VEX Product Alternatives for FRC

As many of the… less proactive… teams like ours start to compile our order lists for the pre-season, we’re going to need alternatives for VEX products. There’s a lot of vendors out there and I’m far from an expert on them and their product offerings.

I’ve seen some threads for FTC/VRC teams looking to swap from VEX products, and some component-specific threads, but not a general thread for harbor-freight-style “compare to” requests.

This will hopefully be a good place for overworked mentors to dump part numbers and receive suggestions for alternatives from those of us with every part and product number memorized.

For new requests, include the product’s name, VEX part number, and a link to the VEX product page so that it’s easier for others to help you. If you have specific constraints that you need the alternative to meet, please list those as well. Also, before posting, use the search tool to search for posts in the thread that include the VEX part number.

I’ll start. I’m looking for close-to-“drop in” replacements for:

Have you looked through \ considered posting on this thread? Seems to have the same aim:

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@Ryan_Dognaux has one in the elevator pre-order kit- Half Inch Hex Coupler - TTB-0055, hopefully it’ll be available for purchase individually eventually.

Looks like AndyMark has one too.

Personally I like the REV one

I’ve sourced equivalents from Amazon before, eg this one.

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For the hex shaft coupler, I believe this fills the same purpose:

In regards to the chain tools, i have found the vex ones to be an absolute pain to work with.

Rev has a chain breaker for # 25 chain that goes ok:

This has been my absolute favourite chian breaker to use, it accomodates # 35 chain:

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Dang, knew it was a little strange that I’d be the first person to post this.


Re: Hex couplers

They look similar to each other, both with a shorter 4 bolt design compared to the longer 8 bolt VEX design. I wonder if anyone has done testing to compare the strength between designs.


Re: # 25 chain break

Never noticed the REV 25 break. Looks like a great 1:1 replacement. I rarely use 35 chain, but I hope REV eventually comes out with one for that size too.


Re: # 35 chain break

I also have never noticed the Andymark 35 break. It seems to be coming out of the same factory as what @pchild linked from Amazon, but currently being sold at a “we bought almost as many as Steamworks fuel” discount.

The AM one is the same length as the VEX one - both 1.5" overall. And I’d much rather 4x 10-32s over the tiny crap 4-40s VEX uses that strip extremely easily.

I’d buy the one from AndyMark. ARC is the brand I’d bought before but forgot.

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For 1/2-inch hex coupling, if you have a stack of Ulysses S. Grants sitting around (they cost ~$50 each), there’s always this one from McMaster :slight_smile: . Two-Piece Shaft Coupling, 12L14 Carbon Steel, for 1/2" x 1/2" Hex Shaft | McMaster-Carr

I can admit to using this as a Hex coupling “in some applications” with some “retention features” like a set screw…… :slight_smile:

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I’ve looked through it, thank you!

Pretty easy to make your own 1/2 hex coupler if you or a local team has a lathe, 1/2” hex broach, arbour press, drill press and tap set.

A few years ago I made the fixture shown so that we could make our own version of Vex tube. The slot down the middle is oversize so it fits easily in 1x2 or 1x1 tube. The hole centres are measured from the face without the clamp screws. If we need more holes in the line, we use a spare twist drill to index it along. It was easy to make on our conventional mill. It’s had a couple of modifications. The first was the addition of a double row of holes. The second allows us to reach across a T. This one is mild steel and as you can see the holes have become enlarged with use. I’ll probably replace it with one made of 4140 so we can harden it. I know this job can be easily done on a CNC router but the jig allows it to be done

anywhere, anytime with a cordless drill operated by someone with little experience.

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Does anyone have an alternative for VEX’s 1/2 hex shaft collar (217-2737), I like that they’re only 1/4in wide but couldn’t find any others that thin.

I couldn’t find any, but in general I dislike these kinds of collars. If I absolutely have to use a collar, I’d prefer it to be a 2-piece collar instead for the improved clamping force.

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We’ve moved away from using these, the screws are so small they strip out easily and don’t generate enough clamping force. If you absolutely want to use the low profile clamps I’d recommend swapping the hex screws out for torx screws.

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Not sure if anyone else does this, but AndyMark sells aluminum hex bore spacer stock that we’ve used as a coupler with no problems in the past. You can just use a 2-3in section with a couple shaft collars and you’re good to go.

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