CNC Router

Our team is using an intake like that of 254 in 2016, we had good results with it. I am wondering what is the best way to deploy the intake out and over the bumpers. We have a larger structure on the same side as the intake that will climb onto the third level of the hab(like the video from snow problem). I want to make the intake as light as possible to prevent the robot from tipping over and falling down when we let go of the pneumatic cylinders that squeeze the sides of the hab. The wheels, and the shafts are weights that we can’t reduce so I am wondering if the use of CNC router to make a 1/4" plate would weigh less than 2"x1" box (1/8" wall), and the trade-off as opposed to using the box.

sidenote: We will use pneumatic cylinders to actively move the intake outwards and in.

It seems like you have two questions here: how to design pneumatics to deploy your intake, and is a 1/4" plate lighter than an equivalently strong 2x1x0.125" tube.

To answer the first question, I’d suggest using a CAD sketch to lay everything out. If you make a sketch with the basic dimensions of the intake and your robot, you can make a line to represent the piston. Move around the endpoints of the line to move the piston, and check the dimensions until you get a geometry that works. Then try to find a piston with those dimensions. If you can find one, great. If not, change the geometry and try again. Check out this video to see an example:

To answer your second question, the box tube will probably be lighter than the equivalent rigidity flat plate. That being said, rigidity is not always ideal in an intake, because it needs to also be able to take hits. A lot of teams make their intakes out of polycarbonate so that it will deflect when it takes hits. If you do choose to make yours out of aluminum, I would bring replacements no matter what in case you take a hard hit and it gets bent.

Yea, I hope we don’t have to replace it, but I’m planning on making them with box. I did actually use a sketch to place the wheels for the intake(I’m proud of my self for that). We don’t have a CNC but a team near us has one(We’re making a belly pan) and they were open to making some parts for us. Thanks for the idea of using the sketch to place the pneumatics for deployment of the intake, wouldn’t have thought of that!