Intake Slamming Down

My team’s intake has two pneumatic pistons and it seems to be slamming down a bit hard. How could we possibly slow down how fast the pistons extend?

Do you want it to go down slower or with less force?

A flow control valve would help with that. It restricts the flow of air, making pneumatics actuate slower.

I recommend the inline ones, it’s much easier to add them wherever you need them after the fact!


Two ways, you either use a needle valve to slow the rate or you use a piston with a soft stop. Like @Jon_Stratis linked.

Here is a video that demonstrate the process.


Another approach is to add some type of spring to help support the intake, so it takes as much force to move it down, as it does to lift it up. The surgical tubing in the KoP is a good place to start.

Flow controls are the way to go to control the speed of your cylinder (common folks their not pistons.)

The ones that mount to the cylinder only restrict flow one way (usually the exhaust) so you get full pressure applied but less speed because the air can’t flow out of the cylinder as fast. Inline just restrict the flow. Like Jon said the inline would probably be easier in a simple up/down of a small intake.

Use your Automation Direct voucher, they ship pretty fast.


I personally prefer using the needle valves on the exhaust of the solenoid because I can assign different speeds to the different actions. An example is I want it to come up faster than I want it to go down. Inline controls both directions but allows you to use only one valve. Exhaust allows you to control which direction you want to restrict.

The online ones I’ve used in the past only control flow in a single direction, allowing free flow in the other. Put it between the solenoid and the cylinder on one line, and it’ll let you control the speed in one direction only, the same way as a needle valve in the fitting on the cylinder.

Great, I’ll give these a try! I was watching robot reveal videos and I was wondering how it came down so smooth and slow. Our slams down and throws our robot around.

Sorry for my incorrect terminology, I’m a programmer that just dabbles a bit with pneuamtics.

1 Like

We tried regulators, could you explain the difference between flow control valves and regulators? And why you would use them over regulators?

A flow control slows down the speed of the cylinder. A regulator lowers the pressure therefore reducing the force at the cylinder. Using a regulator can also slow down the speed of the cylinder at the cost of lower power but you may want lower power.

Ex: If you want a bit of spring in your intake, using a lower pressure will allow more give on the cylinder therefore it’ll be similar to a gas spring.