Assumptions: KOP drivetrain (maybe with parts for the Steroids variant), all remaining items are COTS wherever possible.
An average team can get the KOP drivetrain together in about a week, maybe faster. Let’s assume they spend the first week assembling that and ordering the rest of their COTS Mechanisms.
Depending on the mechanisms, I would say that that’s probably another week. Probably. Might be another 0.5 weeks in there due to getting them integrated with the KOP drivetrain. Call it 2 just to be safe.
So, let’s call that 3 weeks and the team has a functional robot that they bought and assembled*. With 3 weeks before bag day, I would expect that the team does some drive practice for three weeks or so, attends a local scrimmage if there is one, and focuses on other stuff (scouting, Chairman’s, being non-productive, doing schoolwork, that sort of thing). Possibly modifies a couple of things on the robot for better performance.
At competition, I’d expect–depending somewhat on what COTS parts are used and how well-adapted to the game they were, and how vigorous the driver practice was–that the team would end up somewhere in the upper middle of the pack for seeding, and as a second-round pick or maybe late first-round. They might get lucky and land in the top 8 (lower end). Better than the “tried and failed” teams, worse than the “fully-optimized” teams, and really worse than the “iterate again” teams who refuse to recognize that “fully-optimized” exists. IF, that is, they were the only one.
If about half the teams at the event do the exact same thing, varying only the amount of drive practice, the equation changes dramatically. Teams that make use of the COTS mechanisms as key parts of their robots will be spread from about the #3 seed to about the N-5 seed. The teams that don’t have the resources to do so will be at the bottom (and whining loudly, if I know anything about human nature :mad:); the teams that go custom and optimized will land at the top still but with a lot more work required. Teams that simply go custom will be spread around the rankings intermixed with the teams that went COTS.
At the end of the season/event someone will start a thread about how the COTS stuff is ruining FRC based on “education” and the flame wars will commence. See comment marked with a “mad” smiley above. The GDC will reintroduce the “specifically solve the game challenge” rule, and another flame war will commence.
*I’m going to totally ignore Parkinson’s Law here. Under Parkinson’s Law, it’ll take them 6 weeks and a couple days.
Changing direction for a moment:
I think what’s bugging a lot of people is the timing (that would be item 2 of 2). Compare the response to the Rhino tracks, AM elevator, REV elevator, VEXPro elevator, to the response here to the Greyt Powercube Claw. (Trust me, the elevator isn’t the issue, or the previously-listed kits would also be issues.) All of those mechanisms were available before the season (or in the case of the Rhinos, before the season they’d be most useful in), and all of those mechanisms were “speculative” at the time. They’re also what I’d call “evergreen”–useful in multiple seasons (even the Rhinos). The Claw is BASED ON an “evergreen” design–I’ve seen something similar in several previous years including ball years-- but it’s released two weeks into build as a specific response to the game. If it’s released as “possibly useful claw kit” before the season we aren’t even having this discussion, I’m sure of that!!!
But at this point, people have already designed their own mechanisms, or are perfecting them. Item 1 of 2 on the “bugging people” list is probably that there’s some emotions (read as “hurt feelings” or “attached to my work”) going on right now. I’d go into detail, but I think that description will suffice.
And on my personal pet peeve list: Some of y’all seem to be thinking this is JUST a robotics competition, and we need a level playing field with a high floor. I might agree on the “high floor” and on some aspects of “level playing field”, but this ain’t JUST a robotics competition. It’s an Inspiration and Recognition program disguised as a robotics competition. Hard to tell how much inspiration (and I don’t mean design inspiration) this claw will give right now so I’m going to withhold judgement until after the season at least.