Greyt Universal Cascade Elevator and Powercube Claw


#141

A bunch of pissed off people that are mad at the fact they might be beat by a team using this. If your design that you spent 100-200 hours on gets beat by this then maybe you need to re-evaluate your resources and time spent in one area. If your students are upset that their design is similar, tell them to get over it. This is real world. Use it as an example of how this will happen daily in their jobs. Cant wait to see a team use this and kick $@#$@#$@#. The kids on that team will light up and gain a load of confidence.

-Ronnie


#142

I’m less concerned with the two parts being discussed in this thread, and with Everybot, than I am with the slippery slope on which it rests.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I’m sure there are plenty of other people who would enjoy watching the kickoff video, cranking out some purpose built assemblies, and offering them for sale. I’m sure that others can come up with a commercial robot design that they can provide to others. The door has been opened for this. Next year, there will be more options available.

I suppose it’s up to the folks at HQ to decide if that’s a direction we, or our sponsors, want to go.


#143

No, it isn’t. It’s an educational program for high school students.


#144

As a long-time practicing engineer I believe that it is perfectly reasonable and desirable for COTS products to exist for well-known design patterns. As engineers, once we have established what we need to do (our requirements), the subsequent step should always be to ask “has this been solved before?” Understanding prior design solutions and how they can be adapted is a cornerstone of engineering. If a solution doesn’t exist then typically we enter into the realm of research and development. If a suitable solution does exist, then the hard work of optimization begins. As a reference for what I am talking about here, I suggest reading JVN’s excellent blog posts on the iterative nature of design optimization as experienced on team 148.

As long as FRC games explore the same problem sets, it should be anticipated that we will have continually improving (optimized) solutions for these problems. To the extent profitable, it should also be anticipated that we will continue to see improved COTS products for these “challenges”. If game designers wish to balance this COTS optimization with problem exploration then they can introduce new (or perhaps “newer”) problems to solve such as opening a door using a doorknob, or navigating over a 3’+ barrier, or climbing a slippery slope, etc. Hopefully the GDC will find an equilibrium between introducing “solved” problems and new challenges so that teams can define and meet goals consistent with their level of experience.


#145

Is this some weird dimension? Are you living on a different planet than the rest of us? Idk how you prepare your kids, but I know that many mentors prepare their students for the real world. They do real machining. Real designing. Let me guess, you are only preparing the students for the real world when its something you agree with?

-Ronnie


#146

First of all, I don’t see a lot of people ‘Pissed off’ because they may get beat. You’ll find that most here (In CD) are more concerned with a possible loss of inspiration.

I’ve been a mentor for a long time. I’ve never worried about how my team does on the field, unless it affects inspiration. I’ve had teams that were inspired because their robot moved and scored … once. I’ve had teams that were alliance captains at worlds. And I only care that they are inspired to do great things with their lives.

I have concerns about the Greyt roller claw, but I can see where it may just inspire someone who would not be inspired without it. So, I’ll reserve judgment until I see the if the students whos team bought it, and see if they have been inspired to learn how it works and why the decisions were made in its design.

… plus, you may not be able to ‘just’ bolt this thing on and have it work :wink:


#147

FTFY

I think the point is that “preparing for” the “real world” is not exactly the same as the “real world” itself, otherwise you wouldn’t be “preparing for” it.


#148

I bet that the teams that are going to buy this already had an elevator on their “drawing board.” They just no longer have to make a “crappy” elevator. The roller claw is not something only usable on cubes. They have been used in FRC and VEX for a very long time. Just like 2014, you will see a ton of similar robots. You seen a ton of similar ones in 2015 too. Team seen robot in 3 days. I don’t see the difference between between referencing some mechanism you seen at a plant tour for example or referencing something in robotics.


#149

First let me say that this is one of the best threads on a controversial topic I have ever read on CD. Good job everyone on keeping this civil and on topic.

I have read though all the comments and my opinion has wavered back a forth several times. I am not sure it matters but in interest of full disclosure, I am currently mentoring one low resource team and one rookie team. I doubt either team will make use of these items as they both have designs for these functions and will likely continue to pursue them.

Currently, I fall into the camp that would like to see a rule next year that says any COTS part is fine but that they must be available before kickoff. Perhaps with an additional clause that says they must be available “in quantity” before kickoff; however, I have no idea how one would define “in quantity”.

Of course, my position is subject to modification as the discussion continues which would render it a FABRICATED OPINION rather than a COTS OPINION. :slight_smile:

Steve


#150

Let me put another $0.02 into this.

We’re another team that had an elevator on the drawing board. Unfortunately our CAD team is a bit thin this year, and experience in CAD (more specifically mechanical engineering) is also a bit thin. Regardless, our CAD leader came up with a number of plausible multi-stage elevator designs, but under review each one showed some not insignificant flaws. He iterated the designs and we were probably within a week or maybe two (too long, but that’s another discussion) of fixing and going to build with it.

Then this came along. It demonstrates a number of solutions to problems we were having in our design. It’s relatively simple, and fairly easily modifiable.

We won’t be buying the kit (but huge thanks) as we’re going to be modifying it heavily for our game (elevator+climber+…) but it’s given us a great reference to work with in our design.

So, will this COTS part end up on our robot? Not exactly. Did it advance our capabilities? Yep. Did/will our students learn something by using it? Absolutely. Will they still be inspired? Yes.

Maybe next year if we need an elevator again, we’ll have more knowledge to design our own without a COTS element to take ideas from.


#151

The danger isn’t that teams will be beaten by those using Greyt parts, that’s almost meaningless. The real problem is next year when those beaten choose to buy from next year’s expanded collection of Greyt parts rather than even attempting to design on their own, because yes, people on many teams try to win.

And while I agree that

I have concerns about the Greyt roller claw, but I can see where it may just inspire someone who would not be inspired without it. So, I’ll reserve judgment until I see the if the students whos team bought it, and see if they have been inspired to learn how it works and why the decisions were made in its design.

People on both sides have identified situations where the Greyt parts can help or harm, and restating the existence of a helpful situation doesn’t do much. We need to comprehensively compare the overall effect, which I believe falls in the negative, but really hasn’t been laid out with the effects on both sides in this thread.


#152

Is the “beaten” team choosing to use these parts next season to better themselves in the playing field a disadvantage? In 2013 we seen teams who were using VEX stuff and were like wow we could save tons of time and use some of that stuff. In 2014 we used some of that stuff and won 4 banners. I learned more as a student the 2014 season from a mechanical stand point than I did from 2013. The products allowed much more time for prototyping. I was doing CAD myself. Downloading COTS stuff made my life way easier. The inspiration some seek will always be there, you just find it in other ways. Through mechanism implementation, strategy, and changing the way some of these COTs mechs work to adapt better to your individual need.

-Ronnie


#153

I am not just ‘restating’ things.

I have been around long enough that I remember going through this same discussion with AndyMark gearboxes and the AMU chassis. There is both good and bad in this discussion. To me, it’s about inspiration, not "winning’ on the field. If I see the eyes light up when the students talk about this roller claw, and talk about the numbers behind why it works, then I’ll know that they were inspired … and that’s, after all, the goal of FIRST. If they cannot say more than “we bolted this on” then they were not inspired, which means we failed them.

That’s why I said I’d reserve judgment.

… and to “comprehensively compare” we need data, and until we have that data (most likely at the end of this year) we should not make judgments.


#154

That one’s an interesting problem. I wouldn’t advocate doing anything this year given the amount of money teams have likely already put into these solutions so we should reserve judgement until after this season, however we likely do want this cleared up before next year.


#155

Allow me to answer your question (bolded) with a question. What does competing with low-performing robots do that helping to raise them to at least moderately-performing does not? Are there teams out there that are low-performing that still hold their heads high and come back the next season? Almost certainly. Unfortunately, there are many teams that get discouraged and don’t return or don’t get inspired. Not every team can win, obviously, so the best we can do is aim to have events where every robot can at least play the game to some degree without breaking down or struggling with one task the whole match.

Now, while I agree that just putting out COTS items won’t solve the problem, it’s a step in the right direction. I would say there are resources emerging to target the teams that would most benefit from these types of products.


#156

Kudos to Adam and WCP for making this happen. I believe this opens up another option for teams.

To all those people complaining about “ethics,” and complaining about how “robot” mechanisms are being “handed” to students; no one is asking you to buy this. No one is forcing you to use the products that are being offered. Too bad you have spent a week designing the same elevator; real world isn’t fair.

Don’t be judgmental just because some team chooses to buy off shelf components and decides to concentrate on other mechanisms within their given resources.


#157

If anything, I’d say my team feels validated in our design choices by this product release. We’ve heavily followed the 973 RAMP videos during our process, and have come up with a very similar elevator layout. Fortunately we have the ability to manufacture the necessary components. I love that teams that don’t have access to the same manufacturing stuff can acquire them via purchase. This elevator and roller claw are great additions to the COTS arsenal. Thanks Adam!


#158

There is so much already written on this, my two cents aren’t worth that much any longer. Still not certain why the big hubbub.

Raise the floor, not the bar.


#159

Well this thread grew really really fast…

I don’t have the time to read through everything on this thread (build season is going on right now as I think you know).

But I will just simply place a couple of thoughts.

  1. I worry that teams will expect solutions like this in the future when they may not be available. Please if your team is holding out for this, don’t. Will WCP be able to provide this for every team I highly doubt it.

  2. I understand WCP and Adam want to make a product that people will like and make some well deserved money.
    I disagree with the strategy that they implemented with having the “kit” I think it would serve a better purposes to sell some of the more “specific” components. Like bearing plates for the elevator, roller claw sideplates. And create a drawing package that has detailed information on how to create the necessary frames out of standard 2x1 frame or something similar.
    Call out quantities for bearings, gears, etc. and design the claw to be very versatile with mounts. Most of the plates you could have laser/waterjet cut in large quantities to reduce costs, and they would have moved a lot more product (both from the new parts and the hardware they sell). Plus it gets rid of the stigma that teams just “bought” the mechanism as it would require the teams to do a fair amount of work (although easier than usual) and may even lead to more innovations on the plates.


#160

Your hostile and confrontational stance and casual dismissal of the opposing viewpoint is not an appropriate way to hold a discussion on a semi-controversial topic.

This is an issue that FIRST has grappled with several times. As recently as 2013 they had a rule banning wholesale game solutions provided by COTS suppliers. While FIRST claims it’s not about the robots, for many teams it is. And for those teams who glory in the competition of the robots, being able to ‘purchase’ your robot is not a good paradigm. Purchasing and assembling your entire robot is the next logical step, along with purchasing code. That would not be a positive climate for FRC. There is a murky line somewhere in this mess and FIRST is going to have to draw it clearly. “Real World” sponsorship will not be impressed when they are told that the teams they sponsor buy off-the-shelf game solutions to compete.