How Should a Rookie Team Get onto HAB Level 2

After several long weeks of wasting time, I finally convinced my rookie team to decide to create a basic robot to accomplish basic tasks in the game, but now we are stuck with trying to figure out how to get onto HAB Level 2. To be clear, we are using the 6-wheel Tank Drive KOP drivetrain.

Currently, our priorities consist of:
-Scoring hatches on the lowest level (We attach the hatch to metal bars with the hook/loop, and a small pneumatic contraption will push the hatch off of our robot, leaving it stuck)
-HAB Level 2
-Vision Tracking / Tape Sensors
-Cargo (We are thinking about doing a simple ‘bucket’ design where the ball falls into a container and the container is then moved to be facing towards the holes in the rocket/cargo ship. A small pneumatic contraption could push the ball into the lowest levels of the rocket/cargo ship)

We are wondering if you can come up with a method for our bot to get onto the HAB Level 2 besides just sending it full speed into the HAB and hoping it gets over lol.

Also, if you want, please evaluate our goals and the methods which we think we can achieve them.


7486 Hybrids

I wouldn’t prioritize getting onto level 2. I would focus all your efforts on cycling. You will be drafted based on the number of total points to can contribute to an alliance. HAB Level 2 nets you an additional 3 points. Your time will be better spent making your mechanisms better so that you can do 1 or more additional cycles per match.

This post shows a lot of my opinions (which are just opinions so take them as you will).


I would not recommend allocating time toward a level 2 climbing mechanism for the same reasons stated by @Ryan_Swanson. A “passive” level 2 climb like this is probably the route to go if you choose level 2 at all because this method of climbing does not involve any extra designing if you “just send it”


With two distinct game pieces this year, both of which your team is pursuing, it is important to both refine your mechanisms and practice as much as possible, to become efficient and effective in manipulating both. If you are able to finish your robot before the end of build season and put in the hours to practice, you can possibly make up for the 3 points extra rewarded from the second level HAB instead of the first level HAB in the cargo and hatch cycles you are able to do in a match.

Totally agreeing with both @Ryan_Swanson and @Tomithy. An L2 climb, unless it is faster than scoring a game piece plus the L1, is useless in eliminations, and pretty much useless in qualifiers.

To be useful in qualifiers, it must somehow be the “fifteenth point” which gives the RP.

  • If you have another robot on your alliance with an L3 climb or a ramp which helps an alliance partner drive up to L3, all you need is for one of the other robots to get to L1.
  • Otherwise, you must have TWO L2 robots on your randomly selected alliance which both make their climbs successfully, AND get the third robot on the L1 platform.

It’s hard to see how that’s going to be worth more than making your hatch panel or cargo scoring cycle a few seconds faster.

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First, setting aside the strategic value and answering the question OP asked…

You’re talking about using pneumatics already, so don’t forget that Bigger pneumatics exist, and if you’re willing to get creative and take some risk aren’t even that much more expensive.

Another solid option is to look at the “just send it” methods and maybe add little risers or a fold-out doohickey at the front to help get your nose up and skid your way to victory. In general, momentum is your friend for most cousins of this method. Keep in mind there’s a high chance of rules updates or ref discretion for issuing “field damage” yellow cards upon slamming into the player station wall after the send that make the “just send it” method very risky.

…Returning to the strategic value question, the highest performing robots in California will have double and triple HAB3 climbs, so your value to them on an alliance is almost solely determined by cycle time and Sandstorm capabilities. Your region may vary. If you’re lazer focused on doing a few things right, get your cycle time down and consistent, don’t worry about hab2.

Sometimes… you just have to send it


An easy method to make Level 2 trivial for your team would be to deploy a lip of some kind over your bumpers on the front of your robot such that you can essentially “ride” the lip up until your wheels catch the platform, which would be more secure than just trying to “just send it” every time. Just make sure you have enough momentum. Depending on your robot’s measurements you might need to have a little stinger to prop up the back end of your robot, but overall it should be relatively simple to implement. (See ugly mspaint sketch).


ramps are a great way to get up to different levels. This is a video of a prototype to get to level 3, but it could totally be used to get to level 2.

I agree with everything else said here, focus all your efforts on cycling both hatches and cargo to the lowest level, and get LOTS of driver training, while driver training, if you still have time and enough resources that does not hinder drive training you can work to design a little “add on” that works around your current design to help get to level 2, which then can be bolted on at competition, because frankly, getting on to level 2 is not very difficult, so only a small system should be necessary if you don’t want to go for the “just send it option”, but the net gain of a level two climb is not enough to rank it as a priority, so only do so if once again, your other mechanisms and driver training is the best they can be.

About level 2: It’s a trap!

I have to agree that level 2 does not make sense unless you can do it without adding anything to your robot and just jumping it. After your drivers have a week of practice, then start looking into level 2.

I also advocate putting more time and effort into refining what mechanisms you already have and practice, practice, practice. Analyze your mechanisms in detail to see why they work well and why the don’t work well and go through as many iterations as possible to improve it.

I was asked to mentor a low resource, perpetual-rookie team in 2017 and they did just that. They ended up scoring reliably and consistently and got picked in the first round, the earliest they had ever been picked.

Remember, a great set of mechanisms on a robot with no driver practice will be beat out by a good set of mechanisms with good driver practice.

Right now we are making a mechanism which would allow the hatch panel to attach to our bot with the hook / loop tape and then we would back away and push it with either 3 or 5 pneumatic cylinders, and basically a cargo ‘box’ which would be loaded by the player, and the ball would be pushed out by 2 pneumatic cylinders.

Should we just cut some wood to make those guides (triangles to kick the front of the robot up) to assist a HAB 2 climb?

If you are not done with your cargo/hatch mechanisms you should probably just focus on that.

Try doing something like this and center all of your weight around the front end so that the robot lifts the heavier end of the robot, also move the Pnuematics to the heavier end so that when the robot’s center of gravity reaches above the HAB it is on the HAB and leans into it further lifting the back end, if you already have a centermost weight robot put two sets of Pnuematics as seen below one to grab the HAB and one to Lift it onto the HAB, remember that the only thing propelling the drivetrain forward is itself and not the wheels
Be sure to read the manual for the Pnuematic cylinder series and find how much it can lift with each cylinder you use, if you need to calculate it, use a site at Pneumatics Online to calculate it, bore sizes should be in its manual, if you have KOP Pnuematic cylinders you will need bigger ones, but use the same series so it is helpful,KOP series should be the NCM series and your serial number will tell you everything about it and the SMC manual will break it down on and you can find the NCM series manual here at BEFORE BUILDING YOUR ROBOT CONSIDER WEIGHT, WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION AND DO NOT BUILD EVERYTHING BEFORE THE CLIMBING MECHANISM BUILD THIS FIRST TO MAKE ROOM IF YOU CHOOSE THIS ROUTE. BOTH CYLINDERS ARE ATTACHED TO EACH OTHER

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Also, Keep in mind this took about two weeks to do, if you have a big team and know about pnuematics great! as of our team I had to teach and learn myself along the way and correct it and fix the system a bunch

My team has a video showing how we use pistons to climb onto level 2. I can send pictures of the apparatus tomorrow morning if anyone’s interested!

Depending on you wheel clearance you could use the momentum to send you guys up to level 2. Also, level 2 is only worth a net 3 points so it’s just how much you value it

We definitely don’t have enough time/resources to build new pneumatic mechanism…

I think that the 3 points would be worth it for a possible RP, and we definitely have time to cut out the wood.

In regards to ‘sending it’ into the HAB, we are using the KOP drivetrain.