MagLev C

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Re: MagLev C

Post by Flavorflav » October 12th, 2012, 4:11 am

That was actually part of my question, though - with regard to placement of magnets, there does not seem to be anything in the rules which requires us to conform to the "standard" maglev track. Now that the cat is out of the bag, I will make that part more explicit: are we permitted to place magnets on the sidewalls?

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Re: MagLev C

Post by Balsa Man » October 12th, 2012, 5:20 am

Flavorflav wrote:That was actually part of my question, though - with regard to placement of magnets, there does not seem to be anything in the rules which requires us to conform to the "standard" maglev track. Now that the cat is out of the bag, I will make that part more explicit: are we permitted to place magnets on the sidewalls?
... and going down the same thought path - there is nothing prohibiting the magnets not being flat on the bottom, being set with outside edges up, as in shallow "V", which would intuitively seem to provide self-centering forces. Both approaches, I think, will provide.....performance benefits over store-bought track.

As has often been said for various events," if it's not expressly prohibited, then it's ok, (unless it creates a safety issue, or violates 'spirit of the rules)..."

Certainly no safety issue, and I'd argue that cleverness within the constraints of the rules is an essential part of the spirit of the rules.

Last, given the lack of words in the rules, I'm not sure its a matter addressable through a formal "clarification"; the absence of rules language is perfectly clear- nothing to clarify.

??
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Re: MagLev C

Post by wlsguy » October 12th, 2012, 5:50 am

But it would still not hurt to ask (via a formal clarification) if placement or number of magnets are restricted on competitor provided tracks.

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Re: MagLev C

Post by bearasauras » October 12th, 2012, 9:04 am

chalker wrote:
On the 'standard' track, the magnets are only on the floor, not on the sidewalls. You only use them to levitate the vehicle. Stronger magnets just mean a larger gap, not necessarily increased stability and definitely not any type of lateral (side to side) stability.
Right, but if on a self-built track, if there are 4 strips of magnets instead of 2 so that it looks like this:
[ S ] [N] [S] [ N ] <-- vehicle
[ S ] [S] [N] [ N ] <-- track

Wouldn't this decrease the amount of lateral movement?

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Re: MagLev C

Post by chalker » October 12th, 2012, 10:20 am

Flavorflav wrote:That was actually part of my question, though - with regard to placement of magnets, there does not seem to be anything in the rules which requires us to conform to the "standard" maglev track. Now that the cat is out of the bag, I will make that part more explicit: are we permitted to place magnets on the sidewalls?
Standard disclaimer about this not being the official place for clarifications, etc. etc. I've been asked this privately offline too. My feeling is that it is indeed allowed (e.g. general rule #2). However keep in mind the wording of 4.c. saying the height of the side rails is in reference to the 'tops of the magnets'. It doesn't say the tops of the magnets laid out flat on the bottom of the track. If you put the magnets on the side walls, that effectively makes the 'tops' of the magnets that much higher, meaning you'll need to make the rails that much higher too.

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Re: MagLev C

Post by chalker » October 12th, 2012, 10:23 am

bearasauras wrote:
Right, but if on a self-built track, if there are 4 strips of magnets instead of 2 so that it looks like this:
[ S ] [N] [S] [ N ] <-- vehicle
[ S ] [S] [N] [ N ] <-- track

Wouldn't this decrease the amount of lateral movement?
Potentially yes. But you also need to worry about rotational effect due to varying strengths. Bottom line is I think if formally asked we'll be allowing "non-standard" magnet configurations and I am pleased to see some creative ideas already being broached. Does anyone see any 'game changing' reasons not to allow these standard magnet configurations that would provide such an unfair advantage it would be against the spirit of the rules?

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Re: MagLev C

Post by illusionist » October 12th, 2012, 1:09 pm

chalker wrote:
Flavorflav wrote:That was actually part of my question, though - with regard to placement of magnets, there does not seem to be anything in the rules which requires us to conform to the "standard" maglev track. Now that the cat is out of the bag, I will make that part more explicit: are we permitted to place magnets on the sidewalls?
Standard disclaimer about this not being the official place for clarifications, etc. etc. I've been asked this privately offline too. My feeling is that it is indeed allowed (e.g. general rule #2). However keep in mind the wording of 4.c. saying the height of the side rails is in reference to the 'tops of the magnets'. It doesn't say the tops of the magnets laid out flat on the bottom of the track. If you put the magnets on the side walls, that effectively makes the 'tops' of the magnets that much higher, meaning you'll need to make the rails that much higher too.
If an ES feels that it means the bottom magnets, then it would become an issue for someone who as planned out their sidewalls to be measured from the top of the side magnets, as then it would be too tall. It'll probably be best to wait on an official clarification about this...
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Re: MagLev C

Post by JBoyd-NY » October 12th, 2012, 1:45 pm

We have had several teams in New York asking about placing magnets in a "non-standard" position (placing them in spots other than where the Pitsco/Kelvin tracks place them). The State Event Supervisor has requested an official clarification on this, and when he receives an answer to this request we will post it on the State Clarification page. However, as a coach, if my MagLev team came to me and said they wanted to build their own track and place the magnets in "non-standard" places, I would caution them as follows:

I'd advise them that if they planned to build a track that was not exactly like the standard track (whether it was narrower, wider, or the magnets were placed differently), they needed to make sure that the track would not be declared illegal by the Regional Event Supervisor. If their track was a different width than the standard track, or if the vehicle they built depended on having magnets placed in locations on the track that did not have magnets on the standard track and their track was declared illegal, the students would have to compete on the standard track provided by the event supervisor, and would probably not do very well. Since the team objective at Regionals is to qualify for States and that means doing as well as possible in all of the events we are entering, it is imperative if they build a track that differs from the standard track, then they must do everything they can to insure that it will be ruled legal by the Regional supervisor. That means the following:

1. They need to get an official clarification regarding the placement of the magnets, so that they can file a winning appeal if the event supervisor rules their track illegal because of the placement of the magnets.

2. They must insure that their track is not ruled illegal for any other reason. That means that, while they are allowed to have a track that has a width between 2" and 3", they should build one that is in the middle (2.5") so that there is no possibility that when the event supervisor measures the width he will come up with a measurement that is either less than 2" or greater than 3". And they need to get an official clarification on where the side rails are measured from if magnets are placed on the sides, so that their track is not ruled illegal because the event supervisor measures the side rails from a different spot then they did.

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Re: MagLev C

Post by Balsa Man » October 12th, 2012, 2:29 pm

For what it's worth.....

I certainly don’t know all the …inner mechanics of, and constraints on, the rule making and clarification process, but it would seem to me the easiest, and quickest (which is important to us all) way to clear this up- across the land - would be for the Committee/Powers That Be to write up/agree on, and post on the Nats site, a General Clarification- whichever way it goes. The basic issue, and aspects it would need to speak to, are clear from discussions here. The lack of any relevant language in the rules, or what’s up on the National Site on how to build your own track, is the source of the questions/issue.

As to whether “non-standard” magnet placement, or more correctly, placement different than in commercially available track might offer some advantage, I think the answer is, yes, theoretically, but pretty small. If you can use magnetic repulsion to keep sides of the vehicle from contacting the walls, run time will be a bit faster. There are some good…..physical options/approaches to minimize “bumping friction” run time loss. If timing used by ESs is hand timing, I essentially certain the (unavoidable) timing error bars will be significantly greater than the improvement provided by a “no contact” track & vehicle. If electronic/light gate timing is used, I think there very well could be a measureable, but very small “advantage.”

How to deal with that is, of course,…..up to the Powers That Be
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Re: MagLev C

Post by chalker » October 12th, 2012, 8:39 pm

Balsa Man wrote:For what it's worth.....

I certainly don’t know all the …inner mechanics of, and constraints on, the rule making and clarification process, but it would seem to me the easiest, and quickest (which is important to us all) way to clear this up- across the land - would be for the Committee/Powers That Be to write up/agree on, and post on the Nats site, a General Clarification- whichever way it goes. The basic issue, and aspects it would need to speak to, are clear from discussions here.
As I've indicated before, we need a specific question to respond to. This will fall under the FAQs, not the 'Clarifications' since we aren't making an explicit change to the wording of the rules (at least I'm pretty confident we aren't).

Thus, I'd encourage some of you to think about how to best word your questions and submit them as soon as the website opens early next week. Also keep in mind that postings on the national website technically only apply to the National Tournament. Most states choose to abide by them as well, but some don't. Thus you might want to contact your State Director as well.

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