2018 AM14U3 Legal?

After reading the Game Manual section 10 (Robot Construction Rules), my team was confused as to whether or not we could 2018’s drive base as a new version of the drive was released. The confusion was started by R15’s note in blue.

Can we reuse last years drive base or not???

Only if you didn’t cut or drill into any of the components. Or weld something on for that matter. As soon as you do that, it becomes modified. If you mounted bumpers on it, it’s probably been modified.

Will you be called out for it at an event? I’ve seen teams show up and compete with a drivetrain that had been used the previous year. But I would never bet on being able to do that.

The short answer is no, probably not. The only way it might be re-usable is if it is still new in the box, If you did anything to it - cut, drilled, files, bent, whatever - it is FABRICATED and cannot be used. Please read the definition of FABRICATED.

If you have cut the sheet metal for previous games doesn’t it become legal again if you cut everything just a little bit shorter this build season?

Nope. If it ain’t COTS (or raw stock), and was made “not COTS” before kickoff, it’s illegal for use.

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An AM14U3 you bought and never used before is clearly legal. If you ran it full length last year and didn’t drill or cut the inside or outside sheets, you can just replace the end sheets with COTS - assuming you break it down to all COTS components (recalling that a TB-mini ships as a bag of parts, not an assembly, and that the wheels and pulleys come in different bags) and rebuild it.

One thing you CAN do to get going quickly is to use your old chassis as a development and practice platform, and build a new KoP chassis using the same dimensions for your competition robot. I’d suggest marking the old kit clearly so you don’t use it for competition.

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There are a few possibilities here, depending on exactly what the team used in 2018, and whether/how the officials interpret conventions that are no longer part of the rules. The safe bet is to just say no, but if your team is willing to ask the Q&A and/or take some risks with inspection, there is some room for interpretation.

In particular, R15 relates to “elements created before Kickoff”, but the creation of an item is not defined, and the agents acting to create the item are not identified. Notwithstanding the history of parts utilization rules in previous years, this is an ambiguity that could lead to some difficulties with enforcement, or some opportunities for you.

I suspect that what FIRST intends by R15 is that your team may not use fabricated items whose fabrication took place before Kickoff, and was done by anybody acting on behalf of or with intent to benefit a strict subset of teams (your team is an example of a strict subset of teams). Absent such a clarification (you could ask in the Q&A, and FIRST could issue an update), you could raise the argument at inspection…though I can’t say I’m optimistic about your chances of success.

Coming now to the blue box (which is advisory, not mandatory), I don’t think it corresponds to the plain meaning of R15—and this is part of the reason I proposed the extrapolated meaning as a possible solution. I can’t see a way to reach the conclusion FIRST has reached without assuming facts not in evidence in R15.