[FRC Blog] Stop Build Day and Shipping

Is 148’s 2018 Velcro Cheesecake strap a MAJOR MECHANISM in this communities opinion?

  • Yes, absolutely.
  • Yes, only if 148 cut the Velcro in advanced.
  • No, it’s a strip of Velcro!
  • Ask the Q&A not me

0 voters



What is not clear to you? I’m curious if you’re talking about the modification of other teams’ robots or something else.

I think the GDC did a good job considering the challenge removing the stop build day presents.

I prefer they just came out and said “do not add any functionality to other robots” and left it at that.

However, I can live with the language they presented.


Pics? Not too familiar with what you are referring too.

Edit: I remember now.

If it later becomes apparent that 148’s 2018 climber is indeed against these new rules, I for one will be pretty disappointed.


The extent to which collaboration is allowed between teams, either before or during an event, is unclear to me. It is also unclear to me how these rules will be inspected and enforced across events.

This approach could have resulted in a clearer set of rules. It probably would have stifled a lot of what I enjoy about things like our Citrus Service program, but it would have certainly been clear in my view.



On reflection, I think that I3 could be worked into a more definite barrier. Any mechanisms/fabricated items that you bring through inspection can be used on your robot only. Raw stock/COTS items etc. can be given to other teams. That doesn’t address pre-event cheesecaking, but there’s no real way to enforce that anyway.

Edit: “mechanisms”, “fabricated items”, “raw stock”, and “COTS parts” as defined elsewhere in the rules. Which bring their own potential ambiguities, of course.

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Which would you prefer… effectively the end of great programs like Citrus Service, or rules that are open to interpretation? Is it possible to have both clear rules and the ability to significantly help other teams at an event? I’m sure it’s possible… but it’s not an easy set of objectives to accomplish.

FIRST decided to try to accomplish this by putting the onus on the key volunteers. I’m completely with you that this will lead to inconsistent rulings across events. I also agree that this will be a problem and a topic of discussion when it happens. I just hope (and tend to believe) that the rule will be enforced with some common sense, and only acted upon in obviously egregious situations.

I don’t doubt that this situation could occur under the new system, but this seems really far outside the FIRST ethos as I understand it. I certainly wouldn’t advocate for my team to tattle on the opposing alliance if I think TEAM B is helping TEAM C too much.

I also think there will be more opportunities prior to the playoffs (and the event itself) for TEAM B to help TEAM C and the rest of TEAM Alphabet for that matter. In fact, I doubt TEAM B will need to draft TEAM C at all with the idea that they’ll need to overhaul TEAM C, because TEAM G will have had time between their first and second event to fit TEAM B’s criteria better than TEAM C ever could.

The floor should be higher now right? That’s what getting rid of the bag should do right? If that’s truly the case, I feel like the need for teams to overhaul other teams to the point where they’re breaking the rules as they’re currently defined will begin to go away. If there aren’t 24 teams at an event that can play the game at a competitive level then the TEAM B’s of the world aren’t doing enough to raise the competitive floor and we’re no better off without the bag than we were with it.


I really like these questions.

I think not being able to do Citrus Service would reflect a broader shift in the program that I would not be in favor of.

I thought the proposal that TCA put together did a good job at striking a balance, but we need to see if that can be shared.

I definitely think the floor will be higher.

However, just because you have the 24th best robot as your third, doesn’t mean they have the 2013 frisbee blocker you need to be competitive in some playoff matches that season. That’s where cheesecake historically comes in.

Teams will find that line of being prepared for these alliance situations, without breaking the rules.

I think the difference now is the line got a lot blurrier. Animosity and negativity between teams, coupled with accusations of cheating, will only increase.



I’d love to see TCA’s approach if you’re allowed to share. I suspect it differs in some significant ways from the rules that have been released, and it would be really interesting to see how TCA answers these tough questions!

This is exactly what I was thinking about when I said:

In my mind working with an alliance partner to implement a blocker/other niche mechanism to better fit the 3rd robot role should not be considered as breaking any of the rules as I understand them… but that’s exactly the problem - the LRI at my event might understand them differently. And what do I know, I think people are capable of making their own 3/4" plywood…

The vagueness of the rule set regarding this circumstance is a problem. Luckily FIRST put these rules out a few months before they matter, and there’s plenty of time to shore up the loose ends. I’m hopeful that with community feedback and a healthy discussion we can get to a point where everything is clear.


We’re definitely on the same page here IMO.

I too hope they can clear this up.

My theory: Attempting to clarify how FIRST will police levels of collaboration, especially outside events, is an effort in futility, that will not be a net-positive for the program. The nature of attempting to regulate collaboration has too many loose ends, in my theory :wink:



Rules that leave wiggle room for interpretation or enforcement (in this case LRI’s mostly), is asking for trouble.
Rulings will vary from Event to Event.
The worst thing that has happened before, including our team last year, is passing inspection at one event, then being told at a subsequent event, it doesn’t with NO modifications at all.
In VEX, design convergence is real and widespread. One team can create a design, and 200 other similar robots and duplicates can appear. Teams that build a robot could easily give it to their B,C,D,…teams to compete with it a subsequent event.
FIRST clearly doesn’t want teams to build complete robots, only to hand it to a 3rd partner during eliminations (extreme case); yet, they want to give some wiggle room for teams helping each other achieve better game success.
IMO, get rid of the wiggle room.
If No Bag was supposed to get rid of barriers to help teams build better robots for competitions, then perhaps that should be the focus instead. Once at an event, what a team brings is what they compete with.


Here is my (imperfect) solution:

  1. Between the beginning of event and the beginning of alliance selection, teams are allowed to help each other / add modifications with no restrictions.

  2. No take-backs, If a mechanism makes it onto a robot and is inspected, that team gets to keep it.

  3. Once alliance selection begins, teams are no longer allowed to assist each other with modifications in any capacity.

While not addressing every concern, I think this would do an pretty good job of allowing teams to help each other throughout the event. At the same time, this should largely prevent teams from making changes to 2nd pick robots in order to gain a competitive advantage in eliminations. Lastly, it leaves basically no room for problematic interpretations.



I don’t like the “in any capacity” part of this. Alliance partners should be able to help each other out in more minor ways than cheesecaking, especially when you get deeper into playoffs and you end up sharing your pit area with your alliance. Other than that, it seems like a good compromise.


One question about I3 and I4 for the community: let’s say that the max robot weight in R5 is 120 pounds. And my team builds a 120 pound robot that includes a 31 pound manipulator. We show up at our event with an exact replica backup of that manipulator which also weighs 31 pounds. Should I include it in my original inspection, or do I not need to because of I4E? Or, can I not include it in my original inspection because it weighs 151 pounds? If I exclude it, and then later swap it on, can I get legally reinspected?

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Is it possible to interpret R16 as “you can work on your robot until your first event starts, and that’s the last time you can work on the robot in your workshop”? Because the rule doesn’t say you can resume the work after the event.
If it is like this, it sound weird, but it’s hard to believe FIRST would forget something that important…


According to I4E, it does not get inspected with the robot, nor does it require a re-inspection if it replaces the original.

It is my understanding that the I3-I4 rules increases the “pool” of mechanisms to use on the robot without being reinspected from 125lbs last year to 150lbs this year.

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Just throwing out alternatives here. I tried to break down cheesecaking into discrete chunks:
Team A designs a part
Team A provides all of the raw materials for a part
Team A manufactures a part from raw materials
Team A installs a part on team B’s robot

Clearly we don’t want team A to do all of these things for a single part, but we don’t want to ban each discrete step without killing collaboration. How about something like the following:

At an event, teams may not provide other teams with FABRICATED ITEMS. Additionally, team A is allowed to do at most one of the following:
Provide team B with COTS items and/or detailed design plans
Have their members enter team B’s pit

If you want to provide a team with the physical resources and/or plans for a cheesecaked mechanism, great! But then you forfeit the ability to help them actually implement it. Alternatively, if they are short on manpower and you want to help them develop a new feature, go right ahead! But you’ll have to work with the specific COTS items they have available, so even if you memorize specific design plans for cheesecake you might have to improvise based on what’s around.

Just spitballin


Some of our intrepid community members see this as a feature, not a bug. There’s a lot to unpack there.

In referencing some repeated sentiments of lack of clarity and explicit mentions of how the interpretations of something so fundamental from event to event, combined with @AllenGregoryIV 's examples:

Not a whole lot of work needs to be done to make the FABRICATED ITEMS in his examples to be made into a package that can be sold by a VENDOR. At least, not a whole lot more work for those already neck deep in the elite meta with money to burn and banners to win. It’s not really stopping cheesecaking practices, just requiring the same elites to take a couple more steps to get there if they want to (I don’t know if they want to).

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I appreciate @Michael_Corsetto for challenging these “rules” as I’m also just not a fan of rules left up to interpretation, especially in a competition that has historically seen biased LRI’s, biased reffing, and additional scrutiny for teams competing at a higher level.

It is also still pretty unclear to me if I can spend a weekend helping a team at their shop or our shop designing and fabricating a mechanism. Is it built by us? Is it built by them? What is “built” in this situation? Just assembly? Design? Origination of idea? I just want more clarity and definition so I can feel free to continue helping other teams the way they’ve helped me. (For example 558 literally gave us their hatch panel mechanism CAD last year for 5686’s robot, is that technically still legal?)

At competition, can a full robot build such as a group of us helping 3 kids from 6812 in 2018 still be legal? The majority of the work was definitely not done by the kids because there was a ton to do. We used COTS mechanisms for sure, but much of the actual building was done with mentors and students from other teams guiding them along. Same story for 7760 week 1 in 2019. Other teams jumped in to supply parts and ideas. What was actually “built” by the team in these scenarios? I don’t like this left up to interpretation. I care much more about this aspect of FRC than any other. Take away cheesecake for all I care, but make this clearer please.

Also, please don’t reply with how the intent of the rule is so clear to you. Intent is one of the most ambiguous things to define in real life in all situations. It is not easy, I’d very much rather have explicit rulings.


I wonder if the amount of work done by other teams on a team’s robot is intentionally left vague. Seems to me like they’re trying to tell teams to work like the community consensus on mentors work is: Work WITH them, not FOR them–but how much is too much is left for the individual team.

That could be problematic when (for example) Pushy Team A picks BLT Team B and essentially forces them into adding a climber on, then demands it back at the end. I think that’s kind of the situation GDC is trying to avoid, but the rules as written–at least the ones we currently have–are not fleshed out enough to preclude that sort of thing. I think the intent is that Pushy Team A is supposed to show BLT Team B how to do the work for that climber, and let them do the work… but that’s not clear enough to come through in so many words.

The next couple of weeks are going to be very interesting.

90% chance the “who builds it” rules aren’t going to be enforced at team shops. The ONLY way they’ll be enforced there is if teams complain at the events that “Team XYZ built our robot for us and we didn’t have any input” (extreme case). Might actually be a nice change from the annual “Mentors on X team build their robot without student input” complaints, for the first couple of events.

@Akash_Rastogi I hear you on intent. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard “But we didn’t intend to do [penalizable action]”… or even more fun “They hit us intentionally and nothing was called!”…