits look to be exactly the same as they are now. I would guess that the majority of the new parts will be compatible, as they look to use the same 1/2" hole spacing and 1/8" shafts. The new Vex kits just look like they have a lot more “custom” pieces, that make building such things as claws and aesthetically-pleasing drivetrains easier. (C’mon, who doesn’t want rims like that on their drivetrain? ;))

The official reply from FIRST is that the newly announced partnership is a commercial endeavour for Vex and is NOT a replacement for the original Vex products. All the original Vex products geared at education and FVC will remain available through IFI/Vexlabs. If anything, the new products will simply offer FVC teams and educators some nice prefabricated metal components which should aid in creating better robots faster, however…

The new kits will not be available until summer 2007, so don’t worry about this year’s competition. When released, the FVC Game Design Committee will review the new kits and determine which components will be FVC Legal.

My personal guesses are that;

To reach a new price point, these new products will have very limited components. Much like a model kit, you’ll only get what you need to build that particular model. This might also mean that the radio transmitter, receiver, and controller may be sold as a separate unit from the various robot kits or that ALL the electrical components radios, controller, servos, motors, sensors, may be packaged as an electrical kit, and the robot kit will be only the hardware. That would make a moderately priced electrical kit and rather inexpensive robot kit(s). Programming kits will likely stay in the IFI/Vexlabs sales domain.

To save on production costs, any and all original Vex components will be reused whenever possible. The photo does add an interesting observation. Will all new injection molded components be red instead of green? That would make some sense, since the official Vex color is red and it would help to further remove association with the old retail product line. You’ll know someone is “old school” if they’re using green parts. :cool:

Also, colored metal components could mean anodized aluminum. Is that why we just had the release of an aluminum kit on Vexlabs? Is that part of the prototype metal components for the new product line? Or a feasibility study for using aluminum instead of steel in the new kits? One thing is certain aluminum components would greatly reduce weight, and therefore, shipping costs.

Again to save on production costs I don’t think you will see any changes to the radios or controllers. I don’t think there would be enough of a savings in creating a “stripped down” radio and controller. Real savings is in economy of scale, the greater the quantity of product, the lower the overall cost per unit will be. This would also mean that everything old and new would be compatible.

Hopefully, one of the new product line options will be to buy single frequency crystal kits instead of four packs. Lower price point, and the average consumer just needs one frequency which is different from the original radio kits. If you’re a parent buying gifts for two kids, you’d only need to spend an extra $10 for a set of crystals and they both can play with their robots at the same time.

Rule #1 in business… Never, Never, Never ■■■■ off your loyal customer base. Everything old will be 100% compatible with the new products. The new product is simply providing a canned solution that doesn’t allow for customization or creativity. By purchasing the original products, experienced builders will be able to create customized robots with both parts.

This will help with some of the posts on Vexforums from younger enthusiasts who want to be given a step by step solution. Although some step by step solutions for the current product are almost here… :wink:

Why Revell/Monogram? They are one of the largest suppliers of injection molded styrene model kits in the world. This would allow Revell to go head to head with Tamiya, another huge plastic model manufacturer, in the robot arena. Tamiya makes tethered robot kits and RC vehicle kits already.

Revell has lots of experience, and production capabilities, in making injection molded parts. Look for new gears and plastic components like the limit switch assembly on the robot arm and slick looking frame components and wheels shown in the picture. A cooler, sexier look will also boost non-FIRST sales.

Revell also has marketing experience and retail contracts with many major retailers. Kmart, Walmart, Michael’s Crafts, hobby shops both independent and chain stores, and lots of online shops are a few that come to mind. How nice would it be to stop into any of these stores, five minutes from your house or school, and pick up a kit to finish your robot in the eleventh hour before a competition? Also, this eliminates the previous retail release problem. With only one retail outlet, when that outlet experienced financial problems and corporate restructuring, we lost the ONLY readily available commercial source of parts. IFI/Vexlabs is fantastic at shipping orders, but you always forget something (or the team changes their design without telling you) when ordering in advance.

Last year, it was really handy to stop after work, and before a team meeting, and pick up anything that we were short on to keep building our robot. Nothing worse for a mentor than running out of parts to keep a room full of students busy building robots. :ahh:

Well those are my thoughts and predictions, we’ll see how close I am next summer.

So don’t worry, Build robots…

Where are they or when/where should we start looking for them?? Have been waiting a looooong time (since April 2005).

I believe the drafts are being reviewed for the first project. There is a test build planned to check the accuracy of the work, and then some tweaks to the final product. Hopefully, within a few weeks it will be ready. I currently don’t know how the product will be offered to the Vex community.

I appreciate your anticipation, please be patient. The author is currently, feverishly sending out college apps at the moment. :wink:

Now comes the question, is it worth the money?
what’s everyones thoughts.

I won’t get one, but I won’t tell someone not to buy it either. They’re built for people that don’t know what they’re doing quite yet, the most basic of robot designers. I still think that the original system is the better for the money.