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View Poll Results: You Make The Call
No! You may NOT cut parts before kickoff. 75 67.57%
No. I can't find a rule against it but it seems wrong. 14 12.61%
Yes. If it is an off-the-shelf product, you can make it before kickoff. 22 19.82%
Voters: 111. You may not vote on this poll

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Unread 12-08-2004, 11:08 PM
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Re: YMTC: Can teams start cutting metal for 2005?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Foley
So relating to that post I saw where a team takes the AM shifter plans to machine shops to have them built: they bought them, not made them; meaning they are legal in my mind. Any other team could do the exact same thing...
Be cautious with this reasoning. According to prior years' rules, the relevant test is not merely that the assemblies were bought. They have to be bought from a source which makes them generally available for sale. Unless the machine shop agrees to sell shifters of that design to everyone who wants one, it looks to me like your example counts as fabrication, not purchase.

If the shop builds it for you after kickoff, of course, everything is okay.
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Unread 12-09-2004, 07:41 AM
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Re: YMTC: Can teams start cutting metal for 2005?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kris Verdeyen

That said, what we have here is a clear case of the slippery slope in action. For the past few years, we have seen an increase in the way we as a community are allowing ourselves to build parts. While the rules explicity address some of these ways(such as the addition of suppliers other than Small Parts), others, such as AM.biz, extreme collaboration, and the bringing of practice / spare parts robots to competitions are not, and have been driven largely by the FIRST community itself.
Kris,
I want to address a few of your statements. It is unjust to lump AM.biz into the same group as "extreme collaboration". As the name implies this is a business just like Johnston Motor or Fafnir Bearing. The company makes premade assys that are subject to the max dollar rule each team must follow. Premade assys. purchased by teams are rarely if ever, assembled or manufactured after kick off.
Extreme collaboration is a subject that has been discussed in other threads throughout this year. Search for those threads if you want a better understanding of the issue.
The bringing of practice/proto robots took a bad rap last year. All of those robots that I saw (and the one we brought) contained spare components assembled by this year's team under the rules. I hope you are not asking that we disassemble a perfectly good practice robot in order to bring spares to a competition.
Finally, there is a big difference between starting on components before kickoff (even if they are functionally equivalent to ready made) and working after kickoff. Ready made components available to every team after kickoff are subject to the same pitfalls of back orders, shipping, and cost. Equivalents are not, especially those fabricated before kickoff. Cutting a large piece of aluminum plate into smaller pieces is fabrication, plain and simple.
With that said, I am all for using the fall to instruct and practice the techniques needed to be safe and productive during build. The components cannot be used on the new robot but the skills learned can be invaluable during the rushed build season. Count me as a resounding "NO" to any work on the 2005 robot before January 8, 2005.
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Unread 12-09-2004, 09:28 AM
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Re: YMTC: Can teams start cutting metal for 2005?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kris Verdeyen
That said, what we have here is a clear case of the slippery slope in action. For the past few years, we have seen an increase in the way we as a community are allowing ourselves to build parts. While the rules explicity address some of these ways(such as the addition of suppliers other than Small Parts), others, such as AM.biz, extreme collaboration, and the bringing of practice / spare parts robots to competitions are not, and have been driven largely by the FIRST community itself.
Regarding "extreme collaboration" from last year, we need to keep in mind that these teams were approved by FIRST to do this. Also, one of these collaborating teams won the Chairman's Award at the Championships (kudos to 254).

So, while some may think that this is wrong, FIRST has approved and awarded it.

Andy B.
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Unread 12-09-2004, 09:50 AM
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Re: YMTC: Can teams start cutting metal for 2005?

I believe that it is ok for a team to begin buying parts and supplies but it is a clear violation of the rules to begin maching or build any part that is to be used in the competition.
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Unread 12-09-2004, 10:13 AM
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Re: YMTC: Can teams start cutting metal for 2005?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Skierkiewicz
Count me as a resounding "NO" to any work on the 2005 robot before January 8, 2005.
I think we are all pretty much in agreement that there should be no work on the 2005 robot prior to kickoff. I believe the problem is deciding exactly where to draw the line at what is considered fabrication.

To take from the example above about team 4444 buying AM transmissions and team 8888 fabricating the exact same thing. This is a wonderful opportunity provided by AM and it is great that team 4444 has the resources to purchase these transmissions. However, say team 8888 does not have the same resources and can't afford the AM components. So they get a local machine shop to donate their time and build these components for them. They are built to the AM specifications, they just come from a different place. Now according to the rules (I think, I could be remembering it wrong) team 8888 could have the machine shop build after kickoff and still get the same benefit of the donated time and just include what it would have cost in the robot budget.

My question is why should team 8888 not be granted the same luxury as team 4444 just because they can't afford the AM transmissions. If team 4444 is following the rules then they can't use them until after kickoff, but they do have the benefit of having them on January 8th so they can begin fabrication immediately. Why does team 8888 not have the same right? Why should they have to wait for the machine shop to build the exact same part when they could already have it in their possession?

Let me know your thoughts.

-Kristin
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Unread 12-09-2004, 10:18 AM
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Re: YMTC: Can teams start cutting metal for 2005?

Quote:
Originally Posted by scitobor 617
I believe that it is ok for a team to begin buying parts and supplies but it is a clear violation of the rules to begin maching or build any part that is to be used in the competition.
Yes it is okay to buy generic parts, i.e. gears, sprockets, bearings and raw material. You can get parts that you think you will need as long as any other team could do the same.

Yes it is a clear violation to start matching or building parts for the competition. This violates the intention of the rules as there were last year. Frankly I like the way the rules were written regarding intent for such matter
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Unread 12-09-2004, 10:46 AM
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Re: YMTC: Can teams start cutting metal for 2005?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Skierkiewicz
I hope you are not asking that we disassemble a perfectly good practice robot in order to bring spares to a competition.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Baker
Regarding "extreme collaboration" from last year, we need to keep in mind that these teams were approved by FIRST to do this. Also, one of these collaborating teams won the Chairman's Award at the Championships (kudos to 254).

So, while some may think that this is wrong, FIRST has approved and awarded it.
I've never publicly found fault with extreme collaboration. My own personal opinions on the subject are that I'd rather be on a team that built it's own entire robot, but if two (or six or a hundred) teams want to collaborate and outsource, more power to 'em. It's a novel, interesting solution to the problem that FIRST has given us.

My point is not that those other things I mentioned are bad(except for practice bots at comp, and I've already harped on that enough), it's that building robot parts before competition is bad. I think that we are in agreement on this point. If the six week build season is an important part of FIRST, then it is important to respect that by not beginning to build before the season starts.
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Unread 12-09-2004, 11:42 AM
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Re: YMTC: Can teams start cutting metal for 2005?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kpugh
My question is why should team 8888 not be granted the same luxury as team 4444 just because they can't afford the AM transmissions. If team 4444 is following the rules then they can't use them until after kickoff, but they do have the benefit of having them on January 8th so they can begin fabrication immediately. Why does team 8888 not have the same right? Why should they have to wait for the machine shop to build the exact same part when they could already have it in their possession?
If team 8888 fabricates it's own version of the AM transmission before kickoff, it would have to be made commercially avaliable to all teams for the same cost in order to be considered a legal part. Even if it's to the exact same specifications as the AM transmission, the stipulation is, to be considered an "off the shelf component," it must be avaliable to all teams at the same price. Anything otherwise is a custom part fabricated for only that team, even if it is just a knock-off of an otherwise commercially avaliable part.
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Unread 12-09-2004, 12:56 PM
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Re: YMTC: Can teams start cutting metal for 2005?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Baker
Regarding "extreme collaboration" from last year, we need to keep in mind that these teams were approved by FIRST to do this. Also, one of these collaborating teams won the Chairman's Award at the Championships (kudos to 254).

So, while some may think that this is wrong, FIRST has approved and awarded it.

Andy B.
This is a very touchy subject of which I am willing to debate at any time (and have already done so) but really not the question here. Please people lets not get off subject and open a moderated discussion on what Andy is discussing here.

I also don't see the issue with AndyMark products according to the rules. They are available to all teams at a set price so would be classed as OTS.
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Unread 12-09-2004, 04:08 PM
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Re: YMTC: Can teams start cutting metal for 2005?

all teams have 6 weeks, to do as much as they can with there robots.

cutting metal is something all teams will have to do at some point and is time consuming. and if all do it in the 6 weeks then its fair.

but if you don't need to cut your metal during the 6 week period because you cut it already.

then its simply unfair . you have an advantage over other teams is not based on effort (such as money with fundrasing) or resources (such as a metal shop) and all those other unbalanced things in the league that give some teams a better opportunity and yet we understand and tolerate in the FIRST community.

As we all know the 2004 rules were written with intent not literacy in mind

DONT CUT YOUR METAL!!!! not yet at least
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Unread 12-09-2004, 04:37 PM
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Re: YMTC: Can teams start cutting metal for 2005?

This seems pretty straight forward (based on the 2004 rules):
  • If you actually buy the part, it is okay to do so before the 6 weeks -- as long as it is NOT modified before kickoff, you can throw it on the robot.
  • If you MAKE or MODIFY anything before kickoff, it can't go on the robot.
These is no confusion in my mind. This seems to be what FIRST intended.

Copying a COTS part still involves MAKING something (or MODIFYING something) and would therefore be illegal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Natchez
Finally, I thought that it would be a good idea to contact local machine shops and see if they would manufacture a bunch of AM Transmissions and we would just give them to the Greater Houston Teams (about 15). We would parse the work out to several shops and each team in Houston could be shifting by January 10th. We would also set up tours of the machine shops for the students to see exactly how the trannies were built. Since machine shops in Houston traditionally have a slow period in December, this would be a perfect opportunity to introduce the shops to FIRST and get them involved. Of course, you know the long term plan: get them to support a team. A special thanks to AM for releasing the drawings or this idea could never get off the ground. Regardless whether the teams can use them on their '05 robot, I am going to initiate the effort hopefully to help some teams out.
It's interesting to note:
I've done some cost comparisons and -- making your own version of the AndyMark shifter isn't that much cheaper than just buying one.

The cost of gears/raw stock is about half as much as the AndyMark tranny costs. The difference being that you save TONS of manufacturing time buying the AndyMark Trannys.

Of course... this is where many people would argue: "But our students will get more out of it, if they actually build the trannys themselves." This discussion isn't about that. We've had that debate before... and I don't care to see a rehash of it now. Everyone agrees to disagree. (I disagree STRONGLY with that above statement.)
It all boils down to economics...

Run the cost numbers yourself:
$360 seems more and more reasonable, every time I do so.

John
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Unread 12-09-2004, 05:04 PM
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Re: YMTC: Can teams start cutting metal for 2005?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JVN

It's interesting to note:
I've done some cost comparisons and -- making your own version of the AndyMark shifter isn't that much cheaper than just buying one.

The cost of gears/raw stock is about half as much as the AndyMark tranny costs. The difference being that you save TONS of manufacturing time buying the AndyMark Trannys.

Run the cost numbers yourself:
$360 seems more and more reasonable, every time I do so.

John
That's a great point. The rules state any machining work done by an outside shop by non-team members must be counted against the $3500 spending limit, even if donated. The amount of time it would take to build these things at the rate of a professional machine shop plus the cost of the raw materials would easily be well above $360.
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Unread 12-09-2004, 06:59 PM
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Re: YMTC: Island Rules

Everyone, you are soooooo wise! And I was sooooooo wrong! You have convinced me that the 6 week period is sacred and we should do everything in our power to see that teams do not benefit from off-season efforts other than the knowledge that is gained from those efforts.

Therefore, I propose the following rules be implemented.

RULE 041209-A: A FIRST team must not view, touch, or use any parts constructed or acquired before January 8, 2005 other than those from the approved vendor list (or exact duplicates from an alternate vendor).

RULE 041209-B: A FIRST team can not view, touch, or use any parts acquired from a FIRST-friendly vendor before January 19, 2005 (must be procured from FIRST-friendly vendor ... no alternative vendors accepted).


It's simple and puts all teams on a pretty level playing field going into the season. Here are some explanations on the proposed rules.
  • The approved vendor list would include raw materials companies like McMaster-Carr, Small Parts, MSC, Newark, etc.
  • The approved FIRST-friendly vendor list would include companies like Andy-Mark, Lu's Crab Base Manufacturing Company, etc.
  • To become a FIRST-friendly vendor, a vendor would have to meet certain requirements that would include being able to meet team demand, disclose all drawings and schematics of products, etc. Basically, exactly what Andy-Mark already does.
  • The delay between the kickoff and the use of FIRST-friendly vendor items is to take the advantage away from teams that can buy an assortment of mechanisms before they really know what they are going to use to solve this year's game. This will give AM & Lu's CBM Company a chance to get the assemblies to the teams before January 19th. The alternative is to require teams to procure items after kickoff but this is not fair to AM or Lu's Crab Base Manufacturing Company.
  • Teams can not use old robots to get insight into the 2005 game. The robots must not be viewed, touched, or used after January 8th. If you wish to teach your team about your old robots then it would have to be done before January 8th. The robots must be "locked up" on January 7th and can not be used until after the ship date. I know that the gut reaction is to say, "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!" but think about it for a while.
  • Think of this concept as being on an island for 6 weeks with internet access, tools, a bunch of raw materials (aluminum, bearings, wheels, sprockets, etc.), a FIRST kit of parts, along with a FedEx daily delivery from approved and FIRST-friendly vendors. AND 10,458 Krispy Kreme donuts.

Start shooting,
Lucien

Last edited by Natchez : 12-09-2004 at 08:46 PM.
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Unread 12-09-2004, 07:35 PM
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Re: YMTC: Island Rules

Quote:
Originally Posted by Natchez
RULE 041209-A: A FIRST team must not view, touch, or use any parts constructed or acquired before January 8, 2005 other than those from the approved vendor list (or exact duplicates from an alternate vendor).

RULE 041209-B: A FIRST team can not view, touch, or use any parts acquired from a FIRST-friendly vendor before January 19, 2005 (must be procured from FIRST-friendly vendor ... no alternative vendors accepted).[/i]

....
  • Teams can not use old robots to get insight into the 2005 game. The robots must not be viewed, touched, or used after January 8th. If you wish to teach your team about your old robots then it would have to be done before January 8th. The robots must be "locked up" on January 7th and can not be used until after the ship date. I know that the gut reaction is to say, "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!" but think about it for a while.
For the first two rules, I can agree with the idea of no parts being used, ...but no parts constructed or acquired before Jan. 8th can be viewed or touched? To put it quite frankly, I think that is rather absurd. If the parts are not are not being used on the 2005 robot AT ALL, then what is the harm in looking at them or touching them? If the part has been acquired or fabricated before Jan 8th, but is not going to be used on the '05 bot... how on earth could this be considered cheating?

I can't imagine what would happen if a part acquired before Jan 8th happened to fall on the floor... I can just see every one trying to cover their eyes, run for their rubber gloves, and try to remove it while looking in the other direction. ...Not to mention the incredible task of removing everything pre-2005 from the shop area and finding a place to lock it up... some teams simply can't pack things up like that.

As for the rules on the old robots, this would make things much more difficult on my team. We always use our old robots to put prototype parts on (after kickoff). Without these robots, we might not know whether or not a part we were making would have worked properly. We also used our old robots to test autonomous code; this was necessary because before the robot was completed, we needed something to test on. We couldn't have waited until the last week to load the program on the robot to see if it worked...we needed to test and debug. We trained drivers extensively this past year using our old robots, and because of it, we were able to be better prepared for the competition. How could looking at or using an old robot be cheating? If the old robot is not going to be used for competition in 2005, how is it a pre-made part if you are not going to be competing with it? For my team, the use of old robots is an underlying key to success in the build season.

Maybe I misunderstood some of what was being conveyed in your post. Maybe you can answer my above questions?

-- Jaine
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Last edited by Jaine Perotti : 12-09-2004 at 07:36 PM. Reason: forgot to spell check
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Unread 12-09-2004, 07:59 PM
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Re: YMTC: Can teams start cutting metal for 2005?

Lucien,
I think Jaine expressed my feelings very well. I, quite frankly, am at a loss for words.
So in a word, huh?!?
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Good Luck All. Learn something new, everyday!
Al
WB9UVJ
www.wildstang.org
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All is better now, NOS parts are working fine. Why does this year's game remind me of Violet in Willie Wonka? Hmmmm, I see blueberries!
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