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  #16   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 07-17-2004, 07:47 PM
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Re: Creating and selling parts.

To be honest, I think that you -COULD- do that. However, it would be on such thin ice that I doubt you'd fare well.

Plus, if reading older posts has taught me anything, there are loops thrown each year. Added motors, subtracted motors, deleted motors, new motors...y'knahmsayin?
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Unread 07-17-2004, 08:35 PM
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Re: Creating and selling parts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peciv
What's wrong with this? What if there is a new team which has very little knowledge, 1 or 2 mentors, and a very small budget? I would have no problem letting a team assemble their robot from parts that other teams sold, I see this as a win-win situation. Isn't this why FIRST stopped being so detailed on what parts we can use? Once the team becomes more advanced, they would most likely begin to create their own parts.



Help me here... maybe I have read this wrong... But if your team is "acting" like a "company" in the you send us $$$ and we send you a part, why wouldn't the "team" (aka company) be able to take orders and mass produce the parts before the season started? Then on the Saturday the season starts, take the boxes of parts to UPS and ship them all out.

Yes? No?

True, but can you think of what would happen to robotics if this all happened. There would be a couple teams who would mass produce certain parts they were good at. Say 112234 has amazing transmissions and 998876 is the pneumatics expert. Just pull out your catalog, and order your robot. People would no longer learn anything from robotics. Anyone can order parts from a catalog, but it's a different experiance when you have to design the parts and follow through by building them. You also will create 2 classes of FIRST teams. The ones who buy the best of everything, and become the dominant/winning teams, and the ones who actually bother to make theirs themselves. I sure hope FIRST never becomes nothing more than ordering parts through a catalog and assembling them.
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Unread 07-17-2004, 09:06 PM
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Re: Creating and selling parts.

We were thinking of making sprockets, unfortunatly the work came tiresum. We made them for a few teams and our own and that was work enough.
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Unread 07-17-2004, 09:44 PM
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Re: Creating and selling parts.

Well, there is one little thing. In racing, speed is measured in cubic dollars. In FIRST, success is measured in cubic skill. It's been said--your robot can be amazing, but you'll do nothing if you don't know how to drive it. Plus what will you do when something breaks? I'll bet that if this became the norm, some team would get too "soft" and realize this exact problem all too late. At that point, it'd come down to either ghettofab or hoping some other team at the regional runs that system.
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Unread 07-17-2004, 10:08 PM
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Re: Creating and selling parts.

Though I'm pretty confident creating and selling parts would never reach such a level, it would have interesting repercussions. If there was a large inter-team trade, teams would not be economically independent as they are (mostly) now. Except for teams in the same location that might compete for sponsors, how much money other teams make has no effect on any other team. Inter-team trade would create a situation much more like a real economy. If teams really wanted to stay competitive, they would try to keep exports greater than imports, not sell to particular teams, etc etc. Like I said before, it will never reach such a level, but it just got me thinking...
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Unread 07-17-2004, 10:48 PM
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Re: Creating and selling parts.

if this selling/buying business really builds up, maybe a rule about no selling or buying from the day of kickoff till the end of the season. in the offseason, perhaps having a more experienced team can sell to ones which may need the product.. to use as an example. so maybe another rule about not allowing the direct use of a bought item. a replica may be allowed because creating a replica will definitly teach much about the system they had bought.. reverse-engineering if there are no plans or whatnot... so wait.. i think my grammer's going sumwhere. gahhh.. im gonna go sleep. hope what i wrote makes sense. if it doesnt, ill clear up tomorrow.. i think,
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Unread 07-17-2004, 11:02 PM
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Re: Creating and selling parts.

I think this is a great concept, but I see one problem...where do we draw the line of what a team can buy? If a team can buy a sprocket, why not a gearbox, if they can buy a gearbox, than why not a drivetrain, chassis, arm, modular appendages, heck...why not a whole robot. In my opinion, one of the greatest parts of FIRST is seeing how all of the different teams tackled the same problem in different ways. If there is one "easy, and proven, premade part", then most teams will use it, and part of that initial challenge will be take away. So, yeah...before teams start jumping on this, I think that some regulations would need to be put in place as to what exactly a team can buy, so that we dont have teams mass producing subsystems and selling them to everyone. Of course everyone would want a 2004 Technokat arm, and a Wildstang swerve drive but how fun would that be to watch if all of the robots had them? Not very.

Just my $.02
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Unread 07-17-2004, 11:54 PM
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Re: Creating and selling parts.

Alright, for the fairness thing, lemme take it back to a sort of competition I was deep into long before I even heard of FIRST: The Pokémon TCG.

Back in the days of Base, Jungle, all those rather wimpy expansions, and Genesis, there were generally a few decks that kept showing up. Haymakers, Chansey-Alakazam stall decks...and the occasional Mulligan Mewtwo. And while these would keep slugging it out, you'd have the odd kid now and then who would come out with an odd experiment of a deck that nobody had tried. And he'd mop the floor with all of them.

Or consider a cold virus. Everyone's expecting another form of it, but it's that one form that shows up that screws everyone up.

The point? As time goes by, many teams are going to stick to the more proven parts of FIRST. I fully expect to see quite a few teams next year using 33-style transmissions, in whole or in half. I'll bet money that I'll see lots of teams bundling up their LEDs into one little box, 1293 style. Shoot, I'll even bet that a damaged field element will wind up on the head of anyone who can get their mitts on one, Billfred-in-Atlanta style.

However, it's those little tweaks, those little spins that people put on their robots that make them stand out, that will always win the day in FIRST. I've seen my fair share of ball-suckers, grab-as-they-droppers, floor hangers (cough)spam(cough)...while they share common things, they all have their own little tweak that made them more or less effective. Eventually, the "less effective" tweaks will settle to the bottom, and the more effective ones will be assimilated by the group. Then someone will tweak the tweak. That's when the fun begins.
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Unread 07-18-2004, 04:58 PM
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Re: Creating and selling parts.

I had the same idea though it at no point was I ever considering doing it as a fundraiser. I have a bunch of schematics that would be amazing and unique sensors. Unfortunately their complexity makes it nearly impossible to use anything but a PCB board. Ive done some research and PCB's are usually cheaper it bulk. Thus it would make much more sense to contact as many teams as possible and ask them if they would like to buy one.
Quote:
I sure hope FIRST never becomes nothing more than ordering parts through a catalog and assembling them.
Ummm... it sort of has and it can quite literally make the design process ten times easier. I know Chiefdelphi did that this year. They just ended up ordering differnt drill transmissions from a catalog. I don't see anything wrong with it though.
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Unread 07-19-2004, 11:34 AM
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Re: Creating and selling parts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greencactus3
if this selling/buying business really builds up, maybe a rule about no selling or buying from the day of kickoff till the end of the season.
Now there's an angle I hadn't thought about. The rules have always been you can't build anything until day 1, but if you bought something available as commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) that's OK (Bosch made their COTS drill transmissions long before day 1 for sure, so did Martin gears, etc.). If a team or individual associated with FIRST makes a component or assembly available for sale to any team, is it considered COTS or do they have to wait until build day 1 to fabricate and assemble them? What's to prevent a team or individual from building a new transmission in the fall and then deciding to sell it to anyone who wants one so they can use it? - they've effectively gotten a jump on the build season.
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Unread 07-19-2004, 07:59 PM
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Re: Creating and selling parts.

I guess my feeling on this is, what is the difference between buying something from company xyz for your robot, and buying something from team 000? The only difference is that you support another team instead of some big company. And why would a team have to buy it from themselves when they can just produce it. I see no issue there, I mean they could stockpile the product but what is the difference the buying out of a company's stockpile in some wearhouse. And how would FIRST be able to regulate all of these things, it would become too much of a nightmare, and besides morals what is to stop teams from doing things like this as it is. And by having teams produce the product, it very well could be cheaper for smaller teams to buy from the team vs. a big company, and depending on scenario, the producing teams could offer discounts or freebies to teams in need, like RAGE did with teams 195, and 809. They needed parts and where strapped for cash and so we helped them out by donated the sprockets to them.
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Unread 07-19-2004, 08:45 PM
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Re: Creating and selling parts.

What ever happened to the pride that comes with designing and building your OWN robot? If 2 or more teams develop a robot how can any of them say that their robot was the best? If you purchase parts from other teams then is it really YOUR robot?

The problem I see with this thread is that it seems to propogate laziness. If you buy all your prebuilt parts then what have you learned? The part that I like best about FIRST is the opportunity to explore, test and design a unique machine. i know that you need to buy gears or tread but to buy prebuilt gearboxes, arms frames etc? Where does the learning come in. I am a mentor but I am learning as we go along. I find that it taxes my mind. Makes me think. I build and find problems so I have to rebuild. Our team finds weaknesses and tries to figure a way around them. This is were you learn. This is were new inventions, better ideas and growth occur. I would hate to see any team lose out on these experiences. Steel becomes strong through fire. So do we. I for one would rather fail trying than win by someone elses work.

I know that I am in the minority on this thread but I needed to express my view.
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Unread 07-19-2004, 08:51 PM
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Re: Creating and selling parts.

Everyone has very valid veiws. I personally think a big part of the build challenge is finding certain pre-made parts, finding suppliers, and working with suppliers. Not everything in real engineering project is custom either. Some teams have better fabricators, others have better suppliers. I don't know if I have an opinion teams building and selling parts but if a team can buy something rather than build it, why not? Just remember, there will never be a pre-made part for every crazy idea that someone has while designing a FIRST robot or anything for that matter. The fun part of the process is decideing whether you spend time designing around something you can buy, or spend time building something custom. No of-the-shelf part is ever absolutely "perfect" for the application, that is why people fabricate. But some people decide to design around the constraints instead.
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Unread 07-19-2004, 08:57 PM
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Re: Creating and selling parts.

FIRST is about Inspiration It doesn't matter if students get inspiration from planning to creating to manufacturing to purchasing to watching to engineers creating the parts etc etc etc. As long as students are getting Inspired, FIRST is doing it's mission.

If somebody wants to create standard FIRST parts/ assemblies and sell them, let them do it. If somebody wants to purchase standard parts/ assemblies, let them do it. Maybe there is a business out there where somebody can make parts and sell them at reasonable prices to teams to get them off their feet, especially rookies.
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Unread 07-19-2004, 10:10 PM
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Arrow Re: Creating and selling parts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanddrag
I personally think a big part of the build challenge is finding certain pre-made parts, finding suppliers, and working with suppliers. Not everything in real engineering project is custom either.
Sanddrag... so true!

I got a big reality check this summer when I started designing a lot of components from scratch for a project at work. I was stuck in the FIRST mode of building everything from scratch.

The more time I spend in industry, the more I realize that engineering consists a lot of taking imperfect products and modifying them to meet your application. I see a lot of teams (461 included!) that builds too many things from scratch.

When I was at IRI a couple weekends ago, I heard Dr. Joe talking to a few people about the gearboxes that 47 modified and used on their machine. His resounding theme was "Don't try to redo engineering work that's already been done that meets the needs of your application."

Second thought:

I see a lot of people posting concerns about the slippery slope of this idea. I think the fears are a bit far fetched.

Let's be realistic. Would a team ever try to design, market, manufacture and ship something so custom to a game as an arm in a 6 week build period? I can't see any team thinking, "We'll build everything else and then throw on the arm we bought from team 112 the last week."

A shifting gearbox? Sure.
A frame? 80-20 already does it.

An arm, ball scoop, stacker, hanger? No way, it's just too complicated, and not worth the the headaches to do a little fundraising. I mean, how much would you try to sell an arm for? We're talking probably thousands of dollars. With the $5,000 cap.. I don't see a lot of room for that.

Just my 2 cents,

Matt
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