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Robot Longshot
Year 2008

FIRST Robotics Competition

Longshot was a very good robot built for Overdrive.


The overall mechanics of Longshot were very simple.


The forks were the device(s) in front of the robot that were initially just a square frame of 80/20 to go under the ball and eventually lift it up and into the robot for firing. After the Peachtree Regional[Citation Needed] the forks were redesigned using bent 3/4" tubing that were better fit to accept the ball easier.

On the edges of the forks were two VEX sensor buttons that were used to detect the ball.

The programming behind it was that the forks would not move up to move the ball into the launcher until the ball had settled (i.e. pushing both buttons).


The launcher was the device used to launch the trackball into the air. It was a very simple design composed of a square frame of 80/20 that was attached using bearing blocks to the front end of the robot to pivot. On the far end that swung was attached surgical tubing that led up to the top of the robot to lauch the ball forward (effectively usign elastic potential energy).

The launcher was brought down by using rope, a axle, two electromagnetic couplings "clutches", and a window motor.

Electromagnetic Couplings Controversy

Using the EM couplings proved to a controversial topic. The couplings used to hold the launcher in position before firing were in a gray area as to whether or not they were classified as an electronic solenoid actuator. If they were, they would be deemed illegal by R60 (restated below).[1]

<R60> Items specifically PROHIBITED from use on the ROBOT include:

  • Electric motors and/or servos different from, or in addition to, those in the Kit Of Parts, with the exception of those specifically permitted by Rule <R59>.
  • Electric solenoid actuators (note: electric solenoid actuators are NOT the same as pneumatic solenoid valves – the latter are permitted, the former are not).

During inspection at the Palmetto Regional in 2008, an inspector was reportedly unsure about the electromagnetic field around the couplings and the motors and took a compass around the robot to detect this. The inspector did not find anything and passed the robot through inspection.


  1. Section 8 of the 2008 FIRST Robotics Rules

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