Where does this fall in the rule book?

So, Sitting around, thinking up crazy mechanisms and this question came to mind.

If you wanted to use this on a robot, is it legal?

Not hooked to the pneumatic system.
Its obviously not dangerous but it has more than atmosphere pressure in it.
I could inflate it until it bursts but again, not too dangerous.
Not using the air to do work just structural and cushion.
Not contained.

If it is legal, then is this?

inner tube1

Not hooked to the pneumatic system.
I wouldn’t call it dangerous but it has more than atmosphere pressure in it.
I could inflate it until it bursts and it would scare me but won’t hurt me.
Not using the air to do work just structural and cushion.
Not contained.



I think most of the discussion in the above thread will apply here even though the intended use is different.

The plastic toys don’t really contain air above ambient pressure so probably OK. The inner would be fine in a wheel, starting to get questionable otherwise. I would try to get an answer from Q&A or reach out to a local LRI since it would come down to your event LRI to make the final ruling.

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That would be a question for the Q&A. Specifically, you’re looking at R804 - it lists all of the legal pneumatic parts, and the blue box below it specified 4 items that are NOT considered pneumatic parts. The interesting thing here is that those two examples don’t clearly fall into either bucket - they clearly are not on the list of pneumatic parts, but they also aren’t on the list of “not pneumatic” parts.

You could very easily get an inspector at one event that says “that’s not hooked up to the pneumatic system and it’s not dangerous if it pops, so it’s fine”, and an inspector at the next event that says “it holds pressurized air, therefore it’s an illegal pneumatic part”. So, to the Q&A so you can have a consistent ruling!


Adding to Jon’s post…
R802 *No custom pneumatics and meet minimum pressure ratings. All pneumatic items must be COTS pneumatic devices and either:
A. rated by their manufacturers for pressure of at least 125psi (~862 kPa) or
B. installed downstream of the primary relieving regulator (see R809), and rated for pressure of at least 70psi (~483 kPa)

Here lemme speed that up for you so you don’t have to wait until the next season Q&A.

“We cannot rule on the legality of a particular ROBOT design.”


What I’m trying to wrap my head around is “What is pneumatic?” (Serious question, not meant to be funny). As we read the pneumatic rules, most us have a clear vision of what the rules are addressing. (explosion, bursting, projectiles). The examples shown aren’t hooked to the air system thus aren’t potentially exposed to the pressures and also the air in them cannot be replenished.

Maybe they fall into a different category such as:

air spring
air cushion
inflatable structure

If it’s a COTS device and being used as designed such as the pool toy then maybe you’re good. Kinda like the gas shock scenario. Since the innertube is being used “off label” it would fall into the custom category.

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*Limit non-battery energy. Non-electrical sources of energy used by the ROBOT (i.e., stored at the
start of a MATCH) shall come only from the following sources:
A. compressed air stored in the pneumatic system that has been charged in compliance with
R806 and R807,
B. a change in the altitude of the ROBOT center of gravity,
C. storage achieved by deformation of ROBOT parts,
D. closed-loop COTS pneumatic (gas) shocks, or
E. air-filled (pneumatic) wheels.

It’s not connected to the pneumatic system like you said. You’d have to argue it’s a wheel. Or maybe it deforms depending on your application.


Since the inner tube is legal inside of a tire, it can’t be illegal outside of the tire… without some other rules.

Since the pool toy is pretty much the same as an inner tube, then it would also be legal.

This falls into the same category of vague legality like gas springs. I asked a Q&A a few years back about them, and the fact that they have hydraulic oil in them. I got a confusing non-answer. Everyone on CD said they were legal, but the Q&A answer implied that they weren’t.

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Welcome to FRC!


If you filled it with foam you could actually leave a hole in it and be 100% legal!
If its not air-tight then its not pneumatic :wink:

In the OP’s example, the items are not used to provide sources of energy used by the robot. The inflated items are static. They are not used to do work.

Regardless of whether they are intended to store energy, they do technically store it (albeit a small amount). Note that pneumatic tires are listed even though nobody is using them to store energy.

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Some energy may be stored, but it is not used in the examples under discussion. Maybe the intent of R608 is that it applies to any storage of non-electrical energy, but the rule as written clearly requires that the energy be used. A pool toy in the application described is not a source of energy used by the robot.

Pool toys were used in the 2011 game so they had to be legal for that season.

The discussion in this thread may be taken as a challenge by a few teams to use a pool toy in a future robot, like the inflatable tube man used as a blocker in the 2013 season :wink:

If it catches on, perhaps FIRST will make certain pool toys mandatory robot construction materials. Hopefully they’re easy to find during the winter and tend to be manufactured to a consistent diameter.


This is technically a pneumatic device.
For some reason, it’s gender specific.



U mean you don’t want the …

Mini wacky waving inflatable tube guy everywhere?


I know this post is in jest, but this sort of thing has been in the past been repeatedly ruled to not be a pneumatic device. It doesn’t store air pressure, it is simply a compliant mechanism that allows air to flow through it. The pressure of the air isn’t even more than nominally above atmospheric.


The manual defines “used”:

used by the ROBOT (i.e., stored at the
start of a MATCH)