sandpaper and velcro

We are considering using either of these to grab the gamepieces this year. Any thoughts on whether they would be legal? They both pill up the spandex on the ball, but neither seems to rip the fabric or cause any other damage. BTW, when does Q&A open?

Thanks in advance, everyone!

Q&A opens noon tomorrow, Jan 7th.

The GDC generally frowns on devices that abrade game pieces, even slightly. It’s one of those Kantian Universal Law things. Imagine if everyone in FIRST used sandpaper or velcro on orbit balls. What would happen to the balls, and would it make any sense to use sandpaper or velcro at that point? Signs point to no.

In our sandpaper tests (well, skateboard grip tape), even rolling the ball on top of the sandpaper produced enough wear on the cloth of the ball to warrant us not using it since that directly violates a rule – no need for a Q&A there. It’s the same damage one might see on cotton clothing that’s years old – little bumps of fibers. In our Velcro tests neither side of the Velcro stuck anyways, so it didn’t matter.

There’s a rubber mesh, the stuff used in VEX, that has a decent amount of friction with the ball when there’s the right amount of pressure/tension. We’re prototyping ways to manipulate the ball with it tonight. If used in a conveyor system, we’ll probably glue sandpaper around a rod, then use that to turn the inside of a rubber mesh ‘belt’. The sandpaper wasn’t abrasive to the rubber mesh when we ‘rolled’ it over the mesh.

Our velcro hooks were very capable of sticking to the ball. a 1"x1" square of velcro hooks managed to suspend the ball and hold it in the air. When scraping the velcro over the ball it caused the covering to poof up a bit, or get it a little fuzzy. Overall I say that there was no damage to the ball that would consider damaging a field. No more damage was done to that ball than a bot scratching some plexiglass sides of the field by colliding with it, and that hardly warrents a penalty.

Yeah I’ve been wondering about this too, we have thought of using velcro on our team and most of our team doesn’t think that it would violate the rule of damaging the field or game pieces. I guess to get the true answer we will have to wait until noon tomorrow.