Best intake designs over the Years


How is everyone saying 971 but nobody is mentioning 971 2016? Easily one of the best and most effective intakes that year, maybe ever. It had variable ball compression by changing the arm angle, it stowed nicely on the robot, and could pick up boulders on nearly the entire front side of the robot with the vectored intake wheels. Combine that with the collision avoidance that contoured to the arms unfolding and it’s easily my favorite intake of all time.


This is by far the best intake I have ever seen:


971’s 2016 intake stands out to me- that robot exemplifies “touch it, own it” better than any robot I’ve seen.


2056 2012 - That thing just ate balls like no tomorrow and was also great at picking balls off the bridge. Part of what made it so awesome was the indexing system. It didn’t try to index the balls at all until they were inside the robot and free to move around without jamming.

341 2012 also had a nearly identical intake and indexing system.


We used a shuttle valve on ours as well for our first competition. However, a slow leak in our pneumatic system caused us to lose enough air before the beginning of a match that our auto failed. We ended up pulling the shuttle valve and swapping the low-pressure side for surgical tubing so that if we ever lost air we would still be able to grip/manipulate cubes. I’m glad to hear other teams are having success with it though!


That is really cool.

Did you get any hassle over R96? This rule, or its variant every year, has stopped us from doing clever things like this in the past.

R96. The outputs from multiple solenoid valves must not be plumbed together.


We were pretty sure the rule “The outputs from multiple solenoid valves must not be plumbed together” was there to prevent teams from using multiple solenoid valves in parallel to get around the CV restriction. The shuttle valve only lets the output of one solenoid valve through at a time so they aren’t really “plumbed together” in that sense. The shuttle valve also still allows the cylinders to completely vent per R95. We’ve passed inspection at three events fwiw.


2011 was an eye opener for me. Several teams ended up using this architecture that I think is incredibly good.

Over/Under roller claw with a jaw. Basically all the benefits of a roller claw with a better release using a jaw mechanism. Usually the jaw is does with a pneumatic piston. This allows for compliance grip as well as quick release.

I saw a few versions of that architecture last year for gears, and this year for boxes that is extremely effective.


987 from 2013 really stood out to me for not only how effective it was, but that there wasn’t a bumper cutout or an intake outside the frame. This is what I was reminded of when I first saw 2767 in 2017.

Behind the Bumpers


469 2013 - How did that thing even work. Like most of their robots I’m really not sure why they chose to do the things they did but it ended up working really well. They’d just drive over a frisbee and it would end up in the robot. It even flipped upside down frisbees right side up. It’s mindblowing.


To be clear, our intake (as well as 1678, 973, and probably others) is a derivative of 1323’s intake. 1323 deserves all the credit for coming up with it.


I have to give a hat tip to FRC16’s intake in 2008, floppy intake was best intake.


I think some of the most effective intakes and mechanisms can be found in VRC. 1538’s 2013 and 2014 intakes were heavily inspired by VEX teams.


Not to steal any of your thunder but 2200 also independently developed a intake of the same concept but even simpler. Instead of using a linear spring mechanism they just used a bent piece of polycarb that would flex while intaking a gear.


I personally like 1717’s intake from 2012, very efficient from matches I’ve watched. I’m gonna guess it takes from past years games, regardless it’s really smooth.


I think it’s really easy to get caught up in the high level robots, that seed high, win events, but 865 from 2015came out with what would later be the Cheesy Poof intake that year in week one. In a year where a lot of robots struggled with handling totes, this robot made it look like cake, and there were definitely inspirations drawn from it later in the season by other teams.


340’s 2017 intake was really solid, using both pinching and rolling allowed it to be very “touch it, own it.” 148’s 2017 intake (original model) was also really cool because it could get gears and fuel in the same place.


Along similar lines, 1678s 2014 intake(s)


I’m going to toot my own horn and note that that 2011 design was based on team 100’s design from 2007 - I went to a 1678 workshop and they said they literally traced it for their first prototype on their 2011 robot.


I would have to say 1323’s from this year. So good that 1678, 1671, 254, and 973 all copied it. Able to quickly grab cubes without kicking them away, open wide for intaking, and even pick up any orientation of cubes. One of the best features is able to actuate open to precisely drop the cube onto the scale. Great intake!