Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
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Official Q&A: VRC 2022-2023: Spin Up

Usage Guidelines All Questions

Using Pneumatic Components with Non Pneumatic Components

Jess Zarchi (Event Partner)


<S1> Be safe out there.

If at any time the Robot operation or Team actions are deemed unsafe or have damaged a Field Element or Disc, the offending Team may receive a Disablement and / or Disqualification at the discretion of the Head Referee. The Robot will require re-inspection as described in rule <R3e> before it may take the field again.

<R20> No modifications to electronic or pneumatic components are allowed.

Motors (including the internal PTC or V5 Smart Motor firmware), microcontrollers (including V5 Robot Brain firmware), cables, sensors, controllers, battery packs, reservoirs, solenoids, pneumatic cylinders, and any other electrical or pneumatics component of the VEX platform may NOT be altered from their original state in ANY way.

Below are images of an expansion mechanism being called "air cannons". They have a weight inside a tube and pressurized air shoots the weight out, pulling string along with it. Many of the executions of this design rely on connecting pneumatic components to non pneumatic components. This is seemingly legal as no pneumatic components are being modified, but I think some referee's would view the connection between pneumatic and non pneumatic component unsafe and not allow it for S1.

In the pictures below, the connections are:

  • piston valve -> spacer
  • piston fitting -> spacer secured by hs collar
  • tube -> standoff secured by hs collar

Is connecting pressurized pneumatic components to non pneumatic components legal? Or is it illegal for S1?

Thank you for your time!

img img

Answered by committee

This answer was revised to reflect updates made to <R17> in the November 1 Game Manual update.

The compressed air contained inside a pneumatic sub-system can only be used to actuate legal pneumatic devices (e.g., cylinders).

The intent of this rule is to ensure that pneumatics are being used safely. Pressurized systems, such as a Robot’s pneumatic sub-system, have the potential to be dangerous if used incorrectly. This rule ensures the safety of participants, and prevents potentially unsafe uses in the future. Another way of thinking of this is that pneumatics should only be used with pneumatics. Teams should not use compressed air as a means of actuating non-pneumatic devices such as screws, nuts, etc. For example, pulling a pin with a pneumatic cylinder is okay, but using air to actuate the pin itself is not.