Using a "railgun launcher" or a long-travel solenoid

Has anyone thought about this? Knowing FIRST, there is probably a rule that prevents you from drawing large amounts of current from the battery to build a sort of “electronic pneumatic launcher” but I haven’t seen much about it at all.

Pneumatics seems to be the best option to get a quick, powerful pushing force, but I always like to talk about alternatives.

And also because saying you have a railgun on your robot would be pretty awesome.

I don’t think FIRST has any rules about current draw. Your 120 amp breaker might have something to say, however.

The rule of physics prevents you from drawing excessive current through that 120A breaker.

Do you think pneumatics are faster than, say, a big rubber band?

Oh yea, that was another option that I forgot to mention.

You don’t think that you can make an electromagnet powerful enough to get that ball AT LEAST as far as pneumatics can? And I’m genuinely wondering. I haven’t actually seen a solenoid other than those for pnumatics.

Also, are there rules preventing you from stepping up the voltage and using a big capacitor to store for a pulse?

(Emphasis mine)
I think that this would be your biggest problem for that strategy.

For electric solenoids, R29 (the list of allowed motors and actuators) states:

Electrical solenoid actuators, no greater than 1 in. stroke and rated electrical input power no greater than 10 watts (W) continuous duty at 12 volts (VDC) - Unlimited

For custom circuits, R40 states:

Any active electrical item not explicitly listed in R29 or R67 is considered a CUSTOM CIRCUIT. CUSTOM CIRCUITS may not produce voltages exceeding 24V when referenced to the negative terminal of the battery.

Yep. Looks like that’s not going to be viable… :frowning: