Tubing for ball intake

We are looking at using some form of tubing for our ball intake from the ground, but we can’t seem to find anything that has the durability and strength that we need. We were looking at the stuff from McMaster Carr, but they have so many choices. Anyone have any suggestions for us?

Polycarb tubing

Make sure you get the solid-core if you are using for intake.

We’re using this (for now) and it is working fine.

The connectors can be a pain though. You can use solid and “weld” it

Normal surgical tubing is also an option you might want to consider.

make sure your tubing stays within the volume box. We considered this too but expect the judges to extend the tubing to it’s maximum length and call that the limit of the robot volume.

Good Luck.

1.25" diameter aluminum 6061-T6 with a 1/16" wall thickness sometimes with surgical tubing on the outside(we add) is what 1678 runs for all our intake and ball stuff.

*Robot Inspectors, possibly Referees too.

Team 341 had success with these for rebound rumble.


Team 341 had success with these for rebound rumble.


This thread should give you all the information you need.


Where do you guys source surgical tubing of that size? And how would you recommend pulling it onto a roller tube? Alcohol as a lubricant?


What about orange urethane cord? Would that work well too?

We haven’t built any intakes with urethane cord yet, but we have used in the past. From my experiences with it, it seems like it would work. It’s also cheap and easy to build with.

To share our recent experience with the McMaster 1" belt:

This hot knife along with some clamped angle iron works wonders in joining the flat belts quickly. It’s probably overkill for the solid core round tubing.

Also, I’ve seen a ~10% length reduction recommended for proper tension. This may be feasible for the small diameter round tubing, but you might find that stretching the flat belts that much makes intake assembly, well, difficult. I’m finding that we have sufficient belt tension by simply ignoring roller diameters.

Is it just me or are people talking about 3 different things? The structural tube for a roller, gripping material to put on the roller, and urethane belting.

McMaster Carr specifically we use https://www.mcmaster.com/#5234k91/=1650h8o for our 1.25" OD rollers this year. Yes that is a 0.25" interference.

You cannot pull it on at all. You will need to use compressed air and someone with a reasonably strong arm. Zip-tie/safety-wire one end of the tubing to an air nozzle so that you get a good seal. Next you must plug off your aluminum roller so that air can’t flow through it. one person controls air flow, the other holds the tube and tubing and does the hard part. turn on the air and begin pushing the latex on to the aluminum, DO NOT FOR ANY REASON clamp your hand down on the aluminum tube underneath the latex(your hand should never be that far up anyway) or you will get a 100psi balloon animal with a desire to pop. Alternate the airflow on and off to let you move your grip lower on the latex.

If you do not fully understand I can make a youtube video tutorial on Wednesday.

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No, there is definitely 3 different conversations in this thread.

Yup, there are 3 different answers for an ambiguous question here…

A tutorial would be awesome! Have you tried soapy water/ Murphy’s Soap? I know this may not be an ideal solution due to residual soap left after application, but it may just work…

Also I just ordered the components to try this out for myself… should be interesting.

We’ve found that if you put the air on the end you are trying to pull on to the roller you don’t need to plug anything.

Can’t tell you which way is faster, it may very well be that yours is…

I feel soap would actually be counter productive, it would make it easier to slide off quickly if you mess up the order. But seeing as the latex is literally floating on air there isn’t much that the soap would do.

I will post a reminder in our team slack to put the video together during our next meeting on Wed.