Vacuum Pumps?

It has been awhile since I have read FRC or FVC rules. But I seem to remember that vacuum systems are not considered to be a pneumatic system. (Probably because vacuum systems are much safer than pressurized systems.) Has anyone done any vacuum systems for their bot?

One idea is to use a vacuum driven suction cup to grab and hold onto a large beach ball or spherical game element. If a 6" cup were used and the vacuum system could only drop the pressure by 2 psi, the cup would have over 55 pounds of holding force. (piradiusradius for a 6" cup results in a 28.27 square inch area.)

I doubt an fan based vacuum is practical for VEX. But what about making a bellows (similar to what was used in old player pianos), and have a motor or two pump the bellows? (Old player pianos work on a vacuum system - unlike old pipe organs that use pressurized air.)

I am just curious if anyone has tried using vacuum to pick up game pieces or actuate robot parts?


its worth a shot, but you dont want to get to a competition and be disqualified for an illegal part.

Regular FIRST teams have used various types of suction

~ Christopher