Vaccum System

My team is seriously looking at the use of a vaccum cup on our robot this year but I will not go into detail exactly how. After research we know we can use a COTS vaccum pump simply retrofitted with a FIRST legal motor. Our question is there is no rules we can find on storing a vaccum on the robot. We know we can do it but want to know if it is FIRST legal or not. Lastly can we use regular pneumatic solonoids on a vaccum system in the same way we would use then in a pneumatic system.

In 2010 we used a shop vac, impeller was driven by a cim, used belts to increase speed about 4 times. Stuck onto the soccer ball very well.

R66: The following devices are not considered pneumatic devices and are not subject to pneumatic rules (though they must satisfy all other rules):
A. a device that creates a vacuum
B. closed-loop COTS pneumatic (gas) shocks
C. air-filled (pneumatic) wheels

Is it easier to store vacuum or just generate what you need when you need it?

I’m not sure if a solenoid would work but it’s worth a try. I know most require a minimum pressure to function properly, but a vacuum would achieve the same thing if plumbed in reverse.

We used a vacuum pump in 2013 to pick up frisbees. We had to be pretty darn precise with placing the manipulator though. But ours was from a Food Saver so it was pretty minimal amount of vacuum.

We, team 2980, used a ventrui suction device from Piab. It worked well for flat objects although it fell flat when we tried to use it to pick up the fabric covered balls (should have seen that coming). It runs well at 22 psi and can be reliably controlled by a solenoid. Just in case you were looking for alternatives.

Hi Doc. I’ve never seen or heard of anyone doing this. Rules should be Ok. Is this a one time shot for usage. Or do you have multi bottles? One of are mentors on team 686 took a bath room fan and turned it into a Ventura. It worked great picking up Frisbees. The students did not use it. It was to slow. Make it a great day.
Thomas McCubbin
Mentor and Volunteer since 2005

The Fire Bears 2846 used a vaccum system last year. The Blue Alliance

It was incredibly cool. I question the necessity, and functionality of a vaccum system, but if you can pull it off more power to you.

Dont forget about a venturi vacuum system. You can utilize pressurized air (which you may already have on your robot) to generate a vacuum.

So are any certain vacuums considered illegal?

Yes and no. The vacuum itself is not illegal, but usually the motor powering it is. If you would like to to use a vacuum, you need to look up the specs of the motor in the vacuum and replace the motor with a similar FIRST legal motor.
For more information on what motors you can use please read R18 (under 4.7 Motors & Actuators).
Game Rules Link
FIRST Motors Specs

You could also do what we did in 2004, and make your own vacuum pump. All you need is a motor and a pneumatic cylinder. As far as I know this would be legal under this year’s rules, but there may be something in the manual I missed. (Pro Tip: Even if your frame is welded box aluminum, don’t try to use it as an accumulator.)