kicker or linear accelerator?

Today, my team has decided to use a linear accelerator of some sort, even though a kicker kicked the ball farther and faster. The main reason we chose the linear one was because of the CoG, and it fits our strategy. I want to know what you guys have found with your designs/ tests. Videos would be nice if you’ve got them. Thanks.

What is a “linear accelerator” in this context? Remember that the rules don’t let the ball intrude into the robot by more than three inches. That’s not much room for acceleration.

Perhaps the Original Poster means one of these? Seems kind of overkill.

By linear acceleraotr, I meant a horizontal “puncher”. This would be a mechanism that would be pulled back and accelerate and hit the ball either by pneumatics or elastic tubing and a winch, or something else of the sort.

What our team found was that you’ve got to get topspin for a puncher to get a ball over any bump, so for now we’re just focusing on a kicker (where topspin’s maybe not as necessary).

Strange that you still choose the “linear accelerator” even when it performed worse than the kicker, any reason why?

I don’t know why my team chose the linear puncher when the kicker performed better. I was supporting the kicker, but others thought that it would be heavier and make the CoG higher so we would be more likely to tip going over the bump. However, this isn’t exactly true which was why I was disappointed when the vote went to the horizontal puncher. Also, my team wants to excel at midfield, so people thought we don’t have the need to kicker the full length of the field. I like to hope for the best and prepare for the worst, but others feel differently.

Thanks for the info! We’re starting prototyping tomorrow, so this will be helpful. Maybe we’ll find a way to get the linear accelerator to work.

Our team was thinking of using a linear accelerator too!
Of course we are a second year team…

Theoretical pluses that we see to that design are:

  • being able to do controlled shots into the goal because the goals are hard to shoot into; we assumed that if it was a linear accelerator and we were kicking the ball on the ground there would be no lift and no height dimension to perfectly aim at so would focus on 2 dimensions to take the shot
  • the design would be a lot simpler and more elegant
  • if we got both power and control out of the design we could use to hit over the bumps and gently into the goals

So far however we have ruled out:

  • a pneumatic gun - because pneumatics pistons break down at high speeds
  • a electromagnetic solenoid - because its against the rules

All that’s left is:

  • gear, and motors
  • rubber bands like a bow or a slingshot

If anyone has tried out these designs please let me know! :slight_smile: