Do your teams order your gussets and brackets from REV, WCP or some other means (which you can comment below)

  • REV
  • West Coast Products
  • Other

0 voters

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For gussets we can machine them in-house on our router, it saves time on having to wait for parts to ship and can be cheaper too especially since we’ve been using recycled aluminum

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We make most of our gussets in house, so they fit the need. There are exceptions, of course - we do have a pile of purchased T-gussets, just because we’ve often found them useful, so we try to save them when pulling apart old robots.

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The Thrifty Bot for all our L and T gussets, which are our most used by a wide margin. And REV for the more funky off-sizes.

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For anything flat plate, we typically waterjet or CNC our own. For L-brackets, we cut our own out of angle stock and either drill holes with a drill press, mill, or by hand with a CAD template.
Sometimes for more specific needs, we get a few from McMasterCarr or even Home Depot.
Don’t think I’ve ever ordered brackets from any online retailer…

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We have made our own in house or ordered from andymark, Rev, vex. Then we had a sponsor waterjet a bunch of thinner steel gussets/brackets one year and we still haven’t run out of those.

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We make custom Items on our own and buy the rest from ThriftyBot.

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I wouldn’t run around advertising this fact. Sure it makes sense, but all the same it may be gray rules wise and all that.

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We have a pile of vex gussets which we use for prototyping and occasionally on robots. Other than that most of our gussets are made in house.

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We cut all of ours on our CNC. Since most of them are custom parts rather than simple right-angle or T gussets/brackets, that’s what makes the most sense for us.

We have no in house manufacturing capabilities, but have a healthy relationship with our tittle sponsor who will laser cut all our flat sheet metal parts. We’ve always found it easier, more convenient and more economical (they don’t charge us for time or material) to have said sponsor make our gussets for us.

Also, because they’re just cutting whatever CAD file we send them, it allows us to make custom gussets that compliment whatever geometry we have on the robot (we aren’t constrained when designing to only what we can find available commercially).

You mean using the gussets and brackets we have in stock? They are exactly the same as the others other than a different material. You’re saying they can’t be steel or you cant use brackets you already own and have to buy or make new ones each year?

We did an informal cost study this year, and yes, we have a great CNC and lots of 1/8 AL to make our own brackets, but for the time and opportunity cost of using our people and tools for other things. It’s cheaper for us just to stock 30/60/90 & Ts (the same way we stock 1x1 and 1x2 tube) and design around those than to continue to make our own. ( note if something NEEDS a custom shape or hole pattern, we will still make those)

If the ones you had custom fabricated in a different season are functionally equivalent to COTS that’s fine (at least to my understanding) and it is perfectly fine to use these on non competition hardware.

I would note a change in material (i.e. aluminum to steel) as a significant difference between COTS (small changes in alloy are probably fine). I am not positive there is a wide range of steel COTS brackets out there (if you have a COTS source ignore my comments). And this is before any thickness argument.

Again this only applies to COMPETITION bots so if you are using them for proto or other applications this is of course perfectly fine. Just for COMP bots.

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The question is how you interpret R302:

R302 *Custom parts, generally from this year only. FABRICATED ITEMS created before Kickoff are not permitted. Exceptions are:
…
E. COTS items, or functional equivalents, with any of the following modifications:

emphasis mine. The blue box goes on to expand:

Functionally equivalent items are items that closely resemble a COTS item in both form and function. Functional equivalents should be made using similar materials to the COTS equivalents.

If all of the brackets on the market are aluminum, would similarly shaped steel brackets be considered “similar materials”? It’s quite a gray area with no real clear way to interpret the rule one way or the other. Frankly, it’s the type of situation within the rules that gives me a headache as an LRI.

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AndyMark, REV, ThrityBot. Also made in-house.

Unless you can find a COT steel gusset, my opinion of what the GDC would say is Steel is not a similar material as Al so it they would not be legal. My personal opinion is they should be. When inspecting, my personal opinion does not count. I let the LRI make these sort of decision. That is why they get paid the big bucks. Also using only one persons interpretation lead to consistency at least on the event.

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Depends what people interpret as a functional equivalent.

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To expand on it with some more examples, just to get people thinking…

Are acetal spacers functionally equivalent to ones 3D printed with PLA? Does it make a difference if we use ABS, TPU, PC, CF, or any other type of filament? They could all loosely be classified as “plastic”, but the properties (flexibility, stiffness, durability, etc) can be quite different.

Are MAXTube Endcaps functionally equivalent to 3D printed ones with heat set inserts?

Is a UP Face Mount Bracket (glass filled nylon) functionally equivalent to one made of aluminum? What about 3D printing one with PLA, ABS, TPU, PC, CF, etc?

We can come up with all sorts of examples where you can have a small or large change in materials for a part, and see varying degrees of impact on the usability of the part. As an LRI, how am I to judge if it’s functionally equivalent… and how am I to know when it was manufactured?

Personally, I think the rule is outdated. A team with a lot of money can buy a whole bunch of stuff and use it whenever they want over the next decade. A team without as much money, however, may find it difficult to manufacture their own in a way that is unambiguous in order to continue using them past the current season. It seems to me that we should be working on enabling reuse of small-scale parts (non-major mechanisms) to cut down on waste and costs for teams, and enabling teams to better manage their inventory.

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Granted GoBilda is typical for FTC not FRC but they do make equivalent COT steel gussets. Ours are very thin like these. We have had all Acrylic or Aluminum robots for the past 3 seasons now so the brackets haven’t been used on a comp bot. But I would hate to have to throw them all out just because they were donated to us in a previous year.

If this is seriously an issue, despite COT steel brackets existing from other vendors as well, we will scrap them because it’s not worth the worry.