Cubes not available

Looking at the suppliers of cubes, it appears that FIRST has put a hold on sales of these. Anyone know what is going on with that?

If you are part of a school go to the cafeteria. Our cafeteria told us they get like 5 or 6 dropped off every day they can keep. They usually give them back because they had no use for them but now they are funneling them to the team. Might want to as your school.

I’m not sure there’s a hold on sales, just a lack of supply. They came in stock briefly yesterday at AndyMark and were out of stock again by the time I was able to try to order (maybe an hour later).

Maybe it’s a manufacturer bottleneck at this point? I doubt the companies selling them underestimated demand by *that *much (although in fairness, they probably still have thousands of unsold fuel balls from last year, too…)

In this weeks Lunch with Andy I think they said that they ordered less, but are able to order more quickly as the season progresses, they are made in the US so I imagine they’ll be back in stock soon.

link to lunch with andy:

Yea, I think it’s just ordering caution.
I heard that the manufacturer of the crates at least can produce 30,000 a day for a short notice order.
Manufacturing the covers would take longer.

It’s actually the covers that I’m more interested in at the moment.

Anyone can actually order the exact same milk crates (minus the FIRST logo) directly from the manufacturer. The link stamped on the crates themselves ( leads you to a company called Farm Plast, which has a webstore at

Shipping is pricey, though. A bulk order split between several local teams might be a good option for some.

If you’re near a ULine1 warehouse, you can save shipping by picking up at will-call2. They have a product that might be close enough, if it isn’t the exact same size. S-16317 has outside dimensions listed 13 1/8" x 13 1/8" x 11", though your color choices are limited to blue and black3

1Yes, I know about who the owners like to donate to :frowning:
2I’ve acquired totes this way. Exact same mfg/model FIRST gets.
3Which works for us, natch.

If you saw how much fuel AndyMark had left
you would understand.

Surely the FTC GDC can come up with a future game that makes use of last year’s fuel, right?

We currently have covers available on our site. They are made at a rate of about 1,200 a week and they are working flat our right now trying to fill orders. We were actually quite surprised at the demand as we sold out before Monday after kickoff.

The ones we have in stock now were ordered after kickoff and we already have them available. Once the innital demand tapers off a bit there will be no problems getting these when you really need a bunch of them at the end of build season if you rip them.

Ooh, ooh, ooh, … I know! Let’s put wiffle balls into milk crates!

edit: Then we can cap the crates with gears!

I’m no sure where you folks are getting the info that this is a simple supply and demand problem. One supplier has posted “As per FIRST, this cannot ship until after January 18” That does not sound like a simple supply and demand problem to me.

Which supplier? Have a link to the page/post?

On 340 we have just ordered some cheap crates off of Amazon. The crates that FIRST has chosen to use are a fairly standard size for milk crates apparently. There are slight discrepancies between the two crates (and I mean almost un-noticeable), but your mechanism should be able to account for such a difference or else you have built it wrong. We only have to order more covers now.

If you don’t want to pay for crates off of the internet, try going to any place that sells milk and ask them if they have any crates that you could possibly have (grocery stores, school cafeteria, etc.). Then, again, only the covers are necessary. Given, the covers are important, but if you are desperate enough plain crates will suffice.

I checked Vex Pro, Rev, and AndyMark. None of them have that message.

Also note that none of them have cubes available. Not just a coincidence.

We buy from Studica who is our local rep for Andymark:

Thanks for the heads up! Order placed this morning!

So, one cube cover per team every three weeks. Good luck practicing mining the ten cubes in the POWER CUBE ZONE or placing nine on a PLATE. I guess I’ll take the cover we have down to Hobby Lobby to see if I can find some similar nylon so we can sew our own.

They are currently available from Rev in the US (max. 4 per order) and they were available from AndyMark briefly a couple of days ago too before they sold out - I just didn’t get my cart checked out in time. Yes, they are US suppliers, so it means all the usual hassles for us Canadian teams.

I agree that that’s an odd message from Studica, though - I was waiting for them to come into stock there and thought it was strange that they didn’t show up at all on the Studica website for a few days after kickoff. Generally they are a good alternative for Canadian teams who want AndyMark parts quickly, so that’s an unfortunate delay.

I’m sure you know how to contact people within FIRST Robotics Canada who might be able to look into this more, if you’re so inclined. They work closely with Studica so might have more info for you.

We went to a local milk place and they showed us this sign when we asked if they could donate crates. Apparently they are a valuable commodity here.

That’s an oddly worded message, but I have to believe they mean to say they won’t have stock until the 18th. This makes sense as FIRST has to be arranging the manufacturing, regardless of the distributor.