Legality of Surgical Tube Flail for Ball Intake

We are currently using an intake that involves surgical tubing connected to a rapidly spinning hex shaft. The intake works well (moderately), but we’ve started having some worries about its legality per R8 and R9. The flails aren’t extremely dangerous (they hurt while spinning, but don’t cause bruises) but sound pretty loud.

An example of it in action can be seen here: (we’re the robot with long arms)

You can see a closer view of the intake (not on) here:

I don’t think it is illegal. It may not be the best design solution but I think it’ll get past inspection.

Dr. Joe J.

As long as it doesn’t exceed 15" beyond the frame perimeter and follows all rules, I don’t see how it would be disallowed. Are you placing any weights at the end of the tubing? I could see that being a safety issue since surgical tubing will dissipate energy pretty quickly, but a weight would have potential to cause harm if separated from the robot.

192 had something similar in 2012. If the rules you’re refuring to haven’t changed it should be fine. This type of intake was actually really effective at pulling in balls that were bouncing or partially blocked.

We used something very similar to this is 2012 and the legality of it was never questioned.

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Great, that’s all the information we need to feel safe passing inspection. Thanks to the CD community for always being so helpful!

1678 used this type of intake inside our robot in 2012 also.

while the rules are different, we were passed through with surgical tubing to our events in 2014. Again, the rules are different, so they may not be legal now.


I should remind you that “But it passed at X event” does NOT fly when you’re at the current event, AND I’m also obligated to remind you that previous years’ rules do NOT apply to this year’s rules.

That being said, I would also pass this robot provided that the surgical tubing doesn’t go over 15" from the frame perimeter.