BOM/CAW Opinion Poll

With a few threads regarding people’s opinions on the BOM/CAW, I figured it’d be a good idea to have a poll to see what the people of CD actually think. It’s probably best to keep the discussion in the original thread here, but you can post in this thread if you’d like to see a new poll option. I am taking all of the original poll options from suggestions in the aforementioned thread.

New poll option suggestion:

“It is what it is, we’ll comply with whatever it is.”

Get rid of minimum price for a part to be unincluded

oh god… all the fasteners :eek:

Sadly, this means that the classic pennies-for-ballast trick will go away :frowning:

You forgot to include “It’s not a problem, leave it the way it is.”

The CAW is needed in some fashion as long as we have limits on individual parts and the overall robot cost. While I’m personally a fan of having a complete CAW (my team gets much closer to complete than most, I’ve just never made them count fasteners), as I think there is something to learn from doing it (when done right), I’m not a fan of trying to inspect a complete CAW, and I know that if we required it to be complete inspection would take forever and 99% of teams would fail and have to make adjustments to it. Any reasonable changes that could be suggested to make the CAW more meaningful for the team and simpler for inspection would be awesome.

For example, when it comes to meaningful for the team, I have a spreadsheet with some of the stuff we typically get every year. It has mfg part numbers as well as supplier part numbers and price for every place I’ve found it. It makes it real easy when restocking to follow the links to update prices and order it from the cheapest place (which, surprisingly, does seem to change from year to year for different parts). I can go back through our spreadsheets and see how many of each part we’ve ordered every year, allowing us to more accurately project requirements (and fundraising goals) for next year. Those spreadsheets are CAW-ish and provide direct benefit to the team year over year.

When it comes to meaningful for the inspectors, it’d be great to have the motor controllers listed (which currently do not have to be listed) as well as all the motors (which currently do not all have to be listed) as a sanity check for the 1 controller per motor and 1 motor per controller (-ish) rules. It’d be great requiring a wiring diagram (and a pneumatics diagram) instead of the CAW, making it easier to follow whats going on when I look inside the robot.

For inspection purposes, leave the per-part limit (pick a number for it), but lower the total robot cost on the CAW significantly. And then exempt anything under $100. What makes $1 or $5 such magical numbers? Exempt everything under $100 (plus KoP items), and many teams would have a completely blank CAW… and as an inspector, after looking through a robot I would pretty much be able to tell that it should be blank. Those that do need one would probably only have a couple of items on it. It would save teams and inspectors the hassle of seeing “X feet of 1x1 extrusion” and “Y x Z feet of 1/8” aluminum sheet" - Items I think everyone knows isn’t going to be looked at very closely. It would show the price of the expensive items that inspectors need to pay attention to for the individual part limit.

I think requiring a CAW is a good compromise, in the spirit of “make this like a real engineering experience” but without going the full distance to requiring CAD of everything, cable running list, BOM down to the last rivet and Zip tie, and a full spec document. From a practical inspection perspective, I would prefer requiring the KOP items be listed at no cost, because it makes it easier to see what is missing.

I think it would be useful to have an official moderately complex complete example posted with a picture of the corresponding robot to help teams that are having trouble understanding what to put in the various columns.

Legitimately you could have something serve almost the same function as the CAW by only listing non-KoP electronics and pneumatics on the robot. Have teams keep receipts if possible or at least a screenshot of a web page demonstrating 2017 price for each item. Maybe have the spreadsheet still if you must.

This also doubles as an easy way to check legality on some of the bigger grey area parts on the system.

I feel the BOM/CAW is important for the teams to understand budgeting. The only tricky part is actually getting them to do it.

No you don’t. You can have the mentor and team captain sign to certify that nothing on the robot costs more than the cost limit and ask about anything you feel might be close.

That’s basically what we have now by the admission of most inspectors on CD who claim all they look for are large numbers anyway.

Being an LRI and former 4-H kid, I do think there is value in doing a CAW/BOM. I have worked with many teams to make one in their pit during inspections who had either forgot or didn’t have one (or a complete one) on hand.
In 4-H, pretty much every project has you do some sort of CAW effort be it livestock or building a model airplane. I think this helps connect students to understanding the value in a project. I would love if there was a line item that included Student and Mentor hrs. Just again to reinforce the value/cost that goes into such a project. I would not put any limits, that is what the Lock-up form is for, but it would help folks understand what goes into making a robot.

I just found out last year I had been doing the CAW wrong for the last few years since the KOP rule allowed for all KOP in whatever volume. This has since, IMO reduced the value of the exercise, and personally makes me wonder the overall robot cost value.

What I would like to see is line items for anything over a $5. Also a listing of all motors, motor controllers, gearboxes, and electronic modules. You don’t have to put in a team cost, but I would like to see them included. I think the template CAW could have these pre-listed and just have the teams fill in volumes.

Absolutely. We did not include in-house labor, but we did include KoP items and a number of items under $5 to get a better idea of the true cost of our robot, while also calculating the canonical CAW value. I have attached our CAW from this year; it automatically notices items with a per-item cost under $5, and allows type in of other exceptions.

Edit: and OBTW, I checked “Include KOP items” and (to compensate) “raise price limit”. Another side effect of the KoP exception is that COTS items that were once in the KoP “cost” nothing, but others are at fair market value. That is, a team can use certain TB-minis at no CAW cost, but not a Vex gearbox. Heck, you can use a $600 chassis you bought which happened to be in the KoP on a previous year, but could not use a $600 kit chassis from, say, WCP.

CAW-FRC3946-2017.xlsx (36.5 KB)

CAW-FRC3946-2017.xlsx (36.5 KB)

Checks out. :wink:

Someone’s going to take this seriously. Please don’t. Giving Ike a hard time.

Under that logic, why bother with inspections in the first place? Just have the mentor and team captain sign to certify their robot follows all rules and get rid of the inspectors all together. I doubt anyone really wants that.

I mean the difference is that inspections prevent safety issues and the BoM/CAW just causes headaches.

I don’t understand any argument in favor of it other than the educational value of it. It doesn’t limit the performance of high resource teams, and it doesn’t seem to serve any other purpose.

Inspections aren’t to catch teams knowingly cheating, for the most part - they’re to catch issues the team is ignorant of. Surely whenever you observe a rule violation, more than half the time the team had no idea it was even a rule, or they misunderstood something and thought they found an exception.

The CAW is a lot different, since the things you would catch on a bad CAW are pretty straightforward (“wow, that number is bigger than 400”), and very few inspectors give it more than a cursory glance for glaring errors and omissions.

Well, since you asked… I kid.

I think inspections are a good thing and I feel like others have now addressed your question.

Maybe just have total cost and single item cost limits (R10, R11) as checklist items, and let the CAW be waived if R10 compliance is obvious to the inspector.

I would add a Golden Crow Award, for the Best CAW, which would be judged by the guys in the black vests. They don’t have much to do on Friday afternoon.