I have recently had an idea for a ball intake and i want to see if anyone can see any major flaws in it or disadvantages.
So basically, it stems from this: Half of the balls on the field are on top of a cap, (not including preloads). Most teams are happy to knock them off and then chase after them, wasting signifigant time. My intake idea would basically be a rubber band roller on a hinge that can raise and lower passively. ( i am attaching a highly proffessional diagram) That way, we could pick up balls faster than most other teams and gain a big advantage in the flags.
The main problem I would see is that the roller may not go up passively on the ball, but instead go under it and flip the cap/get stuck under the cap. A way I think to solve this maybe to make the roller bigger than the cap so that it “climbs” the cap to get the ball But that may present a problem that it just pushes the ball and doesn’t intake it.
I think your idea could work and is a great idea just needs a lot of prototyping.
I prototyped something like that early on in the season. It worked fairly well but I had to get rid of it due to some other things I wanted to do. I would definitely suggest trying it. Just try and make your rollers a good size because bigger ones definitely help. Also I would suggest making your rubber bands sort of loose as if they’re too tight then it’ll just push the balls away instead of pulling them into the intake.
I also tried out a hinged intake at the start of the season. We did not have a good mounting for a stopper on ours, since we sacrificed a lot in order to add a double-double ratchet sytem (don’t ask, or do, and I wont spare you the details ) Anyways, if you do have a hinger intake, make sure you have a solid stopper to keep it from just limply dangling the whole time
If you look at 0:33 in the video that meng linked you can see a roller that is on an arm, however this roller has pneumatics to lift it up and down. Imagine that those pneumatics are no there, and the arm just goes up a little bit when a ball goes into it. This allows for the roller to “climb” up the caps and grab the balls on top without having to waste time knocking the balls off and chasing them.
to passively climb, you’d need a low friction, lightweight roller assembly and probably run the roller at a much slower speed with high friction rubber bands so that it actually climbs onto the balls instead of bumping them and knocking them off