Fabricated and COTS Items

So I am a part of a rookie team and we had some clarification issues about legalities about manipulating generic store-bought items. Specifically this first came up when were were looking to design our bumpers with pool noodles but we were unsure about the legality rules with cutting and shaping them. The manual raised some concerns but we were unable to identify what is exactly legal or if this is something big that is even taken into concern. Any help is great!
-Team 6398

A COTS item is something you buy that other people can also buy. If you modify it, it is now a fabricated item, and is never COTS again. if a unmodified COTS item is assembled with other parts, that is a fabricated assembly. if you remove the COTS part from the assembly, it is now a COTS part again.

Certain things may not be modified except in very specific ways like motors.

pool noodles are expected to be cut to length and used in your bumpers, but there are no other specific rules about modifying cots items. just keep track of the cost using the CAW rules in the manual, and you’ll be fine.

does this help?

Something that is COTS can be turned into a non-COTS item by modifying it - this means it must either be bagged with your robot, or it can be part of your withholding allowance. COTS items may be left unbagged without counting as part of your withholding allowance. Everyone I know of uses off the shelf pool noodles in their bumpers, so I wouldn’t worry about that.

Particularly with regard to BUMPERS, there are all sorts of exceptions to that rule that all essentially add up to “make your bumpers whenever you want so long as they meet the definition of bumpers.” You can use old ones, make new ones, make new ones from old pieces, make them after the robot has been bagged up, etc. I suppose the only time you couldn’t make bumpers would be during an event you are attending while the pits are closed.

This next part echoes what others have said…

In general, you can modify anything you buy so long as the part you bought was modified after kickoff, meets the cost accounting rules, and either ends up in the bag on stop build day or is part of your withholding allowance at an event. Modifying includes assembling multiple parts together.

There are excpetions though. There are limitations on how you can modify motors or pneumatic parts. There are limitations on what you can do to control system parts. Make sure you read the rulebook for a complete explanation.

About the only thing you can do with Pool Noodles is cut them to length. The ends can be mitered (cut at an angle).

If you cut a partial chunk out of the middle, it defeats the purpose of the bumper.

In general, you want a continuous pool noodle for the entire length of that segment. 2 segments butted against each other may not provide as much protection.

Maybe if you clarified exactly what your team was considering doing to your pool noodles we could help you figure out if it’s legal or not.

Keep in mind that CD has seen people do some very odd things with their bumpers, so it’s unlikely you’ve stumbled upon “secret sauce” for bumpers.