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  • Pneumatics, like the electronic controls, is a support system for the mechanical functions of your robot design. If you've decided to use pneumatic controls on you robot and haven't already, assign a subteam (one or two is plenty) of team members to familiarize themselves with the pneumatics kit of parts and rules for their use.
  • There are specific rules for using pneumatics on a FIRST robot. Pay close attention to the "required" parts that must be included in any system design.
  • Having a general sense for the weight of your pneumatics should help in some of your design decisions. A pneumatic system can add 10-15 lbs. or more to your overall robot weight.
  • The compressor will likely be the heftiest component of your pneumatics system. Depending on your design, you may want to consider designing a system without the need for an onboard compressor.
  • If you require only single action (non repeating) movements, you may very well be able to accomplish by charging your system up to the maxium allowed pressure before a match and distributing it as needed during the match.
  • Be reminded, you are permitted to use 2 storage canisters on your robot even though only one is supplied in the kit of parts. This can save you about 7-8lbs in robot weight.
  • Make schematic drawings of your envisioned system and use this to verify you meet the minimum essential rules for component use. There is a model system in the pneumatics manual, which is a great schematic on which to base your system. Use this as a starting point and change the configuration as you are allotted space and weight on the robot.
  • You might also want to mock up some pieces of you designed system using the kit components to become familiar with their operation. Do not attach anything to your board until you have the entire system laid out, because you will most likely need to change it once or twice before it will operate. To test out, you'll need a power source for the compressor. You can demonstrate cylinder actuation using the manual controls on the solenoids.
  • Order any additional (not part of kit) pneumatic components that you've decided to use on the robot.
  • TIP -> In the past, we (MOE) have made the mistake of ordering metric-sized parts. Ensure you are not ordering these, they may be confused with the FIRST regulation parts.