Greyt Universal Cascade Elevator and Powercube Claw


#21

I want to thank Adam, team 973, and WCP for making a product like this available in such short order. I’m blown away that these could both have been sourced so quickly (I know you can design it fast).

I am consulting with my team to see what we want to do. Our design is so similar that it will come down to a few piddly bits and bobs for integration, and to the relative shipping times and cutting times for bearings and CNC’d parts.


#22

I’m with you on this. Taking it this far just makes it feel like we’re enabling teams to buy a complete robot without doing the engineering behind it. Even the elevator pictured comes with a pre-chosen gearbox with proper ratios… what’s left for the team to actually design themselves?


#23

I agree on both.

However, it is no longer illegal to buy items that are designed as a specific response to the game challenge, at least that I can find. That is all I will say about the topic.


#24

I love it. Less building broken robots, more great matches and inspiration!


#25

Correct, that rule was removed after the 2013 season. 2012 and 2013 rules at least include it at start of Section 1.5. Whether it was because FIRST decided they didn’t want to regulate what is or isn’t a “game specific solution” or whether it’s because they just missed it in the conversion to the new rules format I can’t say.

I noticed it was gone sometime last year, I’ve been a bit curious why.

I haven’t made up my mind yet personally on how I feel about the claw, but after seeing the flexibility it offers, it doesn’t seem like it’s quite as much “designed for power cubes specifically” as it is “we designed a flexible roller-claw assembly after we saw the game and though a roller claw might be a good idea”.

I would like to see the plates offered individually, not just as a kit. I could see some great uses for both the straight plate and the claw plates in other configurations.


#26

All these COTS complete robot assemblies should come powder-coated to save teams some time. I propose Corkey Pink.


#27

Great work Adam, 973 and WCP!

The more we can lower the barriers of entry for students into this amazing FRC program, the better!

Viva la COTS revolucion!

-Mike


#28

Gee thanks Adam. Right after we designed and started building our own!:rolleyes:

Just kidding.
Its great to see manipulators being offered and I’m sure more vendors will be doing this more often in the future.

This game was never about robot functions as it is about strategy, speed, and execution. Much like 2014.


#29

Is it really that inspiring to buy half your robot? The students will never be able to point to it and say… “we helped build that.”

Huh? So teams shouldn’t be rewarded for building something decent when another team can buy a full fledged elevator/claw system from a world-class team?

This is getting a little much. At what point does this stop? Will teams be able to buy a full robot in 2020? At what point are people just selling wins?

This is a very weird path we are going down, and I am not convinced I like it.


#30

This explains why FRC has gone downhill ever since the kitbot came out.

Thanks!

-Mike


#31

Here is another major robot component that teams can buy off of the shelf. I suppose everyone gets to draw the line somewhere, but these seem pretty equivalent to me.


#32

There’s a difference between buying an aluminum frame and buying a full fledged game piece manipulator from a world-class top 1% team.

Thanks!

-Justin


#33

Man, AndyMark releases a single stage elevator and nobody bats an eye. WCP one ups them with a cascading elevator and everyone loses their mind.


#34

The difference, for me, is that one is purpose-built for the specific game challenge and one is not. Granted, there have been other general purpose components with suspicious timings in the past.


#35

This. Having been a student when there was a very limited amount of COTS parts, I think FRC is unquestionably better due to offerings like these.

My team struggled to make a continuous elevator in 2008, after being greatly inspired by 254’s in 2007. The opportunity cost we incurred from going this route was extreme. It ended up working consistently though it wasn’t very competitive. It would have been far more inspiring to me back then to have had confidence in a set of COTS mechanisms, and to have had time to actually practice or iterate mechanisms beyond the first functional revision.

Making a team more consistently competitive is what attracts, retains, and ultimately inspires kids (if you ask me).


#36

WCP released a game specific, correctly sized and specced elevator and claw for the 2018 game. Buying those two items + a kitbot means you dont have to think about any part of designing a 2018 robot. A couple bolts to attach the parts together and you’re done. Maybe some teams are into that, but it takes away from one of the most inspiring parts of FRC, being proud of something you made.


#37

The point you are making is nothing new. Lots of people have expressed similar sentiment at various COTS releases, including the original Kitbot back in the mid-2000’s.

Everyone is welcome to their own opinions and preferences.

I think history has shown that the Kitbot is a net-positive for FRC. I’d venture the current COTS market is a net-positive for FRC as well.

I have no reason to believe this Greyt release will prove any different.

Lots of kids on lots of teams need lots of help.

-Mike


#38

I don’t think many are upset about the elevator, but rather the power cube roller claw.


#39

I feel weird about this, but I’m not really sure how to articulate it.

Let’s do a thought experiment for a second. Start with this premise - is it okay to sell a complete FRC robot for a game? That’s not what’s being done here, I know, but this question establishes if there is “a line” or not. If you think teams should be able to, great, then this is fine to you.

If you don’t, then, there is some line where a COTS product is okay to sell and some line where it is not. Where is this line? Back in the old days, the manual used to draw this, with a vague unenforceable rule prohibiting pre-designed mechanisms designed to entirely solve a specific aspect of the game challenge. But that wasn’t meaningful, and it sort of implied you can’t sell a kitbot, and it faded away. That’s not quite everyone’s line.

In my mind, at least until this happened (I’m now not sure what to think, I’m not taking a firm position one way or another here), the line always seemed to be “sell the parts to make world class robots, not the entire mechanism”. The components released were pretty generic and could be used in any game, like VersaFrame gussets, wheels, rollers, gearboxes, etc. What’s changed about this is that these are now products explicitly designed and sold as products to play this year’s FRC game. Sure, it’s not ZERO work to get these to an effective state (I mean, many teams can’t effecticely use the kitbot!), but for maybe 80% of teams, it’s as good or better than what they could either develop on their own or with COTS building blocks.

All of you making snarky one liner posts about how buying a complete end effector and lift is exactly the same as the kitbot are willfully misunderstanding the reservations people have with this. The kitbot is a device that raises the floor, allowing every team the ability to drive. It’s also the one part of the game challenge present every year, and a challenge that is so important to success your entire season is a waste ifyou can’t do it. These parts here are essentially out of the box, world class solutions to the game’s challenges.

I want to love anything COTS that makes robotics more accessible, and until now I always have. But I guess what’s giving me second thoughts is sitting in my shop, looking at the prototype claw my team’s brightest kids are slaving over, and knowing that this claw exists which absolutely would work better than what the kids are making right now. If I want to encourage this team to be as competitive as they can, I would need to say “hey, this manipulator looks like it’ll be better than what we’re doing, so we need to buy it or we’re just wasting our time.” I guess to some extent the Kitbot already did this, but, I feel like if these products are a normal part of every year’s game… when is it ever going to be the wrong move to fundraise enough to buy these? In terms of opportunity cost to benefit, you just can’t beat it unless you yourself are a world class team.

I’m sure this is an overreaction, and I’ll feel better about it tomorrow, maybe it won’t really even get bought much. But I just wanted to say something with all of these callous snarky responses to the legitiamite uneasiness people feel about this. Even if you don’t agree, their concerns are not without merit, and these people don’t deserve to be talked down to for trying to have an important discussion we need to have sooner or later.


#40

Firstly, I’d like to approach this with all due respect to the individuals that worked hard to design this and provide this resource to all teams.

Products like this might help teams that can afford to purchase it become more competitive, and makes the lowest level of play more interesting. However, in the same idea that RI3D sort of homogenizes the range of designs in FRC, this feels like something that’s could make every robot the same, putting teams that attempt to design and build their own robots at a competitive disadvantage to those that buy these systems.

I have always been supportive of the AM-14u and quality COTS parts to design and build mechanisms with, such as versa-frame/gearboxes etc. But offering a completed high level product that completes the game objective better than 95% of FRC teams are capable of removes the incentive to develop your mechanical resources.

Having versa-frame and elevator components is awesome because you still need to design the thing, and you learn a lot along the way. But getting the entire elevator itself with a matching game specific manipulator is like getting the answer key on a test before taking it. It removes the incentive to study.