1492X ITZ Early Season Passive Intake

Hi all. We, 1492X, would like to share our proprietary completely passive cone intake that we’ve designed and tested over the last couple of days.

One of the biggest issues with a completely passive intake is ability to pick up the cone from as many angles as possible. Given the alternating ridges and levels to the ITZ cone, this was no easy task, and we didn’t feel that a passive intake could be justified if it could not work effectively from many angles, thus requiring meticulous alignment.

This intake is able to pick the cone up from 8 separate angles. Looking down on top of the cone from above, and using cardinal directions, you can imagine these 8 angles as N, E, S, W, NE, SE, SW, and NW. The intake is completely passive and relies on various standoffs that provide counter torques as well as some static friction from elastics. It is reliable and requires only a forward insertion and lift up afterwards to control the cone, and releases the cone cleanly with a downward lift motion.

That being said, this design is far from perfect. In fact, we have decided (for 1492X specifically) to not pursue this intake for our bot, given the speed of our lift and chassis. Rather than insert into the cone cleanly, our chassis speed results in simply plowing the cone over. This is mainly due to the nature of the rest of our robot rather than the intake itself.

However, this intake still works extremely well given a steadier robot. A cascade lift will go hand-in-hand with it, as will robots with more reasonably velocitated drives. We are recommending this intake to our sister teams who will be pursuing cascade lifts and such for these reasons.

We invite you all to critique and inquire. Attached are pictures and a video of the intake (yes it looks like a lobster). We feel that it is one of the first passive intakes we have seen to be viable, and we wanted to share the design with the community.


The design is not bad at all. This could be used for the first competition but a passive intake can cause problems. Drivers will need to be very accurate with their driving. Autonomous will be quite difficult (especially skills). And what if the cone tips over. In my opinion I would say that even a basic claw would work better than a passive intake as it provides very less chance of failure.

Are those zip ties or rubber bands? What’s their purpose?

The idea with picking up the cone from 8 angles is that drivers won’t need to be incredibly accurate, though you are correct in that drivers cannot simply speed up to the cones without some optimization.

To flip cones over, putting the mechanism down on the cone and driving backwards rights the cones relatively consistently as the rubber bands on the standoffs do provide some grip. A passive claw that does not rotate won’t be able to do much better in this regard, though you make a valid point.

Red are elastics, white are zipties on top of them. The rubber band/zip tie mass you see on the top two standoffs is actually useless for pickup in their current orientation; we were experimenting and peeled them back before filming.

Normally, the rubber bands are attached with the two sides of the band on the top and bottom of each standoff (so the standoff can grip the cone when the robot lifts) and the zip ties prevent the bands from rotating. This works well for grip, but needs further experimentation and optimization for smooth insertion. Once again, they were peeled back when we filmed and we forgot to pull them forward again. My bad.

Rubber bands around the longest standoffs provide static friction to the cone, the ones looping around the standoffs around the C-channel are to hold the angle of the standoffs/collarlocks.

I had no idea that it could pick the fallen cones up. That is a good mechanism then :). I have a question for you. Are you making a passive intake to lighten the load on the lift caused by the weight of the motors? Because a pneumatic claw is light weight and not as complex to build.

So yeah, the mechanism can right the cones with some maneuvering but picking the cone up is still a separate motion.

The goal of attempting a passive intake was mainly to funnel motor distribution towards chassis, lift, and mobile goal mechanism. Weight was another consideration, though as you mentioned our passive intake is not much lighter than a simple pneumatic claw. Hence, weight reduction would be more from the lack of air tanks from the base, and another minor bonus would be elimination of tubing and wiring running up the lift.

Our lift is also more than capable of lifting this mechanism and/or a motored claw with minimal motors, so that wasn’t much of a concern.

I see. I agree, it does make everything simpler and less complex
I was thinking of a lift design that can pick up both cones and mobile goals. A pneumatic claw can be used to grip both the goal and the cones. And a 4 motor drive, with a 4-6 motor lift and pneumatic claw should do the job.
Would you consider a forklift design just for picking up mobile goal?

Currently, we are in favor of a separate “forklift” or intake for the mobile goals to minimize the impact on cone scoring cycle time that a double functioning lift might have. Another solution that we are exploring right now is a pneumatic PTO on the lift for cone (speed) and mobile goal (torque) modes.

PTO = gear ratio shifter?

Yeah, so a transmission. If you care PTO is Power Take Off ¯_(ツ)_/¯

I see :slight_smile:

Did you attach those axles with “rubber” bands?

I’m not quite sure what you mean, sorry :stuck_out_tongue:

By axles do you mean standoffs? Also, the bands are rubber…?

yes, sorry, i meany standoffs

No we attached them with screws and collar locks. Rubber bands are just for grip.