Here is my updated opinion and experience related to the Greyt elevator, COTS solutions in general, and what I’m seeing with this game as we hit bag & tag day.
We bought the Greyt elevator (two kits!) But didn’t use them. Our students had already done their homework and came up with an elevator of their own design that was deeply inspired by Adam’s video series, but did some things differently (bearing sizes, continuous instead of cascade, etc.). We built it and are very happy with the performance. If the Greyt kits are non-returnable, we will use them for off season training in the future. I still think they are a terrific product, and I appreciate both WCP and Adam for what they have brought to this year’s game.
I don’t think COTS kits like this are foolproof or even very easy to implement. As demonstrated by the number of threads about elevators that aren’t working, and by what I’ve seen in person and in videos this past week, teams still have a lot of work to do to make them minimally functional. Basically they allow teams without CNC machines or other manufacturing capabilities to build more precisely, if they can do the work to figure out how they function and integrate. We will see a few COTS elevators that work great, and a lot that just make robots more tippy and don’t help teams improve much. At least for this year. Long term, these types of kits may become well understood enough that they are like gearboxes or the kitbot drivebase, meaning they will be used in creative ways that raise the performance level of average teams.
Last thought: if we were worried that we would see cookie cutter robots this year, all using Greyt elevators and roller claws, well. I’m not seeing it. There are some meat-n-potatoes designs (my team’s included), but there is as much variety showing up as I’ve ever seen.