Is there any way to make my expansion move farther and faster?
An alternative design that favors distance and speed?
Do you have any extra motors to use for your robot? A team in my organization designed a release mechanism that used a motor to make a piston release system, it used rubber bands to launch. It takes about half a second to release.
We used two catapults that launch nuts with string attached, which are deployed via motor. Expansion - YouTube
If you have pneumatics, this is the best design. We used it and so did all of the high-level teams in the VA state champs. great coverage, I highly recommend.