Best Practices - Pneumatics

When using pneumatics, there are many things to keep in mind for optimal performance. These range from the design process to actually in operation.


  • Leave spacing for Solenoids.

    • The solenoids which control the pistons are small, but make sure that you leave ample space around the connectors for tubing so the connectors fit well.

  • Do not design tight corners for Tubing.

    • There is a high risk that your connections will be ripped out if you run the tubing around sharp corners, tubing and solenoids can both get damaged. There is also a chance that the tubes could be kinked and stop or limit airflow

  • Consider weight distribution of Reservoirs

    • The reservoirs may be aluminum but are still fairly large and heavy. It is beneficial to keep these low and centered on your robot. It is also important to keep room for these components as they do take up a lot of space.


During robot construction, there are not many helpful tips, but these should always be followed.

  • Always overuse Tubing.

    • There is never a downside to using too much pneumatic tubing. Using too little can lead to connections being damaged and tubes being stretched. Having slack in tubing lines is important to ensure consistent operation.

  • Know your pivot points.

    • The majority of applications for pneumatics have linear motion being converted to some rotational motion. Make sure to solidify whichever point you have that pivots.

  • Distribute the Loads.

    • Be certain to even out the force on each side of the pneumatic cylinder. If only one side is loaded, there is a high chance the pneumatics will not function as intended.

  • Never work on pressurized pneumatics.

    • For safety, never work on pneumatics that has pressure, use the regulator and flow switch to depressurize or isolate workable components before doing any maintenance.

  • Use Teflon tape.

    • Teflon tape is used to seal anywhere that there is a thread in the system. For all valves, Teflon tape helps to reduce the risk of leaks. If your system has leaks, the best place to look is at valves.


For ideal operation, follow these tips.

  • Optimize the airflow into Tanks.

    • The pneumatics kits come with a regulator. Experiment with the amount of airflow through the regulator so that your pneumatics have just enough force to complete your intended action. This will mean the cylinders can actuate more times per full pressurization.

  • Pressurize tanks at every opportunity.

    • The legal pressure is set at 100psi, which is quite low for most applications. Due to this, the constant re-pressurization of tanks must be a priority.

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