Gears are not just used to transfer power; they also provide an opportunity to adjust the mechanical advantage of a mechanism. It is important to know the gear ratio/mechanical advantage that each gear will provide you with so that when you build your robot, you are working smarter, not harder. Keep in mind that a higher gear ratio will move slower with more torque, while a lower gear ratio will provide you with speed!
Friction is the silent killer of most robotics teams. Friction is the amount of force that is required to move an object just from sheer contact with other objects. If an object such as a wheel is clamped on either side too tightly on the axel by spacers or other pieces, it will require more energy to turn. This can cause robots to move slower and clunkier in a less than optimal fashion. In order to fix friction make sure that moving objects do not hit or rub against any other objects and can move effortlessly or spin for extended periods of time depending on the part in question.
K.I.S.S. stands for keep it simple, stupid. A lot of times, we have attempted to create an extremely complex design that in theory would be marginally better than a significantly easier design. This has led to massive wastes of time as often such an undertaking can not be completed by the time it is needed or it proves too technically difficult. A lot of times, taking a simple design and perfecting it is better than trying to build an overly complex design and failing. What matters most is having a bot that is ready to compete!
For additional help, Millburn Robotics has come together to compile a Vex "Bible". If you have any questions related to build, chances are you'll find the answers here :)
Everyone should learn how to program because it can help you to expand your critical thinking skills, as well as make you more aware of how machines and devices work in our everyday life. Programming with RobotC is very simple, but it can also be difficult sometimes, and we are here to help you learn and provide you with some basic tips and coding examples which are updated periodically. Here you can find a sample code created by tabor473 on the VEX Forum which utilizes the VEX LCD screen to choose your autonomous mode before the match begins. Also, you can find some basic RobotC tips that can improve your programming experience. For additional help in RobotC, visit their video trainer website.