Pneumatic Tubing Cooling Idea

*Disclaimer, I don’t have any burnout problems and don’t know if this is legal but just a fun idea

Ok so crazy idea but wondering if it could actually potentially work… so first off watch this video and look at <R11>

My crazy idea would be basically making a cooling system with the tubing. If you put just the tubing all over the robot(motors, cortex, PE) with both ends zip tied. You could have one end easily accessible, then undo that end and freeze all through the tubing. If the tubing is all frozen and filled with frozen coolant liquid it would be just like water cooling for your robot!

Freeze spray is not a legal vex part. Not to mention the dangers of exploding tubes with this Idea.

An air duster does not contain compressed air. From the video it looks like it is a Staples air duster (msds:

Air dusters usually contain a refrigerant that is compressed to a liquid and then expands to a gas when released. Holding the can inverted (as he does in the video) causes the refrigerant to come out in liquid rather than gaseous form because the liquid is pushed out the nozzle by the expanding refrigerant gas above it in the can. This is why teams often use “canned air” to cool VEX motors by holding the can inverted, causing the refrigerant to spray out as a liquid (which evaporates quickly and pulls heat out of the motors). Truly putting “air” into a can in liquid form would require an extremely robust pressure vessel and/or cryogenic temperatures.

Filling a pneumatic reservoir with refrigerant from an air duster is not filling it with air, and that would not be legal in VEX.

I stand corrected on the air subject. However what I was thinking would still be competition legal (correct me if it’s not), though it would be a variation of what @josh_siegel suggested. If you had tubing around the motors most likely to overheat, and you used the full 12 motors with NO pneumatics other than tubing, and left the ends of the tubing uncovered, then it should count as a nonfunctional decoration (during a match it wouldn’t do anything). But after each match you could use the air duster and spray it upside down into the tubing and it would circulate and cool all the motors at once. Then you could blow the coolant out if any remains then proceed to next match, with nice cool motors.

It has been ruled before that using any components of a pneumatic system restricts you to 10 motors. I don’t know if that is true for the tubing, though. It has also been ruled before that if a feature is functional even outside of a match it is not consider a nonfunctional decoration.

That being said, feel free to ask in the official Q & A, since that is the only way to get an official ruling.

According to <R11>,
“Option 2: Up to twelve (12) VEX EDR motors or VEX Servos (Any combination, up to twelve) and no
pneumatic components, excluding pneumatic tubing.”

So (surprisingly, at least to me) tubing is explicitly included as legal.

EDIT: The wording is a bit weird, I’m not sure if its excluding it from being legal or from the list of illegal components. Maybe an official Q and A would be a good idea, unless somebody else knows…?

That definitely seems to define it as legal with the 12 motors. The only thing I see with this is that if antifreeze is still in the tubing during a match, that would surely be considered illegal as an unfair advantage. I think an official Q and A would be good to clarify but I dont believe it would be legal so as to prevent that kind of advantage

Pneumatic tubing can be used for a variety of non-pneumatics uses on the robot. If you slice it open it is great for covering sharp edges of sheet metal.

In this case I’d avoid wrapping it around a motor. The tubing is a pretty good insulator and if you wrapped it around a motor it would actually trap heat IN the motor during the match and would prevent you from blowing cool air over the motor after the match.

However you may be on to something if you have a motor tucked away inside your system that is difficult to spray… you could spray the coolant into the tubing and if the other end were pointed directly at your motor it would channel the coolant straight to the motor.

A far, far better choice would be to examine methods to reduce the load on the motor so that it operates in a more efficient part of its power curve.


This is actually a good idea, I know for some teams, the mobile goal lifting motors can be sometimes hard to reach. And as you said, it is a good idea to reduce load on motors, but some motors will be stressed with nothing you can do about it (drive motors for example)

I have yet to see testing and documentation that spraying anything on the outside of the motor housing makes any difference at all in the temperature inside the motor itself.

If you spray something cold for long enough, I am sure it will get to the actual motor/PTC at some point. Cooling the casing will cool the air inside the motor which will cool the motor itself, though this probably occurs pretty slowly.

I stand (somewhat) corrected. Amend my earlier statement to read, “… makes a practical difference…”

But you are right to want concrete evidence before believing something. I actually hope to sometime in the next month do some testing on how long you need to spray cold stuff on a motor casing before it starts to cool the motor/PTC. Our school has some LabQuest 2’s that would be good for this experiment, I don’t have permission to use them right now though. Once I get permission, I can hopefully do this experiment, then I’ll graph and publish the data here.

As a user of canned air in comps myself, I have faith in the coldness to keep my robot running. I’ve noticed a difference, but who knows. As for this thread, this is one of the funniest ideas I’ve seen in a long time. But I think you guys are missing something. What if you have a really long length of tubing that you fill with air duster juice at the start of a match, sealed by folding over the ends. You could then, mid match, bump some mechanism against a wall, which would then dispense all the stored air duster juice onto the motors. :wink: