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Unread 11-15-2010, 08:49 PM
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Re: [BB]: FIRST Choice

Very interesting development, and depending on the details this could be really beneficial to teams and the program.
  • Problem: Some teams use 25-pitch roller chain almost exclusively, and never really use the 35-pitch parts from the KoP. Solution: Given FIRST Choice, teams can select which type they actually need.
  • Problem: The color of pneumatic tubing in the KoP every year always makes a small fraction of teams happy, but annoys the others. Solution: Given several different colors in FIRST Choice, teams can pick the color that best matches their team colors.
  • Problem: Some teams always use some X parts from the KoP but never use Y parts. Solution: Given less parts in KoP and FIRST Choice, teams can select which parts they actually need.
  • Problem: As FRC grows, finding companies to donate a part to every team is getting harder and harder. Solution: Given FIRST Choice, a company can donate several hundred widgets to the teams that really want/need such a part.
  • Donating a specific tool to every team can be a waste, as some teams might already have that tool. Solution: Given FIRST Choice, a company can donate a bunch of tools (such as hand tools, power tools, etc) and teams that really need said part can choose it.
Here's how I'm hoping it works:

Each team gets $X amount of money in donated FIRST Choice goods per round. First round opens up after kickoff, lasts a week. Second round opens up after that, lasts another week. Then the third round opens up with all limits removed. Limits on the first two rounds give all teams an equal chance, and elimination of caps on third round will ensure that any remaining FIRST Choice goods get claimed by teams who really want/need it.

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Unread 11-15-2010, 08:54 PM
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Re: [BB]: FIRST Choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aren_Hill View Post
The way I read it there will be a separate section of the site for typical KOP items, Not AM items for free.
There was a forum at Championships where they discussed the KoP in detail, and this was one of the possible ideas they discussed. This is NOT "Free AndyMark Stuff", it is free KoP stuff, and the logistics of fulfillment are being managed by AndyMark. So get those dreams of free supershifters out of your head.

The following is educated and informed speculation:

The driving force was the question "What should FIRST do when they get a donation of 500 of something?" The can't put one in every KoP, they don't want to turn away the donation... so the FIRST Choice system described was born. At the CMP forum, FIRST's main concern was how to fulfill orders, and I see that (once again!) AndyMark has stepped up to the plate.

To get an idea of what kinds of stuff will be offered, think Brass Bag, Igus, Festo, AM Kitbot Frame, Circuit Breakers, Limit Switches, Terminals, Terminal Blocks, FASTON connectors, wire, and so on.

Expect that the KoP will contain the main items (motors, batteries, power panel, etc.) as before, but the stuff that only a percentage of the teams use might not.
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Unread 11-15-2010, 10:43 PM
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Re: [BB]: FIRST Choice

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Originally Posted by Don Rotolo View Post
To get an idea of what kinds of stuff will be offered, think Brass Bag, Igus, Festo, AM Kitbot Frame, Circuit Breakers, Limit Switches, Terminals, Terminal Blocks, FASTON connectors, wire, and so on.
So this begs the question: What's actually left that NEEDS to be shipped to veteran teams in the KoP tub(s)?

Start with last years KoP list. Subtract the stuff that has already been released that will only be in the rookie kit. Then subtract all the stuff from the KoP that wasn't used by the vast majority of teams (lots of the pneumatic components, Igus stuff, lead screw & nut, fans, latex tubing, etc.) or that most verteran teams have plenty of (circuit breakers, pneumatic tubing, wire terminals, wire, Spikes, zip-ties, etc). Now subtract the AM kit chassis, ToughBoxes, wheels, etc. that aren't used by a significant number of the veteran teams who build their own custom chassis, gearboxes, and/or wheels.

What's actually left that needs to be distributed to veteran teams at kickoff in the traditional plastic tubs? A battery, the 120A main breaker, a couple of jags, the CIM motors, maybe some of the other motors but even many of those aren't used by the majority of teams. Is there anything that REALLY needs to be shipped to veteran teams that couldn't be "purchased" from the "AM FIRST Choice Store" using some sort of a-la-cart FIRST cash voucher system? How much of the stuff in the plastic tubs do the majority of veteran teams actually NEED that is MANDATORY on the robot and that they don't probably already have in their shop?

It seems to me that there has always been a lot of stuff given to FIRST teams that has gone to waste. This seems like a good start at reducing some of that waste if it is implemented correctly. There are a lot of veteran teams with huge stockpiles of stuff leftover from previous years that is still the same as the stuff we get in the KoP every year. I'm pretty sure we have about 100 brand new 30A circuit breakers and 35 brand new Spikes in one of the parts drawers in the shop. I would love it if we don't get those in our KoP this year but could snag something we need and don't have from the FIRST Choice store instead. Even better would be if we find there is nothing in the FIRST Choice store that we need and then we could apply our "store credit" towards our registration fee.
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Unread 11-15-2010, 10:56 PM
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Re: [BB]: FIRST Choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepWater View Post
So this begs the question: What's actually left that NEEDS to be shipped to veteran teams in the KoP tub(s)?

Start with last years KoP list. Subtract the stuff that has already been released that will only be in the rookie kit. Then subtract all the stuff from the KoP that wasn't used by the vast majority of teams (lots of the pneumatic components, Igus stuff, lead screw & nut, fans, latex tubing, etc.) or that most verteran teams have plenty of (circuit breakers, pneumatic tubing, wire terminals, wire, Spikes, zip-ties, etc). Now subtract the AM kit chassis, ToughBoxes, wheels, etc. that aren't used by a significant number of the veteran teams who build their own custom chassis, gearboxes, and/or wheels.

What's actually left that needs to be distributed to veteran teams at kickoff in the traditional plastic tubs? A battery, the 120A main breaker, a couple of jags, the CIM motors, maybe some of the other motors but even many of those aren't used by the majority of teams. Is there anything that REALLY needs to be shipped to veteran teams that couldn't be "purchased" from the "AM FIRST Choice Store" using some sort of a-la-cart FIRST cash voucher system? How much of the stuff in the plastic tubs do the majority of veteran teams actually NEED that is MANDATORY on the robot and that they don't probably already have in their shop?

It seems to me that there has always been a lot of stuff given to FIRST teams that has gone to waste. This seems like a good start at reducing some of that waste if it is implemented correctly. There are a lot of veteran teams with huge stockpiles of stuff leftover from previous years that is still the same as the stuff we get in the KoP every year. I'm pretty sure we have about 100 brand new 30A circuit breakers and 35 brand new Spikes in one of the parts drawers in the shop. I would love it if we don't get those in our KoP this year but could snag something we need and don't have from the FIRST Choice store instead. Even better would be if we find there is nothing in the FIRST Choice store that we need and then we could apply our "store credit" towards our registration fee.
Even with the option to choose the "Second half" of your kit; stripping down the kit to that level would be a horrible choice.

My team certainly doesn't have that amount of spare parts.
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Unread 11-15-2010, 11:11 PM
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Re: [BB]: FIRST Choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamHeard View Post
Even with the option to choose the "Second half" of your kit; stripping down the kit to that level would be a horrible choice.

My team certainly doesn't have that amount of spare parts.
Agreed. We also give a lot of the stuff we don't use away to other teams who actually can use it.

I would be very upset if we did not get the kitbot, among other things. We may never use a toughbox on our robot, but all the gears and bearings get used.
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Unread 11-16-2010, 01:20 AM
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Re: [BB]: FIRST Choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory View Post
Agreed. We also give a lot of the stuff we don't use away to other teams who actually can use it.

I would be very upset if we did not get the kitbot, among other things. We may never use a toughbox on our robot, but all the gears and bearings get used.
We use that stuff all the time for prototyping and testing as well.
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Unread 11-16-2010, 07:57 AM
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Re: [BB]: FIRST Choice

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Originally Posted by AdamHeard View Post
We use that stuff all the time for prototyping and testing as well.
Ditto.
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Unread 11-16-2010, 12:24 PM
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Re: [BB]: FIRST Choice

Maybe I'm way off base here, but I'm envisioning a larger-scale version of exactly what Bimba does.

On a side note, I'm willing to wager more teams use the kitbot chassis, trannies, and motors than one may realize. Even if they're not used during the build season.
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Unread 11-17-2010, 10:43 AM
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Re: [BB]: FIRST Choice

You all are brilliant people. I will try to answer some questions, but please realize that I am restricted to what all I can say, since FIRST is working (with us) on a communication plan. I am glad to say that this program will be clearly defined within a few weeks, well before kickoff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Anderson View Post
The "first-come, first-serve" nature strongly implies to me that FIRST Choice is not for typical off-the-shelf components. It seems likely that this is how FIRST has decided to handle donations of items that aren't of sufficient quantity to put one in every kit.
Alan, once again, proves to be a very smart man.

Quote:
Originally Posted by synth3tk View Post
My guess is a limited fixed number of items. Probably more fair that way.
Yep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aren_Hill View Post
The way I read it there will be a separate section of the site for typical KOP items, Not AM items for free.
Yep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajlapp View Post
The text from the post suggests to me that FIRST Choice applies to KOP items only.
Yep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamHeard View Post
I love the concept, I have a bad feeling that the teams that need this most will end up not knowing it exists or not doing it though.

Oh well, the world is run by those who show up.
This is a good point, Adam. (gosh, you guys are brilliant!) It's really up to us (the teams, AndyMark, FIRST) to help communicate this out to the FIRST community. So, tell your neighbor teams and the teams you mentor about this neat program. Like I said, the communication from FIRST and AM is coming soon. (it's going to be in our upcoming newsletter)

Quote:
Originally Posted by artdutra04 View Post
Very interesting development, and depending on the details this could be really beneficial to teams and the program.

<snipped> (Art explains many good ideas and issues, as usual)
Art the IV has good points here, and all concerns are very valid. We have thought of a BOC, and it would be fun, but I am not sure if this is the best way to do this fairly. It is more likely that we (AndyMark) may incorporate this outside of FIRST Choice for some of our old parts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Rotolo View Post
There was a forum at Championships where they discussed the KoP in detail, and this was one of the possible ideas they discussed. This is NOT "Free AndyMark Stuff", it is free KoP stuff, and the logistics of fulfillment are being managed by AndyMark. So get those dreams of free supershifters out of your head.

The following is educated and informed speculation:

<snipped>

To get an idea of what kinds of stuff will be offered, think Brass Bag, Igus, Festo, AM Kitbot Frame, Circuit Breakers, Limit Switches, Terminals, Terminal Blocks, FASTON connectors, wire, and so on.

Expect that the KoP will contain the main items (motors, batteries, power panel, etc.) as before, but the stuff that only a percentage of the teams use might not.
Don is right on. Maybe one day, we can provide free Super Shifters to the masses, but unless one of us hits the lottery*, this won't happen soon. I still have a mortgage to pay, employees to keep happy, and three daughters to put through college. You all have been very supportive of AndyMark, and we appreciate it. We try to price things as fairly as we can, while still trying to prove that capitalism still works.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
Maybe I'm way off base here, but I'm envisioning a larger-scale version of exactly what Bimba does.

On a side note, I'm willing to wager more teams use the kitbot chassis, trannies, and motors than one may realize. Even if they're not used during the build season.
Mike is smart too.

I think that you all deserve a cookie for figuring this out as well as you did.

Thank you for the discussion. Please continue.

Sincerely,
Andy Baker

* - if I played the lottery, which I don't. Isn't that just a tax for people who aren't very good at math?

Last edited by Andy Baker : 11-17-2010 at 10:47 AM.
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Unread 11-17-2010, 10:49 AM
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Re: [BB]: FIRST Choice

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Originally Posted by Andy Baker View Post
Mike is smart too.

I think that you all deserve a cookie for figuring this out as well as you did.

Aw, mine has a bite taken out of it.
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Unread 11-17-2010, 11:42 AM
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Re: [BB]: FIRST Choice

As information is released and communication continues, more official answers will be posted on the FIRST Forums. We will be posting in both websites (CD and FIRST Forums), with more official stuff over on the FIRST Forums.

Going back to Adam's point above, I think it is important to get this information out in various ways. However, since AndyMark is the official supplier of this service, the official answers will be located on the FIRST Forums site.

Sincerely,
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Unread 11-17-2010, 12:31 PM
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Re: [BB]: FIRST Choice

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(it's going to be in our upcoming newsletter)
Newsletter? Good for you.

For those that want to sign up. it's on the index page of andymark.com
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Unread 12-13-2010, 05:44 AM
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Re: [BB]: FIRST Choice

Maybe I am jumping the gun, but it is 12/13/2010 and I do not see it live yet?

Maybe it will go live at "start of business" (8am ?)

.....Bills Blog.......
12.13.10: FIRST Choice site opens for viewing only.
.....Bills Blog......

I will check back later,
Matthew
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Unread 12-13-2010, 07:00 AM
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Re: [BB]: FIRST Choice

Your not the only one. Since I got up I've been checking the site at 5:30 and still nothing. I kinda wish Bill gave us a launch time. Oh well! I've got Study Hall 2nd period to go check.
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Unread 12-13-2010, 07:36 AM
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Re: [BB]: FIRST Choice

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Originally Posted by dag0620 View Post
Your not the only one. Since I got up I've been checking the site at 5:30 and still nothing. I kinda wish Bill gave us a launch time. Oh well! I've got Study Hall 2nd period to go check.

They probably will launch it without fanfare. I will keep thousands of energetic FIRST'ers from trying to bring their servers down ;-)
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