Robot Numbering, Attractive Solutions?

I’ve seen some discussion on Facebook about teams struggling to make the required numbers look somewhat attractive.

We’re not even at that stage in build season, but we’ll probably end up with a freshman going crazy with paint and some polycarb.

What are your solutions? If you’re ahead enough to actually have this finished, pictures would be appreciated!

The student in charge of our decor and theming has drawn up a half dozen design options, including some really unique possibilities. License plates, among others. We will have his design finalized in illustrator, and printed on vinyl.

Just as a point of reference:

You are allowed to have more numbers than required, go crazy with those extras. But…

The GDC specifically stated a color scheme and size. You will need to meet those. As one of the Texas teams found out, even a license plate (which, in Texas, ARE black on white) might not be legal. Even simply reversing the color scheme won’t fly, per the GDC.

I’m guessing that “attractive” is about a zero/ten on their list of “criteria we want these numbers to meet” and “standard” is about 11/10.

How about something like this?

Too legible? :eek:

Even though it hasn’t been asked in q&a, I assume that black text on a transparent background also wouldn’t fly (though maybe the rules should explicitly ask for opaque black and white).

We’re considering (or at least I am) printing “857” in “our” font on paper, and doing some kind of lamination to make a stiff number, and then attaching that somehow.

The most important thing is to pass inspection of course. Without violating the relevant rules, teams can still make the numbers interesting and creative.

White Acrylic withe a cut out of the numbers, and then glued on top of a sheet of black acrylic; that or cut the numbers out of black acrylic and glue them in the outlines of the white acrylic. Both of these methods should be legal since the stroke will be black on a white background.

I know some people are going to take this thread as an opportunity to be cute about how it’s a standard and if you don’t like it, you know where to put it, etc., but understand there are teams who have built Hall of Fame resumes that include impeccable branding standards to establish their identity across their robot, apparel, and other elements of their team. Students and their advisors take pride in the work they do developing these standards. I do understand that the creators of the rule wanted a standard, but I think it’s ok to call it a bad standard, not allowing the smallest of latitudes in way of white on black (which I would argue could be more visible).

It’s at the point where some teams will opt to have these numbers easily concealable/removable and make their number logos that they spent time developing to create a unique and highly visible identity larger than the placards.

I know this is highly subjective, and I hope a Hall of Fame team with great identity standards can prove me wrong here, but even the bumpers at their worst didn’t look this bad.

I’m not part of our style crew, but I did overhear something about integrating the number with the sponsor panel on one side and with our logo and colors (outside the rectangle) on the other three sides. We’ll probably end up posting these on the outer panels of the drive chassis, in about the same place that they would be if we had bumpers. W also plan to have RGB lighting above and/or below this area so we can show alliance colors, game phase, and so forth.

Well said. I agree entirely. At least they didn’t mandate the font.

The numbering rules of years past really were more than sufficient and did not need change. I don’t know how to say this in a graciously professional way, but I blame the teams who always somehow managed to make crappy numbers that you couldn’t read as a reason for the new change. These teams who cannot figure out how to display their own number properly are teams that really ought to be participating in VEX instead. You know who they are. There’s a handful at every event.

Let this be a lesson to all of us: If you allow your fellow competitors to get away with poor quality work, and we’ll all be mandated to implement “solutions” that are better than these teams’ poor quality work, but worse than the top teams’ high-quality work. It really reflects poorly on the teams that have been doing it a while that we have newer teams that struggle with these rather mundane tasks. It says that we don’t do enough as mentors, which I’ll admit, we don’t.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m not a fan of the black on white color scheme. I prefer quite the opposite, and have never had any trouble seeing it, from over 100 feet away.

But, I’ll get over the numbers eventually, and I’m thankful bumpers are gone.

One option is to follow the racecar numbering scheme.

One example:


Or, if you like a more retro style:

And of course we can’t forget:


I’ve had the idea that simple black numbers with a white outline on polycarb (possibly smoked) would be an effective and good-looking solution.

An idea that might be too expensive, but regionals make 4 laminated cards for all teams and those that can’t reach the guidelines outlined in the rules get the cards and have to use them.

Too expensive in that it’s pricey enough for some blowhard to shoot the idea down, but renting out a lamination system is minor expense for a regional or a region/state district system that prints off a surprising amount of stuff at an event.

Exactly. This isn’t nearly as limiting as people are saying. Neither the font nor the “rectangle” are manditory. The only problems with a real license plate are that the numbers aren’t the proper size, for instance.

Reading some of the posts here and in other threads on the subject, it looks to me like many teams will succeed in making the numbers illegible, even with the strict guidance in the game manual.

One of these days, we might all get paper numbers before the race that we attach to our robot with safety pins. At least the refs and scouts could then easily tell which runners are which.

It would be a minor expense to have a full set of numbers printed on card stock for each regional.

It would be almost no expense. In fact, that would be an excellent way for a team to come to competition prepared to help other teams out: have preprinted, laminated numbers for every team.

Gregor: be aware that some paints, adhesives, and also thread lockers don’t play nice with polycarbonate. Some may dissolve it, others may cause it to become brittle. Make sure you are either aware of a certain paint’s effects on polycarb or go ahead and test a small are yourself to see if there are any adverse effects.

I’m planning on using full sheets of white sticker paper, with the number printed in sufficiently large font on it. Stick to polycarbonate, and done.

Cheap, crisp, and better looking than most numbers painted on bumpers.

I’m pretty disappointed with the numbering rules. I feel like they could have just said that the text has to reasonably contrast with the background, and if it isn’t easily legible, the inspector will attach a hand written, legible sign on poster board over your pretty, illegible numbers. I think that threat would have been enough.

Remember, if you’re in charge of anything, there are only two ways to make people complain:

  1. Do something.
  2. Do nothing.

If you can avoid those two things, you’ll be fine.

FIRSTers in particular want very strictly delineated guidelines so that they know exactly what parameters under which they’re working, except when they don’t. And different people will come to different conclusions on how which area of what should be handled.

…so people will get grumpy about it either way.