Non wheel-based launchers

I’d like to discuss the 4 types of non wheel-based launchers that can be used to score balls this year.
If you can think of any more categories, please explain what you’re thinking of.
—The Piston launcher:
The piston launcher utilizes a linear pullback and release connected a piece on C channel.
This piece of channel collides with a stationary ball at high speed to propel it forward.
Example of this by team 585A and 2Z:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNMzLZLXKhs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmW8_lYczwM
—The pinball/plunger mechanism:
The pinball/plunger launcher is similar to the piston launcher in that it uses a linear pullback and release, but the ball is constantly at the end of the plunger.
The DCL robot on the red alliance has one in this match video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KAxKEFwQsk
I think that this would be harder and slower to load, but it would have better accuracy because of how it isn’t whacking the balls, but in stead, the ball are going up to speed with the piston.
—The catapult:
The catapult has a fast moving arm that has a spot for the balls to sit. When the arm comes to a stop, the ball(s) continue through the air just like a classic medieval catapult.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u92LLADFTtU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uwdVWQH8yo
—The hammer:
The hammer is an arm that swings up and hits a stationary ball on a platform to propel it through the air.
9541 makes good use of this type of launcher:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mtbsmnz9IJI

Here are scores that I give the launchers out of 5 relative to each other and against flywheels, and based on what I’ve seen in videos and at competitions.
If you disagree, please explain why, and maybe make your own chart. (The chart is and attached file)

I’m trying to decide which one is generally best, but I haven’t found anything that proves that one is superior to the rest.
I have minimal experience with building any of these, so I’d like some feedback.
Thanks.
Screen shot 2015-11-25 at 20.29.53 .png

Well these all work and as we can see they all work pretty well. I think now is just for you to test and see which one you personally like the best. Yes it will take longer to test each one than just getting one answer here but it may be worth it to be able to build and test all 4.

It also gives you more experience building launchers so you can help other teams at competitions you go to.

I’m just asking for peoples opinions and thoughts. I’ve already decided which one I want to try to build.

Oh ok, I like the NZ catapults :slight_smile:

Based on the videos it looks like that slip gear “hammer style” launcher looks like it has the highest fire rate and best accuracy. One of the benefits of having that high of a fire rate is that you can take away a few motors and just gear it more for torque since you will never be firing quite this fast.

Obviously all of these designs work well, which is why they’re on this list. If I were to choose a design from these four, I would probably pick the hammer design for the same reasons that Michael just said.

I’m not sure why you gave the hammer a 4/5 in accuracy. In the video you posted the hammer design had 97% accuracy.

I gave the hammer a lower rating because this is the only one I’ve seen with good accuracy. So I know that they can have great accuracy, but they generally don’t.

Whichever launcher is on the red robot here looks to have the most efficient loading/fire rate.

I think that that fits best into the piston launcher category.

What other teams have a hammer style firing mechanism? We haven’t seen them at any competitions or online as of yet. If theirs are not accurate, as you have stated, we would love the opportunity to help them out.

I saw one at a competitions, and from a video a while ago, but I can’t find the video.

I was going to make this into a poll, but I can’t figure out how.
Were polls removed with the update?

Yes.

I’m also a fan of the slip gear type build, although the hammer style launcher can also be built with a cam.
I mostly just like the slip gear system because of its compact nature and high firing rate. Also if the ball is in a set location rather then moving with the launcher, then that location can be adjusted to change the firing distance. (Or so I perceive) Is there any way to adjust the distance of the shot on a cam setup?

I imagine that changing the number of elastics, and how far they stretch would change the distance on a cam launcher. Also where the ball is hit by the hammer and how much follow through there is.

Removing and adding elastics would definitely change the shot distance, however I’m not sure whether there is a viable method to adding and removing elastics mid match. There could be a solid point under the ball rest that can stretch the elastics. I suppose many teams have already dealt with this.
Has anyone tried to shoot balls vertically using a punch type design?

Oh, I didn’t realize that you mean’t mid match. The way other teams have been doing it is to have a piston on the launcher to adjust how where the ball is before it is hit.
Also, what would be the use of firing a ball vertically? 986A can rapid fire them into the net from close up, but that isn’t vertical.

Okay thanks, I was trying to figure out a way of doing that without pistons, thus allowing for 12 motors.
I have a design in mind that I will be testing, it involves a puncher with an adjustable launcher angle. So I suppose saying vertically is a bit of an exaggeration, really I meant a very steep angle. The difficulty with a very steep angle would be loading it I suppose.

I have an idea for that, but I’m not ready to share it just yet.

I’ve got an idea for that, but I’m not ready to share it just yet.