I really couldn’t find much around debating the merits and/or legality of sourcing raw materials and COTS from eBay. I understand that there has to be ready availability to the majority of teams as per the rules, and someone has mentioned that eBay could be contentious in this regard as items go out of stock quickly.
However, considering there have been plenty of said items available from multiple sellers, and for a reasonably long timeframe, would this concern be unfounded? McMaster is listed as a legal distributor despite the fact that it only services American teams, which is quite frustrating when they have parts that I can not find elsewhere, let alone locally in Australia (albeit it can be argued that the majority of teams are in America, it just seems quite unfair). Plus, eBay has the advantage in which some parts can be found so, so very cheap.
TL;DR: are (legal) parts off eBay still legal despite that they’re bought via eBay?
An important point is that as long as the COTS part is generally available from some established vendor somewhere, then it doesn’t matter who you actually acquire the part from.
It’s only an issue if the part is unique, of limited non-replenishable quantity, not available to a significant number of other teams, that we could run into issues.
Who you purchase a COTS part from (or what dumpster we may dig a discarded COTS part out of) doesn’t matter, as long as the same part is also generally available to all teams from some other reliable vendor like McMaster-Carr.
So, if you find bearings on ebay that are also sold by McMaster, then you are good.
As long as the item is available (but not necessarily heavily stocked), it should be ok for last year per InFlight’s manual quote.
That being said, what are you planning to use from Ebay? I love to use Ebay for hand tools and the like but I often find that discrete parts tend to be more expensive there than McMaster, Digikey, or other sketchier online stores.
If a part is available on eBay that is normally available elsewhere (let’s say, a used RoboRio), and you think you could save money or time by purchasing on eBay, then that should be fine. Caveat Emptor, of course. If you find a part for which only one has been made, or it is no longer manufacturered and is rare, then I don’t think it could classify as COTS, and therefore a different rule would apply. All this is subject to any rule changes for next year’s game.
And metaphasty, just a word of advice, please don’t feel the need to use an anonymous account, I obviously don’t know if you already have an account, or if this is your first account, but just advising you. No one will think less of you if you asked this same question on (if you have one) your main account.
Of course, if this account is indeed your first account, than I would recommend atleast adding your team number to the account.
Hi dirtbikerxz, thanks for your feedback and advice
This is indeed a first account, a personal one. I haven’t actually filled out team information yet as we were recently formed and have not registered yet. Right now we are planning a preseason build.
I do intend to register soon though, and I’ll probably look into making a team account for that.
Exciting news, I’ve discovered quoting (obviously I am new to forums and the sort, despite having lurked)
Thanks for your support, we’re located in the Western Sydney area, in Australia although team members are all over the place. I blame urban sprawl.
Cool! Hope to see you guys at Champs one day. Feel free to PM me if you need anything else . (ps. to PM, just click on my username, than on the right hand corner, under contact info, you will see a link that says send a primate message to username)