New rule Clarification changes plans

Has this Q & A made anyones designs illegal?

This new clarification complicates a lot of things. We didn’t think there was anything illegal about our design until about 30 seconds ago, so now we must redesign, and we only have 2 weeks left!! :frowning:

this rule does not change our design because our harvester (picking balls up from the floor) is within the 28x38 design criteria. so, we can also deliver balls to the corner goals without the problem of being outside these limits to be considered a shooter mechanism.

I just read rule S03

<S03> The SHOOTING MECHANISM must remain inside the ROBOT - Any mechanism used to throw balls
must be contained within the original 28” x 38” x 60”starting envelope of the ROBOT and must be
shielded such that the mechanism cannot make contact with other ROBOTs. A ROBOT that violates this
rule will be considered unsafe per <S01>.

Reversing a roller outside the starting dimensions was not considered “throwing” in the design process of our team, so we never thought twice about it. Also rule S01 states

<S01> If at any time a ROBOT’s operation or design is deemed unsafe by the head referee, it will receive a 10-
point penalty and be disabled for the remainder of the match. If the safety violation is due to the ROBOT
design, the head referee has the option to not allow the ROBOT back onto the field unless the design has
been corrected. An example of unsafe operation is repeatedly throwing balls off the field at audience
members, media personnel, judges, referees, etc. An example of an unsafe design is a SHOOTING
MECHANISM that has a large mass that is stopped abruptly at the end of travel and is at risk of breaking
off the ROBOT and becoming a projectile.

Would this mean if it wasn’t considered “dangerous” by the head referee, you could you use it? It also says due to robot design, the head ref would have to consider it “unsafe”

Yes, but is it “shielded such that the mechanism cannot make contact with other ROBOTs”, per rule <S03>?
I think that’s the tricky part of the rule.

We have some redesigning to do, I think.

Being the team that posted the question to the Q&A, we had to redesign part of our robot. I think the new solution we can up with is actually superior to our old design, but it forced us to go back to the drawing board.

yes, our harvester is shielded so it does not make contact with other robots. so we are legal, right? i just want to make sure so we do not have to re-design again.

So do you think that this applies to doors that open out (hinged at bottom)? There is no power in the door…just gravity.

I’m really hoping it doesn’t, because that is probably what will have to change too…

I think I am confused about shielding. How can you shield a front loader that also might push balls back out and still collect balls? How do you shield the shooter but still allow shooting?

Wouldn’t a ball collector low in front also allow soomeones corner of their robot to enter the collection area? I’ve seen pictures of robots with open areas low in front, where it looks like another robot could fit a corner into. Who gets the penalty then?

Any ideas?


Carolyn Hinckley

Guys, reread the first Q&A.
That device would not be a legal shooter . That means you cannot shoot balls rapidly out of it.
If you’re not, you can still extend outside the 28x38 (or whatever) starting bounds.
So, your shouldn’t have to redesign that much. Just lower the speed of your mechanism. I think FIRST needs to define a minimum velocity that defines a device as a shooter.

They did. They very clearly said that no matter the exit velocity of the balls, it is “not a legal shooting mechanism because it is outside of the 28 x 38 inch allowable starting envelope.”

I think FIRST needs to clarify it more then, because my interpretation of what they’re saying is “if you’re not using it as a shooter, it’s fine”. I would assume shooting would be more classified for the center goal. As per the rules, the center goal is the only goal that requires balls to be “shot” into, so FIRST calling it a “shooter” in my mind references more the center goals.
Perhaps I’m just understanding it wrong.
How is it a shooting mechanism if it slowly releases balls?
I think FIRST needs to further clarify this and possibly reconsider to allow teams who aren’t pummeling balls out at 12 m/s to dump this way. Teams have safely used these mechanisms in the past, why stop a team from doing so if they’re releasing them at a safe speed?
I seriously think FIRST should make a minimum velocity to classify a device as a shooter. If it’s fast enough, it must abide by the shooted design rules. If it’s under, it falls under the normal rules for robot components.
Just my $.02
edit: Unless you’re referencing another Q&A post, they didn’t say anything about “no matter the speed of the ball”.

If the mechanism can eject a ball, it is considered a shooter. See this question/answer. The velocity of the ball while being ejected does not matter.


I think this may be another “the intent of the rule” problem. A door for a ball leaving a basket isn’t a shooter unless it is powered out of the basket. But if the basket has a powered ouput…it becomes a shooter.

Kind of like a stack being a stack being a stack, or a ball being “contained” in a goal.

I really wish this new definition was released earlier…I think it will affect a lot of teams. This will make the next two week period very crammed for time, especially for those teams that have already finished their robot/ are close to finishing.

The only thing this would affect would be our current exit door for the ball container, but this came just at about the right time for us to change that.

I just wish we weren’t finding out about this just now.

What about teams that were hoping to dump their hoppers at the end into the coral, is this a shooter?


If you had a “door” that opened up to release the balls, and that door, when opened, was outside of the starting dimensions, would it be legal? Even if it is not powered and only gravity fed, would it be considered a shooter?

Could someone verify an answer to this question in the Q & A?

I interpret (hopefully or we have some work to do) it as no. It is not a shooter. Dave…can you confirm that this is the appropriate interpretation? :slight_smile:

So by the looks of it if we had a piston open/close our door like in the below picture would be legal under this rule?

A conveyor brings them in, but they are not pushed out of the robot, they just roll out via gravity once the door is opened.