Was rule R6 ignored?


Early in the building season rule R6 was updated to forbid designing robots that are capable of shooting HATCH PANELS farther than a specified distance. Some questions about this rule change were asked and answered in the FRC Q&A (FRC Q&A - R6 related questions).
Was this rule enforced in competitions? I don’t have any specific example in mind, but I do remember seeing robots that were clearly able to shoot HATCH PANELS farther than is legal, doing so by accident on the playing field.
If the intent of this rule is to make sure that robots place HATCH PANELS instead of shooting them, it could have been just like the rule that does not allow robots to extend higher than the ALLIANCE DRIVER STATION. This rule forbids a certain behavior, but does not force teams to make their robot always comply with it (Robots could extent higher in regular play).
My point is that it seems that some teams really thought about this constraint when designing their hatch mechanism, while other did not, which I find problematic.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts and insights about it!


118 gets a penalty in this match during sandstorm for launching a hatch panel


It is my understanding that if the RI was concerned about how far a robot could launch a hatch panel, they had to demonstrate launching/shooting a panel during inspection.


Every event I was at, robots were checked for this during inspection, depending on the mechanism. A robot that clearly just released a panel with no forward motion wouldn’t be asked to demonstrate, but one that would clearly impart forward motion (like the velcro mechanisms with pneumatics to push it onto the goal) would be - and in several cases had to be adjusted.

Despite that, there were cases on the field where hatch panels would end up going farther. No matter what mechanism you use, your drive train is able to impart significant travel distance on a hatch panel under certain circumstances. That’s why there is both a R rule and a G rule for this.


In our first two events were not asked to demonstrate it, but at district championships they did make us eject at full height to prove we couldn’t launch more than three feet.


The problem with R6 and G6 is that robots could be designed to not violate either rule when standing still for inspection, but during gameplay under the right circumstances, launch or throw with force a hatch panel.


Verifying the robot cannot eject a panel more than 3’ (R6) was on the inspection check list. (The piece of paper everybody signs when the inspection is passed. So it should be checked every full inspection. As Jon said, an inspector may not have asked for a demonstration for mechanisms that clearly will not eject the panel 3 ft, but most likely the inspector evaluated the mechanism.


3015 got a red card at champs when, by spinning to try to get around defense, they threw a hatch panel more than two feet.

Yeah, it got enforced.

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That red card actually got reviewed by First HQ and ended up being taken away later in the day Friday, because our robot is not designed to throw hatch panels, and when the defense hit us, it caused the hatch panel to fly. I was pleasantly surprised when the head ref came up to our pit asking to hear our side of the story because apparently all red cards at championship are reviewed.


We have such a mechanism (velcro acquisition, piston placement) and had to demonstrate it at events with our elevator raised all the way up. As this was a cause of concern early in the design process we added in both pressure regulator and flow restriction on this piston and ensured it was tuneable, which proved to be a good design decision. At full air flow/working pressure in was not within spec.


That was my experience as well. The robots with pneumatic ejectors particular the ones with elevators needed flow controls to limit the ejection distance. They were giving instructions not to readjust the controls to increase distance after inspection. I would note that on the inspection form.


Glad to hear it! I think any robot with a reasonable drive train could spin fast enough to hurl a hatch pretty far if it became dislodged, and that red card was patently unfair. Glad they caught and fixed it!

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This is actually really cool of FIRST and the refereeing crew to do this. I’m glad they are taking careful steps regarding red card consistency.

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The R6 check was not on the initial release of the inspection checklist, but was added before week 1. Most of the robots I inspected did not have the capability to launch a hatch panel when operated normally, so this was skipped. However, I clearly recall checking 7459’s pneumatic hatch panel pusher at Rock City. It went about 8 inches before hitting the floor.


We released hatches via “turn off the vacuum pumps and let air leak out of the system until it lets go”, so absolutely no way we could launch anything, but were still asked to demonstrate it during inspection.


I had a team launch a panel about 5 feet during inspection at Western New England. Luckily they had flow control fittings on it so they could easily decrease it.