The Kicking Mechanism

Ok. My team, 2389, and I are having difficulties with our kicker. We tried using air but 60 PSI is not enough to hit the ball effectively. Now we are trying surgical tubing but we have no way of pulling the kicker back to kick again. We tried using the pnuematics but it wont release the air quick enough to do anything. We cant modify the pnuematics at all and we have no more ideas. If you can help… Please do.
-Much Appreciated

You are missing a good discussion in the following thread on this

Ideas on how to incorprorate tubing

also I bet you can find other ideas in the various thread s about kickers

Our first kick was really really lame. We started toying with things and now we can kick about 10~15ft with a lame arc. We’re now working on making that arc a little more optimal, like a 45degree or even less with more distance.

There are several things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure your kicking “feet” are light
  • Use all the mechanical advantage you have
  • Try leaving the exhaust port open. See how much that increases the kicking distance
  • Use a really really fast solenoid(?) – I only saw it. I don’t actually know what kind of solenoid or its specs. But I know it improved the kick dramatically
  • It’s all about efficiency…

Anyway, if you want pictures of ours, let me know. It’s not the best, but it’s a very decent one for a non-surgical tubing kicker.

Your goal is to pack as much force and velocity in to that ball as much as you can!

You should go on you tube and look up team 842 they have lots of great kicking video also search FRC kicker you will find other team videos to help solve your problem.

We use this method but also have a gate latch so we can precharge the cylinder so it will release much faster.

keehun, we could use some pictures. Thanks.

Team 2389

Please be sure that you are in compliance with <R72> part C.

If you are seeing dramatic differences, ask yourself “Why is this solenoid so much better?”.



60PSI will definitely be enough to hit the ball decently far. Are you having your piston actuate a lever, or just trying to hit the ball directly?

Remember mechanical advantage. Using a cylinder in line with a ball probably won’t give you the speed you are looking for. Use a lever with the cylinder located near the pivot and (obviously) the ball at the far end.

My team looked at tubing with a latch. Cylinder would draw back against the tubes and a second cylinder would release the latch. It worked, but was heavy, slow and complicated. We are considering other options now.

If you latch, pre-charge, and keep the exhaust side vented, you can attain cylinder speeds up to 15mph or more.


Excellent kickers can be made with a clutch mechanism (such as can be found in an AM shifting transmission), and surgical tubing.

Team 3238 is having the same problem. Precharging cylinders definitely make a big difference.

We just toyed with the idea of having elastic-assisted pneumatics, but when we hooked up the festo valve to vent/reverse drive our cylinder, it actuated very slowly.

Any ideas on why this is/how to fix it? opinions on elastic assist?

Also, if anyone is also looking for a good vacuum mechanism, this may help:

Hey Taxi & Numbers,

Based upon what it sounds like you’ve already got, you could try the following (which is what we’re doing). It’s a surgical tubing powered kicker, with a pneumatic cylinder pull back.

The following is the process:

  1. A 1.5" cylinder is used to pull back a kicker leg against surgical tubing to a latch (like others I’ve seen on CD)
  2. Now this is where it gets different… The cylinder, which is NOT connected to the leg in the extend direction, is extended (thereby taking the cylinder out of the kicking portion of the loop, eliminating issues with the pneumatic system slowing down the kicker).
  3. A small cylinder is used to release the latch, releasing the kicker leg to the ball.
  4. The leg is then in positon to be pulled back again. Back to step 1.

If you try this method, remember to have the cylinder end move beyond the leg on the extend stroke, as you don’t want the kicker to damage the cylinder!

I hope this helps. Let me know if you would like any further clarification.