Help with "El Toro" pickup

Dear CD,

We’ve outfiltted our robot with the Boom Done “El Toro” vertical ball intake system and still have difficulty picking up the ball quickly.

So what did you find was the “critical element” or “sweet spot” that made your system operate? We’ve played with a number of parameters but have not reached our goal, yet.

  1. Intake roller material or configuration (we’re using 1/4 latex and 3/8 latex layered over 1/2 inch PVC-80 plastic - does aluminum work better?).

  2. Speed: We’re using a Bag-Motor with a VersaPlanetary geared 10:1. I have powered at 0.5 and 0.75. Was speed the “magic bullet”?

  3. We’re able to articulate our vertical intake sticks from straight over the bumpers upwards 90 degrees to help pull in the ball. This doesn’t seem to help as much as I thought it would.

  4. How about the tension between the two rollers with using the elastic latex. Was there a sweet spot we missed?
    We’ve tried a couple of different spring rates using elastic latex without much difference in performance.

  5. What about the center line of the stick’s to the center line of the ball?

  6. Other items we may have missed.

Tonight’s bag and tag night in Michigan. Thanks for you thoughts in advance.

Best regards,

The “El Toro” system would seem to be easily duplicated. I’d say bag what you have and spend a few days with a second set-up doing some more testing.
We’re not using this setup, but we’ve heard other teams are having issues.

My opinion: the elastic holding the two prongs together must be strong to apply compression at about 20" of separation, but not too strong so that the ball bounces off.
10:1 gearboxes sound fast, make sure the prongs aren’t just skidding over the ball.

We’re using the Banebots 775-18 and P-60 16:1 transmissions. We tried static motor mounting but stalled one or both motors or wouldn’t pick up, so we put the motors on hinges with elastic. I’m not sure how far apart they we’re. We found the height the toros were mounted made a difference. Good luck and let us know if you need more information.

  1. Intake roller material or configuration
    sch-80 with tennis rack, and baseball bat grip material

  2. Speed: PG-71 sweet spot seems to be a little below 300rpm

  3. We are fixed angle,

  4. How about the tension between the two rollers with using the elastic latex.
    It has to be very close to tight enough to stall it.

  5. What about the centerline of the stick’s to the centerline of the ball? We are about 21 inches apart with toe in.

What exactly isn’t working out for you?

This is the best “el toro” I have seen:


Now that’s a fast pickup!

We were able to pickup without bumpers but with the addition of bumpers we are struggling to pick up the ball.

We are not using the red latex rolled like the Robo Wranglers but latex tubing wrapped around a 1/2 inch,
PVC schedule 80 stick.

Since the bumpers seem to be the source of the issue, try moving the intake assembly forward the same distance as the bumpers are thick.

Here is our “El Toro” intake (at the end of the video). We added the “heavy metal candycanes” to help intake the ball. We tweaked our intake to where it picks up very well.

One difference I notice:
Your arms could be spring loaded to be pointed more towards each other.

One thing I can’t tell:
What angle the arms make relative to the ground in the pickup position. This is important too.

As per the bumpers thing. Like suggested above, try moving the arms forward. This is a common mistake made by teams. Now you know, no excuses if it happens again next year.

Take a Google at Door Closers

Much better mechanism than wrapped surgical tube. Small gas furniture shocks can also work too.

It looks like the tubing is pulling at or below the pivot point. We have ours at about 1" above the pivot.

I also agree with moving it forward, get as close to the 20" outside the frame as possible.

Good luck!!!

our team as well went with the el Toro design, we had a lot of trouble in the beginning gripping the ball as we started with just surgical tubing wrapped around some 1/2 pvc and this did not work, we then went to try a numerous amount of other materials with minimal success, then I went home went onto YouTube and saw a team using bane bot on the end of there sticks, the next day I tried this and was very surprised at how well it worked, we eventually also switched from pvc to solid aluminum shaft we further increased our success of the mechanism. while at our scrimmage event it worked great allowed for quick pickup and release and increased maneuverability of the ball. even when the sticks got bent from another robot running into it, it still worked for the rest of the match, we have spares incase something really bad happened and we have it so that a clamp collar is all that is needed to remove the stick from the motors as we fabricated our own adapters. the mechanism pivots up and down with a snow blower motor, to keeps it out of danger as much as possible, and the stick are powered by pg71 motors until we broke one then we had a pg71 and a pg 27 powering them and this worked great we tried two pg 27 and it was slower then what we liked. We bought more pg71’s so that we can switch it back before our districts.

Dear CD,

Thanks for all your suggestions.

Tonight we had better performance. We had more success wrapping the magic red latex material from McMaster over the surgical tubing we had wrapped into a spiral. This effectively created a “better” version of the spiral stick and we could tell some difference.
I played with the speed settings lowering the speed a bit.
The last change was adding a ball like wad of material at the end of the stick with some material dangling. When spinning it creates a slapping effect which has some positive influence on gathering the ball.
I think one additional performance enhancer may be adding more dangling material to the rotating sticks (poly cord pop riveted to the stick?).
Some folks suggested moving the assembly forward but we didn’t try that yet!.

The final magic sauce was fixing the angle at the Southfield, MI MI district event which enabled us to pick up the ball much more quickly even in the open field.

When you say angle, do you mean angle to the ground or angle between the “sticks”?

MrRiedemanJACC	When you say angle, do you mean angle to the ground or angle between the "sticks"?

Angle of elevation (to the ground) - 30 degrees

We have motors that allowed us to vary the angle. By fixing the angle, the ball now is quickly picked up. You’re angle may vary, but I believe the principle remains the same.

There are smart phone apps (compass) that allow one to place the phone right on our intake mechanism for accurate angle measurement.

Ok Thanks! We seem to be doing ok with ours, but always looking to get better. We are about that angle also, but I’m sure the angle will depend on the height of the pivot point. Here’s our youtube channel showing our matches from Friday (haven’t gotten the videos from a parent yet for Saturday).

Looks like we’ll see you guys in Howell! Look us up if you need anything, we are Team 2611 - the Jacktown Vectors.