The GDC sure did some ruling and I’m not quite sure where to start as there are a whole lot of G3 violations on the GDC’s part.
First we have the spacer Q and A: Use of Nylon/Other commercially available spacers for HS Shafts : Robot Events
This Q and A ruled that you can’t use spacers with an interior diameter that doesn’t match one of vex’s approved screw sizes. There is very little reason to do this, but I guess the GDC felt the need to have spacergate after screwgate. It is perfectly legal to machine your own spacers with different interior diameters, but vex wants your money, and only want you buying their official spacers.
Second, the roller Q and A: G16 - Grappling onto Field Elements : Robot Events
This ruling states that having a mechanism around the roller may or may not be illegal. The GDC isn’t sure and neither do you now. Have fun designing your potentially illegal bot. Oh, and that sketch provided? It might be illegal or illegal.
Third, the blow dart Q and A: Using Pneumatic Components with Non Pneumatic Components : Robot Events
A team was asking about launching screws with pressurized air. To their credit, the GDC gave an easy to interpret (albeit lacking logic) response. This was ruled illegal due to “rapid, uncontrolled depressurization”. However, there is no way to prove that every mechanism will meet these criteria. A team may be launching projectiles at only 10 PSI instead of 100, thus not having a rapid expansion. And thankfully, science can be used to predict airflow, thus leading to controlled depressurization. It is possible for a team to create an expansion mechanism without either of these traits, but the GDC decides to make those illegal as well. It is also worth noting, that many teams are creating string launchers without the use of pneumatics and will continue to do so. I get that this was partially done for safety reasons, but I don’t think that it was inherently more dangerous than other methods.
Fourth, the vertical ceiling Q and A: Q and A 1185 and SG5 follow up : Robot Events
This one was my question.I n order to avoid getting the standard “blanket statement” response, I gave 2 very specific scenarios. What did I get? “Your specific questions are extremely context-sensitive, and we cannot provide blanket answers that will accommodate all possible situations.” The GDC could have at least ruled on the 2 highly specific scenarios.
Fifth, the pneumatic valve Q and A: Modifying Pneumatics Clarification : Robot Events
This Q and A asked if you could use a bike pump fitting to fill up your tank in between matches and still have it attached. The Q and A acknowledges that the part is non legal, but it could count as a non functional decoration. The GDC responds by saying it is not a legal part. This was already clearly established. Would anyone on the GDC mind answering if competition illegal parts are competition illegal?
Best for last. Possibly the stupidest response of them all, the no tank Q and A: Pneumatics without tanks : Robot Events
Some teams have found a way to use pneumatics without a tank. This involved charging the cylinder and solenoid as usually, and then detaching the tank from the system. My team did this to forgo the use of tanks entirely on the robot. The Q and A asked if this was legal. The GDC responded “Teams may not use other elements for the purposes of storing or generating air pressure. Using cylinders or additional pneumatic tubing solely for additional storage is in Violation of the spirit of this rule.” The pneumatic parts used are other elements. They are not used for the sole purpose of storing air, and the whole point of doing this is to get less air storage. The quoted rule does not at all apply.
Furthermore, many teams in my org were planning on doing this as our org only has 4 tanks for 6 teams. We can’t buy more tanks as they are out of stock, and this would allow these teams to still use pneumatics without a tank. But now the GDC is actively making it harder for teams to have a level playing field. This is contrary to the RECF mission statement and highly hypocritical as the GDC banned aluminum screws for the sole purpose of creating a more level playing field.
I hope @VEX_GDC , @Grant_Cox , @Jon_Jack will see this and consider changing some (especially the last one) of there ruling. These Q and A’s have only muddled the rules, stifled creativity, and created a more uneven playing field. At the very least, I would hope the GDC would give an explanation for some of their rulings.