front vertical intake system... hmmm

well… if anyone here went to FTC worlds last year you’d know what i mean. last year power surge 2945 (box shaped with scissor lift) had an extremely efficient vertical puck intake system in the front of their robot. i do not have detail knowledge how their hows and workings, but basically it’s a vertical conveyor of vex antislip mat i believe. i know footballs are much bigger than pucks, and also there’s 2 kinds of balls this year, i was thinking if any1 can implement an efficient automatic ball intake system such as this, and storing 5-6 footballs in a bucket, and then dumping, then the robot i’d imagine would be quite successful.

does anyone have any ideas or have seen anything similar to this?

At the Washington Jump Start tourney, 2z (Gladstone) had something like that
Here’s a couple pictures from the album dtengineering posted on Photobucket:

Preparing to dump/sucking up balls

They used zipties to accomodate for both sizes; maybe some kind of rubberband tensioner pulling the lower wheel down would make it possible to have antislip mat.

hmm interesting, although not as clean as i’d imagine, can you comment on how well it works at picking the balls up?

I wasn’t really watching them during the tournament, so I can’t really comment. All matches were posted on Youtube though here, so I guess you’ll need to dig through them - look for the finals match (they were on the winning alliance, no thanks to my terrible driving) as well as the semifinals they were in (where they defeated the alliance of 721 and 575).

wow it seems pretty efficient at picking the balls up, and good thing is, hardly any driver coordination is needed. thanks alot! do you know if it’s just plain tank treads and zip ties and a vertical wall? or was there some mechanism to help the footballs go from horizontal to vertical?

Sounds like 1000a to me.


From what I remember (jogging my memory with those pictures) half of the tread was ziptied an insane amount, and the other half was empty (not sure if it worked better that way or because of size restrictions). I’m not sure what you mean by mechanism, but if you mean something other than the tank treads that lifted it up, then no. There was a wall of rubber bands behind the intake treads though (I guess both for better friction and so that the space the balls rolled through expanded).

I’m pretty sure the team has an account on the wiki (username is…2zDFA? Not 100% sure) and they’d probably answer stuff better about their own robot than an observer could (unless they have top secret info, but I think they mentioned they were rebuilding it completely).

These have been around so long it makes sense to describe them to rookies in reasonable detail.

You can make this sort of lift from 2-3 tread belts (front wall) that are low enough to push down just a bit on the ball, and a back wall of just metal.

To keep the ball from getting stuck in the space between the moving treads and the front of the bottom of the back wall, poke some metal out to fill in that area. This metal needs to approximate an arc that is concentric with the tread sprockets at the bottom of the front wall.

To guide the ball at the top of the wall, create a spring that will push the ball once it is free of the treads. Pick something stiff, but flexible that the ball will compress as the ball rises, and will push the ball away once the ball is above the top of the back wall.

Putting moving treads on the back wall instead of using just a flat surface back wall will raise the ball faster, but takes up more space.

I don’t put much stock in using the zip ties, this pick-up method works fine without them if you tune the intake so that it will initially just kiss the top of the balls instead of pushing them away. However, other folks would disagree.

One alternative to studding the entire belt with zip ties is to put something similar to zip ties at just the bottom part of the front wall. Something that, as the intake turns, will turn with it and will flop out to hug/entrap a nearby ball is an option.

PS: This variation on a vertical wall of tank treads was fun to play with The Zoidberg. However, it was a little slow and definitely took advantage of the cubes’ tendency to not roll away from the intake. I’m not recommending cloning it for this year.

Honestly, watching these robots play are painful, these robots may be able to take some balls in and dump them over to the other side, but the speed of it doing all these are ridiculously slow, either because of the mechanical reason or the drivers. They aren’t world-class champion robots.

I do have to agree that our Cage Lift is relatively slow, and is a problem that is no longer existent.

Ironically…we’re going to worlds.

It’s only the first week of December, and awfully early for this kind of pronouncement. I expect the second round of tournaments in January and February to look completely different as teams learn and modify their machines. I didn’t say the robots would look different, mind you, only that they would work better. In Elevation the twin-track belt robots that won in November were non-competitive by the time of Worlds, when plenty of twin-track robots did very well. In a lot of cases it isn’t the design approach that matters, but the execution.

We were on 2z’s alliance at the WA Jumpstart tournament. I wasn’t quite sure but it seemed like their front wall was mobile, powered by a motor perhaps simply tensioned so that it could move up and down to compensate for the diameter difference in the balls.

Can you clearly define execution for me?

There is nothing inherently slow about robots with a vertical intake system. You will probably see some doing well at Worlds. The design approach is not the only thing that matters; the details also make a big difference. For example, there were at least three robots at Vancouver that used the front-roller lifting-basket design. One was on the winning alliance (721), one did really well (10Q), and one struggled (10V). Execution, or how well a design is implemented, was the key element here for three teams with the same approach. Does that answer your question?

    Well, personally I consider every single little detail of a robot a part of the design. A intake system is only a part of the design of a robot, just because those robots incorporated the same type of intake system, does not mean that the designs of the robots are the same.Their robots are different from each other because each robot is built differently. Therefore different designed robots have different abilities, some goes fast, some goes slow.

I found a video up on YouTube of a bot with verticle intake practicing.

To be honest verticle intake was my first idea after reading all of the rules and i was planning on using adjustable treads like this ( but i came up with a better idea (in my opinion) but i came up with a better idea (in my opinion))

575’s intake was pretty efficient. Did you guys have a back wall of treads along with the front set? Although i noticed the team didn’t go for green balls, were the smaller balls deemed less required or was it because of the robots ability?

*oh btw loved the last few seconds of this match

was the most epic moment of my vex career*

First, ALL the Gladstone matches for which I have video, including quarters, semis, and finals, are up on Youtube: Spend lots of time watching them, it took forever to process and upload them. :slight_smile:

The robot does have front and back belts. The students who built it thought it would be more reliable to carry the balls up rather than roll them. It won’t pick up green balls – the guys on 575 figured if you score all the footballs that the small balls don’t matter. Making it handle small balls is on their “to do” list, but it’s not at the top. They are pretty happy with how it performed on its first run and they are planning to take it to Courtenay, Redmond, Oregon, and BCIT.

You hit the nail right on the head EPIC.