1726 Prototype Testing

Here’s a short video of our prototype mechanisms in use.

You can also see some picture going up at:


Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated!

very nice, it goes up really high

It goes a little higher when you hold it down (like it will once the last component is finished)

oh man that catapult is BEAST
what did you use to power the catapult?

I cant really tell, but is ure robot within the 28 by 38 requirement ?

Best one I have see so far! That’s great!

I wasn’t working on that component, but I think we have 2 2" bore 10" stroke pneumatic pistons. We did a ‘trick’ (well known, I think) by keeping the cylinder from moving at 60psi with 3in. filled. Then we release the ball, and the air stored in the 1/3rd of the cylinder expands very quickly, giving us enough force to launch the ball.

Right now we’re working on lowering the air consumption (right now a single shot drops our pressure from 115psi to about 80psi…)

And yes, I believe it is within the limits… However, this is a culmination of 2 prototypes, a mechanism mounting bracket, and last year’s robot. The real thing will (hopefully) be much nicer

what do you mean by keeping the cylinder from moving at 60 psi with 3 in filled?

sorry Im a nub

basically when the catapult is fully retracted, the cylinder sticks out 3 in. Before we shoot, we hold down the ball (from the top, we still have to make that part) and open the valve. Air from the tanks fills up that 3in. and we wait until it is time to fire. When we fire, we remove the top piece and the air inside the cylinders expands rapidly, launching the ball.

Maybe I should make a quick diagram…

so your bore starts 3 inches, and it fires out to 10? so basically you’re using the potential energy of the bore that is protruding 3 inches?
yeah a diagram might help…

Think of it like a spring, but instead of energy being stored in the coils, its stored in the cylinder with the air. Only reason that it sticks out 3in is so the pressure can build, storing the energy.


Here’s a diagram (out of proportion and not quite right, but what the hay):

Oh that is pretty cool
do u have to program the bore to protrude 3 " out, or do u mechanically set block it from full retracting (Im guessing the 2nd…programming a bore doesnt seem probable)

Are you at all worried about running out of air?

I think you might hurdle too fast (:smiley: ) and drain your tanks.

actually, yes, we are very worried about running out of air! Right now we lose about 35-40psi per shot, and it takes ~25-30 seconds to reload… Of course, you don’t have to shoot it at 115psi, but we still plan on exploring different ways to conserve air.

Well, you could start by removing all the other pistons.

Use servos to shift, and a motor to lift the loading forks. Pressurizing your tanks before every match might help maximize your air.

We hold the cylinders at 3in by using the weight of the ball combined with the piece (not yet built) which holds down the ball. Because of the geometry of the catapult it takes very little force to hold it down, but increases exponentially when released.

We are trying to cut down air usage and have been somewhat successful. Almost all of our cylinders are now single action instead of double action. By doing this we have cut air consumption for one shot from about 115-70 to 115-90 psi drop on four tanks (about 15 sec recharge time). If we start with the tanks precharged we should be able to get through a match without too much trouble.

On a side note does anyone know if it’s possible to design a pressure readout display for the OI. I think that would be immensely helpful this year.

Shift? what shift?

From what I understand they didn’t optimize the shooting system at all; it really only needs to fill the initial 3", not all 10". That should save a ton of air for the other tasks.

we also accidentally managed to land the trackball on the overpass:

it’s actually pretty easy with a catapult!

Awesome Job.

very impressive !

These guys have been concerned with the safety issue of stored energy. Their design makes every attempt to minimize the risk of injury. Most notable they do not use a latching mechanism. If I was an inspector, I would probable let this go. Some of the other designs I’ve seen are too risky and If I were the inspector would not allow to compete. I’m pessimistic. Who Knows what the inspectors will say. The GDC has not been black and white on this. A ball can be launch with a minimal risk device. Come on teams keep thinking. It can be done.