Overview of V5 Chains and Sprockets


A chain and sprocket system refers to the interface between chains and sprockets for the purpose of driving, lifting, or enforcing power on another shaft.



Chains and sprockets may look similar at first glance, but the difference between a chain and sprocket system and a gear system is that:

  • Gears cannot interface with chains, gears can only interface with other gears directly.
  • Sprockets are not designed to interface directly with other sprockets, rather they can interface indirectly between other sprockets through the use of a chain.


This is an example of how sprockets can be used on a mechanism.

For this particular design, both motors share the same chain and sprocket system. This ties the force of the motors together, allowing for more power.

This can be used to lift heavy or multiple objects, or increase torque on a drivetrain design.

Watch this video to learn more about building with chains and sprockets.

The following is a table that explains the difference between low, medium, and high strength sprockets. Each column will explain what that particular sprocket is designed for, how many teeth are available for that classification of sprocket (different size options), and an example of a robot build or mechanism that uses that particular sprocket.


Standard Sprockets


6P Sprockets


High Strength Sprockets


Designed to carry moderate loads. Allowing for the construction of smaller, more compact mechanisms. Allowing for higher loads.

Five different sizes: 10T/15T/24T/40T/48T


Five different sizes: 8T/16T/24T/32T/40T


Five different sizes: 6T/12T/18T/24T/30T



V5 Clawbot (Legacy) utilizing low sprockets.


EXP Cascading lift utilizing medium chain and sprockets.


V5 Cascading Lift utilizing high strength chain and sprockets.


VEX chains come in three different sizes. When and how you use different sized chains are dependent on the outcome of a certain build or mechanism, and any additional constraints.

For example, do you need to build a mechanism that will require higher strength? Perhaps you want to construct a lift design that needs to lift multiple objects at once, and these multiple objects together could be heavy. In this case, the largest chain could be used. However, the largest chain will not be as compact of a design.

On the other hand, does your design need to be compact? Then the smallest chain can be used. However, the design may not be as strong, or able to lift multiple, or heavy objects. There are many elements to consider when designing using chains and additional links.

Chain & Additional Links

Image of Chain image6.png image7.png image11.png
Product Number 276-2166 228-4983 276-2172
Additional Links Product Number - -



Pitch Size in millimeters (mm) and inches (in, ")


3.75mm / 0.148"

6.35mm / 0.250"

9.79mm / 0.385"

For more information, help, and tips, check out the many resources at VEX Professional Development Plus

Last Updated: