Realistically facing the challanges of elevating your robot

Hello everyone!
It’s are first year at… FIRST and so far we’ve really enjoyed the build season. However as the end draws near our team has yet to really focus on the end of the game where teams have the opportunity to have their robots attach to the tower or mount the platform. While this seems like a great idea to earn valuable extra points in this low scoring game, how realistic are these possibilities? I hate to be a negative nancy but this seems like an impossible challenge. Given FIRST’s part, frame, and time limitations i am seriously doubting the ability of robots to accomplish this task.

There are obviously two basic ways in which to score extra points at the end. The first (and seemingly easier) would be to elevate your robot atop the platform. The second (grabbing the tower, and/or a robot hanging off the tower pretty much are the same) is substantially harder. There are obviously only 2 platforms and 6 robots so that is another limiting factor. And likewise, assuming your robot can go over the bumps or under the tunnel, there are 4 places to grab the platform ( accomplishing this task from an even surface poses a huge challenge as it is, i doubt people will be able to do it from atop the bumps).

Are there any teams out there who have come up with a realistic way of accomplishing either task? We have not yet considered the platform and are more interested in the idea of grabbing the tower. Also, yes i saw the other lifting thread, however this one is not for concepts but actual methods people have either used successfully or at least have proven possible.

Hey! Welcome to CD.

I definitely think that many teams have creating working concepts. I know we have :]

The basic premise of our lifting device is one in which our robot sits atop the bump, lowers a small frame into the platform space, extends a couple of grippers to grab the poles, and lifts sideways about an axis. The whole mechanism is about 20 lbs.


This is a fair question, especially since it’s been a long time since we’ve had to hang on a bar.

However, it is quite possible to hang on the tower very quickly. For teams that had an easy time in 2004 (or even 2000), there is already a tried-and-true method. For this year’s rookies… It’s another story.

So, here is an item to use to your advantage: CD-Media. Search for robots from 2004, especially if they’re hanging. Robots from 2000 may also provide ideas; pictures are just harder to find easily.

There is one robot that I’d love to find, if possible. If memory serves, there was a team in 1999 at SVR that would grab onto a vertical pole and swing their robot up onto a particular part of the field for bonus points. IIRC, it was nice and orange with a black base.

Thanks for all the helpful information, I can see why so many people say why this site is invaluable. The idea of grabbing onto one of the vertical poles definitely seems much more plausible than extending a device all the way to the top of the towers. i’ll just quickly add my idea which hopefully will help someone else too.

If a robot had an extended piston attached to a vertical post with a gripper of some sort, all the robot would have to do is clamp the gripper onto the pole and retract the arm lifting the robot off the floor so that it hangs on its side. In text characters it would look something like this:


where the “l” is the vertical arm with a gripper on top, joined to the robot with a pivot at the base. the top of the “>” is the extended piston which when retracted would raise the robot off the floor. The angles/piston length and such would have to be tweaked but this seems like it could work.

If you’re thinking of a pneumatic piston, you might want to do some calculations regarding how much force you can get from one, and how much air it takes to get that much force over the distance you need to lift the robot.

It might be more feasible to get the job done with a motor driving a winch.

We don’t have a design yet, but we have a lot of ideas. Here’s one that a student came up with and made a model

Steel cable with a winch that can lock is our method. We have tested and proven the speed and power we need. We are using an arm to get it their but the steel cable will do the support. We indent to hook from the side of the tower and drop out pipe loops for other robots to hang from. thease loops will be on the opposit corners of the robot away from the tower. This will allow the robot in the first zone to hage with out leaving it. They will be able to score right up to the end and then hang at the last few seconds.

Could your robot hang from those pipe loops you mention if they were on another robot? I mention this because grabbing the 7 ft high bar and grabbing much lower ones (4ft? 3.5ft?) might be even trickier to do with the same mechanism. We think being able to hang from a range of bar heights will increase the scoring opportunities. We’re encouraging other builders to incorporate a bar or bar simulator on their side away from the tower.

We have done the calculations and will be verifying our findings with a prototype ASAP but you can likely get the force you need over the the full distance you need with pneumatics.

Prepare to be surprised, amazed, awed, and inspired.

Some teams won’t design their robot for the endgame bonus. Some robots will fail to perform as designed. Some designs will struggle mightily and just barely manage to earn the bonus for being elevated.

But some teams will have robots that make the task look trivially easy, using elegant mechanisms that cause everyone else to slap their foreheads and wonder why they didn’t think of it.

We will have a second hook low that can hook just above the 20 inch level. That hook will only have to hold our robot. When we are hanging from another robot no robot will be able to hang from us.

This video shows 190 hanging from the top bar (which, if I remember, was a bit higher than this year’s)

c. TOWER Contact ROBOT Volume - During a MATCH, ROBOTS in contact with their ALLIANCE TOWER may extend beyond their NORMAL CONFIGURATION volume but may not exceed the FINALE CONFIGURATION maximum volume.
d. FINALE ROBOT Volume - During the FINALE, ROBOTS may extend up to the limits of the FINALE CONFIGURATION maximum volume.

Does everybody understand the above two rules? Before the 20 second finale are we allowed to open the robot size as long as we touch the tower, but we are not allowed to hang? After the 20 seconds do we still need to touch the tower to open up?


but we are not allowed to hang?
I find nothing that says this. You could hang in auto mode, as long as you were touching the tower when you expanded beyond NORMAL CONFIGURATION.

After the 20 seconds do we still need to touch the tower to open up?
During the FINALE 20 seconds, you may expand whether touching the tower or not.

I’m reminded of a quote I’ve heard from a mentor once. Apparently in 2008, when discussing shooting the giant ball over the overpass, he ruled out the possibility, saying the ball would be too hard to control.

The very idea you rule out as impossible in design meetings could be what will beat you in eliminations.

I can tell you… we have a mechanism that will work. We can deliver the hooks to the bar in under a second, and from there lift ourselves up quite quickly (we won’t know how quickly until the robot is finished, but the mechanism was able to easily lift a mentor).

It’s extremely easy to be overwhelmed your first year. Focus on the basics, and make sure you get a robot that works. Hanging from the bar is nice, and many teams will be able to do it, but there will be plenty of room on winning alliances for teams that can’t. The defensive position, for example, may end up being way to important for that robot to spend the last 20-45 seconds of the match running back to try an hang - the other team may be able to score 2+ points in that time frame.

If you look at matches from two years ago, you’ll see that, of the 3-robot alliances, only 2 could really play with the ball each match. What’s the point of having a third robot that can play with the ball, if instead you could have one that couldn’t, but could run laps faster than everyone else? Every game FIRST comes out with has multiple angles like that. The trick is finding the angle your team can accomplish, and be the bast at doing that one specific thing.

The best decision 1276 made in six years of robots was NOT hanging from the bar in 2004 (our rookie year). It wasn’t that it was strategically disadvantageous, but there was no way we could’ve successfully built both.