eBay parts?

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?

For FRC Ebay is legal. Is this for a different competition?

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.

Section 4.1 E of the Game Manual -
*A VENDOR is a legitimate business source for COTS items that satisfies all of the following criteria:

E. makes their products available to all FIRST Robotics Competition Teams. VENDOR must not limit supply or make a product available to just a limited number of FIRST Robotics Competition Teams*

An EBay Supplier/Vendor with multiple parts to sell would be a different situation than an individual item for sale.

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.

PM me. I should be able to find you some suppliers of the parts you want

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.

We have personally bought 8020 from ebay (in the past, we dont use it anymore). We also bought a bunch of random servos and actuators, small stuff etc.

The item is fine as long as it is generally available in sufficient quantities on e-bay or somewhere else.

Another issue is what price do you put on the Cost Worksheet - The price you paid, or the generally available price?

As per the manual, it’s the market price, which I’d assume is the price that you bought it for. It was on the market at that price, so that’s what it cost you.

Thanks for all the replies guys, they’ve been really helpful
Looks like we can source at least some of our parts for comparatively cheap - quite significant for us as we are nearly completely unfunded

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.

Cool! Good luck on your build, and let us know if you need any more assistance. Also what area are you guys located in?

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 :smiley: . (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)


This will be my last year competing in FIRST

Never say never again.

Obviously an edit, as I’m quoting forward:

More like Hotel California than the Mafia, I like to think. (I understand that Will.I.Am is with me on this.)

Little does (s)he know that FIRST is just like the Mafia. Once you get in, you can never leave.

'Bout that.

(I started hanging around a team in 1998, joined in '03, graduated in '07. Took a few* years off around college–was still on CD, though–before getting back into it. Here I am…)

*For really small numbers of “a few”. If I recall correctly, '11 and '13 were the only off years, and '12 was the only one I didn’t attend even one official event.