An Introduction to Disco: the 2022-2023 VRC Hero Bot

Each year, the V5 Hero Bot is designed from the VEX V5 Competition Starter Kit to provide teams with a starting point to play the current VEX Robotics Competition game. Hero Bots are designed in a certain way so that it is not required to cut any piece of metal to build it. That way, the Hero Bot can be disassembled at the end of the season and made into the next Hero Bot with all the same pieces. It is intended for experienced teams to be able to quickly assemble a robot to investigate the game's dynamics. New teams can also use the Hero Bot to learn valuable building skills and have a robot they can customize to compete with early in the season.

The 2022-2023 VRC Game is Spin Up. View this page for more information on the game and how it is played. This season's Hero Bot to play Spin Up is Disco. You can view Disco’s build instructions for more information.

For game definitions used throughout this article, an overview of the game rules, and scoring, view the Game Manual for Spin Up.


Scoring Capabilities

Disco can score in the following ways:

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Scoring a Disc in the High Goal.

Using Disco and serious modifications, Discs can be scored in the High Goal.

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Scoring a Disc in the Low Goal.

Disco's intake can be used to pick up Discs and relocate them to the Low Goal.

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Owned Rollers.

Rollers can be spun and stopped by Disco's upper wheels to their corresponding Alliance color.

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Covered Field Tile.

If Disco is contacting a field tile at the end of a Match, the corresponding Alliance receives points.

 


Design Features

Two of Disco's prominent design features are its 2-motor direct drive drivetrain and its massive 2-motor  intake motor group.

2-Motor Direct Drive Drivetrain

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Disco has a 2-motor direct drive drivetrain. This makes for an easy to assemble and effective drive for the robot.

Direct drive refers to having the shaft go directly from the motor to the wheels without using gears or a chain and sprocket system.

The two motors power the front wheels making this a front-wheel drive robot.

For more information on drivetrains, view this article from the VEX Library.

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The drive wheels are 2.75" wheels, while the rear wheels are Omni Directional Wheels.

Having the smaller 2.75" wheels in the front allows for the robot to tilt down, which makes picking up Discs easier.

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Omni Directional Wheels have rollers around the circumference of the wheel which allows the wheel to roll in two directions - frontwards/backwards and sideways left/right.

The Omni Directional Wheels will allow for easy turning of the robot. Disco turns about the center of the front wheels closest to the intake, allowing for better lineups to intake the Discs.

2-Motor Intake Motor Group

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Disco has three main mechanisms; the intake, the conveyor, and the color roller. Note that all three of these mechanisms are powered by the 2-Motor Intake Motor Group, which Disco was designed around.

The roller on Disco is at the optimal height to make contact with color rollers and score them. The roller is powered by the top motor from the conveyor group and spins simultaneously when the conveyor is spun.

The top conveyor spins slower relative to the lower intake due to the smaller sprockets, which allows for greater Disc storing abilities. The lower intake also spins faster due to the larger sprockets for a multitude of reasons.

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Have you ever tried picking up a playing card off of a hardwood floor? Have you noticed that it is difficult to do unless you are underneath the object you are trying to pick up? This is why the intake has a floating ability, allowing it to grab and potentially get under the Disc, allowing for ease of picking them up.

This floating intake in combination with the higher intake speed (due to the larger sprockets on the shafts) allows for consistent pick ups as more of the Disc stays in contact with the robot during pick up.

For more information on chains and sprockets, view this article from the VEX Library.


Controlling Disco

To get started driving with the 2022-2023 VRC Hero Bot, Disco, you will need to use a provided code for use with the Controller. The default drive program on the V5 Brain is not compatible with Disco.

The reason for this is because the default drive does not account for the intake. The default drive program actually pits the two intake motors against themselves, meaning your robot would not work effectively. To solve this, further coding is required.

For more information on how to download and use the code, view this article from the VEX Library.


Modifying Disco

Adding V5 Sensors

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Disco's chassis has been designed to easily add any of the V5 Sensors. The Spin Up game robot rules allow up to 8 motors as well as pneumatics. This allows for plenty of customization to your Disco Hero Bot. You might want to add a sensor in order to allow your robot to do more on its own. You can use any of the VEX sensors and code them in VEXcode V5 to detect an action, and develop a reaction.

For more information on V5 Sensors, view this section of the VEX Library. For more information on coding, view this section of the VEX Library for information regarding how to code sensors into VEXcode V5.

You can also view this article on Virtual Disco used in VRC Virtual Skills to see examples of how sensors can be added to Disco.

Adding Your License Plate

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<R24> of the VRC Spin Up Game Manual states the following:

"To participate in an official VEX Robotics Competition event, a team must first register on robotevents.com and receive a VRC team number.

This team number must be displayed on a minimum of two (2) sides of the robot using license plates. Teams may choose to use the official VRC License Plate Kit, or may create their own."

The image to the left shows one possible mounting location. Note that it is not the only mounting location, as long as you abide to <R24> of the game manual.

Cutting Metal

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Although Disco is designed to be built without needing to cut pieces, in order to participate in the VRC competitively, cutting of metal to create custom pieces is certainly recommended.

As a starting place, look at the 12" Shaft used on the floating intake. Because it sticks out so far it may be a good idea to trim this shaft, as shown in the image left, for the purpose of streamlining your build.

What other pieces do you think should be cut for the purpose of improving your build? Remember, the use of cutting pieces allows for immense customization with your robot, but ensure you are doing this safely with supervision. For more information, see Precautions and Safety Guidelines When Working with V5 Robots.

Still not sure where to start? Check out the Getting Started with VRC Robot Design for more information on how to use Disco as it is intended, a starting point.

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