[POOL] Bumper pool noodle structure

We’ve been having a debate within our team about how to make the best bumpers possible and one of the questions that we’ve come across that we haven’t been able to find a good, concrete answer for is whats the best way to arrange pool noodles around your bumpers corners? The game manual seems to have a few examples of different ways teams do them but we aren’t sure which ones the best. What does your team use?

Options are straight from the game manual starting from the first legal design going top to bottom and left to right.

  • Bent noodle
  • Vertical noodle in place of corner
  • 45 degree cut noodles
  • Overlapping noodles
0 voters

We don’t believe any of these ways provide an inherent advantage but if you vote, it would be nice if you can write something quick with some reasoning behind your vote so we can evaluate what pros and cons the different methods have.

Sharp (45 degree/overlapping) and vertical both allow for better catching of another robot. Is the gain huge? No. The bent noodles (with the larger radius) allow for better sliding past other bots/field elements and may allow that corner to “hit harder” since the noodle is already partially squished. Again, we are talking very small gains here, maybe not noticeable.

The biggest advantage of the different configurations IMO is it opens up many different ways to attach the fabric.

Also missed opportunity to call the thread:
[POOL] Bumper pool noodle structure


Bent noodle tends to wear out and may fail Al’s “punch test” later in the season.


No longer missed :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the info, that’s what the “bent bumpers” camp on our team has been saying. Personally I like the vertical configuration since I think it looks better and (I think) the difference is negligible but based on this poll and asking teams at champs we’ll make our decision for next year.

literally the only reason why we bend noodles is because it looks better. Cutting them is infinitely easier but we just like the aesthetic that bent noodles give.


We use bent corners for several of the reasons you’ve listed, but also because it makes our fabric attachment much simpler. It is true that Ben Corners wear out, and if you have your hard-hitting robot and play in several tournaments, you probably will need to replace the noodles mid season.

@JRumple can share more, but we like the 45-degree pool noodles as the tolerances on the lengths of the bumpers don’t need to be as tight. We find it’s a lot easier to make four near-perfect length sides than a single C or O-shaped bumper that is backed by the frame perimeter on all four sides (YMMV). We sew the covers first by following a simple pattern, stick the noodles in, then put the board on top, and staple.

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More details about this design is available at 00 FRC Reversible Bumper Fabric Coverings Assembly Instructions - Google Docs.

C- or O-shaped bumpers are good if you make separate Red and Blue bumpers and need to swap them between matches. Once you commit to reversible bumpers, you can make the 4 straight segment bumpers because you mount them after inspection and leave them alone.

I was rushing with the first set and didn’t see a clear answer to making a reversing flap go around a corner, so I fell back on just having a reversing flap on straight sides and made four of them. As mentioned, this allows for larger tolerances on cutting the wood backing. C- or O-shaped bumpers have to have precisely cut wood because it needs to be tight to the frame perimeter around the corners.

I’ve seen some reversible bumpers that go around corners, so it is possible. This design seems easier to cut and sew. The four segments are easier to pack and transport to events. I’ve been able to teach several students how to make these, so the teams are not dependent on me or a sewing mentor.

I don’t know if there is a best design or a best arrangement of pool noodles. It does depend on the robot design as well as available resources, like students or mentors who know how to sew and equipment able to handle the heavy fabric like Cordura. This is what is working for me. I’m constantly reviewing bumpers at events and have seen several good looking bumpers that don’t use this design. Since I’ve also seen many poor looking and poor working bumpers, I’ve made the instructions above available to every team as a guide to start with.

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my team tends to overlap the pool noodles, it’s honestly the easiest one to do (in my opinion) and it doesn’t take much time to do at all

We use the 45 degree cut noodle but I personally like the look of the rounded bent noodles (a la 1678) better

We bend noodles, partially to not catch on other robots or field elements as easily, partially for appearance, partially so there is continuous noodle at the corners and we don’t get gaps as the noodles get beat up.

We used a vertical piece in the corner because while it is incredibly easy to put together, it looks nice with the rounded corners.

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