How are telescoping arms rigged?

My team is trying to design a telescoping arm currently and the biggest thing we struggle with is how it is going to be rigged. For my own design I just can’t find any good pictures of rigging that’s easy to assemble and fix etc. If anyone knows anything about them or any good resources that would be great.

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233 Pink Team's 2011 Telescoping Lift has some good information for you.

233 telescoping arms how do they work? may also be good


Thanks, these area great!

Also 3847s 2018 robots grabcad:


Our team created a version this year that really works exactly like a cascade elevator. It uses 1/8" amsteel rope and pulleys attached to each stage of the tubing to extend the tubing or retract it with a winch system at the bottom.

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This year we rigged ours with CF springs to extend and a winch to retract (climb). Springs are on each stage, and the winch cord is held in tension by spring force.

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Just out of curiosity, why is a requirement for your climb to be rigid? I’m asking you this because I think that by saying it must be rigid that you are limiting your designs.

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To be honest this is mainly for a climb for this years game but if it were rigged so it’s extendable and retractable with control then it should work. A design with cf springs would also work well for this application.

Because telescoping arms are required to be rigged (NOT rigid) in order to work…

Rigging: how to use wires/ropes to do a motion job. See also: ships.

They’re asking how to route the cables.

Are they limiting design? Probably. But it’s entirely possible that they already prototyped the other options.


A couple questions:

  • Telescoping arm in the Pink (i.e. pivoting and carrying a manipulator) sense or in the simple, relatively low-load sense?
  • What are you trying to do with it? (Drop a hook? Climb rigidly with it? Move a manipulator?)

The rigging and bearing setups for a telescoping arm will vary widely from the answers to these questions.

A design that fell off at one point, but is still one of my favorites (though maybe not the best if you’re using it to climb, is the RAGE arm that was used in 2005 and 2007.

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It would be load bearing as it would be what our robot uses to climb, and it does not drop a hook.


Here’s how ours was rigged made of pvc and aluminum tubes
and bot cad if you want to see in more detail (but the strings aren’t cadded)

and Snow Problem Ri3D where we took inspiration from


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