Beth, would you please post more about that discussion, either here or in a new thread? Was the idea to divide the kit into two sub-kits, one that every team would need and another that would be optional? And would the contents of both sub-kits be kept secret until kick-off?
It really doesn’t make much sense to me. Let’s see:
Your first regional and KoP = $6000.
Additional regionals = $4000 each.
By my math that whole KoP = $2000.
Since (assuming the rules don’t change) you must use the current year’s IFI control system then you would start off with a $1150 purchase. Now consider that you will probably need to use at least a few of the motors, Victors, Spikes, at a minimum then it just really doesn’t make sense. For that $2000 you get about $17,000 of stuff.
If you have a bunch of left over stuff from previous years that you don’t know what to do with post it on CD Swap for sale, trade, or just free if you want to. That’s what it is there for.
The kit packing and distribution process is already involved and complicated. Witness the kit part replacement procedures, etc. If anyone remembers the kit fiascos of a few years ago… Imagine that, only teams are also getting the wrong kind of kit that’s also missing parts, etc.
I just think it’d be a logistical nightmare. If you start stockpiling extra parts, donate them to needy teams or as spares for the regional or something like that.
Well, let me address this as well as I can (I have emailed the gentleman who had spearheaded the idea in hopes that he can better elaborate). Basically, yes, the kit would be divided into 2 kits where each team could say ahead of time whether they wanted the “robot-in-a-box” kit, or just the basic parts (motors, etc). The idea behind it said that through the years, there are many parts in the KOP which could be released that would not give away the game, that could be released as “non-kit-bot” and would allow the teams to decline other parts. This notion was, for the most part, agreed on by all forum participants.
I think I have gotten most of it correct. Anyone who was at the MI forums and thinks I got it wrong, please step in to correct… Zondag??? Tenbrink???
Why not use spare parts for other various activities? We built a kit-bot out of un-used kit of parts materials solely for the programming team to test and try and de-bug as much of the driving related code as possible (including sensors and autonomous) while the actual drive train and frame were being assembled, as well as driver training.
Other things you could do with the unused KoP elements include:
~Making a robot cart
~Making an outreach/demo bot
~Cool looking pit display
and probably a bunch of other things
Or in a spin on that idea and to tie in with Chairmans, why not donate it to teams who don’t have that much money, who can use the extra parts? Also, prototyping is easy with the kit bot, just ask 384’s team head this year Crebb.
I found the KOP to be one of the things that everyone always brings up when someone asks “What’s FIRST Robotics?” Not having a KOP would feel SOOO weird.
There is a similar discussion to what Beth mentioned taking place on the PNW-FIRST mailing list as well. Essentially, what’s being argued is that there are certain ‘core’ parts that are included with the kit and others that are included because they’re available to include, but don’t typically see much use. Examples cited by the PNW-FIRST group included, say, the window motors as non-critical parts from the kit, whereas the control system, obviously, and the CIM motors see repeated use by nearly all teams.
If there were a kit available that included these core components, but omitted window motors (of which, we have almost ten already), and did so at a reduced cost, there would be tangible benefits to the teams opting for the streamlined kit.
My real question if you didn’t get the full kit of parts what would you have to play and tinker with to get idea’s for the robot. I know some of my old teams best designs and ideas came from fiddling around with the kit the saterday of the kick off and the sunday right after. Also if you don’t get the kit were do you get the surgical tubing (that gray elastic tubing). That stuff was an awsome way to store elastic energy in the robot very easily and safely, it was also fun to play with. I say that if you have an excess of parts that you’ve not been having enough idea’s, for every part you have that’s just sitting there you should think of a way of making something out of it and then doing it. Not only would it be fun it’d be good practice.
Or, as team 116 did, donate extra parts/tools/etc to a team otherwise needy (aka, Katrina teams, and the like). I’m sure there are teams around who have been displaced by old sponsors/mentors/shop owners and have lost all their tools and workspace. Even if you just donate tools you don’t need, even if some of them are used, it can still help alot. Obviously, kit elements would help as well, as teams often do need extra building material, sensors, motors, and likewise for various reasons.
This is the best point in this whole thread. The cost of the KOP, which is apparently $2000, is less than or equal to the cost of the parts you are required to use, and substantially less when you add in what most everybody uses (CIM motors, several Victors). So, I think you’re probably better off just getting the KOP.
I would love to know where you guys get your math! The real cost of the KOP? Probably around $10,000 by the estimates that I’ve heard. The software alone is more than $2,000. Perhaps we need to take one more look at what is in the kit and its market values before we give what we might value the kit at
[Edit]Fixing values, my thoughts were even low!
I pulled the $17,000 from here: http://www.usfirst.org/about/2006/FRC_ataglance_2006_3.pdf
Retail value: $17,000
350 parts per kit
70% of parts are donated
It may or may not be accurate but it is apparently what FIRST believes so I will just have to go with what they tell us. I don’t know for sure but I believe the number I have heard for the value of the software is closer to $10,000 alone.
In any case, I figure we pay about $2,000 for the KoP and it just doesn’t make sense to me to try to compete without it since at least $2,000 worth of stuff in the KoP is required to compete.
Just my $.02
The software is waaaaay moe than $2000. I’ve heard various 5 digit prices for it…
I can’t remember where, but I’ve seen the $16,000 in print and it may have been FIRST literature.
Consider this, even if you estimate the material kit at $10K, the autodesk software alone if more then $2000. Inventor 11 lists for $5295 on Autodesk’s website (non-educational version). You can get the student versions for much less, (probably about $750 for Inventor and 3ds Max) but what we get are more then single license versions, and usually ship with more then the retail educational editions.
Ayway you look at it, the KOP prices individually are much more then we pay. The question I would pose is this, just because you don’t need it this year, how can you say it won’t come in handy in the future? My team collected 6 years of pneumatics kits before using it heavily one year… All those fittings and such suddenly because very useful.
In my opinion, it is unlikely that FIRST will never offer two different versions of the KOP. Think about all the companies and manufacturers that donate to FIRST. Their way of sponsoring this program is by donating their products to a kit that reaches over 2000 teams internationally. Even though there are items in the kit that some teams may not want to use, FIRST still has to make those items availible. My feeling is that the sponsors would be dissapointed- and annoyed- if they knew that although they had donated millions of their products to FIRST, some teams had refused to accept their donation.
Our team saw this excact situation this year with a certain piece of the KOP (I’m not going to say what it was). It was clearly a low-quality, last-minute addition to the kit, and it was of absolutely no value to our team. But nothing is free- somebody, somewhere had to pay for that piece of equipment. It would be unfair to the sponsor- not to mention ungracious and unprofessional- if we had refused that donation.
Yeh, sure the excess parts are annoying but it can also be very valuable to you next season when heaven forbid you break another part and you still will have that leftover motor, servo, sensor, or pump.
I think the real answer is: we can not know for sure based on anyone’s math because the true financial information is not released publicly.
You can’t assume that the KOP is $2k because even though it’s $2k less for your second regional the regional shouldn’t receive money. The way it works is the regional committee has to raise their own money. If they fall short of the $120k or so it takes than FIRST will chip in. If a regional relies on FIRST for too many years it may be canceled.
I also think the software quote is very misleading. The software is meant for academic use which always comes with huge discounts. I doubt FIRST ever pays a dime for the software we receive.
To sum things up, we can only guess at costs because we don’t really know FIRST’s financials down to the nuts and bolts.
I’m not denying that. It’s a matter of how you value it. Truthfully, even the academic prices are more then it costs Autodesk to produce the software. Look at this way, how expensive is it really to make CDs and manuals? That is the only real cost for the software, and at least on Autodesk’s part, I beleive it is 100% donated. The development cost of the software is figured into the retail value and expected sales volume.
The question is how you value the kit… There are few options…
- Based it on the actual cost to the teams (i.e the $2k value)
- Base it on the replacement causes to the team (including academic discounts, etc)
- Base in on the retail value (consider it lost sales to a company)
- Base it on the acutal manufacturing costs to the sponsors
My claim is that all of these are valid. But they give you very different values.
I tend to agree with those who talk about the sponsors. I think a few would be annoyed if they provided parts as sponsorship and then found out on a certain set of teams received them.
there is no such thing as too many parts or useless parts, only parts you dont need yet. If there were ever an option to take a smaller scaled down KOP i would push my team not to take it. if a sponsor to my team or first was giving me free or highly discounted parts i would willingly take it. if i didnt have a use for it i would keep it packed away somewhere untill i needed it. and like people said if i wanted to go buy a copy of 3ds and Inventor alone it would cost way more than what i am paying for the entire kit and so it seems well worth it to me.