Remote 10pt Ball Activation

Has anyone thought about knocking off the 10pt ball remotely. I think it would be a good idea if you wanted to catch the balls without releying on your alliance partner to activate the 10pt ball. I had thought about using some kinda of a scissor mechanism to deploy it at an angle twards the side barrier. It would then run along the side of the field till it hit the outer pole on the 10pt enclosure, pivot in to hit the ball and then you have 18 balls falling into your robot in what ever container you choose. It does not seem to complicated to me, EASILY less than 10 pounds. I just want to know what other people think of the idea

I think its a decent idea, in theory, that might work (emphasis on might) However, you wont be able to store more than 5-6 balls on your robot, most likely, and even if you could store more, the balls fall everywhere, making it unlikely that you get many.


Although I don’t know of a specific rule, nor do I feel like searching for one, my past expieriences lead me to believe that FIRST wouldn’t want you to react with the field borders in order to gain an advantage.

Could it be done? Definitly, but I don’t know if it’s legal.

I don’t belive there is any rule againt any part of this strategy. Mostly because is automous mode teams do track parts of the field because they are a fixed position for dead reckoning. I also feel that there will be many robots that will be able to carry a significant amount of balls. I see many teams being able to expand to very large sizes and i belive catching the balls is a good strategy because there is less of an element of chance of when the balls will be at that given time. They will fall onto your bot if you can get there before another team knocks off the ball and if they don’t you have a simple extention device to do it for you. This device could be quite similar to alot of extensions seen in 2k2.

This idea sounds perfectly legal, I think. I would just be careful and maybe prototype your idea before spending a long time building it, because it has a good chance of not working. Also, you don’t have much experience with doing this, I think. It sounds like your robot would fall over due to the weight of the arm and the maximum size of the base of your robot. Also, it might be hard to find a way to fit this arm device, a hopper-type thing for holding the balls, an electrical system, a chasis, and four wheels or whatever in the envolope. Actually, it would be easy, but not one that holds enough balls that makes it worth it. I am probably wrong though.

Last year was my first year, so I missed ball collecting, only bin collecting. Bins were much easier to deal with, I think.

you may want to check out rule <G05>

"ROBOT mechanisms used to remove the BONUS BALLS may extend beyond the playing field border as long as they are within the vertical pipe structure surrounding the BALL TEES. If a BONUS BALL is removed form the BALL TEE by a ROBOT that violates this rule, a 25 point penalty will be deducted from that alliance’s final score.

couple things-

there is an entanglement rule, so anything you “send out” from your bot cant be trailing wires across the floor (no little mouse-bots running around)

and I think any scissors like extention, if you could get it to reach the release ball, would have to be very light - and remember there will be a 130 pound bot barreling down on that postion from the other direction - there will be contention for postioning at the IR beacon - expect your extention to get mangled

robot footprint has to be 30 by 36 inches at the start, but you CAN have a robot with a 36 by 60 inch footprint that starts on its 30 by 36" side, and pushes itself over at the start of the match, or that unfolds a frame with a footprint as big as you want.

Couple things

I would have the extention on a pivot (to easily be pushed if another robot wanted to activate my balls for me).

I would also use an extention like that of robots in 2k2 who had extentions that were quite sturdy. This scissor mechanism could be deployed and retracted using ONE pneumatic cylinder. (Why do you need wires?)

Also why fall down and waste time?

A scissor link mechanism is notoriously unstable. As you start to extend a linakge that long, it likely would just flop over. I think your team is far better off putting your resources elsewhere.


Another question that came up in my team’s brainstorming session, though not by any means our strategy:

Could you hit the field border hard enough to knock the 10 pt ball(s) off their stand, but not damage the field?

I can see all these robots using elaborate tracking mechanisms and autonomous modes when another robot makes a beeline for the field border and accomplishes the same task.

I don’t see anything prohibiting this in the rules, and Dean/Dave/Woody specificly pointed out following the border as one of the ways to find the bonus balls.


It would be hard to tell through just testing because the FIRST fields will definitely be built out of different materials… However, if you do succeed with such an idea, Those teams who spent many hours preparing their autonomous modes will probably get very annoyed…Good luck!:wink:

One of my suitemates just got this cool toy…

I’m not sure if it’d work for knocking the bonus ball off, but it’ll knock your hat off at 15-20 feet…


Do you think FIRST’d allow it?

Oh, God bless ThinkGeek! ::giddy with all sorts of crazy, stupid ideas::

isnt the release ball sitting on a tee that stands on the floor? I dont think its connected to the field border (but I dont have my arena drawings in front of me.)

It can work, I’ve seen some work, but work hard at it. Scissor mechanisms tend not to do well unless the are very short and well made. Otherwise, go for it. IMHO, the 10 point ball is an important ball to have in the field and in play for your team, but keep us up to date on your progress and how things are going for you guys.

I’ve thought about an air cannon too - you would have to include a smoke/fog source so that the audience could see the smoke ring vortex to understand what you are doing. A robot using this technique of course would be called “Puff, the magic dragon”.

Merle Yoder
Team Paragon 571
Windsor, CT

This was discussed at kickoff (after broadcast) during up-close inspection of the field/components. Woody demonstrated to some bystanders how the field border, including the vertical pipe structure surrounding the ball tees, is NOT connected to the tees. I don’t believe any movement/pounding of the field border structure would knock the balls off.

Thanks for clearing this up. I love the power of FIRST-ers in large numbers.

So does anyone else have any idea for how to knock off the 10pt ball and still have your robot under the ball bump?