Air Compressor allowed in the pits?

My team is equipped with air tools. We’re wondering if we could bring the tools and simply bring an air compressor into the pits for the air tools.
I couldn’t find any rules that prohibit this,
Please advise

I have been to events where all air compressors were not allowed. There are multiple reasons:

  1. Noise
  2. Inrush power requirements might be too much for the pit electrical system
  3. possibility that teams will charge their robot pneumatics from it.

Is there anything definitive from the rulebook?

Usually the answer is no and is a venue-specific response. The startup current for air compressors may trip the circuit breaker (shared among many teams in the pits) and no one will like you for that :]

What kind of air tools would you be using? I can’t think of any off-hand that would be needed.

From the Admin Manual:

4.8.7 Machine Tools at Events
When using tools in the Pit, be sure to use them properly, in a safe and controlled manner. Unsafe operation, especially those that
endanger others and your team, will be subject to scrutiny by the event staff and safety reviewers. Their findings may result in team
warnings or event expulsion.
Please adhere to the following safety rules regarding Pit safety and tool use:
■■ Tools that throw sparks are prohibited.
Examples: Electric welders, bench grinders and angle grinders.
■■ Tools that produce open flames are prohibited.
Examples: Gas welders and propane/MAPP gas torches.
■■ Floor standing power tools are prohibited.
Examples: Full-size drill presses, full-size band saws and full-size table saws.
■■ Grinding or painting in the Pit is prohibited. Designated grinding and painting areas are available to teams.
■■ Brazing/welding is prohibited at the team Pits. Use the machine shop.
■■ Soldering is permitted. Use electric iron/gun only.
■■ Small, bench-top machinery, with appropriate guards, is permitted in team Pits.
• We consider ‘small’ machinery as machinery easily lifted by one person
Examples: Small band saws, drill presses, and sanders.
■■ Small, desktop machining centers are permitted as long as they are reasonably sized. They must be appropriately covered to
prevent throwing of chips during operation.
• We consider ‘small’ machining centers to be easily lifted by one person
Examples: Desktop CNC mill.

Whether or not it is in the rules, if a venue says “no”, the answer is no. Local Restrictions
If a team supported machine shop is used, please note there are local restrictions such as fire codes and venue approval that you
must consider as part of the process. FIRST will do its best to convey any relevant needs and work on your behalf to gain venue
approval through a professional, legal process.

The World Championships in St. Louis most likely will NOT permit air compressors then?

Power is a little beefier at the championships since it is a convention center meant to house exhibitors.

Post on the FIRSTForums or contact FIRST directly for a definitive answer.

RI’s tend to have a real problem with Air Compressors. Assuming they let you have one, it will only last as long as the first time you trip a breaker. At that point, you will be TOLD to remove the Air Compressor from the venue, and all the teams on your electrical circuit will be very upset with your team.

In summary: Air Compressors (other than the one on your robot) are not a good idea.

Note: You may want to show that you have no means (incompatible fittings) to connect the compressor to your robot (R68), and swear there are no adapters in your pit.

I’m not clear on the value of an air compressor in your pit. What will you use it for? It will have to be small with low CFMs (so no air sanding), you won’t really use brad nailing or stapling (?), you can’t be airbrushing or spraying or grinding, there’s not a whole lot of anything to inflate, and anything you can do with an air wrench at this scale can also be done with cordless power tools or hand tools (like a hand riveter).

Some FiM teams bring 5 gallon compressor. If you bring make sure the 15A current limit on the power line is met. If its not very noisy they would allow, as there is no rule on the book prohibiting it.

Just please leave it at home. I’ve been trapped in a pit next to a team that used a lot of air tools. Having their compressor kicking on at regular intervals was maddening. It was so loud you could barely talk, and happened several times while judges were talking to our students. Gracious professional saved lives that weekend.