Can you throw the ball in the air and hit it with a metal pad of some sort? If this is against the rules, please get back to me as soon as possible.
Yes. This is legal.
EDIT to add additional information:
The rule is that only the ball itself can contact the high flags. As long as the "metal pad" stays within your 18" height limit, and attached to your robot, you'll be fine.
Also, the description of the hypothetical mechanism is a little vague. If you want a more concrete answer, please elaborate. Sketches are always nice, but not necessary.
@nakaichitwood Thanks guys! I appreciate the feedback. I was going to time the ball with a puncher and hit it.
But isn't that a lot harder than just doing it the normal way? With the loading chamber?
Having a little trouble imagining how this would be better than a traditional puncher design.