AndyMark Survey - FRC Game Specific Field Elements

AndyMark is looking into the possibility of manufacturing FIRST Robotics Competition game specific elements, which would be available for purchase on our website. In order to gauge interest and demand from teams, we would appreciate your feedback. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey.

AndyMark is still in the early stages of planning this and does not have any specific information about any potential offerings in 2022 or beyond.

In years past we offered:

  • Trailers (2009)
  • Carousel Wheels (2020-21)

We’re trying to get a gauge for what the demand is for this sort of product, how it’s used, and who will be using it.

So, if you are interested in purchasing this sort of thing or not, please fill out the survey. It should take only 5-10 minutes to complete.

Thank you!

Sincerely,
Andy B.

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Just filled out my responses. Excited to see the outcome of this survey in the months and years to come!

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Super excited to see this as a potential option.

Especially with new covid rules capping the number of students we can have in the shop at one time… Very cool if we can keep them all focused on robot parts instead of wasting a percentage of our throughput on the superfluous stuff like field elements.

Huge bonus points for field-spec stuff. Accurate 2019 Hab surfaces, 2012 bridge inertia, etc have been huge killers for teams who expect the “team version” to behave like the actual field and show up to events with robots that don’t actually work.

At a certain point we’d pay any price for a half field of event-spec elements (assuming a reasonable markup on materials & labor).

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As one of the teams that immediately bought the carousel in 2020 and basically threw out the one we already made from wood, I love this idea.
Any idea on a time frame for if 2022 would happen? Obviously if we go down this path I would hate to buy field materials before kickoff like we normally do.

@Andy_Baker if you let us know what the field elements are I’m sure we’ll all be able to give you better answers for your survey!

In all seriousness though this is super cool! I’m sure we would be in the market for production level field elements assuming they provide some sort of advantage over the wooden team version elements.

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I filled out the survey the best I could. (I’m not sure how much the team would pay for something, sorry)

I wrote the comment in the survey, but I would like to reiterate here as well; We have limited space (as I’m sure many teams do). We pack up and store elements when they’re not in use. After every practice. Having field elements that could be easily set up and torn down for a single practice would be invaluable.

We have had to forgo building some elements we needed in the past because we don’t have the space to store them fully assembled. If you could somehow solve this issue I think it would greatly increase your sales. (And we would be ecstatic) :laughing:

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Filled out the survey! This is for sure something we are interested in, depending on pricing. Usually we “upgrade” certain field elements to be closer to the competition versions based on our game strategy. We also have access to local full-fields who put some effort into reproducing some aspects at production quality, so that reduces our specific team need to have everything as accurate as possible at our home shop (I’m sure they would be interested in the real thing though!)

Pre-pay for full production elements sight- and strategy-unseen would be a tough sell for us. If there was an option to pre-pay for a subset of elements and select those elements on kickoff (either full production or partial), that would be much more appealing.

At a minimum we would almost certainly want SOME partial/critical elements, but the likelihood that we want something to upgrade EVERY team version element is low, and right now it’s hard to justify paying for things we aren’t for sure going to use.

Whether or not we even want a full production version depends on:

  • How critical we think having a “full production” version is compared to an “upgraded team version” for the particular game
  • Price point compared to cost of materials for us to build our own “upgraded team version”
  • Whether or not “partial” versions are available for sale

Lastly I’ll add that like many teams our funding is limited compared to pre-COVID, and we are doing much less “risk buying” for the 2022 season than we would have previously. So our willingness to pre-pay for what offerings may change in future seasons.

The second half of the survey had some really cool ideas around critical subassemblies versus complete assemblies. Critical hinges, critical surfaces…

The problem is it’s so game-dependent. My dollar valuations were correlated to game value more than the actual cost of production.

I did quote out the lighting truss from 2020, and if FIRST really does start using it every year I’m going to get us a set. With that kind of structure investment it’s easy to justify game specific adornments.

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Thank you for considering this.

Climbing has been a staple every year since we began. If someone could design a in easily modifiable Cheesy Climber Tester rig that could be stored easily, that would be excellent.

We too are in the set up and tare down each night situation, and our build/test area is our cafeteria. Our 2020/2021 robot has mechanism wheels, and we were spoken too about leaving marks on the floor.

An affordable 1/2 feild carpet may be nice. It would cut down on scuffs and could be put away quickly.

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glares at 2016-2020 GDC

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You leave the 2017 GDC out of this, they didn’t give any team build models for the Airship in the first place.* But while you’re at it, 2013 GDC needs to be thrown in.

Haven’t filled out the survey yet, but I would say that it’s going to be highly game-piece specific. For 2016 (just to pick on a game), supplying the Drawbridge and Sally Port doors would have been massively useful to a lot of teams–the plywood just didn’t flex like the Lexan did. Most of the rest of the Defenses? Nah. Plywood and lumber worked.

I’d say that if it’s something where the surface characteristics matter, having it available would be tremendously helpful. If the surface doesn’t really matter, meh.

*That didn’t stop teams from building based on the field models. But the rest of the team elements that year–hopper, peg simulator, loading chute–weren’t exactly large. The suggested Boiler simulation was a trash can on top of a stack of totes, see also Recycle Rush, also not all that bad.

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but they shouuuuulllld haveeee
pilots without an airship to practice at home…ouch

Talk to, or email, the event coordinator for your event they may be able to help you source (or put you in contact with someone) a half field of carpet. They’re usually giving them away at the end of the season. And sometimes teams will have extra they’re willing to part with.

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Seconding this. First example that comes to mind is the orange peel textured HDPE used on the 2017 gear chutes/feeder station. I remember building the at home elements that year, and the gear just wouldn’t slide on the plywood (or a sheet of lexan). Not at the angle the field elements were designed to be at. After some back and forth emails with various mentors, suppliers, and I think even FIRST, it was determined that the orange peel texture and gear coefficient of friction was significantly different from what the team versions were.

2018 Platforms and 2019 Hab surfaces are other good examples of where we would have loved to have this same material/field component.

Thinking about it now, how’s about just offering raw sheets of orange peel textured HDPE. It seems to be common enough on the field, and challenging enough to source.

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Locally I found typical Starboard textured HDPE was close enough to “orange peel”, I just had to trust from buying it to getting my first look week 1 because there’s no universally understood definition of HDPE texture :joy:

If I could have pressed the easy button and ordered from Andy Mark instead of spending the better part of 2 days researching and comparing, I would have completely done that.

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I think there’s a REALLY good argument for the portcullis too. We didn’t realize until about week seven that it was very easy to open the portcullis just by slamming your bumpers into it.

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Didn’t someone out your way just about lose their fingers disassembling one for transport about the time you figured out that you could bumper-slam it to open it?

If it’s too dangerous to send out to offseason events, fuggeddabahtit.

To be fair, I did think about including the Portcullis in there–the team version was easily destroyed (coughcough4276coughcough) and hard to move. But given the hazards, though I’m not sure those were known in the early part of the season, nope. If it had been just the gate and a pull spec for the counterforce springs maybe.

Having a “critical only” option for the pre purchase would be super beneficial! I’d purchase and Andy-backed insurance policy that he’d supply the hardest-to-replicate functionality on the field, and we’d just be left with the basics of plywood and 2x4’s for the mockups. The key value proposition for me comes from having them delivered early enough to validate our prototypes against.

I do also see a smaller, but non-trivial market for folks who have funding, bit not enough volunteers to make field components. And, therefore, are willing to just throw money at the problem.

This right here is why I love this. Being a “start over” team like many due to the last two years, I don’t have the student or mentor leverage to throw some people at building field pieces at the beginning of the season while also jumping at a robot design and build.

They did for the platforms. It was very helpful. I was able to pick it up at AM, shipping cost would have been brutal.

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