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VEXpro One Day Robot Chassis & Drivetrain Build

On Sunday, January 6, the VEXpro team will be designing, prototyping and building several robot chassis and drivetrain options intended to be used in the 2013 FIRST Robotics Competition game, Ultimate Ascent. Once complete, these chassis and drivetrain options will be available to purchase as VEXpro products.

This page, along with our Facebook page and Twitter feed will feature updates, photos and videos throughout the entire process.

Additionally, we're using a Google Document to document our entire process. Visit the document to see our updates in real time.

7:15am: We've started the VEXpro One Day Robot Chassis & Drivetrain Build process with breakfast and a brainstorming meeting.

We're going through the design process that is outlined in Autodesk's VEX Robotics Curriculum:

  • Step 1 – UNDERSTAND – Define the Problem
  • Step 2 – EXPLORE – Do Background Research
  • Step 3 – DEFINE – Determine Solution Specifications
  • Step 4 – IDEATE – Generate Concept Solutions
  • Step 5 – PROTOTYPE – Learn How Your Concepts Work
  • Step 6 – CHOOSE – Determine a Final Concept
  • Step 7 – REFINE – Do Detailed Design
  • Step 8 – PRESENT – Get Feedback & Approval
  • Step 9 – IMPLEMENT – Implement the Detailed Solution
  • Step 10 – TEST – Does the Solution Work?
  • Step 11 – ITERATE

8:00am: Now that we've defined a high-level problem statement, we are moving on to the details. Check out the Google Doc to follow our progress.

8:30am: So who is working on this project you ask? We have 9 IFI & VEX employees with a total of 91 years of FIRST Experience:

  • John V-Neun (aka JVN)
  • Director of Product Development, VEX Robotics
  • FIRST Experience: 13 years
  • Bob Mimlitch
  • VP, CTO and Co-Founder, IFI
  • FIRST Experience: 21 years
  • Raul Olivera
  • VP, Research & Development, Innovation First Labs
  • FIRST Experience: 17 years
  • Jay Trzaskos
  • Mechanical Engineer, Innovation First Labs
  • FIRST Experience: 11 years

  • Charles Wensel
  • Engineering Intern, VEX Robotics
  • FIRST Experience: 6 years
  • Connor Mulkey
  • Intern, VEX Robotics
  • FIRST Experience: 4 years
  • Ricky Quinones
  • Marketing Manager, IFI
  • FIRST Experience: 11 years
  • Jessi Knerr
  • Engineering Intern, VEX Robotics
  • FIRST Experience: 4 years

  • Amy Yznaga
  • Intern, Innovation First Labs
  • FIRST Experience: 4 years

9:00am: We've made it through some chassis size, intake and wheel choice discussion and have moved on to motors and gearing. Random quotes and some photos have also made their way into the Google Doc.

9:30am: Mecanum and Skid Steer have come forward as the 2 drive options and we are now working through some basic details on how to accomodate upper mechanism, electronics and battery mounting as well as assembly options. Chassis rigidity and stress discussions are next up before we start moving on to some CAD designing.

10:15am: Whiteboard sketching has begun! We've also posted our first video update at

10:45am: Sketching and brainstorming continues as some conclusions are reached. Photos of the process are being added to the Google Doc as well as our Facebook page.

11:15am: We've decided that there we'll be designing and producing 2 chassis: a versatile "super kitbot" chassis with several drivetrain options and one designed specifically for a drivetrain that we will design.

11:45am: CAD on the "do-all kitbot" chassis has begun while a bit of debate continues on the 2nd chassis option.

12:15pm: Lunch run while CAD continues. Aiming for the first sheet metal run at 2pm.

1:00pm: Decision has been made to only purse the narrow "do-all kitbot" chassis for today for the sake of time. We'll be working on other options and adapting VEXpro products to the chassis included in the KOP later this week.

1:45pm The first sheet metal parts are being finished up in CAD and headed across the street to the Innovation First Manufacturing shop!

3:15pm Chassis design done! Dropping in different gearbox options to double check compatibility.

3:45pm We got our first parts off the turret and brake.

4:30pm Does it look like a robot yet?

5:21pm Chassis rails have arrived! Time to finish building!

6:30pm Update video 2 is posted on the VEXpro YouTube Channel.

7:00pm: Done!!! Robot is built, wheels and chain and transmissions on. We built one half in 6WD and one half in 8WD. We learned alot, and have a few tweaks to make before starting production tomorrow. Final update is posted on the VEXpro YouTube Channel.