Pieces in the VEX GO Kit
Children are fascinated with building things and taking them apart. The VEX GO Kit is a construction system that teaches the fundamentals of STEM through collaborative, hands-on activities designed around “builds.” VEX GO builds are student-made, creative, physical structures for STEM investigations.
The VEX GO Kit includes a poster that provides a visual representation of all the pieces included in the kit. The poster is organized into the major categories of parts: pins, standoffs, shafts, gears, pulleys, disks, connectors, wheels, beams, angle beams, large beams, plates, and electronics. The poster also calls out the Pin Tool and the other pieces included in the kit.
Pins, Standoffs, and Connectors
Because pins, standoffs, and connectors connect other pieces together, students may confuse their uses. Pins connect two or more pieces so that they lay flush with one another.
Standoffs connect two pieces but leave a space in between. Each kind of standoff has a different width gap that will be created by its use.
Pins and standoffs create connections between pieces that are in parallel to each other. However, connectors create connections at a 90 degree, right angle. Pins and/or standoffs are needed in order to make this connection. The Green Connector and Orange Connector allow right-angle connections as well as parallel connections.
Beams and Plates
Beams and plates are used to create the structural base of most builds. These are flat pieces with varying widths and lengths. The width and length of a beam or plate can be measured by the number of holes on the piece. Students will learn as they begin to build that beams (1 hole in width) are not as stable as large beams (2 hole width) or plates (3 or more hole widths).
There are several unique beams in the GO Kit, including four Angle Beams. These beams create angles at 45 or 90 degrees. Other unique beams include the Blue Thin Beam which has one hole that will fit a shaft to allow the beam to rotate, and additional holes for standard connections. The Pink Slotted Beam can be used to secure the Rubber Band or ropes in a build. Unique beams can also be used to create slides, linkages, or other configurations.
Gears are used to transfer force from one position to another. This can be done with gears of the same size to transfer the same force or by using gears of varying sizes to create a speed or power advantage as the force is transferred. The Pink Pin can be used to connect gears to beams or plates while still allowing the gear to freely spin.
The VEX GO Kit has four types of gears: the Red Gear has 8 teeth, the Green Gear has 16 teeth, the Blue Gear has 24 teeth, and the Pink Gear has 24 teeth. The Red, Green, and Blue Gears can transfer speed and torque.
The Pink Gear does not have a square hole in the center and is an "idler" gear. It is often used to transfer torque from one position to another, without changing the gear ratio.
Students may connect their gears or wheels to a motor. This is when students should use the Red or Green Shafts or the Grey Pin to connect to the motor. To keep pieces in place on the different shafts, students can use the Shaft Collar.
Wheels and Pulleys
The VEX GO Kit has several types of wheels: Gray Wheels, Blue Wheels, and the Tires. The Tires are rubber rings that can be slipped around the Green Pulley to convert it into a wheel. The Gray Wheels have tread and allow for traction, while the Blue Wheels are smooth.
Gray Wheels (and Green Pulleys) have a square hole in the center and can be driven by a shaft or Grey Pin. Blue Wheels have a round hole to be used with Red Pins. However, Blue Wheels can be connected to another piece with a square hole (such as a gear or a Large Red Beam).
Wheel choice can impact the effectiveness of a build. The greater the traction of a wheel, the harder the robot can push or pull, and the easier the robot can travel over obstacles. However, if a wheel has a high degree of traction it is harder for the robot to turn.
Pulleys are also included in this category. The VEX GO Kit includes two pulleys: a smaller Green Pulley and a larger Orange Pulley. They allow for the movement of parts, and like Gears, they can transfer force from one position to another. Pulleys are intended for light loads and are limited by the distances they can be separated by the Rubber Band or Rope.
While students become familiar with the VEX GO Kit, they will inevitably need help separating pieces. The Pin Tool helps students to separate pieces through three different functions: the Puller, the Lever, and the Pusher.
The Puller is best suited for removing pins that have one end free. To use the Puller, insert the pin into the slot at the nose, squeeze the Pin Tool, and pull back. The pin should be easily removed from the hole. In the case that a pin is not partially exposed, the Pusher can be used to push part of the pin free.
The Lever is most appropriate when attempting to disconnect two beams or plates that are flush with one another. The Lever can be inserted between the two pieces and used to separate the connected pieces. The Lever works best when placed between two beams and the handle of the Pin Tool is rotated.
View the Pin Tool in action to see how each of the features work.
You can also view the Using the Pin Tool article for more information on the Pin Tool.
Shafts and Shaft Collars
VEX GO shafts are square rods that are primarily used as axles to allow assemblies to spin or rotate. This square shape allows the shafts to fit into a square socket in the motor or in the center of gears, wheels, and pulleys. Shafts need to be held in place in order to enable the shaft to spin freely and not slide out of the assembly. The top of the Capped Shaft will keep the shaft in place.
A Shaft Collar will need to be used with the following shafts: Red Shaft, Green Shaft, and the Plain Shaft.
Electronic components are used to power and control VEX GO build functions.
The Brain is essential for any VEX GO build that is run by a VEXcode GO project. The Brain runs user projects and controls the devices connected to the Brain. The Brain has four numbered ports that can accept the Motors, LED Bumper, or Electromagnet. It also has two separate ports for the Battery (orange) and the Eye Sensor (blue-green). For more information about the Brain, view the Using the VEX GO Brain article.
The Battery is essential for any VEX GO build that includes electronics. The Battery provides power to VEX GO electronic components and connects to the orange port on the Brain or Switch. For more information about the Battery, view the Using the VEX GO Battery article.
The Motor changes energy into movement that can be used in a build. The Motor can be powered in two ways. It can be connected directly to the Battery through the Switch. Or, the Motor can be connected to the Brain, and controlled by a VEXcode GO project. For more information about motors, view the Using VEX GO Motors article.
The Switch, when connected to a Motor, controls the direction the Motor spins. The Switch can be set to forward, reverse, or off. For more information about the Switch, view the Using the VEX GO Switch article.
The LED Bumper is both a light and a bumper switch. As a sensor, the LED Bumper displays colored light. As a bumper switch, the LED Bumper reports if it is pressed or released.
The Electromagnet is a specific type of magnet where the magnetic field is produced by an electric current. The VEX GO Kit has an electromagnet that can pick up and put down the Disks which contain metal cores. The Disks can also be used as weights in VEX GO builds.
The Eye Sensor detects if there is an object present and the color of the object (red/green/blue.) It will also register the brightness of the light (low light = dark, lots of light = bright). The Eye Sensor connects to the blue-green port on the Brain.
For more information on sensors, view the Using VEX GO Sensors article.
The three colored Disks have metal cores and can be used with the Electromagnet in builds such as the Robot Arm, and with the Red North Magnet and Black South Magnet in builds such as the Pendulum. The Disks are used in a variety of ways in the STEM Labs.
When a magnet goes near a special kind of metal or other magnets, and the poles (sides) touching are opposite, it will pull, or attract the other metal or magnet closer. If the two poles are the same, the two magnets will push away, or repel, from each other. The Red North Magnet and Black South Magnet have opposite polarity and can be used in STEM Labs to attract or repel other metals and pick up Disks.
Spacers can be used to add space between parts or as a collar for a shaft. Spacers are especially useful when making room for a part to move freely in a build.
The Orange Knob can be used as a crank to wind the rubber band to build potential energy that can be released as kinetic energy to power a build such as the VEX GO Super Car.
The Rubber Band is a stretchable band that is used in a variety of ways in VEX GO builds, such as creating power or to link pulleys together. Stretching the Rubber Band to different lengths will give the build different amounts of potential energy that can be transformed into kinetic energy to power a part of a build.
The Long Rope and Short Rope are multipurpose pieces that have many applications in VEX GO builds. In particular, they can be used to attach parts or facilitate a transfer of energy within a build.
A small Astronaut is included in the VEX GO Kit with accompanying stickers to personalize the Astronaut. The feet can attach to GO builds with pins so you can incorporate your Astronaut into your construction.
The Name Plate can be used with a dry-erase marker to write a name or classroom on the build.
This can be useful when distinguishing between multiple robots.