Flywheel vs. Catapult

I looked at the last post about this and see that nobody has said anything for a long time. My team could go either way at this point and I was wondering which we should go for. We have enough room for a catapult and it would help out a ton to not have to use pneumatics for the indexer, but I have seen lots of flywheels and I am wondering if I should just go with that because it is easier to build and seems a little more versatile. I’d like some opinions on both.

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It sounds like you want to build a catapult but think it might be harder than the flywheel. Flywheels have their pros and cons and can be just as hard to build as catapults. Catapults work just as well, in some cases even better and it sounds to me like your robot would work best with a catapult. And, if you don’t need to use pneumatics for the indexer you can use them for expansion.

Thank you, I really do want to do a catapult due to the limited pneumatics available to us. I recently rebuilt our drivetrain and I have a ton of space so I figured I’d go for it. My only question is that I’ve seen multiple catapult robots and I see one thing most have in common is that their intake is very steep. Is this a necessity or is it just a random observation?

The intake will in fact need to be rather small so that the catapult can have as much leverage as possible. in order to get an intake that works for your catapult you would need to build the catapult first and build an intake that works for it, it will be much harder if you do it the other way around.

I would say you should go with a double flywheel because you could code it to switch speeds depending on where you are on the field, so you can shoot anywhere on the field vs. a catapult where to could only shoot at one general distance.

Well I think our intake will be fine, but if not then yeah I mean I may have to change it. Thank you so much!

Yes, you’re making the right option. We tried making a flywheel and instantly regretted it, catapault was so much easier to make for us

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We had the opposite experience. We tried both and flywheel was a lot easier for us.


I feel like it has to do with the amount of space you have and stuff like that. For us we unintentionally had the perfect space for a catapult, on our robot before this one (we restarted with mecanum) a flywheel fit better.

Also, keep in mind that there are other options. Slingshots and punchers can both be viable and competitive options.


our team 727c has had success with our flywheel so far (7th in state skills) but we have had inconsistencies with autonomous and shooting. so actually starting today we are rebuilding to a catapult. we realize that if we can shoot as many disks as possible as quickly as possible we’ll win. so we’re making 6 motor drive and a cata with pneumatics for more power. also a catapult makes shooting so much easier and we don’t have to worry about having to deal with indexers and stuff. we actually thought of a catapult in may but didn’t really know how to implement it too.


What’s your drive train looking like? Just curious.

day one of build

A good flywheel can shoot so fast that the speed advantage of a catapult is irrelevant. Plus the bonus of being able to shoot one disc at a time and the better accuracy makes the flywheel better in my opinion


Catapult is better in almost all circumstances, but its also cringe

Though a good flywheel should be able to shoot fast, it still takes time. Even if there is a 3-disk cycle time of 1 second, it is still slower than a cata, which can theoretically shoot all 3 while moving and score all 3. It’s also much easier to build a good catapult than it is to build a good flywheel. The only actual advantage that flywheels have is adjustable range, but catapults have faster cycle times, simple codes and designs, more consistency, and can fill a goal to a larger capacity.

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just an update on this. here’s our robot rn. we’re almost done just finalizing some stuff

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