Black Tubing For Pneumatics? (Solved)

I have been getting yes and no to this question and I just want a straight answer; is the black tubing allowed for Pneumatics? I don’t see it mentioned anywhere in the manual specifically, and my coach has been saying both answers and I’m just confused.

The straight answer for “is it allowed” is to refer to the game manual (with official clarifications and updates from the Q&A), in this case, please review R6 in the game manual.

On the VEX Robotics website, here is the link: Pneumatics - VEX Robotics You will see that black tubing is on the website; therefore, it is legal.


Black pneumatic tubing, SMC #TUO425B or VEX 275-0447, is the only permitted pneumatic tubing for VRC, as per R6 and R7i.


BTW, Grant Cox has said publically why this decision was made, and it’s pretty dumb. Apparently, this was done in the name of safety, which, at least for pneumatic tubing, seems rather excessive.


Spray paint

Pneumatic systems are potentially dangerous, and enforcing rules in the name of safety is not dumb. Here are a couple of results after a quick Google search:

I was in the room when Grant Cox explained the GDC ruling that restricted pneumatic tubing to the exact part number listed. Even though SMC produces other colors of pneumatic tubing that would be just as safe as the black tubing, it would be impractical to expect an inspector to be able to distinguish same spec tubing of a different color from any other nominally sized tube of questionable provenance. By restricting the use to that specific item, every effort is being made to ensure that only appropriate products of adequate quality and safety margins are used, which is good for everyone involved.


while safety is definitely important when dealing with high pressure pneumatic systems, I fail to follow this logic. Yes, it is understandable that the gdc wants to discourage teams from buying cheap pneumatic tubing from a potentially questionable vendor, but it seems to me that a team is just as likely to purchase black tubing from a non-smc vendor as it is for a team to purchase colored tubing. I fail to see how this rule ensures or even encourages the use of smc-only pneumatic tubing. Of course, purchasing black tubing from a non-smc vendor is illegal, but so is purchasing colored tubing, and the gdc seems to be concerned that is happening anyways.

Additionally, pneumatic tubing is a relatively safe component. The inner diameter is so small that it poses virtually no threat in the case of a breakage. The tubing will weakly flail around, venting the air inside at a slow rate (at most it could be 0.077 cubic ft/second, if the failure in tubing perfectly exposes the inner diameter of the tubing). I don’t mean to undermine the importance of safety, but just about every other robot component could cause greater injury than leaky pneumatic tubing.

It’s not a big deal, having to use black tubing, and I don’t really care, but it is annoying and wasteful for teams which had lots of colored tubing, and problematic when a team who didn’t get the memo shows up to a competition with colored tubing (saw this at just about every competition I went to last season). And the explanation given doesn’t make much logical sense to me.


Vex sells pneumatic tubing of different colors for vex pro. So, it makes no sense to restrict vrc to only black in the name of safety. I would love to see how gdc determines other colors are less safe than black despite the same manufacturer specs.
Regarding the inspection, do you think that there is no unsafe tube of black color? The part number is not imprinted on every inch of the tube, so good lucks trying to validate the correct tubes.
Yes, agree the decision is dumb unless there is a better explanation.